From prehistoric time humans have pondered the afterlife. A hunter-gatherer taking a break from hunting and gathering sits on a perch, chin in hand, and thinks ‘what happens when the hunting and gathering are over?’
‘In my day,’ my mother used to say, ‘things were different’. Typically, she meant disapproval of today. I remember thinking a little despondently that the world I’d been born into must be was going to the dogs – in the 1920’s virtue and courtesy must have reigned.
I once watched Jane Fonda interviewing the then Archbishop of Canterbury on BBC TV in the UK in the sixties. She asked him a question that had always lingered in me: ‘why is Christianity the only true religion?’ His answer was sympathetic and seemingly open-minded – ‘I see value in Islam, in Judaism, in Hinduism and Buddhism’ he said, ‘but I believe the only true revelation of Christ is reflected in the Christian religion.’
The other day I was watching the preps for a football game on TV and caught sight of a player propped down on one knee on the sidelines. He mumbled to himself, made a sign of the cross, bounced up and jogged off perkily to join his team in a huddle. I thought to myself, “How does God handle that? How many people are there on earth who say prayers, and how does He decide who gets what?”