There are a hundred confusions that can arise out of notions like "heaven" and "being good." Likewise, some pretty good clarity and kindness may be born.
My own take is that those who call themselves Buddhists need to stop cringing when others mention "God" and "heaven" and "hell" and other notions that do not seem to accord with their own views and practices.
As Buddhists, I think we all need to get it straight: We too believe in heaven and hell and God and good and evil. We too strive for something else. We too make errors of thought, word and deed. No kidding. How did any of us begin our practice? Wasn't it with belief and hope? And isn't the world of "being good" and "heaven" and "hell" basically a way of expressing belief and hope? And didn't we too, at one time or another, become aware of what nitwits we could be? True, our nitwit-dom may not have led to a series of Crusades or shoving some "intelligent design" down school children's throats, but let's not pretend that what we have side-stepped makes us any the less nitwits. Our temples and texts and holy writ are every bit as capable of leading people -- people who suffer -- down a misguided path.
What saves Buddhists from their own nitwit-dom -- assuming they consent to practice -- is the injunction/imperative not to stop practicing, not to get caught up in the trickery of "goodness" or "heaven" or "hell" or "enlightenment" or "compassion" or "emptiness" or whatever. We are fortunate. Others -- some of them Buddhists -- may not be so fortunate. People may work day and night to explain why and how this happens (let's have another 'karma' discussion
), but the important part is that it does happen.
Within this framework -- assuming it is true -- it is not enough to play the humble game ... "Ah yes, I too can be a nitwit!" And it is not enough to play the bright-light game ... "Ah, how fortunate I am to have found this upright and correct path!" The only thing that is enough is to persist in an attentive and responsible practice.
As Gautama is alleged to have said, "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern."
Nitwit or sage ... what other choice is there?