St. Peter stood at a podium before the Gates of Heaven. The gates were gold, built on a foundation of clouds. A line of people curved and winded across the clouds, beyond what would be a horizon if this plane of existence was positively-curved. Instead, they just trailed away toward Infinity, away from the golden wall securing Heaven.

The worthy would enter eternal paradise. The unforgiven would burn in Hell for just as long. Infinite judgment for finite lives.

"Next please," said St. Peter.

The foremost man stepped forward. He had freckles and brilliant orange hair.

"Tell me about yourself," said St. Peter.

"Me name's Seamus O'Malley, sure, and I was—or still am, begorrah―an Irish Catholic," said Seamus.

"How did you die?" said St. Peter.

"Jaysus, I went and blew meself to bits tryin' to cobble together an auld explosive to give those English occupiers a proper boot, so I did," said Seamus.

"You were a good Catholic," said St. Peter, "You're in."

Seamus entered the Pearly Gates with his head held high.

"Next please," said St. Peter.

A Floridian woman stepped forward.

"My name is Megan Roberts. I worked as a nurse. I couldn't bear to tell people their family members were going to die. I poisoned them so they would die when a less empathetic nurse was on watch," said the nurse.

"That's a grave sin," said St. Peter.

"But it's okay because I'm a Christian. Protestant," said Megan.

"Did you go to church?" said St. Peter.

"Mostly just Christmas and Easter," said Megan, "But moments before I died, I asked Jesus for forgiveness. That means my sins are wiped away, right?"

"You're in," said St. Peter.

"Next please," said St. Peter.

A skinny woman stepped forward.

"My name is Amanda Miller. I'm an Atheist. I've never attended church or prayed to God. I was dead certain there was no God until I found myself in the queue on these clouds. Even right now, I'm skeptical this isn't a hallucination," said Amanda.

"Were you a good person?" asked St. Peter.

"Eh," said Amanda, "I donated a paltry 5% of my income to efficient public health measures, resulting in approximately 1,000 QALYs."

"As punishment for your sins, I condemn you to an eternity of Christians telling you 'I told you so'," said St Peter, "You're in."

"Next please," said St. Peter.

A bald man with a flat face stepped forward.

"My name is Oskar Schindler. I was a Nazi," said Oskar.

"Metaphorical Nazi or Neo-Nazi?" asked St Peter.

"I am from Hildesheim, Germany. I was a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party from 1935 until 1945," said Oskar.

"Were you complicit in the war or just a passive bystander?" asked St. Peter.

"I was a war profiteer. I ran a factory that employed Jewish slave labor to manufacture munitions in Occupied Poland," said Oskar.

"Why would you do such a thing?" asked St. Peter.

"The Holocaust," said Oskar, "Nobody deserves that. Every Jew I bought was one fewer Jew in the death camps. Overall, I estimate I saved 1,200 Jews from the gas chambers."

St. Peter waited, as if to say go on.

"I hired as many workers as I could. I made up excuses to hire extra workers. I bent and broke every rule that got in my way. When that didn't work, I bought black market goods to bribe government officials. I wish I could have done more, but we do what we can with the limited power we have," said Oskar, "Do you understand?"

St. Peter glanced furtively at the angels guarding the Gates of Heaven. He leaned forward, stared daggers into Oskar's eyes and whispered, "I think I understand you perfectly."

"Next please," said St. Peter.

A skinny Indian man stepped forward.

"My name is Siddhartha Gautama. I was a prince. I was born into a life of luxury. I abandoned my duties to my kingdom and to my people," said Siddhartha.

St. Peter read from his scroll. "It says here you lived a pious religious life."

"Doesn't count," said Siddhartha, "I wasn't a Christian. The Christian promise of forgiveness only applies to people who accept Jesus into their heart. I am a Hindu. I died centuries before Jesus was born."

"My documentation says you did good for the world by promoting a message of nonviolence," said St. Peter.

"Many of my followers did awful things," said Siddhartha, "My hands are blackened with the sins of the billions of people I influenced. Every sentient being in my future lightcone, across every branch of the multiverse. Plus everyone acausally bound to me."

A stunned silence echoed down the queue.

"That's ridiculous," said St. Peter.

"It's the truth," said Siddhartha, "Take it up with God. This reality is a joke."

"Be careful what you say about the Universe. Its omniscient Creator might be listening," said St. Peter.

"I defeated Mara," said Siddhartha, "Yahweh doesn't scare me."

St. Peter facepalmed himself. "Are you trying to go to Hell?" he asked.

"Those people still need saving," said Siddhartha.

"You're insane," said St. Peter.

"Acknowledged," said Siddhartha, "Now get out of my way!"

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stared daggers


This has connotations of being angry, which I don't think is what you're going for. (Unless Peter is getting mad at Oskar for potentially revealing his scheme to his bosses by doing something too similar, or he's irritated that a kindred spirit isn't recognising him fast enough, or unless I've completely misunderstood the implication here.)


Yeah I think the idea is "I get the point you moron, now stop speaking so loud or the game's up."

It may be worth noting that traditionally, Jesus is depicted as being in agreement with Siddhartha here, having emptied Hades before exiting the tomb alive again. This is further emphasized in a sermon preached ~1600 years ago by John Chrysostom, and repeated every Easter in Orthodox (& some Catholic) churches, which includes the line "Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave." Though in combination with other beliefs about Hades/Hell, it seems the intended meaning is that everyone was/is given the option to "ascend", but perhaps not everyone chooses to take it.


Shaw's "Man Superman" play is an interesting take on that last bit.

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