Question: After we die and our spirits go to heaven, do we find out the answers to all of life's great mysteries? For example, will we know who really killed JFK? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? What really happened to the dinosaurs? — B., via firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: I always take my spiritual guidance about the great mysteries of life from Deuteronomy 29:29: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (KJV)
We will know when we know. If there's nothing after death and the atheists are right, the nothingness after death will teach us. If we're reincarnated into new living beings (animal or human) based on our record of kindness in this life, then the Hindus are right and our next life as a bug will teach us.
If there is a heaven, but it's only open to those who've accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then the evangelical Christians are right, and my life in hell with a bunch of accountants and lawyers will teach us. If the righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come, then Judaism is right and I will be very, very pleased.
I'm prepared to wait prayerfully and patiently and compassionately until that day. What intrigues me is that all your questions are about historical facts (plus the chicken-and-egg question, which is too rich in spiritual cholesterol for me to answer).
Why do you care about history so much? My personal hope is that I can find the answers to, well, personal questions. My first post-death question would be, "Was I a good person?" My second question would be, "Did I teach my children and grandchildren well enough how to be mentches (good people)? And my third question would definitely be, "Where is my friend Tommy?"
I'll leave the questions about the dinosaurs and JFK to you. May you learn the answers when you are 120 years old.
Q: I live in a gated community where neighbors of from many faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Each year at the holiday season, our clubhouse is lit with only white lights and a wreath. However, inside the guard house, we display two menorahs and one Christmas tree. A menorah is also displayed in the clubhouse window.
Are we offending our Jewish residents, one of whom strongly "suggests" that we erect a 4-foot menorah outside the clubhouse? If we did this, our Christian residents would be sure "suggest" a 4-foot-high Nativity scene. We feel the white lights are indicative of a holiday season and not "Christmas," and the menorah and decorated tree seem acceptable symbols for all of our residents. The Jewish resident I mentioned suggests nothing be done next year, so as not to "offend" anyone, but this is a small voice in a large community. Any advice? — Anonymous
A: I'm a big fan of real holidays with real symbols. Christians and Jews at this season do not celebrate "White Lights." We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, and I remain utterly bewildered that people could be offended by the display of creche and a menorah on private property. These are real symbols of real holidays. I think they'd be lovely together. I'm also in favor of such displays on public property, although this issue is more complex.
My advice: Save some money and ditch the generic white lights.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
NOTE FROM MG: Recently, I asked readers to send me signs from God they had received. Here's a good one:
"Over this past summer, as I was putting my 9-year-old daughter to bed, she said she needed a motto or positive affirmation for herself, and could I ask God to send her one? I told her I'd work on this, and that she should, too. Then we said goodnight. In the wee hours of the morning, she came to my bedside and told me God had sent her a motto, and that it was: glim.
"At the breakfast table that morning, she asked if she could Google Image the word "glim." The very first image that popped up was a picture of a lion, and the letters in all caps: GLIM. Underneath the letters, it said, "God Lives In Me."
"Needless to say, I still get chills and tears in my eyes each time I tell this story. I just wanted to share it with you — and yes, my daughter proudly uses GLIM as her motto." — D., Raleigh, N.C., via email@example.com
A: Amen, GLIM...Amen!
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.