The problem with Peter Kreeft’s eloquent and moving book Heaven is not the author but the author’s faith. Kreeft follows a particular Christian thread that portrays heaven as theplace of our ultimate longing and our highest reality. It’s what we should aspire to and yearn for, with a craving best captured in the book’s subtitle:The Heart’s Deepest Longing. Here’s Kreeft subordinating everything to the aspiration for heaven: “If life on earth is not a road to heaven then it is a treadmill, a merry-go-round minus the merry.”
These are curious words. Really? If we lived a full and glorious life on this earth, filled with the laughter of children and the love of a good woman, and suffused with kindness to strangers, it is still just a worthless treadmill? Statements such as these, founded as they are on an otherworldly theology in which heaven is everything and earth is virtually worthless, are what give atheists endless ammunition to lob against religion. Their principal compliant—that faith has focused on the heavens and abandoned the earth—becomes justified.