Three men poof! onto the bar stools in a bar - a Christian, a Muslim, and an atheist.
“What am I doing here?” gasps the Muslim in horror.
“What are you doing here?” mutters the Christian in disapproval.
“What are we doing here?” wonders the atheist.
After a few initial moments of confusion, they discover that the last thing they each remember before getting here, is that they were in life-threatening situations in their cars.
“I hit an icy patch,” says the Christian sadly.
“I hit a huge pot hole,” says the Muslim sheepishly.
“I hit Speed Dial,” says the atheist regretfully.
Just then, a fourth figure poofs! behind the bar. “Hello there,” the figure says. “My card,” and it hands an ivory white business card to each of the men.
“Peter: Rock of Church and Pearly Gatekeeper” reads the Christian’s card.
“Israil: Angel of Death and Lead Trumpeteer” reads the Muslim’s card.
“Charles: Species Allocator and Fitness Expert” reads the atheist’s card.
“In case you haven’t realised,” the fourth figure says, “You are all recently deceased and are now on your way to meet your Maker."
“Praise the Lord,” says the Christian.
“Alhamdulillah,” says the Muslim.
“Oops,” says the atheist.
“I have good news and bad news and good news and bad news," said the figure. "The bad news is that we're already over-booked, so everyone's stuck in these way-stations until we can figure out where to place you. The good news is that God's finalising approval on a lovely new wing of Heaven. The bad news is it won't be ready for another week. But the good news is that I can take one of you with me right now! He that is most noble among you, shall come with me! If he doesn’t mind sleeping on my couch for a few days."
The Christian, the Muslim and the atheist are speechless.
“Just a few quick questions to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, and we can move on,” continues the fourth figure. “Well, two of us can move on. The other two will wait here. Now, let’s see.”
He shuffles through a pile of flash cards, and picks one.
“Here we go. Feeding the hungry. Did any of that?”
“I helped at soup kitchens, and roasted turkeys for the homeless,” said the Christian.
“I sacrificed goats, and distributed the meat among the poor,” said the Muslim.
“I bought the Band Aid record, and all the later versions, too,” said the atheist.
“Good stuff, good stuff. Okay, next question. Caring for orphans. Did any of that?”
“I donated my children’s old toys to the orphanage, and sang carols with them at Christmas, and paid for the education of a hundred poor Christian children,” said the Christian.
“I donated my children’s old toys to the orphanage, and served biryani to them at Eid, and paid for the education of a hundred poor Muslim children,” said the Muslim.
“I don’t have any children, but I did sponsor two little girls who go to school in India,” said the atheist.
“Excellent, excellent. Last question. Why did you do all these things?”
“Well, I tried to do what Jesus would do, so that He would want me to dwell with Him for eternity,” said the Christian.
“Well, I obeyed all God’s laws, so that my reward would be great,” said the Muslim.
“Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do,” said the atheist.
And poof! Two of the four disappeared just like that and went straight up to Heaven. But don’t worry. The Christian and the Muslim got there too the following week, once the new wing was ready. And they all lived (in a dead sort of way) happily ever after.