[PW] Long Shot if this short story description rings a bell

Jim Sherman jim.sherman at gmail.com
Thu Mar 28 14:51:24 PDT 2019

I'm a reference librarian struggling with ways to assist a patron who is
looking for title or author of a short story, detailed below:

"I can't remember the author or name of a short story that I read in high
school or college. It keeps coming up in conversation (surprisingly often),
so I'd really love to find the original story. It's about two men of
different religions (maybe Christian and Jewish or Muslim) who find
themselves floating upward together from earth to heaven. They argue about
religion along the way. They are allowed into heaven and are confused when
they see that all of the gods of all of the religions from earth are
represented. They learn that it doesn't matter how much they pray to their
god as they are standing before him in heaven. It makes no difference. Only
the prayers from people on earth affect the different gods by making them
either grow and be strong or shrink and be weak depending on how belief from
people on earth waxes or wanes. Eventually they realize that there is no
point in staying in heaven. They again find themselves floating upwards.
time they keep rising until they pop like bubbles and are absorbed into
universal oneness. I've done many internet searches over the years but have
never found the story. Thanks for any help you can offer."

I find this sort of question very difficult to answer, as  often they might
be stories read in a magazine, or an excerpt from a larger work.  Does this
story ring a bell for anyone? On a more general note, is there a tool out
there that people have found useful for hunting down short stories based on
this sort of description?  Thanks!

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