Really, Toronto Star? Heaven?
I know this is old, but I've been taking a bit of a blog break and this has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks. Now's the time to get to it and ask some pertinent questions.
So Michael Jackson died. The Star then did an entire page piece on whether or not Jackson is "going to heaven", in which there was this little nugget:
God's pity aside, Jackson exhibited behaviour one doesn't expect from the heaven-bound, from his alleged drug addictions to his accused pedophilia. Still, those don't automatically exclude him from paradise, says Chris Seay, the pastor of Ecclesia Houston and president of Ecclesia Bible Society. "We shouldn't be surprised to find someone like Jackson in heaven," he says, calling attention to biblical passages like Matthew 7:21-23. "Jesus makes it most clear that we will all be surprised to see that the beautiful and upstanding people we thought were `locks' for heaven did not make it in, and the people we thought hell was created for might have the largest palace on our golden street." (emphasis mine)Nice, eh? Wouldn't that be awesome, to die choking on a Wendy's Taco Salad, then get to Heaven and find the douchebag who beat the shit out of you regularly in high school and who went on to be a drug-abusing, wife-beating, scam-artist scumbag, had a giant golden house and was cock of the walk...so to speak? Does that sound like any sort of place you'd aspire to go? Why do people think Heaven is great?
Then there was this:
Jason Poling, the pastor at New Hope Community Church in Pikesville, Maryland, brings up a unique scenario related to Jackson's mental and emotional state. Many conservative evangelicals...believe all children are automatically heaven-bound until they reach the "age of accountability" – an undefined point at which they become responsible for their own choices and morality...What if, Poling asks, Jackson never reached the age of accountability? Jackson was only 8 years old when he began touring with the Jackson 5. From that point on, he lived an increasingly insulated life, one that seemed to strand him in a state of arrested development.Michael Jackson was a 50 year old man when he died. He had seen the world, he had been married, had obscene amounts of money to spend on whatever he wanted, and he was an iconic figure in music - that is so much more than most adults will ever experience that to say he was, "stuck mentally as an 8 year old" is insulting to a degree I'm not comfortable insulting. Is this truly an argument a rational person is making in a discussion so pointless that it should embarrass any human adult? It's like arguing that Noah's beard was actually just under a foot in length when he took the animals on the ark - is there any way to add another layer of stupid to the situation?
Yep, count on it:
Jason Salamun, pastor at Project Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. "The death of Michael Jackson, and the recent slew of celebrity deaths, has reminded me that the end of this life ends with a comma, not a period, and to live like today's my last day here on earth."A "comma", eh? Now how, exactly, does Salamun know that? He, as Richard Dawkins says, "declares it by fiat." As I've said before, believing that your life continues on after death in some tangible place with memories saved and deeds to be done, makes what you do "on earth" not so much meaningful because you have an infinite amount of time to make amends. What if the wife-beating high school douchebag with the great house at 235 St. Peter Avenue meets you after you die and apologizes and buys you a steak frites? Does that mean that his life "on earth" is erased now and he's a fabulous guy?
Atheists and other non-believers know, as much as we can, that this is it. When we're gone, we're gone, and it is precisely that brevity of life that makes our actions carry weight. Our legacy lives on in our family, friends, and whatever lasting markers we threw to the masses. Not many people actually knew Michael Jackson, so to hear self-righteous assholes opine on his life illuminates just how shallow a philosophical wading pool it is in which they dwell.