(News and Experts)—Americans believe in heaven—since 1997, the numbers have fluctuated from 72 to 80 percent, according to Gallup polls.
But what is heaven and what does it look like?
“Too often the popular idea of heaven is a place where you’ll have nothing to do but tell a jealous God how good he is over and over for all eternity—and that wouldn’t be much better than hell,” says Charlie Webster, former senior engineer for NASA, Bible scholar and author of “Revitalizing Christianity” (www.NewCenturyMinistries.com).
“That’s not Jesus’ picture of heaven,” he says.
Heaven will be a place with exciting challenges against a background of caring love from everyone and to everyone.
“But you don’t have to wait ‘til you die to experience some of the most important benefits of heaven,” Webster says. “Anyone can create a real foretaste of heaven wherever they are. And you don’t even have to believe in God to experience part of this—though it certainly works better if you let God help you.”
“Caring about and helping with the needs and pains of others brings real joy,” Webster says.
It’s the same thing Jesus said two millennia ago: When you focus on yourself, you are the only one interested in helping you, he says.
“Even in places of worship, most folks are asking, ‘What can God do for me?’ instead of ‘What could I do to make this world the caring place God wants it to be?’”
Here are three ways Webster says anybody, regardless of creed, can get a taste of heaven here on Earth: