As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. (Psalm 55:16-18 NIV)
Last night I watched a Barbara Walters news show in which the idea (or reality) of heaven was investigated. Most Americans actually believe in heaven (9 out of 10). A collective hope and recognition truly seems to me to make the intangible understood.
Barbara, of course, covered the wide varieties of heaven belief.
I found the Muslim belief to be the strangest, with the waiting virgins, which is not only a terrorist-martyr's claim, but a scholarly and non-extremist Muslim acceptance too. Of course, the virgins could be male or female depending upon our own gender.
For myself, I really don't want countless male virgins! I think one man, like my husband, is way enough anyway. Why would sex be catapulted into the more-the-merrier realm in heaven? Bizarre (unless the belief was written by a lustful, young man . . . ). The Hindu belief too of reincarnation, the ascension into higher human form or lower into animal form, was strange as well. I love animals, and am imaginative and compassionate enough to think of them as "human-like" but I can't really see them as "bad" or "good" based upon their past lives. It's our duty to treat them with respect, though, for being living creatures. (I must confess to helping stranded worms get off drying sidewalks as if truly does matter to save them. Guilt grabs me if I walk by without helping them when I could have. Shouldn't I apply that to humans moreso?)
While the religious representatives above were a bit grim, the Dalai Lama of Buddhism was an engaging person who seemed to embody sweet and attractive qualities, like compassion and humility and a giggle which delighted. Yet the philosophy was strange, and I wondered about the leaps of faith this belief requires. Many leaps, many hoops. Of course, I'm a western Christian without much understanding or training.
When Barbara interviewed the Christian representatives, I noticed a difference in their affect. They had light in their eyes -- grace, truth, fervor, hope. A devoted Christian's eyes are quite different. Yes, Joel Olsteen looked like a crazed-out vacuum salesman, but he had the light going too. The light validates the story, enflames it as other-worldly reality.
In the above verses, I can see David solely focused upon God, upon a relationship with an Entity who "saves," "hears," "rescues." The Personal is a trademark of Judaic Christian faith. When death occurs, the individual meets the individual Father, the Groom, the Friend, the Comforter, the Judge, the Word, the Redeemer, the Shepherd. Many words designating a One.
Much is based upon what David models: in this life, one hand can hold another, one voice can be heard by one outside our consciousness, one can relax into the battles the one Lord will fight for us . . . until we are reconciled in Heaven one day to meet the One who has been designated for each one of us. And, why not?