Maya Angelou in 2011

Maya Angelou in 2011 (Wikicommons)

Yesterday I learned via Facebook (where else, nowadays?) that Maya Angelou had passed away.

Over the last 24 hours I’ve seen several people refer to Angelou as the “caged bird” of her writings. She is now free, they suggest — free of the mortal body that caged her, that cages us all.

Death has released her, and now she is in heaven.

I beg to differ. Angelou is not in heaven “now.” Her writings show a joyful person who was never not in heaven. To me, an ongoing theme of her remarkable work has always been its full-on, all-in commitment to living life in the kingdom.

That’s God’s kingdom in the here and now. Angelou wasn’t waiting for some pie-in-the-sky release to an ethereal realm.

And that’s another thing. The contemporary heresy that sees the human body as an obstacle to be overcome, as something that will no longer burden us in the afterlife, is just that — a heresy. It is not a Christian idea but a platonic one.

Christians like Angelou (who, as she put it, was not so much a Christian as someone trying to be a Christian) know better. The body is a gift, one we get to take with us, albeit in a perfected form.

It’s not a cage. It’s a wonder.

If you read her memoirs you know that Angelou didn’t get to that perspective on the human body overnight. As a black woman who towered over most people, including men, she struggled early on with her body — especially because she was a survivor of abuse.

But she did get there. And any theology that claims that her soul has somehow been freed from the cage of her body hasn’t understood her work or her legacy:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

One way to honor Angelou is to love the bodies we have, and the lives we’ve been given. Right here, right now.

Because the kingdom of God is among us.

96 Comments

  1. Jana Riess

    Thanks. It’s a really tempting story, isn’t it? When my daughter was little and her great-grandmother died, I was trying to explain it in terms she would understand. I wound up saying something like, “Well, her body is in the ground, but her soul is in heaven, honey.”

    And then it hit me that I had just given her a very misleading theology. I want her to love her body and recognize it as something eternal and important and beautiful. But those truths can sometimes be hard to convey. One of the things I love most about Angelou’s writing is how she finds the eternal in the here-and-now, including the beautiful mess of bodies.

    • Ezekiel 18:4 brings out: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The soul is therefore mortal at this time.

      Genesis 2:7 gives us God’s definition of a “soul”: “And the LORD God formed man if the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” The soul is thus a physical body with a personality, looks, mental abilities and all other human aspects and idiosyncrasies.

      God also tells us what to expect after death: “For the living know that they will die but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the GRAVE, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5,10

      However, the GREAT news is that there is a resurrection hope back to life on earth of those we have lost to death through the ages, for whatever reason. Paul informs us: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15). Also see John 5:28 29. This will soon be accomplished by God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) through the reign of God’s son, Jesus. All sickness, disease, old age and death will also be done away by that Kingdom (Revelation 21:1-4), so that all human souls will live forever on earth with perfect conditions. That was God’s purpose for mankind when he created us (Genesis 1:28) and everything he purposes comes true.

      • Christianity has everything to do with respect for the human body.

        The religious faith of Humanism is an evil and perverted doctrine that produces rotten fruit. It sounds good and feels good but fact is humanism and its diabolical logic lead to death, and lots of it.

        Humanists are hypocrites. They say they value life but aren’t happy unless they are destroying it. Humanists destroy life in the name of morality and ethics.

        They worship at the altar of the creation and blaspheme the author of all creation. Humanism is sympathetic to the systematic and wholesale destruction of human life. These facts are obvious and indisputable. The God of the bible, Jesus Christ, cherishes life and gave His own for ours…..

        P.S. M. Decker has it right.

  2. This is all wrong-headed.

    “The contemporary heresy that sees the human body as an obstacle to be overcome, as something that will no longer burden us in the afterlife, is just that — a heresy. It is not a Christian idea.”

    Sure, the body is a fine and wondrous thing.
    But you’ve got it all backwards.
    Christianity has nothing to do with respect of human bodies.

    Hatred of the body – particularly the female body – is practically a requirement throughout the Bible.

    “the body is ruled by sin” [Romans 6:6]

    And Yahweh announces to men that women’s bodies
    are nothing more than property.

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s possessions…his slave, his wife or his ass.”

    “If you find a pretty woman among the enslaved which God has given you…and you become enamored of her…you may have sexual relations with her” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

    Gosh!
    Sex with captive pretty slave is a blessing from God?
    Isn’t that exactly the kind of RAPE which Maya Angelou was victimized by?
    Isn’t that exactly what you are against!?

    What is this Yahweh if not an enemy of humanity?
    What is Christianity if not an endorser of this nonsense?

    “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse.” (1 Peter 2:18)

    Only the humanists defied these immoral injunctions
    which were taught in the churches.

    Thanks to the humanists (not the religious) women’s bodies are as worthy of respect as men’s. So give the credit where it is due.

    This respect for the human body did not come from religion, let alone Christianity!

    • Max,
      False religions have nothing to do with respect of human bodies and they differ in all respects to true Christianity. Jesus said: “By this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”

      Religious leaders of every creed and denomination preach love and unity. The reality is they have failed to instill in their followers a love strong enough to get rid of biases. Rather than helping to cultivate love, religion often contributes to division, bigotry, and strife among peoples and national groups. In the conclusion of his book, “Christianity and the World Religions”, theologian Hans Krug wrote: “The most fanatical, the cruelest political struggles are those that have been colored, inspired by religion.” Also, clerics of many religions have openly condoned premarital and extramarital sex and homosexuality. This has lead to sexual disease, abortions , unwanted pregnancies and broken marriages and family.

      Your quote at Romans 6:6 that the body is ruled by sin applies to all mankind, not just women. Romans 5:12 says: “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death spread to to all men because THEY HAD ALL SINNED.”

      The scripture at Exodus 20:17, which was not cited by you, states: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor ANY THING that is thy neighbor’s.” When a person is given in marriage to another person, they make a vow to be faithful to each other and they belong to each other; they are not a thing or possession that you referred to. This is a very special arrangement since marriage was originated by God: “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother, and he must stick to his wife, and they must become one flesh.” (Genesis 2.24).

      We have a classic example of someone who coveted someone else’s wife (Bathsheba, who was married to Uriah, who David had killed in action once David found out Bathsheba was pregnant after having adultery with her). This was a great sin against David but he repented after Nathan reproved him. God did forgive him for his actions (2 Samuel 11:1-27; 12;1-14).

      Concerning your quote at Deuteronomy 21:10-14, you did not mention that he had taken her as his wife, that she must shave her head and attend to her nails, remove the mantle of captivity off from her, dwell in his house, weep for her father and her mother for a month, and AFTER THAT, he should have relations with her (for the first time) and take her as his bride and she must become his wife. It is wise to give a complete picture of what happened on this occasion.

      “Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving- kindness. He will not for all time keep finding fault, neither will he to time indefinite keep resentful.” Psalms 103:8,9.

      “And Yahweh went passing by his face (Moses) and declaring: “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin,bringing punishment for the errors of fathers upon sons and grandsons, upon the third generation and the fourth generation.”
      (Exodus 34:5-7).

      It is really sad that you do not know the only true God that I know and love, or you prefer not to know him, but I will always defend and love him, as well as his son, Christ Jesus, and God’s kingdom.

      We’ve already had a lengthy discussion on slavery before, so I will end by saying that Yahweh is a lover of mankind; and that false religion is greatly responsible for misrepresenting him and causing so many problems in the world.

      • @Fran,

        Thank you for the paragraphs. It is very helpful.

        As for this: …” you have love among yourselves”
        It could be appropriate for any in-group religion; Islam, Hindus, Jews, etc.

        I believe in the power of Love.
        But I also understand the disciples and the authors of the Bible were grappling with multiple issues – many of which were primitive and ignorant. They simply couldn’t know very much about anything.

        I don’t believe that Jesus or Yahweh are gods or are friends of humanity.
        The Bible record is too cruel for that.

      • @FRAN,

        I do understand the LOVE you feel for the JESUS you feel you know.
        I do not reject your understanding of THAT Jesus,
        nor do I repudiate your belief in THAT LOVING Jesus.

        It is possible that I am missing something which would open my understanding and return me to being the Catholic I once was.

        It is just impossible for me to make the Jesus story coherent
        with a loving God and it is very important (perhaps not so much to you) that my beliefs are based on things that are TRUE. I don’t want to believe because I WISH something to be true.

        And so far I do not wish for Jesus. Nor do I understand how he fits in with the rest of the Bible in a loving way.

        Especially when it comes to rape, slavery and murder.

        • You say “I don’t want to believe because I WISH something to be true”

          But that is exactly what you constantly do. You take things out of context and misunderstand the bible all the time. I have never seen someone so dedicated to misunderstanding a written text. For example, Jesus tells a story about an evil man. You quote it as if Jesus were saying the things the evil man says in the story( Luke 19 , I believe).

          No, you believe strange things because you want to interpret things in a twisted way. You do not analyze all the evidence calmly, rather you isolate phrases and pretend those isolated phrases are the message of Christianity. They are not.

          • @Jombema,

            My problem with Jesus is not that he spoke of love. Even awful people say nice things about love sometimes.

            Jesus was an apocalyptic student of John the Baptist trying to gather the Israelites to look past what he considered petty problems (‘turn the other cheek’) and prepare for the imminent beginning of a perfect EARTHLY kingdom.

            Jesus was totalitarian yet contradictory and unforgiving almost until the very end.

            He claimed to be Yahweh Himself: cursed people to Hell, and incited violence against all evil while preaching submission to violence also – extremely dangerous.

            His life story was obviously reverse-engineered to fit a narrative by his disillusioned followers. The narrative they came up with, The New Testament is full of dangerous, primitive nonsense.

            As such, my problem is the Christ story is fundamentally immoral and damaging. The evidence shows that I am right.
            Your wish that Jesus was only about love and forgiveness has already been show to be delusional.

          • @Jombema,

            Wishful thinking is not good for people.
            It is immoral to preach something wishful
            and it leads you down absurdist rat holes.

            ‘we go to another realm’
            we go to a better place’
            “some go to hell”
            “nobody goes to hell”
            “all cats go to heaven”

            It is childish. It is immoral. It is the hollow glue of religion.

            To HOPE for another life is fine.
            To claim as fact a list of wishful things about afterlife is disgraceful and encourages immorality of every kind.

          • Jombema:

            It’s a curious fact that the comments section of almost every Christian article of any notoriety usually has at least one person who exists solely to be argumentative and cause others consternation. These people aren’t interested in a discussion or debate and, despite being professed nonbelievers, seem at times to exhibit a compulsion to comment on various Christian articles with whatever flavor of intellectual weak tea they happen to enjoy spewing.
            Such people are often referred to as “trolls” due to their harassing and belligerent nature, and they delight in getting into arguments with good-natured people who are seriously seeking the enjoyment of intellectual debate. Continuing to engage them only prompts them to continue their belligerence, and the best course of action I’ve found is to ignore them; they crave attention, and tend to wander off to pester others when they don’t get it.
            This is a common facet of digital life in today’s age, which has prompted the excellent advice: “Don’t feed the trolls.”

          • @S. Keegan,

            Nonsense. The topic here is Maya Angelou and religion.

            Angelou was a victim of RAPE and its consequences.

            But Yahweh recommends rape!
            God says the opportunity to rape a pretty slave girl
            is a gift from God Himself.

            Reject me, hate me, be disgusted by me for pointing out – I don’t career.

            But don’t call me a troll for showing that Yahweh is an enemy of humanity.

            God was no friend of Maya Angelou or anyone else who cares about rape!

        • “If you find a pretty woman
          among the slaves which God has given you…
          and you become enamored of her…
          YOU MAY have sexual relations with her”

          – Yahweh (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

          • Max,
            I find it fascinating how humanists/atheists like you insist on holding believers to standards of perfection, but you don’t hold yourselves to the same standard. Believers, even fundamentalist believers, recognize that the BIble is an ancient document, written over centuries. No one takes all its parts as equally inspired–except atheists, of course. We recognize that it is the story of people learning to understand who God is and what it means to live godly lives. It is a journey, an ongoing revelation. When you take a bit and judge it by modern standards, you are engaging in a historical error that no one would ever recognize as valid scholarship. Compare the Bible to the standards of its own day. An eye for an eye, for example, is a great improvement over an endless cycle of vengance. How about if we judge atheists by the same standards that you apply to believers? Let’s make all atheists answer for everything that all atheists have ever stood for. How about survival of the fittest? Euthanasia for the handicapped? Slavery? Racism? Atheists at various times have stood for all of these. Now I’m not saying that they do now, I am assuming that they have grown in their understanding. But don’t pretend that equality is an atheist idea, it’s not, the roots are in natural law, which is based on the Bible. Equality is a faith thing. So quit your little games and let’s have a real conversation.

          • Hi Max, I would just like to comment on your reading of the passage from Deuteronomy. While yes, it is true that God gives permission for a man to have sexual relations with a captive woman, that is not the full message of the passage. It is never good to take bits and pieces of a passage and say you know what it means. This is often the fault of both atheists and conservative Christians, so I’m not just blaming you. Actually, this the fault of most people, as most people are unfamiliar with ancient Hebrew language and culture, so things are taken out of context. I will not claim to be an expert here either, but I have studied Hebrew language and know a bit about their culture.

            In this passage, God is taking huge steps forward from what had been practiced. He is not asking for complete reform right away, but instead meeting the Hebrews where they were and nudging them forward. He tells them that they can take a wife from the captives, but BEFORE one takes her as his own, he must let her shave her head and cut her nails (the common grieving practices of the culture) and have a month to mourn before he can take her as his wife. Only when they are married is he allowed to have sexual relations with her. I would also like to point out verse 14, “But if you are not satisfied with her, you shall let her go free and not sell her for money. You must not treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.” Declaring that women captured during wartime are to be treated as people, not slaves, was a huge step forward.

            So no, things are not perfect in the bible. What can you expect from a collection of books written by different people? But you can see points where God appears to be leading people forward. And that passage from Deuteronomy is actually one of them. The stories of Jesus are another point where that happens. Now, I’ll let you know that I do not believe Jesus to be the son of God born of a virgin, and, in most accounts, he does not claim to be. But he attempts a revolution of his Jewish faith. He stresses the ideas of love and kindness as things of utmost importance, things that had been pushed aside for ritual. I could also get into the differences of the gospels and how community affects that, but my point was the one story, and I will stop with that. Just some food for thought.

          • @Stephanie,

            “God is not asking for complete reform right away…”

            I don’t understand. God made Commandments, right?
            Thou Shalt Not Kill – and such..

            Why not, “Thou Shalt Not Rape” ?
            Why not, “Thou Shalt Not Own Slaves” ?
            Why not, “Thou Shalt not Rape Slaves?

            I simply do not understand your argument.

            Barbarians act like barbarians because they are primitive barbarians.
            God is not doing humanity a favor by encouraging RAPE.

          • @M Decker –

            I am completely in favor of conversation.

            Maya Angelou was raped.
            She wrote about it in her book, “I know why the caged bird sings.”

            I submit Yahweh’s is an enemy of humanity
            because he supports the rape of Maya Angelou.

            CONTEXT: Certain Israelites have disappointed God. As a punishment to the MEN he tells them to prepare for the ultimate humiliation; Their wives shall be raped in front of everyone in the village. The raping will be conducted by the men’s neighbors. This is what GOD DEMANDS:

            God commands Raping in daylight

            “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall LIE WITH YOUR WIVES in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11)

            Bible lesson questions.
            1. Why does God insist that neighbors are to humiliate each other?
            2. What happened to ‘love thy neighbor’?
            3. Why does God not simply wait for the sinners to die and then punish them with eternal hell? Why do this punishment on earth?
            4. In what way is Rape an expression of God’s love for humanity?
            5. How could someone like Maya Angelou support the Rapes in this story?
            What argument could justify this rape to Maya herself?

          • M. Decker,

            Regarding slavery.
            Yahweh endorses it. I have never known an Atheist to endorse it.

            God’s rules for Sex Slaves:
            “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.” (Exodus 21:7)

            Bible Lesson – Please show me where any of these Atheists supported slavery:

            A. Philip Randolph
            Bayard Rustin
            Thomas Edison
            Roger Ebert
            Einstein
            Jacques Yves Cousteau
            Helen Keller
            John Lennon
            Sigmund Freud
            Butterfly McQueen
            Noam Chomsky
            Marlon Brando
            Gene Wilder
            Ernest Hemingway
            Carl Sagan
            Arthur Miller
            Burt Lancaster
            Mark Twain
            Katherine Hepburn
            Susan B Anthony
            Voltaire
            Richard Feynman
            Gene Kelly
            Rod Serling
            Gene Roddenberry

            etc.

            Please show me an Atheist (a non-believer in any gods, divinities or superstitions) who endorsed in slavery. The entire abolitionist movement was made up of people who rejected Yahweh’s slavery injunctions.

            Jesus fully endorsed slavery as Peter reminds us:
            “Slaves, BE SUBJECT to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are PERVERSE.” (1 Peter 2:18)

          • @atheistmax I don’t know where you found that translation. I looked at many translations and they all go like this:

            “10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.”

          • @Hunter,

            I continue to be shocked
            at the obstinacy of Christians such as yourself.

            RAPE is in plain view!
            Ask yourself – would you NOT think this is rape if it happened to your daughter? What morality is this?

            RAPE OF FEMALE CAPTIVES (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)

            “When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take slaves, if you see a comely woman among the slaves and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, YOU MAY HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HER, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife.
            However, if later if YOU lose YOUR liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you UNDER COMPULSION.”

            Once again God grants full permission for forcible rape.
            Disgusting.

            And Christians screech that ‘we cannot be moral’
            unless we follow such barbaric, primitive nonsense?

            Horrific garbage.
            To think presidents put their hands on this abomination to swear fealty to God! For shame.

          • You purposely misunderstand. Possibly there is something there that you are missing? Do you think that is possible? Because you are wrong, and I think you know it. But of course you must rant…

    • foreverchanged

      You are so wrong my friend. I was taught in Catholic schools and from the earliest grade school religion classes we were taught “Our bodies are the temples of our souls” which meant to respect our bodies and do nothing extra-ordinary that could cause harm to our bodies such as race car driving or any sport that is unnecessary or any act for that matter that would harm our bodies. That doesn’t mean that if you have an illness that requires you to lose a leg that you are not respecting your body because in those cases you are saving your life if it is God’s Will.

      • @foreverchanged,

        So as a grown person, you are still doing exactly what you were told since you were 4 years old.

        And this is piety? How embarrassing.

    • Willie F. Smith

      It is very easy to read one scripture and take it out of context. If you are going to quote scripture please quote it correctly. Read the whole passage not just one scripture. Be Blessed.

      • @Willie F. Smith,

        But isn’t it so FUNNY that ‘context’ is never required for the nice verses?
        How about the verses you never question?

        “God is love”
        “Blessed are the peacemakers” – Jesus
        “Love your enemies” – Jesus
        “God so loved the world”
        “Love your neighbor”

        :-) No one ever questions those :-)
        Only when God calls for killing do people scream for context!

        “God hates, God is vengeance” (Romans 12:19)
        “I do NOT come in Peace” – Jesus (Matt 10:34)
        “Kill MY enemies” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
        “God regrets creating Humans” (Gen. 6:6)
        “Judge your neighbors harshly” (Matt 10:14)
        “Dash their babies against the rocks” (Isaiah 13:15)
        “God shall slay the unborn” (Hosea 9:11-16)
        “Do not hesitate to kill your neighbor” (Jer. 48:10)
        “The Lord shall punish them by ordering the raping of their wives” (2 Samuel 2:11)
        “Execute Them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

        • @Atheist Max

          Context should be required for all verses. That’s the problem of the debates among the religiously uneducated. Yes, some “nice” verses are not as nice as they sound. “Thou shalt not murder” – murder is the word used here, it applies to members of one’s own tribe. Killing, such as during wartime, was not forbidden. There are many verses like this, but many more violent passages are taken out of context, which is more dangerous and therefore should be addressed. I can’t understand why atheists attack those who try to reform their religions to better encompass their true messages of loving-kindness. I mean, even if it wasn’t true, why would you try to stop that? Do you hate love? What difference does it make to you whether a person believes that God is the source of love? If they are actively showing it, it doesn’t matter what they believe.

          Also, not only are you taking tiny bits of scripture and insisting that they mean literally what the English words say, but I don’t know where you are finding some of your ridiculous translations. I fall back to the verse I commented on before. Rape is not mentioned in that story. You say: “Ask yourself – would you NOT think this is rape if it happened to your daughter?” But here is your problem – These scriptures were NOT written for you. Are you an ancient Hebrew? I didn’t think so. In their culture, no, lying with a wife would not be considered rape. Different cultural norms. At least it was commanded that a captive woman would have to be married before a man could have relations with her (and allowed time to mourn, and not be sold as a slave). In that time, that was respecting her personhood. That was a step forward. People today need to realize that times have changed, and we must continue to take steps forward. The words of the Bible are not all meant to be taken literally. They did not appear from God’s mouth directly to paper. They were oral stories passed around groups of family and friends. They were changed each time for the audience and situation, as was custom. The way they were written reflected one group’s interpretation at the time. The core message in stories must be found, because often the words no longer apply to today’s people. Unfortunately, many people think that the entire bible is a literal account of God-inspired words. In reality, it is just a collection of books that certain people decided were the most important (Council of Nicea, etc.). Other stories were not included. It becomes very difficult to take words at face value, but it does not mean that there are not messages behind the stories. And yes, some have become obsolete, especially for gentiles of the 21st century. This is part of my point of God urging humanity forward. Do you think barbarians would have listened to a god who told them to completely change their way of life? Small changes. And small changes are still occurring. Religion has changed over the years and cannot stop now. The 21st century holds a lot of promise for spirituality as history, culture, language, philosophy, and physics all come together.

          • @Stephanie,

            So
            God doesn’t outlaw RAPE or CHILD RAPE
            even once in the ENTIRE Bible.

            God doesn’t outlaw Genocide even once.

            God doesn’t outlaw Sex with Slaves.
            God doesn’t outlaw Slavery.
            God doesn’t outlaw beating slaves. In fact He recommends beating slaves – even Jesus.

            God doesn’t outlaw smashing children’s heads against rocks – in fact he commands it. (Isaiah 13:15)

            But he forbids GRAVEN IMAGES because he has to go ‘slow’ with humanity?

            No self-respecting person can believe this.

      • @Daniel Berry, NYC

        What matters are the facts:

        God commands rape, slavery, genocide, murder. Jesus concurs with all of it.

        Can Maya Angelou love such a god? Can you?
        Perhaps nobody else cares about facts. I guess I’m old fashioned.

  3. Yes, Maya is not in heaven since she is sleeping in death in the common grave, (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) like mankind have been doing since Adam and Eve died. God even told them: “In the sweat if your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return. God also gives us the definition of a soul: “And Yahweh proceeded to form the man out of dust and blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to BE a living soul.”

    It is interesting to note that David did not ascend to the heavens, and he was a faithful servant of God: “Actually David did NOT ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Yahweh said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” (Acts 2:34, 35). David and many other faithful servants of God, such as Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Noah and his family, Job, Jonah and the many prophets such as Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, are still sleeping in death awaiting a resurrection back to life on earth. As Matthew 22:31,32 brings out, “As regards the resurrection of the dead, did you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living.” Those faithful servants in those days, as well as through the ages are still “alive in his memory” and He will bring those back to life on earth during the 1,000-year reign of his son, Christ Jesus, from God’s Kingdom or heavenly government.

    It should also be noted that while Jesus was on earth, he performed many miracles, healing all sorts of diseases, sickness and ailments, including the resurrection from death of a close friend, Lazarus (John 11:1-44), as well as a young girl (Luke 8:49-55), telling the people, “Stop weeping, for she did not die but is sleeping” (verse 52). All of those miracles were a small preview of what what grand and marvelous miracles we can look forward to.

    And as Acts 24:15 brings out, Paul said: “and I have hope toward God, which hope these men themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous.” What love Yahweh and his son, Jesus Christ, have for man and will soon make evident! We should always express our love and devotion to them both!

    • I allowed people like you cause me confusion for many years – die and be present with the Lord or common grave where we sleep until Christ returns and I do not know which it is because scripture is not clear. I finally learned to ignore people like you that want to present as fact that they have the correct answer, but do not know more than me. I prefer to believe death present with the Lord and let you believe what you want to believe. Just like me you have never died therefore cannot give a firsthand report.

      • Tom: You pull no punches, and your comment is refreshing. I too expect to be with the Lord when I die. When Lazarus’ sister said to Jesus, “yes Lord I know he will rise from the dead during the resurrection”, Jesus answered, “I AM THE RESURRECTION”; also he told the repentant thief on the cross, “This day you shall be with me in Paradise” (although some interpret it as Jesus saying “Today I say unto you, …) Thanks for your comment.
        Raymond Boyd

        • Raymond,

          So then you are planning to rule with Christ Jesus, King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government over mankind on earth (Revelation 14:1-5; Revelation 20:4-6) as a spirit person (1 Corinthians 15:50-52)?

      • Tom,
        Thanks for the reply, and I respect your thoughts expressed. But may I ask you why Jesus resurrected persons like Lazarus and the young girl back to life on earth, if they were “meant to go back to The Lord in the heavens” after they died?

        The scriptures I referred to about resurrection back to life on earth are John 5:28,29 and Acts 24:15.

        However there is another resurrection as well of those humans who, after death, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) become spirit persons to form part of God’s kingdom or heavenly government referenced at Revelation 20:6. So there are basically 2 resurrections with 2 different destinies: heavens or earth.

        I’m sure that once the upcoming great tribulation (Matthew 24:21) and God’s war against his enemies, Armageddon, (Revelation 16:16) takes place and Jesus starts his 1,000-yr reign, everyone on the planet will know the truth about the dead and the resurrections. Yes, none of us have yet died nor been resurrected, so we can’t speak from experience.

        As Isaiah 11:9 prophecied: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain, because the EARTH will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh/Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” There will be no more doubts or confusion… Something to look forward to!

        And as you said, we all have free will (a gift given to us from God) as to how to believe and live. Every faith and religion, of course, claims to have the “truth”, and there are also faiths not based on the Bible (such as Buddhism) as well as many atheists and agnostics who don’t believe in any god. It’s no wonder there is so much confusion in the world today.

  4. Robin Jarrell

    Jana, I was just talking about this “heavenly embodied-ness” (for lack of a better word” with a friend today and I think you are SO right. Well done!

  5. Great topic.
    I agree with you that the body is tied in an integral way to the soul…
    “God breathed (spirit) into Adam (body) and he became a living soul. ” It takes a spirit plus a body to have a soul.
    So the promise in 1 Corinthians 15 is that it is “sown in dishonor, but it is raised in honor” and “it is sown in corruption, and raised in immortality.”
    So what aspects of our body belong to corruption, and which to immortality?
    I remember being a little kid and being told that in Heaven I would just be a spirit, and in my little kid way I started freaking out that I wouldn’t have HAIR…I really liked having hair.
    But seriously now, this is a really good thing to consider – because what of our bodies comes with us? Does gender come with us into immortality? (Why do those in the resurrection neither marry, nor are given in marriage?) It seems that Jesus’s scars came with him into the resurrection – but was that unique to his own identity as the suffering saviour?
    In a concern for not being gnostic about not having a body, do we run the risk of somehow becoming materialistic about the concept of having a new one?
    Just throwing ideas out there that I am considering.

    • Jana Riess

      I think these are terrific questions. There’s so much that we don’t know, and you’re right that the truth is usually found in the middle. We don’t want to embrace a gnostic hatred of the body on the one hand, but we don’t want to discount the idea that right now we see through a glass darkly either; we really have little idea what an “incorruptible” or perfected body will look like (though I’m with you in that I like having hair). We can only imagine.

      • foreverchanged

        In my ignorance I can’t get into knowing what I don’t know. I was taught to believe that faith is the answer to the things we don’t understand.
        I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the Resurrection of the Body, and Life everlasting. Amen.

  6. Thank you for the article. I wish more Christians realized that we are to live a fulfilled life now and not wait in anticipation for death and heaven. I was one of those guilty of that for many years. Thank God I now know God created us to be happy now. I do believe heaven is better than the present, but I witness God daily and have no complaints. I grew up being taught that the more I suffered the more my reward would be in heaven – HOW FOOLISH!

  7. “The contemporary heresy that sees the human body as an obstacle to be overcome, as something that will no longer burden us in the afterlife, is just that — a heresy. It is not a Christian idea but a platonic one.”

    Actually, Plato wrote that the body *will* be part of us in the afterlife. After death, the soul spends time in a spiritual realm (a heavenly realm for some like Angelou, no doubt), and after some time there, the soul associates itself with a new physical body on earth. So Plato would not protest against the idea that Angelou is (or will be) in fact in her (new) body, on this earth (an earth wherein the Kingdom is already among us).

    The all-too-common (particularly Protestant) idea of one limited life in a physical body and spending eternity in a spiritual realm, is more “stoical” than “platonic”.

  8. Paul Frantizek

    This fawning adulation of a third rate ‘literary’ figure is getting to be quite unseemly.

    Maya Angelou’s politics were quite reprehensible, the woman falling in thrall to a pretty shabby collection of African dictators and Communist supported so-called ‘National Liberation’ movements. She was also a supporter of Black Nationalist anti-White racism.

    As far as her ‘literary’ contributions, the whole identity-based, life journey narrative she pioneered has been a pox on art in America – narcissism and self-pity elevated to the level of ‘wisdom’ and, like a dog lapping up vomit, sold back to people too stunted and stupid to realize just how bad it all is.

    And her well-cultivated victim status was quite humorous, considering that the system she denounced made her a millionaire many times over, selling the same fake ‘memoir’ seven, eight or nine times over.

    Hate to say it but there isn’t much here worthy of celebration.

    • Jana Riess

      Paul, I could not disagree with you more. Maya Angelou was anything but a “third rate” writer whose work was a “pox on art in America.” Rather, she pioneered a new era of memoir in which vulnerability and scars became permissible. Her writing does not wallow in pain, but renders it matter-of-factly and focuses on the resiliency of the human spirit. Hundreds of thousands of readers have found her work and her life to be an inspiration. I’m sorry that you have not.

    • Outstanding, Paul! This is just more ‘victimological’ (read: ‘anti-white Christian male’) tripe, pursued in a spirit of false egalitarianism, which in fact is a form of racism. The same mindset which celebrates Angelou also keeps up the fiction that Obama is somehow intellectually (or at least oratorically) superior. I ask in absolute sincerity: can anyone point me to ANYTHING of surpassing eloquence produced by Obama himself (and not one of his speechwriters)? Every time the man has to speak unprepared he sounds like a typical bottom-half-of-the-class Ivy Leaguer, smarter than the average American, to be sure, but absolutely nothing special by elite standards. I know many, myself included, who can demonstrate verbal fluency at a far higher standard that Obama, but no one calls us “brilliant”, mainly because we’re white.

      Maya Angelou was of the same mediocre caliber, and her supporters exhibit the same fawning, thoroughly ‘politically corrected’ outlook that has now led the US to become a thoroughly affirmative actionized society, one in which minorities, esp blacks, constantly have to have their (non-athletic) accomplishments exaggerated out of all just proportions. Angelou benefitted from the AA mindset applied to literary criticism, as Obama did to its application to assessing political judgment.

      America will never realize King’s ‘colorblind dream’ until the AA mentality has been thoroughly discredited. Unfortunately, by that standard, black Americans are the last people to follow MLK.

      • Paul Frantizek

        Thanks for the compliment. I posted a reply which wasn’t posted (imagine that).

        Another point which gets glossed over is the fact that Maya Angelou worked not only as a prostitute but also as a ‘Madam’ – in other words, she pimped women out.

        So here we have someone who profited from the sex trade held up as a feminist icon, enjoying ‘heaven’ in the here and now (a deeply unChristian concept, by the way) and an example of spiritual resiliency.

        Sorry, not buying it. A person who responds to misfortune by engaging in criminality is not ‘resilient’, they are weak and depraved.

    • foreverchanged

      You are correct Paul. Elevating a person to a status like sainthood without recognizing the total work and thinking of that person is wrong. This causes confusion between right and wrong and how we live our lives.

      • Paul Frantizek

        Thanks. Another point worth mentioning is the whole “Hundreds of thousands of readers have found her work and her life to be an inspiration” trope.

        Well,millions of people thing McDonald’s is ‘good food’, that doesn’t mean that nutritionists ought to recommend it as part of a healthy diet. For a self-professing Christian to resort to the whole ‘popularity = wisdom’ mindset is disturbing to say the least.

        The true value is in what ‘fruit’ the inspiration produced. For example, Mother Theresa inspired millions to help the poor, setting up hospices and shelters across the globe dedicated to that purpose. She also tirelessly drew attention to the plight of the unborn.

        What exactly did Maya Angelou inspire people to do?

        Vote for Obama?

        Support the railroading of George Zimmerman?

        Much of this fawning adulation is disturbing for precisely what lies behind it, a divinization of an ideology of identity/victimization/inclusion (see the ‘heaven in the here and now’ comments).

        It’s not really Christian in the traditional sense.

  9. We should not, in our well-intentioned desire to avoid Gnosticism and abhorrence of the flesh, stray too far into materialism and glorification of the flesh. Yes, Christianity does teach us that we will spend eternity in heaven embodied, receiving a new and glorified body at the resurrection of the dead. But we must not allow this to cloud our view of the clear teaching that the soul itself is immortal and cannot die. Both need to be reconciled in any coherent Christian view of the afterlife.
    For my money, I’d say Ms. Angelou’s soul is in Purgatory, conscious and blissfully awaiting to receive the Beatific Vision in heaven. I certainly hope that’s my first stop after I take my last earthly breath.

  10. Jana, you seem to endorse a huge misconception about Christianity via one of Ms. Angelou’s claims about her own faith. Specifically, that Christianity is something you DO.

    Respectfully – that is precisely what Christianity is NOT. Becoming (and staying) a Christian is not something YOU DO, it is something that HAS BEEN DONE FOR YOU on behalf of Christ! If not, then YOU are responsible for your salvation, not Christ. At it’s core, Christianity is NEWS that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has accomplished (which you could never DO), not advice about how you need to live.

    Yes, being a Christian has huge implications for behavior and how we should live, but that is the by-product, not the catalyst. Rather, a Christian admits to himself and then to God that he has not and can not measure up to God’s standard. If not, then the “Christianity” of “trying to be a Christian” offers no Good News – just more advice on how to live….sigh.

    • I’m delighted to learn that burning witches,
      fighting against gay rights, spreading and proselytizing the nonsense of Jesus
      is anti-Christian.

      You should tell more Christians this.

      Because instead of sitting on their butts, as you recommend, they are out there destroying civilization with crazy laws against prescriptions, family planning, promoting public prayer for city-wide garbage collection services…

      and generally sticking their noses where it is none of their business!

  11. The body is a temporary vessel that our spirit uses to go through our trial here on earth. According to Spiritism, we are immortal souls, who are reincarnated for the express purpose to perfect ourselves in the trials of life. We may be reincarnated as men or women, hence the need to treat all equally. Allan Kardec codified Spiritism in the 1850′s, in communication with mediums who talked to numerous spirits. In the book, the language of gender equality is amazing since the book was published in the 1850′s. It also says that the messages of love and charity are eternal in the Bible, but the stories of events, like the created of earth and destruction of cities are interpretations by the knowledge and the culture of the people at the time. The human race wasn’t ready for the advanced message of the concept that we must pay for our wrongs in this life or the next and the fact of reincarnation until lately.

    Therefore this great poet, certainly will leave her physical body behind and ascend into heaven, and continue to learn and one day come back. Who knows in what circumstances, but a beautiful person, I am sure.

    If you wish to learn more about Spiritism, please check out http://www.nwspiritism.com

    • @Brian,

      We don’t HAVE bodies. We ARE bodies.
      And our bodies die. With death comes the end of our thoughts. We vanish.

      Everybody here is immoral to be claiming things about the afterlife.
      The only thing for sure is that we must not give in to religious claims.

      We DIE completely. It is immoral to claim otherwise.
      To think you are eternal is laughable, solipsistic and unschooled.

      • I was similar to you awhile back, until certain events happened. When my wife foretold particular occurrences, in advanced, then my thinking changed, because If we all die completely and there is nothing else out there concerned with our destiny, then the future could not be foretold.

        Yes, I know what you are thinking, vague warnings, etc. No it wasn’t that. If you want to know look at my story on my blog. If you have a better explanation, I would like to hear it.
        http://nwspiritism.com/how-my-wifes-nde-made-me-a-spiritist/

  12. Maya Angelou spoke beyond race and gender rights issues, she spoke of the universal human spirit. I was touched to witness her speak locally at Austin Peay University back in 1998 when I was just a senior in high school. This week I was compelled to pay tribute to her with my artwork. You can see my portrait of the author along with some inspiring words of hers at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2014/05/in-memoriam-maya-angelou.html Drop by and tell me how her life’s work inspired you as well!

  13. Thanks for your post!
    I feel compelled to share this poem written by a writer who loved Maya Angelou. Her effect on us all will never be forgotten.

    A LIBRARY THAT BURNS…A TRIBUTE TO MAYA ANGELOU
    BY ERICKKA SY SAVANE

    I just heard that my favorite library has burned. When I got the news I wanted to cry, “Why this library and not another? This library, though old and frail, still had so much more to give. Just recently it was set to be given another award for its incredible contribution to the world. I can’t help but wonder what my life might have been without this library.

    You see, I discovered it when I was just 12 years old. It’s not that I had never seen a library, I remember being rolled into libraries in a red wagon alongside my brother before I even knew what to do. There was something special about this one. This library was beautiful. But not in the way of perfectly painted walls or high prestine ceilings, this library was worn and rough around the edges from a life that hadn’t been too kind. This library was filled with character and boasted stories so captivating that one had to stop.
    There was tragedy, triumph and enough resilience to make anyone feel that if the worst were to happen in his own life somehow it would all be okay.
    And let’s not forget the words. Words zipping around in circles intertwining reconfiguring decomposing creating new ways to say things old and new. Ultimately, landing on the page like a beautiful symphony. This library was cool in the way that Miles Davis was. I would come to this place every day after school because there really was nothing greater to do.

    Then one day I moved to the Big City and discovered bigger libraries in beautiful places with new books filled with slicker vocabulary, hip hop themes and caviar dreams. Before you know it, I forgot all about that library.

    Then babies are born, rent is due, and there’s no time for libraries. Books even seem a luxury from a life lived long ago. I’m in the middle of washing dishes when I get the news that my favorite library has burned. I’m stunned into silence because though I knew it would have to happen one day, because let us not forget this library was old enough to be deemed a historical landmark, I can’t help but feel the loss. I would have visited more had I known that it might not be here forever.
    RIP MAYA ANGELOU

  14. You’re lucky. Because, you’re not a Black man. You think Maya Angelou was an angel. You think she’s now in heaven.

    Well, from the perspective of Black men, the planet over, she was THE right hand of satan. Why? Because she authored the demonization of the Black man. After the civil right movement got started, and Black men, elevated her to national attention, she turned around and started the movement against Black men.

    Black men were no good, liars, cheats, lazy, shiftless. All thanks to Maya Angelou. The “angry Black woman”, came from Maya Angelou. Who is the Black woman angry at? Black men! She backstabbed the very people that elevated her to honored status. She nearly singlehanded brought down the Black community and created this gender war, we now see in the Black community.

    She is and never was an angel. She’s rotting in hell, at the right hand of her father satan that crafted her in the bowells of Hades. I spit on her memory, her grave and her life. We Black people don’t need any Benedict Arnolds amongst us.

    Now, go, research what I have said, and you’ll find every word to be true. And, remember, even satan has a silver tongue.

  15. Sister Geraldine Marie

    Max, have you ever read “Mere Christianity”, by C.S. Lewis? You sound so angry, someone must have done something terrible that you feel so hateful towards religion. Try to remember that people practice (or don’t!) practice religion or faith. And you do take verses out of context. I wonder why…

    • @Sister Geraldine Marie,

      A person was tortured and brutally killed for your benefit – says, Yahweh.
      This is immoral, unethical and perverse.

      Furthermore, ‘Mere Christianity’ is a blunder.
      According to C.S. Lewis, “Jesus was either a Liar, a Lunatic or Lord.”
      But this is a false choice. Clearly Jesus is a Legend. like Hercules or Paul Bunyan some such figure may have been the foundation of these tales – but it is full of primitive superstition and it is painfully obvious.

      Why am I angry?

      Religion WORKS AGAINST:
      ALL Science, Reason, free inquiry, EVIDENCE, women’s rights, gay rights, Church State separation, establishment clause of the US Constitution, Socratic method, contraception and sexual health, mental health, intellectual freedom, International Peace, Middle East diplomacy…

      Religion PROMOTES:
      Faith-based Suicide bombings, Genital mutilation, Israeli settlements, unfreedom of thought, Bigotry, Misogyny, Surrender to Eschatological Armageddon,
      Gullibility, Totalitarian theocracies,
      Ignorance of Scientific and Medical methods, Intellectual repression,
      superstition, Faith Healers and other Con men,
      Surrender to unaccountable authorities, pseudo-science, para-psychology, sexual repression, Islamic hegemony, honor killings, holy war, holy terror, etc…

      Religion sanctifies evil by forgiving it unconditionally.

      “Execute them in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27).
      The Context? Jesus is explaining to his disciples
      what should happen to servants who betray
      the nobleman’s wishes in the Parable of the Minas – it is a blatant death threat.

      This is barbaric nonsense.

      • The Great God Pan

        “According to C.S. Lewis, ‘Jesus was either a Liar, a Lunatic or Lord.’”

        And he thought “Lord” was the most likely answer? Good grief.

      • @atheistmax of course it is a death threat? if you did just a small amount of research, this passage clearly symbolizes Jesus’ Second Coming, a second coming that we know brings consequences if we do not use what we have been given for good.

      • Daniel Berry, NYC

        Lewis was no theologian although one can find profound theological insight in his fiction–particularly, “Till We Have Faces.” Unfortunately, when he deliberately set out to write theology, he proved repeatedly that he wasn’t qualified to do so.

    • @Sister,

      I hate hurting people. And I hate seeing others hurt.
      And religion is built to hurt.

      “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      That is why religion makes me angry.
      I agree with Loving neighbors.
      I don’t agree with executing them.

  16. For a fuller treatment of this Idea I highly recommend the reading of N.T Wright, for whom correcting this error of understanding is a major vocation.

    His book “Surprised by Hope” Specifically addresses the Resurrection (both Christ’s and the general) and both it and his more recent work “How God Became King” address very directly, as a central theme, that the Purpose of Christ wasn’t to take us to heaven but to bring Heaven HERE.

    Below are a couple of essays of his on these topics.
    Enjoy! :-D
    Resurrection http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/04/17/3988223.htm
    Jesus as King http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/05/28/4013711.htm

    .

  17. Sister Geraldine Marie

    Max you haven’t done your homework in an unbiased manner. In the history of the Church, education was preserved and promoted, hospitals built, the sick and homeless cared for, true science accepted and studied and a myriad of other good things, including justice being fought for the widow and orphan.

    • @Sister Geraldine Marie,

      I think 44 years as a church going Christian was enough ‘homework’ for me.

      If you are going to bring up charity workers:

      All religions use the suffering of others to promote themselves.
      Hezbollah, Hamas, Nation of Islam – even Al Queda.
      “The Red Crescent” is the Islamic world’s version of Catholic Charities and they give out Qurans with their bread just as the Evangelicals pass out Bibles with the soup kitchens.

      Catholic Charities helped the spread of AIDS by refusing condoms to millions of Africans – even after the science was clear! Some good that did!
      20 Million Africans died over 25 years simply because the Catholic Church said “AIDS is bad but condoms are worse”
      Disgraceful.

      None of this proves Jesus was God or that Allah is real.
      It is just the bald use of someone’s suffering to promote religion. It is despicable.

      Meanwhile, ATHEISTS have countless organizations to help the poor and they take nothing in return. The do NOT preach anything – they ONLY help.

      Doctors without Borders has 22,000 doctors volunteering in the most dangerous places in the world and they do not preach any religion
      in return for their efforts.

      Christian Charities was billions on preaching materials and utility bills for needless chapels. They squander it all.
      And because religion is fundamentally immoral they spread the poisonous philosophy along the way – they do as much damage as they attempt to help.

      The non religious and Atheist organizations are far superior and do more good per capita than these religious counterparts.

  18. Almost everything on this page is sad to read… I cannot believe that people think this way. But I still couldn’t refrain myself and I would be more saddened if taken the time to read everything on here. But you know what? We can all respect each others opinion but at the end none of that matters. All that matters is what is true and real. God is true and very real. You can only be an atheist because you realize God exists. There will come a time where none of what we think will matter. The only thing that will matter is what we have done with the life that God has given us and how we used our God given time.

    And for the record, sex and rape are not the same. A gentleman will not use rape. Rape is taken by force it is not inviting. It leads to shame and regret… Whereas sex is mutual and agreed upon; after sex a mutual couple is happy… renewed, refreshed, and intimate… Every verse in the Bible has a context. Don’t self select verses and use them out of context. Before using a verse.. read the verses before and after… better yet read the chapter!!! [How does an Atheist use the Bible to quote his own opinion? Very sad case! Smh lol]

  19. The real truth is her fate is sealed. She is either in Heaven or Hell for all eternity. Hebrews 9:27 says: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” You don’t get a second chance when you die and nobody can pray you into heaven. Your good works won’t get you there either. Ephesians 2:8,9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” The question you should ask yourself is, If I were to die today would I go to heaven? People need to study the Bible and not religion. John 14:6 says: “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Acts 4:12 says: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” The world offers us no hope. Again, if you were to die today are you 100% certain you will spend eternity in heaven? Please visit AreYouSavedNow.com.

  20. Athiest Max
    I was reading above with your views….we are commenting on Maya Angelou a young girl that was raped, who was a victim of racism that loved Jesus…..how much more proof do you need!! I don’t understand everything and why things like this happen but I do know Gods love and how powerful it is!! Maya Angelou is a beautiful author and writes from her heart and kept going despite the circumstances and sin that she endured…..God bless her and all that have had to overcomers!! There is more than this life and I hope one day you can understand that….

  21. Atheist Max: “I simply do not understand…”

    Yes, so why not cease struggling with anger, humble yourself, and sincerely seek the Lord’s wisdom while there is still time? He’s the only one who can remove the scales from our eyes. :)

  22. @Paul Frantizek,

    Yes, the Bible is a joyous treasure.

    Nothing else like immersing oneself
    in the Totalitarian, Homicidal, Enslaving, Petulant gloamings of the Megalomaniacal Rapist Yahweh and his Genocidal fever.

    Good thing he so loved the world he sent his son to come and kick it up a notch.

    “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

  23. The Scriptures,100% of which was inspired by the Holy Spirit and thus100% of it is true, merely record man’s depravity and warn of Satan’s very real influence in the world. These writings tell us what we humans are like when in rebellion against against a holy God whose perfect nature is far above our limited understanding.

    At no time does God’s Word condone or promote the ugly acts you repeatedly insist it does.

    Be VERY careful of poking your finger in His eye this way ….. your heart may become so hardened it will never again be open to the gift of salvation offered to all.

  24. One more thought ….

    This world is not Heaven. Living strictly for the “here and now” is deception from the pit of Hell.

    Revelation tells us that John was given a glimpse of Heaven and was unable to adequately describe its glory in human terms.If Maya Angelou knew Jesus Christ as her Savior {and I certainly hope she did} she is indeed with Him in His kingdom and now knows the meaning of true joy. If she was not saved she is tragically aware it was “all vanity”.

  1. […] But one blogger wrote this: “I beg to differ. Angelou is not in heaven “now.” Her writings show a joyful person who was never not in heaven. To me, an ongoing theme of her remarkable work has always been its full-on, all-in commitment to living life in the kingdom. […]

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