Tuesday, January 03, 2006
That's why we drink it here. A little hard news for a change, courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.:
Eighty-nine percent [of Americans] in this ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they'll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it's a place where people exist only spiritually . . . .Take the above with a grain of salt. In a press conference just after the results of the poll were released, a spokesperson for heaven stated "emphatically" that the Almighty's admission policies are "in no way poll-driven."
Among all adults, 79 percent are Christians, 14 percent have no religion, and the rest, 5 percent, are non-Christians. Among Christian groups, Catholics account for 21 percent of adults; evangelical Protestants, 19 percent; and non-evangelical Protestants, 13 percent.
There are fewer differences among religious groups on the question of whether heaven is a physical or spiritual place. Belief that it's a physical place peaks at 22 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious . . . .
Another way to look at views on heaven is among all Americans, rather than just those who believe in heaven. Among all Americans, 75 percent think they'll go to heaven. The rest include 5 percent who believe in heaven but don't think they'll get there; 9 percent who believe but aren't sure they'll get in; and 10 percent who don't believe in heaven.
Similarly, among all Americans, 21 percent think that only people who are Christians can go to heaven. Among the rest, 60 percent think both Christians and non-Christians can get in, 7 percent are unsure and 10 percent don't believe.
- When the 89 percent of Americans who believe in heaven were asked why they wanted to go there, 93 percent of them said it was because they were "sick of being a persecuted minority."
- Fox News is available in heaven (as part of the "total choice" satellite package). However, viewers should not expect to see the usual roster of anchors, analysts, pundits, commentators, and guests, all of whom are engaged elsewhere. The channel is devoted exclusively to weather forecasts; for some reason the Fox meteorologist always predicts thunderstorms, even though the skies are invariably sunny, the breezes balmy, the temperatures mild.
- As noted above, 22 percent of "very religious" Protestants believe that heaven is a physical place. However, 86 percent of them have no idea which freeway you would take to get there, and just under 60 percent are too damned stubborn to stop and ask for a map. (This number approaches 90 percent among males.) The confusion is likely to worsen when the offramp to Limbo, a reliable landmark for the last few centuries, is demolished later this year.
(Hint: if you pass the Gehenna exit, turn the car around. You're going the wrong way.)
- Well under two percent of Americans who believe in heaven expect to be rewarded, upon their arrival, with virgins. Of that group, fewer than half expect to receive the full contingent of 72; another 40 percent are counting on "two dozen, maybe three"; and the remainder would be thrilled to meet any virgins at all.
The gents in that category are in for a pleasant surprise, because God hands out virgins like the NBA hands out sneakers. Pace Bill Maher, Dennis Miller, et al : each new arrival at the pearly gates, be he Protestant, Catholic, or Muslim, receives 99 virgins, in addition to a lovely velveteen swag bag containing bath beads, truffles, an IPod nano, thong underwear and a jewel-studded gimme cap. In other words -- how can we put this? -- class all the way.
And before you ask, the ladies of heaven get 99 virgins too. Unfortunately, they're male virgins -- which is pretty much the same welcome gift their less virtuous counterparts get upon arriving in hell.
Minus the swag bag, of course.