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A place with absolutely no private or personal life, with the incessant worship of a mediocre career-sadist as the only culture, where all citizens are the permanent property of the state, the highest form of pointlessness has been achieved. Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir
When I was a child and I was told about Heaven and Hell I couldn’t form a picture of Heaven because I was told well what it would be is eternal praise, everlasting praise ... Sounded like Hell to me. Christopher Hitchens, Freedom from Religion Foundation 2007
God’s in his heaven
All’s right with the world. Robert Browning, Pippa Passes
A man can have but one life and one death,
One heaven, one hell. Robert Browning, In a Balcony
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for? Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto, 1855
If I were to construct a God I would furnish Him with some way and qualities and characteristics which the Present lacks. He would not stoop to ask for any man's compliments, praises, flatteries; and He would be far above exacting them. I would have Him as self-respecting as the better sort of man in these regards.
He would not be a merchant, a trader. He would not buy these things. He would not sell, or offer to sell, temporary benefits of the joys of eternity for the product called worship. I would have Him as dignified as the better sort of man in this regard.
He would value no love but the love born of kindnesses conferred; not that born of benevolences contracted for. Repentance in a man’s heart for a wrong done would cancel and annul that sin; and no verbal prayers for forgiveness be required or desired or expected of that man.
In His Bible there would be no Unforgiveable Sin. He would recognize in Himself the Author and Inventor of Sin and Author and Inventor of the Vehicle and Appliances for its commission; and would place the whole responsibility where it would of right belong: upon Himself, the only Sinner.
He would not be a jealous God – a trait so small that even men despise it in each other.
He would not boast.
He would keep private His admirations of Himself; He would regard self-praise as unbecoming the dignity of his position.
He would not have the spirit of vengeance in His heart. Then it would not issue from His lips.
There would not be any hell – except the one we live in from the cradle to the grave.
There would not be any heaven – the kind described in the world’s Bibles.
He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when he could have made him happy with the same effort and he would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy. Mark Twain, notebook
Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. Mark Twain
Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. Mark Twain
The God of Hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A God who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved – cursed, not worshipped. A heaven presided over by such a God must be below the lowest hell. I want no part in any heaven in which the saved, the ransomed and redeemed will drown with shouts of joy the cries and sobs of hell – in which happiness will forget misery, where the tears of the lost only increase laughter and double bliss. Robert G Ingersoll
In their religion they are so uneven,
That each one goes his own by-way to heaven. Daniel Defoe, 1660-1731, The True-Born Englishman
My home is in Heaven. I’m just travelling through this world. Billy Graham
Philosophy is an odd thing ... The most important philosophy I think is that even if it isn’t true, you must absolutely assume there is no after-life. You cannot for one second I think abrogate the responsibility of believing that this is it. Stephen Fry, televised interview
The treasury of everlasting joy. William Shakespeare, The First Part of the Contention II Henry VI II i 18, King Henry
Yet that Thy brazen gates of heaven may ope
And give sweet passage to my sinful soul. William Shakespeare, Richard Duke of York II ii 40-41, Edward
When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet III ii @21
Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems
Upon so soft a subject as myself. ibid. III v 209-210, Juliet to self
I’ll follow thee, and make a heaven of hell. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream II i 243
Either there is civil strife in heaven,
Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,
Incenses them to send destruction. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar I iii 11-13
1There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. William Shakespeare, Hamlet I v 167-168, Hamlet to Horatio
This is a test to see where we spend our life – heaven or hell. Muhammad Ali, interview Reg Gutteridge, film When Ali Came to Newcastle
The most important thing about life is what’s going to happen when you die. Are you going to go to Heaven or Hell? And there’s eternity: how long is eternity? ibid.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room in heaven. Muhammad Ali, cited Time magazine 1978
June suns, you cannot store them
To warm the winter’s cold,
The lad that hopes for heaven
Shall fill his mouth with mould. A E Housman, More Poems
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, or a Hell of Heav’n. John Milton, Paradise Lost I:255-256
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n. ibid. Lucifer’s soliloquy I:263
What if earth
Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought? ibid. 5:574
For billions of people around the world death still acts as a gateway to heaven. Ancient Aliens s3e5: Aliens and Mysterious Rituals, History 2011
It’s Christmas in Heaven, all the children sing.
It’s Christmas in Heaven, how hard those Church bells ring.
It’s Christmas in Heaven, the snow falls from the sky,
But it’s nice and warm, and everyone looks smart and wears a tie.
It’s Christmas in Heaven, there’s great films on TV
The Sound of Music twice an hour, and Jaws one, two and three.
There’s gifts for all the family, there’s toys and trees and trains
There’s Sony Walkman headphone sets, and the latest video games. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life 1983 starring Graham Chapman & John Cleese & Terry Gilliam & Erid Idle & Terry Jones & Michael Palin & Carol Cleveland & Patricia Quinn & Mark Holmes & Simon Jones & Matt Frewer & Jane Leeves et al, director Terry Jones, entertainer in Heaven