Lisa Miller, the Religion editor of Newsweek, spoke to Stephen Colbert last night about her new book, "Heaven," which explores the history of Heaven, and how the concept of Heaven has changed throughout time and across cultures. "The ideas about Heaven that we have in our culture are very child-like," she said, and suggested that most people don't know what they believe about Heaven, even if they're sure they believe in it.
Miller surprised Colbert when she told him that the Jews actually invented our Western depiction of Heaven; though there had already been concepts of the afterlife, with the Jewish people came the belief that Heaven could be a reward for anyone who remained faithful, not just kings or heroes -- a "communist heaven," Colbert said.
Miller said that the problem with our contemporary vision of Heaven is that "God isn't there" -- it's a free-for-all where people get to do whatever they want and see their loved ones that they've lost, but God is largely absent. "It's like Mom and Dad are upstairs, we're playing in the basement," Colbert explained.
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