Returning to the Throne of God

One attractive feature of Christianity is the way that it can bring comfort to those whose loved ones pass away. Even if you are the one who is in their last days, you can take comfort in the fact that you are about to return home to the arms of your Savior. The only problem with this is . . . it isn’t true.

One day last week, I woke up to a text from my mother telling me that her father had passed away that night. Well, it wasn’t exactly worded like that though. Instead, this was the text that I received:


After twenty-something years of interacting with my mother, I can effortlessly translate everything she says from Christianese into normal English. Usually, I just find her constant referral to God annoying, but in the case of her father’s passing, something about her deep assurance that her dad was with his heavenly father made me more upset than I already was. I feel as though I know something that no one else knows, and it’s a terrible secret that would break their hearts. I know that the existence of heaven can’t be proven or disproven by the living, but in my mind, heaven does not exist. My idea of the afterlife isn’t yet fully formed, but I have no reason to believe that we are any more aware or alive than we were before we were conceived. I believe that after my grandfather breathed his last, his time of consciousness ended.

My grandmother (this grandfather’s wife and my mother’s mother) passed away last October. Not only is my mother convinced that her father is joining his Savior for eternity, but she believes that he is reuniting with his wife, as well. Both of her parents were extremely religious (that’s where we got our LCMS faith from), and they found much solace in the idea that their eternal life with the Lord and each other would only be beginning once their comparatively short time on Earth ended.

My grandfather was so evangelical that he made it known that he wanted his obituary to greatly emphasize his Christian faith. As my mother had the heartwrenching task of writing her father’s obituary, I caught glimpses of what it said: “On [this day], [he] was enfolded into the arms of his Savior and is standing before the throne of God with his beloved wife for all eternity,” and “he will be raised with Him in the Resurection.”

Although this is another example of how my mother speaks and writes in fluent Christianese, this time, it was more than that. Everyone’s comfort lies solely in the Lord and their unshakable belief that my grandparents are together with him for the rest of time. My grandfather’s entire life was devoted to glorifying God and raising good Christian children. It feels almost cruel of me to think of their devotion as a waste of time and a lost cause. Just because the idea of heaven is so promising and grants them such hope doesn’t make it true. It’s as though this is something that only I know, and I’m keeping the terrible truth from them, but in reality, even if I told them what I believe, their faith in heaven wouldn’t change. I think that it is worse that they have this false hope than if we were all atheists and we all had to face the fact that the end is the end. It is heartbreaking to have to silently listen to them consoling themselves with this false hope of eternal bliss when all I see is eternal oblivion.


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40 Replies to “Returning to the Throne of God”

  1. While it may be strictly true that you cannot prove or disprove that a heaven exist were god, angels, and departed souls abode, the burden of proof is on those that posit the existence of something. That being said the likelihood of heaven existing is so low that one wastes time and brain power seeking it. First, where in the hell is it supposed to exist?

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  2. Good post. Sorry for your loss. I understand how you feel. My mother has leukemia and I have a friend that has prostate cancer. Both have been told they have 5 years at best. Most likely less. I have watched them both turn to religion for comfort. It’s hard for me to see and not say anything to them. For me, ultimately, I just want them to be happy so I don’t talk with them about it. This isn’t the time. I will respect their choice and not take the christian approach of pushing my view on them during a difficult time.

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  3. I’m sorry for your loss. It will get easier.

    There are two quotes that always give me comfort in the face of death:

    “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” – Mark Twain

    “When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.” – Ann Druyan

    Personally, I don’t think death is such a big deal. I think we fear it because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have survived very long. But just because our intuitions are terrified of death doesn’t mean death is anything to worry about. Who cares? We shouldn’t take life so goddamn seriously all the time.

    Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

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  4. I’m sorry for your loss. I would take comfort in the fact that your mother and family are comforted. When death happens, atheists certainly take it harder than believers because we realize it is final. There is no hope of reunion. However I completely disagree that atheists are morbid because we “believe in nothing”. On the contrary I found an incredible new zest for life once I realized my every move wasn’t being measured to determine my afterlife. As a Christian I spent so much time worrying about what had been said in the past and what would happen in the future that I found it hard to be present in THIS life. Because I believe I have one shot I love deeper, laugh harder and give freely. I don’t hold others accountable to someone else’s set of rules or any rules. I LIVE.

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  5. A sad journal entry, but one I appreciate reading. You are correct in identifying atheism as a hopeless world view. It renders much of what we do, when taken to the nth degree, useless. If we are merely accidents, stardust, then our love, our feelings, our fears, our hopes are all just reactions to stimulus along a timeline of accidents. The one line that you wrote that stood out to me, however, was “The only problem with this is . . . it isn’t true.” To ‘know’ this would be to know everything beyond yourself, for one must admit the existence of a creator could lay outside of your knowledge. It is interesting that of the two options, human intelligence owing its origin to mindless matter, or human intelligence realizing it was created, it is your intelligence that leads you to the first option. I am sorry for the loss in your family, and though this may be an offense to you, I cautiously and respectfully hope that God uses it to highlight the realities of man’s worldview, as compared with the realities of a biblical one, one where we do have hope. For in the worldview of mankind, this passing, and all like it, the sadness felt, the grief of loss, and the love of memories mean nothing to the hunter gatherer, to that which only needs to survive, to procreate to sustain a species, to that which cannot trust his or her own mind because it is a self-admitted accident. But we know in our hearts, and by the beauty of nature, by the gravity of loss, that there is something beyond that. For you, my friend, it is there, beyond men’s theories to explain a world of hopeless accidents, , where you will find hope, and peace. At least, that is my prayer.

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    1. Hope never makes anything true, and a natural world is not merely a world of accidents…it is a world of beautiful structure, of simple parts creating a greater whole out of themselves by following a few straightforward rules.

      I wrote this a while ago about finding meaning in a universe without a god:

      “We value life because it doesn’t last forever. And because we value life, because we enjoy beautiful things, we feel an emotional connection to the universe and seek to leave some sort of mark on it. But whether or not there is an afterlife has no bearing on our purpose in this world. The lust for an ultimate and eternal purpose seems as self-centered to me as the lust for power or wealth, although maybe both are just different reactions to the fear of death.

      I love Carl Sagan’s view of the issue. He would often say that we are star-stuff, because every atom in our bodies was formed inside a star. If you want to identify an ultimate purpose for humanity, perhaps it can be found in this: we are products of a beautiful and incredible world, and we are a way for the universe to know itself. Our bodies were made from it, and after we die the stuff that was once us will become something else. In that brief time between your conception and your death, you are a small collection of atoms that has become self-aware, able to perceive and experience reality, feel emotions, create art, and affect the lives of other beings. There’s a universe in your head, and you think that if you don’t last forever, you have no purpose?”

      I have experienced far more hope and peace as a humanist than I ever did as a Christian. If hope is what you want, you can find it in reality just as well as any fantasies of eternal life.

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      1. Thank you Mason, that is beautiful, and I agree. Did you write that as part of a greater work, and if so, what is it?

        Additionally to our bodies being part of somewhat of a cycle of matter, and being part of a big picture, so are our lives when it comes to human history. Yes, our time on Earth as a whole will end one day, but it likely won’t be any time soon. So even if one person dies and makes it seem as though their life was pointless, they live on in other ways: through children, writing, creating, etc. For my grandfather, the biggest thing for him in his life was his faith. It’s living on in his children and (most of) his grandchildren. Even if he isn’t aware of it, he still has an influence in the “smaller pictures” (as you said in your other comment) of the lives of his loved ones.

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        1. It’s from a reply I wrote back in 2015 to a list of questions for atheists: https://castinglargeshadows.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/questions-for-atheists/

          There’s seemingly a paradox in religious views of afterlives; in addition to taking an enormously big-picture view of “ultimate purpose”, they also take a very selfish individualistic view of life, as if their contribution to the universe is only valuable if they get eternal life in return. But each of us is really just an enormous colony of cells, which live and reproduce and die in order to maintain the existence of a greater whole. In the same way, each of us is a cell in the superorganism that is the human species, living and reproducing and dying in order to maintain its existence.

          Some of the most magnificent and hopeful experiences I’ve had involve this concept, and an incredibly vivid sense of how I’m just one part of an entire planetary biosphere, which has been living and changing for billions of years, and will continue to do so long after I am gone. Why should I want anything more than to marvel at the beauty of the reality that gave me life, and participate in the enjoyment and creation of its future? Why should my contributions mean anything less just because I will someday end? Why should I think that my life will outlast the stuff from which I am made?

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      2. I appreciate your love of life very much, and your subjective sense of purpose. I fear though, that this is not the ultimate conclusion of many atheists, and since it is completely subjective in that world view, it is very easy to conclude that some would have a great trouble finding meaning in a world they simply disappear from altogether. This has led to gross atrocities the world over, a vying for power, gross self gratification at the expense of other lives, or several instances of violent anarchist acts (Columbine, and Mao Zedong come to mind). I do agree however, that it is not merely a world of accidents. And while I also agree that hope can be found in reality, it would seem a fantasy to believe that non-organic stellar evolution through billions of years of random explosions has resulted in the order and intelligence enough to form a piece of art or compose music. You are referring to, with faith in this worldview, a necessary and continual violation of the first two laws of thermodynamics, then faith in abiogenesis, as well as the chemical evolution of our periodic table, all of which have never been observed, despite being searched for very very hard, and are fantasies. In this scenario, and ‘ultimate purpose for humanity’ would be simply to do whatever makes you happy. On a long enough timeline, any consequence from cheating on a loved one, to a holocaust is infinitesimal. I am glad you feel hope and peace, but as you are a random collection of subjective feelings and morality, here today and gone tomorrow, one must ask if they truly mean anything. What I suggest is not hope for truth, but instead hope IN truth.

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        1. Yes, our lives are unavoidably subjective. Everything you know is filtered through your senses and modeled in your brain, and so different people can take the same information and reach different conclusions. For example, Hitler stated he was doing the Lord’s work by killing the Jews. Just about every ideology has been used by evil men, including Christianity.

          I have no “faith in abiogenesis”. The origin of life has not yet been explained, so anyone claiming to know how it began is either lying or deluded. It seems likely that it had a natural cause, since every weird thing we have explained has been natural. But I make no claim to belief or “faith” in it…all we have so far are hypotheses, and we need more data to reach a conclusion.

          Neither does evolution require violation of the laws of thermodynamics. In fact, thermodynamics are precisely how evolution works. The entropy of an isolated system increases, but that process of decreasing entropy requires the use of energy, which is why the second law of thermodynamics is often described in terms of how much useful energy is available to do work. The work that energy does is what produces temporary reduction in entropy in one part of the universe at the expense of increased entropy in other places. The earth, you see, is not an isolated system. The sun pours energy into the system, and that energy can perform work, which lowers entropy on small scales in certain locations while increasing it overall.

          The evolution of the periodic table has certainly been observed…how do you think we managed to create all the transuranic elements? Not only can we observe elements being created in stars and flung into space by supernovas, but we can build machines based on our knowledge of stellar fusion that do the same thing on earth. We have achieved the alchemists’ dream of creating gold from other elements. We have created elements in laboratories that have only ever existed for a few milliseconds in supernovae. If our understanding of the evolution of matter was incorrect, none of that would be possible.

          Do my feelings “truly mean anything”? To me, they do. I don’t care that I’ll be gone tomorrow; I’m here today.

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          1. P.S. If someone has trouble finding meaning simply because they aren’t immortal, I would suggest there is something very wrong with their thinking. How meaningful a life is has nothing to do with how long it is.

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        2. I’m going to double-post here, because I remembered that I have an article on my blog that directly addresses the “ultimate meaning” that Christianity supposedly offers (but doesn’t really). Here is an excerpt:

          “Why would a subjective god-defined purpose for human life be inherently better than a subjective human-defined purpose? Is there really any difference between the two? How can there be, when we have no way to reliably contact and communicate with any deity? All purposes for human life, even the ones offered by Christianity, are defined by humans. The bible was written by humans, translated by humans, and is now read and interpreted by humans. Any purpose or hope or meaning it offers is just as subjective and human-defined as the purpose or hope or meaning offered by any other religion or philosophy.

          Christians sometimes claim that their religion gives a uniquely satisfying reason to live, yet I found it to be the opposite. I found that the promise of eternal life after death cheapens this life; it reduces meaning in this world rather than increasing it. If we are going to live forever, why does anything in this world matter? How does that give my life, here and now, a better purpose? All it did was make me want to leave this stupid and painful world and get on with the eternity part.

          On the other hand, if this life is all we get (and that is a reasonable assumption given the data we have), it would be much more precious. Don’t we value life because it ends? Isn’t it more satisfying to follow the unique purpose we desire, rather than being handed an absolute and globally uniform purpose by an authority figure?”

          https://castinglargeshadows.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/the-absurdity-of-an-ultimate-purpose/

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    2. When I said “The only problem with this is . . . it isn’t true,” I meant it isn’t true to me. I don’t believe in heaven. This might sound hopeless (and there are several additional reasons why it’s not, which Mason touched on), but I also don’t believe in hell. Heaven can’t be disproven, but it can’t be proven either (which I went on to say in my post). Neither of us know, but we believe different things. If there is ever proof of heaven, then I’ll believe in it.

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      1. I am glad you are not hopeless, and I feel a great well of feeling and depth inside you, just reading your entries. My heart does go out to you at this time of loss, and I hope you know as I wrote that I meant no disrespect at your family’s time of mourning. My prayer was fervent, and I wish you all the best in your studies and your journey.

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    3. // “The only problem with this is . . . it isn’t true.” To ‘know’ this would be to know everything beyond yourself, for one must admit the existence of a creator could lay outside of your knowledge.//

      The knowledge that god doesn’t exist, is down the complete and utter absence of any confirming evidence, it’s the same way that you know that every other mythical being doesn’t exist. Your god is not unique, it is one of a long line of imagined deities and other magical creatures. Human literature is full of them. One does not need to know everything beyond oneself to determine that.

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      1. Pertaining to the bible, its prophecies are fulfilled, its miracles are true and attested to, it is scientifically accurate, and its history and archaeology is verifiable down to the smallest detail. We thankfully have overwhelming evidence in history and in nature. Though I understand people can choose not to see it, or acknowledge it. Upon study, one would find that the God of the bible is in fact quite different than mythology, and the simple devised deities of peoples’ minds. He is also unique in His love and grace, the evidence of which is embedded in human history. I certainly allow for the freedom of choice to not believe, but it is an illogical conclusion one must cling to, if your premise is “I don’t know everything, but I know there isn’t a God”. If that is what you believe, then that is of course fine. Trees, geese, rocks, and atheists all don’t believe in God. This does not remove evidence and obviousness found in nature. And it is different than asserting “there is no God”. Many have sought to discredit the Resurrection, and come to faith in the Lord for its truth. And quite frankly, without God, again obvious in nature, an atheist must accept incredible explanations for everything. In my eyes, and based on evidence, it takes way more faith to be an atheist. But I appreciate your position.

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        1. Archaeology does not support the exodus from Egypt, nor the global flood, nor a couple million Hebrews wandering in the desert (zero trace of that), and in fact contradicts several parts of the bible, like cases where the stories reference a city that did not exist at the time the story supposedly took place (but DID exist hundreds of years later when the bible was actually written).

          2) There is nothing scientifically accurate about the bible. Science tells us it is impossible that the current human population of the world came from a single breeding pair, or even three pairs. The minimum estimated population during the most severe bottleneck in our past was at least a few hundred, and probably closer to a few thousand individuals.

          I’ve written a five-part series about a few ways the bible fails when held up against science, archaeology, and reality in general: https://castinglargeshadows.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/how-the-bible-goes-wrong-in-the-beginning/

          Finally, there is no faith involved in being an atheist, since atheism is simply answering “no” to the question: “Do you believe in any gods?”

          “When a Christian claims that I have faith just like they do, trying to make it seem like their sort of faith is rational, what they’re really saying is this: “You expect that things which have been demonstrated to be possible will continue happening in the same situations in which they have always happened before, and I have confidence in the existence of a suspiciously anthropomorphic deity that I pulled out of an ancient book, which is definitely real despite having no more supporting evidence than all the other deities I know to be imaginary. We’re practically the same!”

          Nope. Until you find me claiming confidence in the knowledge of something I cannot possibly know, I do not have faith in anything like the faith of Christians, and I consider it a psychological weakness, not something to be admired or encouraged. On this matter I strongly disagree with the bible itself, which praises belief without evidence.”

          https://castinglargeshadows.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/faith-vs-faith/

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        2. Here is an incomplete list of things that are either known to be false in the bible, or have no supporting evidence that the event actually happened; Adam and Eve, the tower of babel, global flood, people living well into hundreds of years, dude fighting an angel, dude riding to heaven on a chariot, a talking donkey, man healed of leprosy by washing in a river, a servants family being cursed with leprosy forever, a handful of food feeding thousands, the sun stopping in the sky, walking on water, a voice from heaven, a city wall falling due to trumpet blasts, the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years, people rising from the dead.

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          1. Your premise that these are known to be false is incorrect. Your assertion, mostly is that miracles are not possible. I understand and respect that as your position. My position is that we both believe in miracles. In my world view, God caused them, as He is able to work within His creation as He wills it. In yours, time, nothingness, matter, chemicals, all things with no intelligence or ambition have continuously defied incredible odds and performed miracles in order for you to be here. We both have faith. I would submit to you that if the first verse of the bible is true, then everything you just listed is possible. I do wish there was more evidence for the flood though. If we could only somehow discover millions of dead things buried by mud and water all over the earth, and verify it with flood legends from every ancient culture known to man…. hhhhmmm 😉

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            1. Here’s a very incomplete list of things that cannot be explained by your flood or fit into the young earth creationist’s timeline: Varves, the Green River Formation, ice cores, the sheer amount of buried biomass, ocean sediments, river deltas, caves, coral reefs, fossilized forests, plate tectonics, the higher elevation and older age of the continents compared to ocean floors, the sheer number of animal species that exist, angular unconformities, dolomite, massive deposits of salts via evaporation of ancient lakes and oceans, syntectonic deposits, huge amounts of chalk, offset of sediments along faultlines like the San Andreas, the amount of oil and coal in the earth’s crust, the mere existence of oil and coal, the absence of soft tissue in older fossils, early fossils found in gastroliths in the bellies of dinosaur fossils, the almost universal disarticulation of vertebrate fossil skeletons (complete articulated skeletons would indicate catastrophic burial), ancient sandstone that formed in deserts (not floods), the physical shape of the Grand Canyon, ancient stromatolites, concentrations of helium in zircons (which comes from radioactive decay), the changing chemistry of rocks over time, the nearly complete absence from the earth’s crust of elements like technetium (the most stable isotope has a half life of 4.2 million years), the current temperatures of huge masses of igneous rock (which would have taken millions of years to cool down), large metamorphic bodies, the sheer amount of volcanic deposits…

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            2. The odds of rolling six dice and getting a six on each one are pretty small…but precisely the same as rolling six dice and getting any other specific arrangement. “Incredible odds” are easy to beat when you have an even more incredible number of galaxies, each containing an incredible number of stars and even more incredible number of planets, each of which has an even more incredible number of random chemical reactions taking place.

              Even if the chance of life forming was 1 in 100 billion, we would still expect to find several trillion planets with life in the observable universe.

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            3. And even if the odds of life forming were as small as creationists often claim (using false data, spurious extrapolations, or just plain fabrication of numbers), all that would prove is that we’re one rare instance of the unlikely thing happening.

              Unlikely things happen all the time. Just not as often as things that are more likely.

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          2. “My position is that we both believe in miracles. In my world view, God …….. We both have faith.”

            When your position is one where you tell me what it is that I do or don’t believe, then it invariably wrong. This is an infuriating habit that I have noticed in Christians since ditching the faith. I now realise why Christians are so often seen as arrogant and obnoxious.

            Please do take the effort to learn what it is that others think, it is a much more productive method dialogue.

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        3. ” it takes way more faith to be an atheist”

          it’s not true, it’s easy being atheist, all it takes is a little bit of effort to question things for which there is not enough evidential support. the faith part is where the christian has to twist and mold their apologetics to fit the gaping holes in their fanciful stories.

          Take the resurrection for example, there is nothing there to support it, no evidence at all, only claims in a book which can’t be proven. It takes no faith at all to doubt that myth. All the faith is on those to continually profess it to be true into the screaming black abyss of their missing evidence.

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        4. There is no faith involved in being an atheist because it is nothing but answering “no” to the question, “Do you believe in any gods?”

          “When a Christian claims that I have faith just like they do, trying to make it seem like their sort of faith is rational, what they’re really saying is this: “You expect that things which have been demonstrated to be possible will continue happening in the same situations in which they have always happened before, and I have confidence in the existence of a suspiciously anthropomorphic deity that I pulled out of an ancient book, which is definitely real despite having no more supporting evidence than all the other deities I know to be imaginary. We’re practically the same!”

          Nope. Until you find me claiming confidence in the knowledge of something I cannot possibly know, I do not have faith in anything like the faith of Christians, and I consider it a psychological weakness, not something to be admired or encouraged. On this matter I strongly disagree with the bible itself, which praises belief without evidence.”

          https://castinglargeshadows.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/faith-vs-faith/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Good point.

            I would add that an atheist, if he or she is also a good skeptic, seeks evidence for his or hers beliefs. Chirstians, and there are plenty to quote, take god’s existence on faith, but faith is not a valid form of evidence. How do check out faith?

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  6. Yes, all the proselytising and the camaraderie associated with Christian belief can get up your nose – especially if you do no feel or share the faith as a Christian comrade. But as a humanist you will ask yourself why would I want to upset my Mum’s dogma at these moments of extreme tests of faith? What will I achieve? What is the outcome desired? I think respecting the attitude of others – especially family members and their expression of grief couched in these biblical, regal terms may be insulting to your intelligence or even promote a revulsion in your sensibilities but letting it slide affords you greater dignity and integrity in yo9ur world view and outlook. Life and death are mysteries emanating from the unknown and no-one as far as I’m concerned has a monopoly over the processes of grieving for loved ones.

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  7. So sorry to hear of the loss of the family members. It’s a difficult time no matter what your beliefs. I agree with judyt54, this is where she finds peace and solace and she will not see things differently no matter what you say, so probably best to let it be. As I have mentioned before we cannot prove or disprove God and an afterlife with him, so who knows, she may be right.

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  8. however she notified you, the point is, it gives her solace, and that’s as it should be. how WE feel at that point is our problem. This is one of those times when we (as atheists) have to take a deep breath and respect other people’s beliefs and wishes and behavior.

    It really doesnt solve anything, nor help anyone, if we were to launch into a (however gently put) diatribe about the existence or otherwise of God and the angels. Let your grampa reunite with his wife, let him find his old friends.

    And I truly think anyone who believes as firmly as your mother really would be more upset if someone tried to change her mind. And to what purpose? She’s comfortable with it. Let it be.

    Tell you a secret. I miss the idea of heaven. I miss the comforting sense that there’s a place to go after I die. Really. And once you’ve lost that sense, it doesn’t come back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that it can come back. I was once an unbeliever and now I do believe. I know you probably don’t wan to hear it, but I am praying that you one day find that place where you once were and where you can believe in the great afterlife of Heaven again. 🙂 ❤

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      1. Even as a Christian, I was never quite comfortable with the idea of eternal life. It was with great relief that I accepted the obvious reality that our consciousness ends when our brains cease to function. I don’t care that I will end at some point; why should I, when everything has an end? That’s just how the universe works. I am a brief arrangement of matter with the ability to think, inconsequential in the big picture, but there are smaller pictures too, and those are what we live for.

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  9. I’m very sorry to hear that. You may not be able to tell your mother that you’re an atheist, but someone really ought to have words with her if she thinks it’s appropriate to break such news to her children by text. Or am I just getting too old?

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