Thursday, April 24, 2008

Funerals

There are some things I hate hearing at the funeral of a loved one, you know the sort of thing . . .

  • He's gone to a better place.
    No, he's dead.  He won't be going anywhere ever again.
  • He's gone to join the Lord.
    No, he hasn't gone to join your imaginary friend.  He's dead.
  • God has the last word today, not death.
    It doesn't get any more final than death.
  • God has prepared him a room in His house.
    No He hasn't.  He's dead.
  • At least he's finally out of pain.
    No, he's dead.
  • Now he's in peace.
    No, he's dead.
  • It's a blessing really.
    No, it doesn't get any worse. He's dead.
  • Now he'll have life everlasting.
    No, he's just lost the only life he'll ever have, you arsehole.  He's dead.
  • This is a test from God.
    No, it's a test whether or not I can refrain from punching you in the nose.
  • Life is a vale of tears, with paradise as its reward.
    You unspeakable lowlife.
  • It's for the best, really.
    No , it's not, you arsehole. It's an unspeakable bloody tragedy -- the end of a human life -- a life that can never be replaced.  There's nothing good about it.

Here's about the only one that does make any sense:

  • This is a test of faith.
    Yes. It should be.

If Christians come knocking at our door at any other time the interfering busybodies are generally sent on their way with a well-deserved flea in their ear, yet for some reason the interfering bastards are given a free ride at funerals -- when they take advantage of everyone's emotional guard being down -- with the result that at a time of utter loss and devastation the bereaved don't get a chance to reflect on their loss in peace, but are assailed instead with bullshit, bromides and superstitious fictions. 

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24 Comments:

Blogger libertyscott said...

I couldn't agree more. It's how I felt last year with two bereavements. Nothing made it better, it hurt like hell. I lost those two people, as did all the others who loved them. I will never see them or hear from them or anything else to do with them every again that's new.

I am never comforted by death, I don't cope with it well. It makes my own life the more real because of it.

That's it - the only correction I'd make is one died before cancer had eaten away at her abdomen and made it far more painful and horrible. Not a blessing, but a small relief. Instead she died of a blood clot to the brain.

4/24/2008 09:34:00 am  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I am sick to death of witnessing funerals that are 'celebrations' (especially when they are for children nobody gave a damn about while they were living). Does that make me a curmudgeon? I empathise with your sentiments Libertyscott.

4/24/2008 10:52:00 am  
Blogger Blair said...

You guys sound like you need a hug.

Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, faith and optimism are the best comfort for bereavement. I've been to funerals of those with faith, and those without, and I can tell you with no hesitation which was more comforting.

What I do agree with is that there is no place for dogmatism of any sort in grief. Theirs or yours.

4/24/2008 10:52:00 am  
Anonymous Tom said...

even from an atheist point of view, how can you argue with this one
"At least he's finally out of pain."
surely you don't believe that death is painful?

4/24/2008 11:34:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

'Out of pain' is a very minor matter compared to the much great one of being permanently 'out of existence.'

And please note, that finding a loved one 'out of pain' in this sense is involuntary. Observe that those same people who cite being 'out of pain' as a reason to feel pleased at a person's involuntary demise cite their Christian values to oppose a patient voluntary choosing to end their own pain.

Suffering, according to the likes of Bill English and Mother Teresa, is God's will, and not to be opposed.

4/24/2008 12:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, faith and optimism are the best comfort for bereavement.

Really? In my experience it’s best to leave the wacky to be wacky, and get on with the business of *actual* reality on your own and with those who choose to do the same.

'Celebration' and 'forgiveness' freaks use these gentle and innocent sounding words to browbeat or derail those who seek justice. As seen in the backlash to the previous Where was God post.

Regarding the Elim tragedy, these 'christian' bromides will ensure there will be no consequence. No one will be held accountable. Indeed, the public will likely never know, or care to know.

And that's the absurdity of it.

4/24/2008 12:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Fat Girl said...

The best funerals are the Maori ones. There is huge hangi and a piss up afterwards. Well, that's what I called funerals.

4/24/2008 12:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Tom said...

"At least he's finally out of pain." doesnt mean that its is preferable to be alive but, (even if he doesn't exist any more) that is one positive. It doesn't mean that it outweighs the negative.

4/24/2008 12:52:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

"At least he's dead." Heard that one once. The deceased was a convict.

LGM

4/24/2008 05:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Fully agree with you, Peter...funerals are fairly dreary so I have decided never to attend another one.

4/24/2008 05:28:00 pm  
Blogger Andy Moore said...

For Christians, death is just the beginning. All things work together for the good of God's people (paraphrased from Romans 8:28), so even if a close friend dies, we can know that there is a reason, and that there is hope. That's why there's been a marked difference in the reactions of the families of those children and the teacher who lost their lives.

The same can be said for aetheists and everyone else who has spurned God's offer of forgiveness "death is just the beginning", only... they're heading to hell.

Like you, there are some things I hate hearing at funerals - of people who were not Christians. Worn-out, over-used phrases applied universally to all subjects. Like, "He's gone to be with Jesus", for instance. It is at funerals like this that an overwhelming sense of loss and hopelessness hits us, whereas, as Blair pointed out, at funerals of Christians, the sorrow is not so extreme.

4/24/2008 05:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is given unto man once to die, then the judgement

4/24/2008 07:10:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

# At least he's finally out of pain.
No, he's dead.
# Now he's in peace.
No, he's dead.
# It's a blessing really.
No, it doesn't get any worse. He's dead.

My father's mother died of cancer, in much the same way as Scott's bereavement. She had lived her last few days in pain, incapable of happiness, before the drug dosage she was administered was upped and she slipped away. I am glad the suffering was terminated though, as PC points out, this gladness was only in the greater context of having already had her disease set upon us.

My mother's mother died of MRSA in hospital having suffered from Alzheimer's for ten years. She didn't recognise me for the last year or two. It was a relief or blessing for us in a way, but not for her as the world was still a curious place of wonder.

4/24/2008 09:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best funerals are the Maori ones. There is huge hangi and a piss up afterwards. Well, that's what I called funerals.
BVeen to to many funerals lately? I guess thats why you are fat, fat girl.

4/24/2008 09:51:00 pm  
Blogger Luke H said...

I tend to agree with you PC, but ultimately we cannot deny reality: death is apparently inevitable, unavoidable. It comes to all of us, and the best we can do (barring major medical breakthroughs) is put it off until we are old and ready to go.

The universe and time we live in requires us to live a single finite life; endlessly railing against that is not helpful.

Being ready to accept death at the end is psychologically healthy.

Also, I would like to point out that some things are worse than death; torture, capture by the enemy, a slow, painful debilitating decline before an inevitable end.

4/25/2008 12:25:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Luke H,

It is bullshit inductivist thinking that leads to the conclusion that death is inevitable. Death, like taxes, are currently a fact of life, but both can be fought against and both can be ultimately vanquished.

If you think death is inevitable then you are probably ignorant of the profound advances in knowledge of human biochemistry that are currently taking place. Ask yourself where this knowledge will take us in, say, 50 years time. Do you really imagine that by then we won't have the knowledge to drastically increase human lifespans? And that this knowledge, once gained, won't increase in leaps and bounds? So those that have benefitted from increased lifespans may, barring accidents, postpone death indefinitely?

4/25/2008 07:51:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Gee whiz Andy Moore,

Seems that you think that death is a wonderful thing. After all, you are going to meet your imaginary perfect supernatural spirit monster hobgoblin friend!

How about this for a good idea then. Since death is such a good thing for you (your gateway to everlasting perfect happiness and grace), why not arrange for all the theists to be accidentally killed in accidents? Yo! The atheists live on, saddened some but alive. They inherit the Earth so to speak. The theists go to embrace the happy death so keenly anticipated. You can't lose!

LGM

4/25/2008 09:40:00 am  
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Philipians 1:21-26 - here's what the Bible has to say about it...

Interesting point LGM. Of course the same thing could be said about atheists. If death is the end, if there is no purpose to life, then why keep living?

4/25/2008 11:50:00 am  
Blogger Michael said...

PC: "At least he's finally out of pain.
No, he's dead."

and

"It's an unspeakable bloody tragedy -- the end of a human life -- a life that can never be replaced. There's nothing good about it."

I take it you are now opposed to voluntary euthanasia as well as you long-time well documented opposition to voluntary religous belief.

4/25/2008 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

May I recommend reading the whole thread before bursting into print, Michael.

4/25/2008 12:23:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Andy

So you need an imaginary supernatural realm of hobgoblins, spirit-mosters and the like to give YOUR life purpose. How pathetic.

Some of us do not require the erection of towers of lies, fibs and furfies to live life as it should be lived.

Still, if you really believe death is the gateway to eternal happiness why equivocate? Why are you doing still here? Why the silly excuses? The fact is, as we are all well aware, this is yet another example of theistic assertion conflicting with reality. You know it. I know it.

LGM

4/25/2008 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger Andy Moore said...

LGM.

"So you need an imaginary supernatural realm of hobgoblins, spirit-mosters and the like to give YOUR life purpose. How pathetic.

Some of us do not require the erection of towers of lies, fibs and furfies to live life as it should be lived."


Sorry, what are you talking about?

No, death is not the gateway to eternal happiness. But you could say that it is the gateway to eternity.

To quote Maximus Decimus Meridius, "Brothers, what we do in life... echoes in eternity."

It exists, irrespective of whether you believe it does or not.

4/25/2008 12:59:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Andy

You wrote: "If death is the end, if there is no purpose to life, then why keep living?"

The implication is that you need a supernatural afterlife populated with hobgoblins and spirit monster things to give your life purpose. I directed my commented to that.

What you do in life, you do in life. When you are dead, it is over. That's the end of everything for you. Now some people may remember you and some of what you did. Perhaps some important action or discovery of yours may be distilled into the culture or historical record. You, however, are dead. No echoes, no experiences, no consciousness, no dreams, no eternity, nothing at all. For you there is no more of anything. You're dead.

LGM

4/26/2008 07:17:00 am  
Blogger Abbadon said...

Said about my grandmother at her "viewing", a practice I think is abominable:

"She looks so beautiful".

I thought to myself, "No, she looks fucking DEAD, you moron".

4/28/2008 04:02:00 pm  

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