Quotations about   heaven

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The arrogance of some Christians would close heaven to them if, to their misfortune, it existed.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French author, existentialist philosopher, feminist theorist
All Said and Done (1972)
Added on 15-Oct-18 | Last updated 15-Oct-18
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Happiness ain’t a thing in itself, it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant. That’s all it is. There ain’t a thing you can mention that is happiness in its own self — it’s only so by contrast with the other thing. And so, as soon as the novelty is over and the force of the contrast dulled, it ain’t happiness any longer, and you have to get something fresh.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine (Dec 1907)
Added on 30-Mar-17 | Last updated 30-Mar-17
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And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
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Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
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You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
You may be grateful for the gift divine,
That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet to look around and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserve at least as much as you,
Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
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Added on 19-Jan-17 | Last updated 19-Jan-17
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Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool. It seems as if heaven had sent its insane angels into our world as to an asylum, and here they will break out into their native music and utter at intervals the words they have heard in heaven; and then the mad fit returns, and they mope and wallow like dogs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“History,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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Added on 16-Jan-17 | Last updated 16-Jan-17
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I have little confidence in any enterprise or business or investment that promises dividends only after the death of the stockholders.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Letter to the Chicago Times (27 Mar 1890)
Added on 23-Sep-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
Added on 22-Jun-16 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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The wish falls often warm upon my heart that I may learn nothing here that I cannot continue in the other world; that I may do nothing here but deeds that will bear fruit in heaven.

Jean-Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [pseud. Jean-Paul]
Letter to Rector Werner (1781)
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Added on 22-Jun-16 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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The doors of Hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts may not wish to come out of Hell, in the vague fashion wherein an envious man “wishes” to be happy: but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Problem of Pain (1940)
Added on 30-Dec-15 | Last updated 30-Dec-15
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And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Last Battle, final words (1956)
Added on 28-Oct-15 | Last updated 28-Oct-15
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Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
Added on 30-Sep-15 | Last updated 30-Sep-15
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A man who is happy at home doesn’t lie awake nights worrying about the hereafter.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)
Added on 15-Sep-15 | Last updated 15-Sep-15
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Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
(Attributed)
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Attributed in Rev. James Wood (ed.) Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893). Also sometimes attributed to Moliere.
Added on 24-Aug-15 | Last updated 24-Aug-15
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Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions “on the further shore,” pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There’s not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn’t be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the Spiritualists bait their hook! “Things on this side are not so different after all.” There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
Added on 29-Jul-15 | Last updated 29-Jul-15
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Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge — broad, deep knowledge — is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man’s progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
The Story of My Life, pt. 1, ch. 20 (1903)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Last Battle, ch. 15 (1956)
Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
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The staircase that leads to God. What does it matter if it is make-believe, if we really climb it? What difference does it make who builds it, or if it is made of marble or word, of brick, stone, or mud? The essential thing is that it be solid and that in climbing it we feel the peace that is inaccessible to those who do not climb it.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 12-Aug-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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The married state, with and without the affection suitable to it, is the completest image of heaven and hell we are capable of receiving in this life.

Richard Steele (1672-1729) Irish writer and politician
Spectator, #479 (9 Sep 1712)
Added on 28-May-13 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
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The God of Hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A God who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved — cursed, not worshiped. A heaven presided over by such a God must be below the lowest hell. I want no part in any heaven in which the saved, the ransomed and redeemed will drown with shouts of joy the cries and sobs of hell — in which happiness will forget misery, where the tears of the lost only increase laughter and double bliss.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
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Added on 25-Jan-12 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.

Desmond Tutu (b. 1931) South African cleric, Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
Sunday Times (15 Apr 2001)
Added on 21-Nov-11 | Last updated 22-Apr-16
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Heaven is where those are we love, and those who love us. And I wish to go to no world unless I can be accompanied by those who love me here. Talk about the consolations of this infamous doctrine. The consolations of a doctrine that makes a father say, “I can be happy with my daughter in hell;” that makes a mother say, “I can be happy with my generous, brave boy in hell;” that makes a boy say, “I can enjoy the glory of heaven with the woman who bore me, the woman who would have died for me, in eternal agony.” And they call that tidings of great joy.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 9 (1880)
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Added on 26-Oct-11 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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If God made us, he will not destroy us. Infinite wisdom never made a poor investment, Upon all the works of an infinite God, a dividend must finally be declared. Why should God make failures? Why should he waste material? Why should he not correct his mistakes, instead of damning them? The pulpit has cast a shadow over even the cradle. The doctrine of endless punishment has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. I despise it, and I deny it.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 1 (1880)
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Added on 19-Oct-11 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letter to W.D. Howells (2 Apr 1899)
Added on 16-Apr-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Is it necessary that Heaven should borrow its light from the glare of Hell? Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal gaoler hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. While there is one sad and breaking heart in the universe, no good being can be perfectly happy.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
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Added on 10-Jul-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holy we have lived.

[Certe adveniente die judicii, non quæretur a nobis quid legimus, sed quid fecimus; nec quam bene diximus, sed quam religiose viximus.]

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 3 (c. 1418)

Alt trans.: "At the Day of Judgement, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holily we have lived."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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The angels break into song at the sight of the throne and all the songs fit together as part of a greater song, but people seem to have to search to find the right song to sing. It is a matter of finding our proper nature.

Other Authors and Sources
Arn Lesikar, Belief-L listserv (6 Jun 1998)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Apr-14
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If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Answers to Questions on Christianity”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Jul-15
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But regardless of whether Hitler or the mass murderer of your choice sincerely regretted his actions in his last moments and made it to Heaven, with all due respect, what difference does it make to you? Apart from the awkward silence if you happen to bump into him there, I mean.

John Russell (contemp.) ("jr")
Belief-L (24 Nov. 1999)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Feb-19
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