Do Pets Go to Heaven?

The latest rapture prediction did not come true, is anyone surprised? We’re left to speculate if the pet lovers who paid $135 for post-rapture pet care might want refunds.

The latest rapture prophet whose prediction failed, believed animals have no souls and do not go to haven, reports Julia Felsenthal in Slate. She writes:

    Since the high Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church began framing its understanding of nature and the supernatural in Aristotelian terms, the standard Christian interpretation has been that human beings have an immortal soul, and cannot die, but other forms of life do not, and can.

But animal lovers who are Christian interpret the Bible so that it’s possible for pets to go to Heaven. The Slate article points towards Christians who do believe animals can go to Heaven as well: Peter the Apostle, John Wesley in the 18th century, Karl Barth and C.S. Lewis in the 20th century and as recently as 2003, a Franciscan Friar named Jack Wintz.

In my opinion, a formal survey would confirm that a majority of Christian animal lovers cannot imagine Heaven without their beloved pets. That may be at odds with the theology. That may have appeared shocking to previous generations of Christians who truly believed that humans are superior to soul-less animals. But in these times when we often pick our own interpretation of faith or lack of faith, the faithful choose to believe that pets will go to Heaven:

    There are those who believe and those who don’t. All we can hope to do is provide everyone with the proof through information from the writings of some of the world’s greatest scholars and other intelligent sources. If after you’ve read this information, you still don’t believe then it’s something you’ll have to deal with through God Himself.

While skeptical of such proof, I am pleased if such considerations for animals lead to all-around better care for pets and livestock. If animals do have souls, or if they do not, is that a factor when designing and operating factory farms? What about species extinction due to the expansion of humanity’s collective footprint?

On the first page of the website, a Christian named Sara writes:

    In fact, I know now that all animals go to heaven. I also need to express to everyone here that God wants us to do as much as possible to help the ones that are here. Spaying and Nuetering (sic) is important to prevent baby animals into going to abusive and neglectful homes

Let’s hope that the faithful will include wildlife in the larger circle of concern and that we humans can act to prevent any more species for going extinct while we still have time, if we still have time.

No Dogs Go to Heaven, But they don’t go to hell, either.
By Julia Felsenthal, Friday, May 20, 2011

Entrepreneurs offer post-‘rapture’ services
By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2011,0,6209624.story

Christian animal lovers: Animals in Heaven

Will I See My Little Doggy in Heaven?
By Jack Wintz, O.F.M., July 2003
An admirer of Francis of Assisi offers 10 reasons why he believes the whole family of creation is included in God’s plan of salvation.

St. Francis in San Francisco (Paulist Press, 2001) (discontinued, out of print)
by Jack Wintz, O.F.M

Animals gather around God’s throne in Revelation 5:13

    10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
    11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
    12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
    13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Rapture passes – believers downcast, pastor silent
Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer,Sunday, May 22, 2011


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