Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?

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Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There? (82:00)
Item# 35840

Barbara Walters hosts this ABC News program about the afterlife, collecting an array of opinions, hopes, and scenarios concerning what, if anything, happens following death. Walters interviews religious leaders from various cultures and faiths, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rabbi Neil Gillman of New York's Jewish Theological Seminary; Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement; and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. A prominent atheist, a renowned neuroscientist, and an electrocution victim also discuss near-death experiences. (82 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (25)

1. Introduction Film Topics and Guest Interviews (02:37)
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Barbara Walters highlights the major topics she will explore regarding the afterlife. She states that she will interview international leaders, terrorists, celebrities, and people who claim to have gone to heaven.

2. Songs and Advertisements Influence Americans about Heaven (02:25)

Nine out of ten Americans believe that heaven exists. Most people assume that they will go to heaven at the end of their lives. Advertisers and musicians give Americans memorable lines and lyrics regarding heaven.

3. Silver Screen and Television Give Americans Heavenly Images (05:00)

Most Americans get their ideas about heaven from media images rather than the pulpit. Movies show an eternal connection between this world and the next and the promise of reuniting with loved ones.

4. Historical Civilizations and Views of Heaven (02:07)

Walters compares ancient Roman, Christian, and Jewish views of an afterlife. Most religious leaders believe the road to heaven involves a journey, sometimes with perilous encounters along the way. Angels are God's very special servants.

5. Christian Religious Leaders Discuss Heaven (03:18)

Christian leaders believe the purpose of life on Earth is to go to heaven. The body will resurrect along with the spirit. People will have eternal joy and peace through God. Suffering and pain will cease to exist in heaven.

6. Islamic Scholar Describes Heaven (01:01)

According to Muslims, they will experience all the delights of food, drink, and sex in heaven. Muslims believe that Mohammad bargained with God to reduce the number of daily prayers a Muslim must pray from 50 to five.

7. Orthodox Jews Contrast with Catholic Cardinal on Purpose of Life (02:54)

Most Jews believe in the afterlife, but Judaism focuses mostly on life in the present. Rabbi Neil Gillman says that Jews concentrate on living a good life for its own sake. Cardinal McCarrick believes God rewards people with the promise of heaven.

8. Comedian Jackie Mason's View of Heaven (01:46)

Comedian Jackie Mason discusses his view of heaven with a series of jokes. In a more serious tone, he says he hopes heaven will be like his life on Earth. He feels grateful for everything he has.

9. Primary Beliefs of Evangelicals (05:09)

Evangelicals believe that Jesus is the son of God, the Bible is the word of God, and that people must be born again. In the process of becoming born again, a person becomes a new creation as his or her spirit joins with God.

10. American Evangelicals Claim to Know the Way to Heaven (04:30)

According to evangelicals, the only way to get into heaven is to accept Jesus as a personal savior. Those who do not believe in Jesus will go to hell. Pastor Ted Haggard influenced his evangelical followers to re-elect President George W. Bush.

11. Reuniting with Loved Ones in Heaven (04:41)

Maria Shriver's book, "What's Heaven?" answers children's questions concerning death. The idea of seeing loved ones in heaven transcends age, race, and religion. A woman speaks of her wish to reunite with her husband in heaven.

12. Interview with Author Mitch Albom (04:11)

Mitch Albom's book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," gave readers the idea that a person does not need to be rich and famous to have a meaningful life. He says ordinary citizens can influence others in remarkable ways.

13. Religious Fighting in Jerusalem (02:24)

The three major religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity claim that heavenly events occurred in Jerusalem. The current conflict between Jews and Muslims brings daily chaos to the streets. Suicide bombers who succeed become martyrs.

14. Palestinian Suicide Bombers (03:47)

Walters interviews several Palestinian suicide bombers in a maximum security Israeli prison. These men do not fear their own deaths because they believe that paradise and 72 virgins await them in heaven.

15. Muslim Scholar Explains Controversial Islamic Teachings (04:45)

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Muslim scholar, explains that an unlimited number of virgins await all Islamic holy martyrs to compensate them for their early loss of life. An imprisoned suicide bomber says only Muslims go to heaven.

16. Dalai Lama Teaches and Inspires Buddhists (03:16)

The Dalai Lama claims to be the fourteenth reincarnation of the heavenly deity of compassion and wisdom. As the foremost scholar in the complex Buddhist faith, he teaches hundreds of Buddhists in all day intensive trainings.

17. Dalai Lama Speaks of Reincarnation (02:33)

Ancient Tibetan texts describe six horrendous levels of hell and six distinct levels of heaven. Buddhists believe that heaven is a waiting place and not a final destination. The Dalai Lama explains the process of reincarnation.

18. Birth of Current Dalai Lama (02:03)

The current Dalai Lama was born in a cow shed shortly after the previous one died. A group of Tibetan monks discovered him and determined he was the reincarnated Dalai Lama after he passed a battery of tests. Buddhists strive for nirvana.

19. Richard Gere and Dalai Lama Speak of Compassion (03:02)

The Dalai Lama travels the world and speaks about how compassion can give people inner strength. Buddhist and actor Richard Gere speaks about his view of heaven and reincarnation.

20. Skeptics on Heaven (02:23)

Most atheists believe that religion is just superstition. They claim that people have no proof of God's existence or of heaven.

21. Spirituality Encoded in DNA (04:06)

A geneticist studied the idea that spirituality is encoded in DNA. In his research, he isolated a "God gene." He says brain chemistry changes during prayer and meditation.

22. Near-Death Experiences (06:02)

Almost 18 million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience. Barbara Walters interviews six people regarding their near-death experiences.

23. Psychologist Theorizes on Near-Death Experiences (01:04)

A British psychologist explains near-death experiences as the products of a dying brain rather than of a heavenly experience. A low level of oxygen in the body creates an over active brain. This over activity releases dormant images and memories.

24. Near-Death Experiences Change Lives Forever (01:54)

Six people reflect on the newfound meaning and significance in their lives as a result of near-death experiences.

25. Final Reflections on Heaven and the Purpose of Life (02:55)

Various religious leaders, actors, and authors featured in this film describe their final views of heaven and the purpose of life. Barbara Walters describes heaven as a place of peace and happiness.

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