The Stairway To (An Atheist’s) Heaven.

She ascended the stairway in front of her. The steps were made of pure white marble and the railings were made of intricately carved gold.

She finally reached the top and was greeted by an illuminated apparition, almost cloud-like, which led her to a domed structure, similar to a King’s royal chamber, that contained a table and chair, quite like those in courtrooms- only, this was rather royal and adorned with jewels she could not recognize. Everything around her was white and virgin, it reminded her of salt and snow.

On the chair sat an old man in a white cloak. He had an odd aura, paradoxical even, for he intimidated her in a comforting manner and he seemed rather warm for someone who, she assumed, held immense importance and power. He smiled, and spoke in a deep, gruff voice, “Welcome, my child, to your destination, and my home- the garden of Eden.”

Baffled, she fumbled for words, which seemed to fail her. Various emotions pulsated through her in conflicting turmoil. He patiently waited for her to gather her thoughts. Finally, she managed to stammer, “Forgive me, but I have great difficulty in accepting that this is not a dream for I have never believed in Heaven and Hell and nor have I believed in your existence. I am, thus, assuming that you are the man they refer to as ‘God’.”

He laughed a deep throttled laugh. “My child, you must believe me, as ridiculous as it may seem. You are, indeed, in that which my mortals call Heaven and I call Eden.”

She was even more bewildered, now. “Why would I possibly be where I am, when I have never believed in you, and thus never obeyed your rules and instructions? I have never prayed or begged to be here, or expected you to comply. I have done nothing as per your demands or regulations, why am I here instead of the believers who only walked the path you commanded them to?” her voice quivered.

He warmly smiled, his eyes softened, “That is precisely why you’re here. You are self made, self assured and self taught. You did not depend upon my supervision and guidance to command your deeds and actions, or rely on me to rescue you during times of peril, and you fought bravely against adversity. You made yourself a better person of your own selfless accord and not for the greed of a reward or from the fear of punishment for you didn’t believe in needing to be reprimanded by anyone other than yourself. You took responsibility for your actions and inflicted the due repercussions on yourself, without my external coercion, your own morals were your only guide and teacher, and for that, my child, I am proud of you. You were courageous and more humane than most of my followers are; you respected me more than they did, for your disbelief in my existence stopped you from dragging my name through dirt.”

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