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Between Heaven and Hell

Between Heaven and Hell

A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley

by Peter Kreeft
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
2nd Edition, ©2008, ISBN: 9780830834808
Trade Paperback, 144 pages
List Price: $15.00 Our Price: $12.00

Historically, the best philosophers have also been among the best writers. Peter Kreeft proves himself adept at both disciplines in Between Heaven and Hell, an amusing and thoughtful imagined dialogue between C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, and Aldous Huxley, all of whom died within hours of each other on November 22, 1963.

As the men sit together in purgatory, they discuss the meaning of life from three distinct perspectives: orthodox Christianity, modern humanism, and Eastern pantheism. As one would expect from a dialogue written by a Catholic professor of philosophy, the discussion soon turns to the Christian faith, particularly the person and nature of Jesus Christ.

Not everyone will be comfortable with Kreeft's approach. He employs a good deal of humor (including some mild profanity in the first line), and he dances around issues most conservative Protestants would want definite answers for (like the issue of purgatory and its role).

He also puts especial emphasis on human free will, suggesting that even if a person denies Christ in this life he may have a chance to accept him in the next before being sent to hell. For many Protestants, specifically those from a Reformed tradition, will find this beyond the pale of orthodoxy.

Don't let that deter you from this book, however. In most matters Kreeft is solidly orthodox, affirming directly the literal humanity and divinity of Christ, his literal resurrection, and the sinfulness of man. This dialogue is meant to raise questions and to answer many, but also to leave some for readers to ponder on their own.

The end is purposefully vague. Kreeft avoids direct statements, though obviously encourages us to see things a certain way, the way for which he employs C.S. Lewis as a mouthpiece. Good for all Christians with a philosophical bent, Between Heaven and Hell is particularly useful for those attempting to debate non-Christians on the nature and reliability of our faith.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Table of Contents:

  • Prologue
    THE DIALOG Time: November 22, 1963
    Place: Somewhere beyond death
    Characters:
    C.S. Lewis - Theist
    John F. Kennedy - Humanist
    Aldous Huxley - Pantheist
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
FLAWS: Some vaguely heterodox ideas
Summary: Creative discussion between three famous thinkers concerning the reasonableness of Christianity.

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