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← Grief Without God

Sam's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Sam

That's the most moving thing i have read in years.

I am just too familiar with this kind of emotional "blackmail" from religious people when a loved one dies. My mother suddenly died when i was about 13. She was an atheist and while she was still alive she made my father promise that if she died before him, she would not have a religious funeral. Her own mother who is a devout christian threatened to boycot the funeral unless they made place for a christian sermon, prayers, psalms and Bible-verses, all so that she could have her own selfish religious needs satisfied.

So we basically ended up having a funeral in two parts: the first part was a beautiful commemoration of the person that my mother had truly been while she was alive. The other half was nothing but an embarrasing parody of a funeral. It was pure hypocracy, but something we had to put up with just to keep peace in the family. I can think of no greater insult to a persons memory than to exploit the occation of his/her death to celebrate and promote a philosophy that the person had been strongly against. As Sam Harris has correcly pointed out, another harmful effect of religion is that it teaches people to deny the real loss of their loved ones instead of learning how to grieve.

I can already hear the christians saying:
"You see? You are just bitter. We can understand that you feel that way [notice the condescending tone] because of your negative experiences in childhood, but there's really no need to take it out on all people of faith like that." In this cheap and cowardly way they hope to reduce any criticism of religion itself to purely personal motives. This is the kind of objections you get when the arguments aren't strong enough to stand on their own merrit.

Sun, 28 Jan 2007 01:55:00 UTC | #17512