Galbraith Literary Publishers

By George Albert Brown

Is your Dead Mommy in Heaven?

Depends on whether or not you’re a Christian.

If you are a Christian, the answer is definitely “No” — unless your mommy happens to be the Virgin Mary.

The Christian New Testament is clear that when she isn’t the Virgin Mary, your mommy, like almost everybody else in the world except a few ancient male notables, will lie a-moldering in the grave until Jesus makes up his mind to come again. (Two thousand years and still counting…)

Of course, what the Bible actually says has never stopped Christians from believing what they prefer to believe. That goes double for the fundamentalists.

Studies show that fundamentalists spend more time reading the Bible than anyone other than Mormons. (Fortunately, I’ve excluded the latter from this discussion due to their belief that American Indians are the lost tribe of Israel. I mean, goodness, is there not at least one member of the Mormon’s ruling Council of the Twelve Apostles able to Google the conclusive DNA and linguistic evidence demonstrating that the Native Americans came across the Bering Strait? It beggars belief. Literally.)

Anyway, despite the fundamentalists reading the Bible so much, they do not seem to absorb the import of what they are reading. Which makes sense. The only way you can believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God is to have failed to absorb the import of Biblical information. Here are just a few examples:

  • (i) The Book of Genesis contains two conflicting creation myths. In one, water comes first; in the other, later. In one version, vegetation comes before the sun and the stars, in the other, afterwards; in one, humans precede the creation of animals, in the other, humans come into being as God’s final creation; in one, Adam and Eve were created at the same time by God; and in the other, Adam is created first out of mud and then after a while, fails to be satisfied with animals as company, so God creates Eve out his rib; and then there’s a third version that appears in the Book of Isaiah, Psalms, and Job, in which the world is created after God battles a dragon, called Rahab, in the water, and a bunch of other weird creatures, all of which, including the water, somehow exist before the creation; and finally, Jesus, please don’t get me started on Genesis’s description of angels marrying human women. How does that fit in?
  • (ii) The three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) contradict each other. In one, Joseph’s father is Jacob, in the other Heli; in one, Jesus was born in Egypt, in the other, Bethlehem; in the one, Jesus declares that the Mosaic law will never change, and in the other, declares all foods are clean despite Mosaic law; whether Jesus was giving no, one, or two signs; whether the disciples should carry one staff or no staff; whether the last supper took place before or after passover; whether Judas hanged himself or fell headlong and his guts gushed out; and, on top of that, Matthew and Luke have two different versions of the Lord’s Prayer (which, by the way, Jesus says in both books is the only prayer anyone should ever say–an injunction fundamentalist preachers seem to have missed).

And finally:

  • (iii) Based on Mathuselah’s age, the old guy would have survived the flood, but the Bible’s list of those on Noah’s Ark does not include him. Despite his age he must have been a champion water treader.


And that’s just some of the small conflicts. The big one is between (i) the gospel of Matthew, which says that Christians must follow the Mosaic law as though observant Jews (probably representing the view of at least some of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem led by Jesus’ brother, James); and (ii) St.Paul’s gentile-oriented Christianity, which did not require agreeing to circumcision (which would have been a big deterrent) or other mosaic laws, declaring instead that all that counted was believing in Jesus. 

It was the latter view that eventually won out, demonstrated by the fact that even fundamentalist Christians dedicated to following every word in the Bible do not stone their grandmother for wearing two different types of fiber at once, or sell their daughters into slavery, or avoid eating meat cooked in a milk sauce, or condemn any man who approaches the altar when he has only one testicle. Despite the clear words in Matthew, the fundamentalists have decided not to follow Mosaic law. 

Likewise, there are other rules from the New Testament the fundamentalists don’t follow. For instance, Timothy 1 says a woman must not wear gold or pearls, speak, have authority over men, or be a teacher — yet the fundamentalists regularly vote for women politicians who violate all these rules, and have no problem sending their children to schools with women teachers. Fortunately, most Bible scholars think Timothy 1 is a forgery written at a much later time than when Paul supposedly wrote it,  and thus should not be in the Bible. But fundamentalists who believe everything in the Bible is the inerrant word of God are required to continue to believe in the forgery.

In my experience, those who do seem to absorb the import of the Bible are atheists. This is not because absorbing the import of the Bible turns you into an atheist (although perhaps it does), but because due to preachers and priests glossing over the more embarrassing absurdities in the Bible when addressing their congregations, atheists are forced to marshal their arguments to defend themselves from attacks by Christians generally unknowledgeable about Christianity. 

So, you see, your dead mommy is just the tip of the iceberg.