Friday, February 5, 2010

Celestial Voyeurism

As I was reading the New Testament the other night in 1 Corinthians 13 - the wonderful chapter from Paul about charity - I had a strange epiphany that brought back youthful memories. First of all, at my age I always get concerned when having an epiphany, hoping it’s not just a stroke. Fortunately, this time it didn’t end with a trip to the emergency room. The verse that brought about this insight was:

For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor. 13:12)

Sometime in my seminary years I was introduced to the then-horrifying quasi-doctrine that not just God, but everyone, would have full-access to view everything about everyone else’s life in the afterlife. Very explicit examples were given of our lives playing out like a movie, where others would have a virtual-remote, more-or-less, and view our lives at their pleasure – our lives would be an, ‘open book’. All would be known. And shared. With everyone.

Now, for someone who growing up thought the idea of Santa and his peeping elves was creepy, this really freaked me out. And, as these graphic portrayals tend to do when introduced to the young and impressionable by someone respected, they stuck with me. Every now and then I’d shudder and think, “Whoa! Who’s going to be able to see this? I really don’t want my mother-in-law looking in on my ‘sexy-time’ with her daughter, if you know what I mean.”

Well, in thinking about the creepiness of everyone knowing all about us in the afterlife, I realized that this plan was already in motion. God is actually starting to acclimate us to this eternal eventuality. It’s all around us, hiding in the open.

It became clear to me that Google, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube actually have a purpose in the Great Plan, and we’re just getting a peak of what’s to come. I observed a couple of weeks ago that Google is becoming God-like in its ability to provide answers for all questions, but I failed to connect all the dots. Google is only part of God’s much larger plan of introducing us to the truly Orwellian future that awaits us in the afterlife.

Today on earth I can instantly find the answer to such diverse questions as: how many women Tiger Woods slept with, who were the survivors of the Titanic calamity, or what the distance is from the earth to the moon. I can also receive instant updates via Twitter and Facebook from my friends, family and complete strangers, day and night. There are currently hundreds of millions of personal videos available to consume from individuals openly available on YouTube. All of the pieces needed to capture your entire life, for all to see, are already in place.

Think of how shocking these personal movies must have been for the poor Neanderthals that reached heaven after only being exposed to fire as the ultimate technology! These days with TV shows like, Big Brother and The Bachelor, capturing lives of people 24x7, we’re all going to be well prepared and think it’s no big deal to have our lives presented 24x7x365x100,000,000,000…

I wonder if we’re still going to have celebrities in the afterlife? Will certain people have millions of subscribers to their live-feeds? Perhaps new celebrities will be made: The woman who births the most spirit children in a given millennium, the man with the most worlds-under-management, the ‘Swinger of the Century’ for, well you can imagine.

If one thing is certain to me, it’s that voyeurs will undoubtedly find heaven to be, well, heaven. No pesky cops keeping them away from neighbor’s windows at night. No need to wear dark clothes and a mask while doing their peeping. No sir! In heaven, voyeurism will be an encouraged and well-facilitated practice. It does make me feel somewhat sorry for the poor souls assigned to review the infinite number of life tapes for any peccadillos. Hopefully they have a fast-forward button.

I suppose we should approach this inevitability with a, “glass is half-full,” attitude.

“Well, hello Angelina and Brad…”


  1. I think a full openness in the afterlife would not be a big deal since by that time, we'd have nothing to really hide.

    -Other Species (Formerly SouthernCross)

  2. To the commentor, formerly known as 'SouthernCross': I'm not as certain. I have a hard enough time using a urinal in the movie theater when someone's standing behind me. I can only imagine the pressure to perform knowing that potentially billions of eyes are on me.

  3. It's the whole bishops as judges in Israel that gets me all bent out of shape. I don't think I was ever exposed to the "everyone has all-access, all the time" doctrine, but there are some years I'd really rather not have to access in front of anyone else, bishops included.

  4. I realize that God has thrown the rating system out the window in heaven, but I still advise all that want to see my movie that it is going to be an NC-17 at best. Also, you may want to wear 3-D glasses during my film to get the full effect. BTW, I am looking forward to looking in on some of the "sexy time" stuff. I am curious to see how it works out for other couples. I am also very interested to see how brother Brigham managed all those ladies. I have no question that it is all respectable but, you know, I am a bit curious.

  5. Another great post, Bishop Mike. This is one of those notions I too heard as a YW. It's a lot like the Albert Brooks' movie Defending Your Life. I think you've got to get really comfortable with people seeing you go to the bathroom and other unseemly yet human acts. It will be like watching indie movies. I hope the production values are good and my lighting is warm enough to bring out some attractive skin tones.

  6. Monomo - Have you ever seen pictures of Brigham's wives? It left no doubt in my mind that the man was a saint. And, I'll pass on his movies.

    Angela - It's heaven! There's an eternity to work out the lighting, and if that's not long enough, there's another eternity. And after that...

  7. I remember this. That when you were talking about someone behind their back, you would be ashamed when it played out on the movie. I had forgotten all about this BS. Holy crap.