To decide whether you go to heaven or hell, your life is put on the balance. All depends on which way it tips.

John dies and waits in line to have his life weighed. Eventually he reaches St Peter who with a rather bored expression puts John's life on the scales.

After a while St Peter frowns. He takes John's life off the scales and puts it back on again.

"In thousands of years, I've never seen this happen" says St Peter pushing his halo back and scratching his head, "The scales are perfectly balanced. You're neither good nor bad"

John thinks quickly. He needs to tip the scales but how? He could easily punch St Peter and that would presumably be bad and get him sent to hell but he wants to go through the Pearly Gates.

He could offer to swap destinations with a fellow soul who was condemned to hell but then despite the fact he had done a good deed he would still go to hell in place of his beneficiary.

He could try offering St Peter blandishments like standing in for him for a few millennia. However St Peter is incorruptible and wouldn't dream of being offered a bribe to let someone into Heaven.

Is there anything John can do to get his wish and enter through the Pearly Gates?

P.S. He can't confess his sins because you have to do that before you die.


I would argue that John's best chances are to

do nothing!


attempting to tip the scales here can be construed as either a disingenuous attempt to manipulate the judgment, or a lack of faith. Both probably wouldn't go over well with St. Peter.

  • $\begingroup$ My favourite solution to every problem! $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Nov 25 '18 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to comment on this answer but my comment would give Braegh's hidden answer away. Is there a mechanism for this? Do I make my own answer to comment on solutions and use spoiler tags? $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '18 at 10:35
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK I believe the standard method is to encode your comment in www.rot13.com $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Nov 25 '18 at 10:56


It's not about John choosing to do nothing. It's that I don't think there is anything that John CAN do.


His LIFE is put on scale. And since his life is over now, there is nothing he can do to influence St Peter. Maybe purgatory could be a solution, but anyhow it's on St Peter to decide (only based on the info he has already on John's life, no new info can be added since this is afterlife)


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