How do you get into heaven when you die? An Atheists guide...
So you've met your end and the less we speak about how the better.
However things thereafter have not worked out as you would have expected, there is no eternal blackness and no peaceful rest. Instead (in one way or another) you are whisked to the pearl gates and the now inevitable confrontation with St Peter and perhaps a meeting with your maker.
If what I describe does happen then worry not as your saviour (in the form of me in this instance) has provided you with an Atheists guide for what you should do to give you the very best chance of getting into heaven.
So "Mister Athiest" bet you feel pretty idiotic now don't you!
So, I would suggest that Peter would look at you sideways and bit and tut as he turned to unlock the gate; you have led a life of sin after all. Not least the biggest sin of all:
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Oh dear... that doesn't sound like fun.
The gates swing open and out strolls none other than god himself. The important thing to remember is DO NOT PANIC! This isn't going to be a picnic but if you keep your wits about you, you might just get through this.
(Expect him to look something like a human by the way, we were created in his image. I would expect he would be a damn good looking chap).
Overcoming the first problem
I would expect that God would be a little bit annoyed at you. The first question will almost certainly be this one:
"Why, when all you had to do a minute before you died was renounce your ridiculous Atheism and say sorry for all the bad things you have done and say that you believe in me did you not do so?"
It's a toughie isn't it? Well how do you answer? You knew throughout your entire life of ignorance to gods ways that all you had to do was say sorry in a vague helpless way at the end that in the almost 0% chance you're wrong it will all be okay anyway.
Why didn't you (and why I won't)
Its not just to prove a point and its not just pure pride. I believe Athiests should practice what we preach and not recant on our death beds. Most of us will have spent what we may think of as our most enlightened years believing in science. I think that in some small way by renouncing atheisim in any way (even as an insurance policy) is denying humanist values and the beauty of science (and science is beautiful).
The Big Answer
First try this: "Unfortunately I was unable to believe in you because you made me to be a completely rational person who makes decisions based upon empirical evidence... Really since you're god you made the choice about whether I would be an atheist or not!"
If that doesn't work this might work: "Why did you not make yourself known to me as you make yourself known to others in all the lovely mystical ways that you do"
If none of that works then this is the ultimate: "I'm sorry but I was unable to believe in any of the vessels you chose to direct your authority through, almost every pope in history has been a semi facist murdering lunatic, the bible was written by a group of angry Romans around 1500 years ago, contradicts itself every other sentence and there are a hundred different versions anyway, and don't get me started on catholic bishops. Not a single one of your faithful subjects, radical or liberal has succesfully convinced me that you can provided anything positive to the lives of people that a humanist cannot also provide, but without any of the ceremony, murder, famine, plague, facism, brainwashing or starving yourself for 40 days and nights... Its not me who has failed you, it is every single one of those people.
God may want to know a few other things about your life but once you've answered the above you can explain the rest away easily enough! As I mentioned earlier, God is likely to be a very logical individual, once you explain why you couldn't believe then that is the same reason why you haven't acted like a good christian and been tempted by the pure joys life offers to the not-overly-religious person.
Anyway, you could be glad you stopped by to read this one day! Enjoy lounging around on your cloud for eternity!
In a more serious vain you might also Try: