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Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Lowest Price!

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Lowest Price!

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Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Description:

A groundbreaking and accessible history of heaven—from the earliest biblical conceptions of the afterlife to the theologians who frame our understandings to the convictions and perceptions of everyday people

Drawing on history and popular culture, biblical research and everyday beliefs, Heaven offers a new understanding of one of the most cherished—and shared—ideals of spiritual life. Lisa Miller raises debates and discussions not just about our visions of the afterlife, but about how our beliefs have influenced the societies we have built and the lifestyles to which we have subscribed, exploring the roots of our beliefs in heaven and how these have evolved throughout the ages to offer comfort and hope.

She also reveals how the notion of heaven has been used for manipulation—to promulgate goodness and evil—as inspiration for selfless behavior, and as justification for mass murder.

As Miller demonstrates in this absorbing and enlightening book, the desire for a celestial afterlife is universal—shared by the faithful around the world and across religions. It is as old as the Bible itself. While there are many notions of what exactly heaven is and how we get there, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that heaven is God’s home. From the Revelation to the Left Behind series, Augustine to Osama bin Laden, Muslims in the West Bank to American Mormons baptizing their dead, Heaven is a penetrating look at one of our most cherished religious ideals.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2515 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Released on: 2010-03-23
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 368 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780060554750
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

A Fascinating Read5
This is a fascinating book, exhaustively researched and beautifully written. As a journalist, Miller, who writes on religion for “Newsweek,” interviews all sorts of intriguing personalities on what they expect to see and do in the afterlife. But she also digs back into history to see where we got all this stuff about milk and honey and roads paved with gold. Finally, she lets us in on her own skepticism, and her own hopes, turning what might have been a dry exposition of ancient doctrines into a conversation that feels as contemporary as it is compelling. Highly recommended for believers and unbelievers alike.

A Nontraditional Assessment of and Longing for Heaven4
Heaven: God’s Abode, Paradise, Cloud Nine, eternal and supreme love, joy, and bliss along with all that one’s righteous soul yearns is found in this glorious place. Therein Lisa Miller (editor of Religion for Newsweek” magazine) examines and offers a “literal-minded skeptical” assessment of the afterlife. She writes about this intriguing and essential topic as she evaluates the sundry notions of the afterlife from the standpoint of the ancient Greeks, Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, and many other ideas concerning that which lies beyond the grave.

This silky and fascinating read covers the doctrine of the afterlife from many perspectives including views of:

- Judaism
- Plato
- Orthodox Christianity
- Augustine
- Islam
- Liberal Mainline Religious adherents
- Eastern religious groups
- Mormon and many others.

Miller’s marvelously written book provides thorough and profound historical and scriptural research garlanded with her non-traditional opinions (atheist Sam Harris endorses this book).

Alluring, delightful and is written in charming and winsome prose; this volume makes a wonderful read for the devout and the doubter.

And it’s affordably priced!


A Cautionary Presage: The notes I write below may disappoint and upset readers who affirm a non-confessional Christian view and possibly hurt some readers’ feelings. If you dislike conservative religious viewpoints and Christian apologetics, you may want to cease from reading. The following is based on my personal research as a conservative Christian theist who disallows Miller’s epistemic pre-commitments.

I resist Miller’s notion that the truth that “Jesus died and rose again…” has “strained the credulity of even the most devoted believer.” I refer the reader to works on the Resurrection by Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, N.T. Wright, and my brief refutation below.

One mustn’t completely rest his worldview on brute facts, nonetheless some of the facts concerning the Resurrection of Christ are:

- Numerous eyewitnesses testified under the threat of death that they saw the risen Jesus, including 500 people at one time.

To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

- All the apostles, except John, died a horrible death knowing they saw Jesus alive from the dead. Hundreds more died because they would not recant the fact that they saw the risen Jesus. Not one Apostle recanted to save himself from a torturous death.

- The resurrection of Christ was proclaimed in the city of Jerusalem where the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection took place. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, his enemies only had to produce his body and this new religion that they hated would be terminated before it started.

- The conversion of the opponents of Christianity, including many Jewish Priests and Pharisees (Acts 6:7, 15:5, 20:21), can best be explained by the resurrection of Christ. The risen Jesus converted many of those who executed Him because of the overwhelming evidence of His resurrection and His many appearances.

- Ancient hostile sources and extra-Biblical writers record the same facts of Christ’s death and empty tomb including Josephus in his Testimonium Flavianum recorded below:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day (Josephus 96 AD: Antiquities 18.3.3).

- The continuous defense of the resurrection in front of Roman government officials from Paul to Tertullian was unchallenged by Rome and all ancient historians. No other plausible explanation, other than the resurrection, existed or the precise government records could have been employed to refute the Christian claims.

- Jesus’ tomb was secured and guarded by well-trained Jewish and Roman guards. The tomb had a Roman seal to prevent tampering, with the threat of execution for breaking the seal, yet the tomb was empty. Every ancient historical source that discusses the subject verifies that the tomb was empty.

Of course the real fight is between presuppositions, moral pre-commitments, and a priori assumptions. The Christian presupposes God who raised Christ from the dead; He alone provides all the required preconditions for immutable universals, moral law, and fixed truth that allow one to investigate anything, including the resurrection of Christ. Resist the truth of CT and one lacks a ground to study and contend against anything.

Nonetheless if one attempts to rest their worldview on Empiricism one falls into a fallacy:

A causes B.
Empirical experience observes A always precedes B.
There seems to be constant conjunction one always sees
A followed by B in repeated experience.
WITHOUT an immutable epistemic ground for causality, it violates the classic informal fallacy post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Attempts to disprove God/miracles/the Resurrection through empiricism (truth is found through man’s five senses alone) is thus not certain nor formally logical. Moreover the form of any worldview, requires a priori (something prior to or independent of observation and experience, which is assumed to be true) equipment. But a priori truths cannot be justified from observation. Universal truths (laws of logic and absolute morals) must be presupposed in forming any worldview, but empiricism cannot provide the conditions that are necessary for them. Resting one’s worldview on mere empiricism (observation or data/info accumulation from 5 senses), apart from the universal pre-essentials, can only result in nonsense and the unintelligibility of that which one observes. Interpreting and making sense of that which is observed cannot come from brute observation. There must be knowledge equipment already supplied that is not justified by the five senses. God alone provides the prior essentials for the intelligibility of observation that empiricism requires. God is inescapable.

Additionally I one cannot build a worldview from the ground of Empiricism whereas:
1. All observed r’s have been t’s.
2. r, NOT yet observed, may or may not be a t.
3. Therefore it is illogical to have sense observation as the ground of one’s worldview.
- I would add that one cannot tie together the a priori and the a posteriori by means of empiricism.

The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Heaven. The word evokes all kinds of images and feelings in the hearts of people virtually everywhere. In some corners, heaven is seen as a vague sense of euphoria, a state of everlasting bliss. In other corners, heaven is a busy place, where eternal progression is the challenge of eternity. In this fine work, Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, surveys this fascinating subject from the earliest days of Judaism to contemporary expressions of faith. Beneath her pleasing prose and often amusing observations about the afterlife, there is a longing, a desire to be part of what heaven really is. And it is this sense of personal yearning that informs her delightful and insightful study. Heaven is hope, a constant hope for unimaginable perfection even as we fail to achieve it. This marvelous work is a readable and wonderfully realized study of this constant hope that we share. And whether we align with Augustine or with the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, whether we’re informed by scripture or by popular culture, Heaven will delight and edify readers at every level. (Mar. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
According to various polls, most Americans believe in heaven even, as Miller points out, when they don’t know what heaven means. Miller, Newsweek’s religion editor, addresses what and where heaven is and why the concept endures. Having covered many aspects of religion and interviewed people of many different faiths, she offers portraits of famous and ordinary people as well as experts in religious studies to educe how their views do or, more commonly, do not reflect the “official teaching, whatever that is.” The crux of the book focuses on believers, not beliefs, “for how people imagine heaven changes with who they are and how they live.” Miller discusses the heavenly city, afterlife in the Hebrew Bible, resurrection, and salvation, includes a chapter on visionaries, and comments extensively on how heaven is portrayed in pop culture ranging from the Talking Heads’ song “Heaven” to Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (2002). Miller’s whirlwind tour of heaven is an entertaining primer on a most complex subject. –June Sawyers

“A rare combination of journalism, memoir, and historical research by a self-professed skeptic who nonetheless believes in hope, this smart yet heartfelt book leads us into the center of one of the greatest conversations of all time. And Lisa Miller is the perfect conversation partner.” (Stephen Prothero, New York Times bestselling author of American Jesus and Religious Literacy )

“Delightful and insightful. . . . This marvelous work is a readable and wonderfully realized study of this ‘constant hope’ that we share. . . . Whether we’re informed by scripture or by popular culture, HEAVEN will delight and edify readers at every level.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

“Lisa Miller has long been the fairest and most engaging journalist covering religion in America. In Heaven, she has accomplished the impossible: She has written a book about religion that fundamentalists, moderates, liberals, and nonbelievers alike can read with extreme pleasure.” (Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation )

“Miller’s whirlwind tour of heaven is an entertaining primer on a most complex subject.” (Booklist )

“Readers of HEAVEN will more likely than not find their own imaginations enriched, their experiences enhanced, their taste for exploration enlarged, and their impulse to reach out in empathy and hope quickened.” (Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago )

“This fascinating, thoughtful, and challenging study tells us a great deal about what it means to be a human being.” (Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of A History of God and The Case for God )