Monday, February 18, 2008

Final Exam

I was talking with an elderly Christian man the other day who told me, “When you die and go to heaven there is no Pearly Gate with Saint Peter sitting at a welcome desk. No, sir, when you die Jesus comes to you at the last minute and asks one question; he says, ‘Who do you say I am?’ If you answer right and without thinking about it, then you get into heaven. If you hesitate you are damned.”

Of course the conversation quickly turned to what I would answer Jesus. I explained that I thought Jesus was a God-intoxicated Jewish mystic whose teachings often contained the deepest truths when understood in their historical context—first century Roman occupied Palestine—and when you included not only the canonical Gospels but also the Gnostic texts with special emphasis on the Gospel of Thomas.

“Do you think that will satisfy him?” I asked the man.

“The correct answer is, ‘You are my Lord and Savior.’ I have no idea what you just said, and neither will Jesus. I’d pray on that, son.” So I did. And what I got in return was a very different scenario.

When you die Jesus does come to you, and as your last breath leaves your body he does ask questions: four to be exact. The questions are asked in quick succession leaving no time to think, and hardly enough time to respond. Jesus is in a hurry. You are not the only person dying at that moment, and he has to quiz them all. Here are the four questions that I think Jesus will ask:

QUESTION 1: Is the following shape convex or concave: ) ?
QUESTION 2: When you turn your steering wheel to the right with both hands are you pulling the steering wheel or pushing it?
QUESTION 3: When you toss a ball in the air is it going “up” or “out”?
QUESTION 4: When you say, “It is raining” to what does the “it” refer?

I’m not going to supply you with answers to these questions because that would be cheating. Even having the questions in advance may be against the rules, but since that other guy had his I figured it was OK to share. Anyway, I am pretty sure that if you can figure out not only the answers but the deeper meaning toward with the questions point you will be OK. If you can’t, fall back on Lord and Savior. Maybe that other guy was on to something.


AaronHerschel said...

The answer to all four questions is the same, of course. It's "cut me a break Trebeck, I'm dying here!"

Personally, I always thought Jesus' questions would be more along the lines of "what is your name, what is your quest, and what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow." To which the answers are, if you know your Monty Python: "Arthur King of the Britains," "I seek the grail," and "African or European?"

Rabbi Rami said...

If you are memorizing lines from Monty Python you have too much time on your hands. Don't you have a thesis to write?

Lindsay said...

funny --- but I actually really liked your original answer, and I am in agreement with you on that. :)
p.s. I love your blog.