I am at that certain age. I check the death notices in the weekly newspaper, noting those who died at a younger age than I am. There’s something scary in realizing that some people have lived their entire lifetimes well within the span of my own life; they came into this world after me and left before me.
Image by Stuck in Customs via FlickrIt is also kind of exciting to reflect that many of our most admired individuals accomplished more in a shorter time span than I have had, as they didn’t live as long as me. But, there are times when I re-read some of the things I’ve written and feel that I may have accomplished something, spreading some doubt that may have contributed eventually to another’s deconversion.
I started thinking about death nearly forty years ago. I can’t offer an explanation for why, or why at that age. Over the years, people I’ve met brought up the subject, naturally, and I listened to their attitudes. One time, a co-worker asked me, after I told him my father had just died,”NOW, don’t you believe in heaven?” I answered him emphatically, “No.” Why would my father’s death change anything?
One of the things I’ve come to accept is that death really is final, because we’re all part of nature and everything dies. Some people die quickly, but most just run down, falling apart in spite of all the preventive maintenance and parts put into us, until nothing else can be done and we’re ready for the junk yard of recycling. And, no, we don’t get a new body because, as Mr. Rogers said, “We’re all one piece.” Oh, and I’ve had my night of lying wide awake thinking about what a horrible existence it would be to live forever. (There, now you can, too.)
Recently, thinking about my own demise got me thinking about how my wife would get by without me, prompted by the examples of widows we know, and the fact that she herself was a widow when I married her. She has said several times over the years, that she had never known she could be so happy with someone, that her former marriages (her first husband divorced her), gave her no preparation for this. We personally know other women who have lost their husbands and gone on to happier, more fulfilling marriages. All this is not to downgrade or minimize their former relationships, which might have been special, loving, and emotionally satisfying in their own time and place. But, now the times are better. ”Moving on with their lives” comes for most people, and their grieving doesn’t last forever. It’s a matter of time. This applies to life in general. Would you or I want it to be any other way for them? Should she or they find a better lover, better companion, I would be happy for her, them.
This brings me at last to the subject of the death of a personal god. Reactions are as different as personalities and experiences. Some mourn; others are relieved, glad to be free at last. Some wonder how they’re going to go on living, or find solace in memories of the beloved, while others come to the realization that the god was so distant, so unresponsive, as to be nonexistent, and was never there when needed, if you get right down to it. This non-biological father figure was actually a fiction passed down as a family tradition, and no one can tell you just how or why it got started in the first place.
The fact is, life goes on. We pick up the pieces, take the mourning clothes and flowers and donate them, make plans, re-love, and appreciate life even more. That part of life with a personal deity involved a relationship, in a way, which died with it.
All the gods die eventually. Some go with a bang and others with a whimper. The modern gods, too, will fade away in the world’s societies since they are all just products of the imagination.
It is time for mankind to bury and mourn (if desired) its remaining gods once and for all; especially that one whose corpse has hung for far too long in it’s midst. It’s time to move on, get a life, because too many people are missing out on life. The effort and monies required to keep the gods alive would be better spent making lives worth living for those who now have little reason to live.
Religions are parasitic, feeding off the lives of others. Let us laser burn them with truth and reality, to recover health for everyone. Message to believers: Grow Up. Nothing and no one is “forever.”
Atheists generally know far more about the Bible and the history of Christianity than its believers, a LOT more, and they take it seriously, which makes them dangerous people. The whole point of religious teaching is to keep the believers ignorant and trusting; ergo, they will never allow an atheist to speak in a church. Scared, aren’t they?