On Literalism


An American Christian, an Arab Muslim, and a Confuscian Chinese man (Hank, Ali, and Wan, respectively) all died at the same time, and their souls drifted to Heaven, approaching the proverbial gates where Jesus stood.

When they each arrived at the Gates to Heaven, they each marveled for a moment, for behind the gates where Jesus stood they could glimpse of Heaven.

Jesus observed their bewilderment and awe for a moment, before, with a smile, he introduced himself, asked of of themselves, and then invited the soul of each man in.

Ali was amazed. “Truly I have spent my life in the service only of God, whom we call Allah, and have endeavoured to do only good works in my life. Truly the Prophet Mohammed must have marvelled before God in a way I could never before have imagined.”

Wan stared on with no less astonishment. “I have heard tell of Heaven, and that is was a mighty place, but never could I ever have believed in such a place of sublime beauty. Yet althougth I have heard of the name of the man at the gates, I am hesitant to enter, for though I tried to do good works in my life, my government did not allow talk and writing relating to Jesus.”

Ali smiled to Wan and then directed him on as Jesus drew aside for their entrance. “Do not fear, brother Wan,” Ali declared cheerfully, “for I have heard of Jesus, and know him to be a good man of God. Therefore, as he beckons us into Heaven, we should follow his direction.”

Jesus smiled contentedly as Ali and Wan both walked together and entered in through the gates to Heaven beyond.

Then Jesus turned and looked to the Christian, Hank, and asked: “Why are you so hesitant? Why do you not wish to join with God in Heaven as the others do?”

Hank’s face grimmaced. “I do not enter because I know this is a trick and that you are Satan. I have been a Christian all my life and I know who Jesus is. And I, for one, know that Jesus cannot have long hair, as you do, for as St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:14: ‘Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?'” Hank stated. “As there can be no shame with Jesus, so I know you must be the devil, and that behind you a mere illusion, and in reality is hell.”

And with that, Hank wandered away.

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