It must be hell in heaven

I DO not want to be a Christian. I thought I was, but I’ve changed my mind.

Actually, I’ve had it changed for me — by a woman who caught a dose. Of Christianity.

She is older than me, but not much, and she is on a mission to save my soul.

I think she thinks that if she can save my soul she’ll be securing a place in heaven for her own.

It’s a thing she has started worrying about. She has led, shall we say, an interesting life. Full of substance – most of which she’s abused.

Funny how it happens to people when they’re too old to run up stairs. Everything frightens them. Not just kids with shaved heads and tattoos, but the stuff they can’t see that’s lurking round the corner; like death – and possibly, if you have a very vivid imagination, heaven. She has Found God. I’m very pleased for her. Me? I’m not looking for him. Sorry… Him.

I mean, heaven is a sweet idea. Cloyingly so, if you ask me. People in white sheets and lambs lying down with lions (although, as Woody Allen said, the lambs probably won’t get much sleep), but I’m a journalist. It makes a difference.

For a start I suspect there are no journalists in heaven, just as there are no Christians in Mecca, but, as a journalist, I can’t help asking questions.

For instance, there’s a lady behind the counter in my bank who is perpetually rude to me. She’s not rude to other people. I’ve watched. She smiles as them. They probably think she’s heaven material. Fine. But if she’s there I’d rather go to the pub.

And, for instance, suppose you had a husband, and he died, and then you had a second one and he died, too. Both very nice chaps; definitely designed for heaven.

When you got there, it’d be mayhem!. Unless, of course, they were very understanding and you shared them on different nights – in which case what are you doing in heaven!

And what about my dog? I have a nice dog. The only creature on God’s earth that does what I tell it and doesn’t abuse me for my personality or my habits. When she dies will she go to heaven? Apparently not, because dogs don’t have souls, and a soul is a bit like a bankcard – if you don’t have one to swipe at heaven’s eftpos machine, they won’t let you in.

I am not going anywhere without my dog!

And why would anyone want to save me anyway! If this lady wants to save herself, that’s fine, but when religious humility involves instructing me on how I should live my life it begins to sound a bit like arrogance.

I want to be a good person. I hope I am. But I’ll decide the rules. The rules involve hoping something horrid happens to the lady in the bank. Not something too awful (I’m not the anti-Christ); perhaps a very visible spot on her nose. Or piles.

Can you imagine being in heaven and having to think good thoughts about everyone – even politicians! Would there be politicians in heaven? Only if lies are allowed, I guess; and once you let lies in, then the whole fabric of the place starts falling to bits.

No… none of it bears scrutiny. I intend to leave the whole issue until my brain is so enfeebled by old age that it begins to make sense. With any luck I’ll die before it does.