79 thoughts on “If people truly believed…

  1. Ooh…I get to be first to comment.
    Islamic extremists might be cheering just before they join the virgins.
    I have a feeling that those that disagree with this will tell you it’s because those left behind have no Proper’ faith, or somesuch.


  2. The question is of course, why god would create death in the first place. If (s)he intends us to be immortal, why not creating us as immortals? Why can we only be immortal in the after-life?


    • That is PRECISELY the question i’d like to hear a theist answer. So far, no luck. Why “create” organic life that decays and rots when clearly it wasn’t required… not if you believe in a supernal reality where the milk is always warm and sweetened with unicorn honey.


    • You’re not looking at the big picture, are you~?

      Just as a chicken is an egg’s way of begetting another egg, so we immortals must pass through the earthly (it means mortal) conditioning phases to prepare us for our immortality. The iron must pas through the flame to beget the steel … (like it? I got lots more of ’em).


      • Oh, I do like that a lot. You’re not really a Pom/Kiwi, are you, Sensei? I’m thinking you perhaps live on a volcano, somewhere up on the northern tip of Hokkaido, correct?


      • It’s basic drivel, anyone can (just did, in fact) do it.

        I’ve also used ad nauseam the simple question: “Did the perfect artificer create an imperfect product?” (Paralleling Kyayyam’s “What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake!”)

        It’s obvious enough to us but the poor religiosi need it pointed out to them that the whole kit and kaboodle is entirely pointless … unless of course I was right when I stated that God is nowt more than a sadist on a cosmic scale.

        Still no bites, or takers … I dunno why we bovver, Guv~!

        And no, if I lived on any other Pacific island it would be Atafu. (I did climb the highest mountain there, once—and without oxygen). For a month at most, after which I’d be frantically lashing coconuts together and knitting sails from palm leaves …


      • Before it looks like I’m bragging about my athletic prowess, that mountain was approx sixteen feet to the summit …


  3. You keep coming up with the same questions I have! I’ll bet you don’t wonder about this one: if Muslim men make women cover their hair, face, body with a veil (Shadour?) because they don’t want to be overwhelmed by passion, why do they make the ugly women wear it, too? Ah, religion, a boundless supply of idiocies.


    • I can answer that: Muslim men are equal opportunity assholes! 🙂

      “A boundless supply of idiocies” indeed! Imagine if you or i started dancing and hollering and celebrating at a funeral. I mean going crazy; running up and down the aisles, setting off firecrackers and singing happy songs. People would think us nuts, right, and yet dancing and hollering and celebrating at a funeral should be the behaviour if these people actually truly, honestly believed their supernal religious promises. Odd.


  4. Some cultures do celebrate death but they are usually the ones who have suffered at the hands of others while in this life. And some may not show their jubilation when a rich old uncle passes on but they’re dancing a jig inside. 😉


    • True, the Irish kick up a song and dance, and there’s nothing quite like that rich uncle…. Or perhaps first cousin in the case of Walter Samaszko Jr. and his $7 million in hoarded gold. What a story!


  5. I suppose there is the thought that they’re not going to see them for a very long time, but, like you, I suspect that people do not really believe in their religion.


  6. Helloo I’m not a theology grad student or anything, but I have thought about this question too! I did a short piece on my own understanding, semi-inspired by a sermon that I can dig up if you want to have a listen.

    Don’t get your hopes up or be too critical though, hahaha; it’s not exactly a systematic or comprehensive explanation, just some thoughts 🙂


    • Thanks for the link, but i have to say, “We mourn because death is not natural. It is the unnatural consequence of sin” has to be two of the oddest sentences i’ve ever read.


      • Lol, yeah it’s kind of a funny way to think about it, huh. I can’t speak for Islam, but I know Christians believe in something called the ‘first death’ and ‘second death’. Not sure i’m completely right here, correct me if I’m wrong if you’re more knowledgeable about theology, but I think this death business is a result of the fall of man. Something bad happened when Adam sinned–man essentially obeyed the devil, which let the devil gain some ground on what happens on earth (varying views on exactly how bad things came about, but this is how I think of it). The devil wants people to die because god loves people and the devil hates god, and this indeed happens–people die. God isn’t too concerned with this first death because people get a second chance with Jesus, whose death represents the second death, so he lets it happen. But it’s still kind of a bummer that it happens–the devil is pretty much just not good, and him making people die still sucks anyway. Wow, sorry for the theology lesson; I hope you get a better sense of why those sentences go together to the Christian person though.


      • Quite on the contrary; theology is painfully easy to understand. Interpreting Iron Age myths in such a way that they make sense to a person who wants them to make sense is perhaps the simplest trick around. In the end though, it’s just words: nothing more, nothing less. Word games.

        So tell me, do you actually believe in Adam and Eve, or do you believe the story more an allegorical work? If the latter, what system do you use to distinguish between allegory and fact?


  7. I agree leaving one’s body is a time of celebration. The West doesn’t do that well.

    Regardless, it’s hard to say goodbye, even when a child grows up and moves away in marriage and career, when a friend moves to Paris, when a father in pain is finally taken off life support and free at last.


    • Loss of a loved one or trusted animal friend is horrible. The true believer should, though, be pleased, not sad. They should have no doubts. The fact that most grieve is proof they don’t really believe. Not really.

      Have you ever read, Gods Debris? Here’s an extract:

      “Very few people believe in God,” he replied.
      I didn’t see how he could deny the obvious. “Of course
      they do. Billions of people believe in God.”
      The old man leaned toward me, resting a blanketed
      elbow on the arm of his rocker.
      “Four billion people say they believe in God, but few
      genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would
      live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich
      people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone
      would be frantic to determine which religion was the true
      one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they
      might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into
      eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other
      unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives
      to converting others to their religions.
      “A belief in God would demand one hundred percent
      obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of
      this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers
      do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few.
      The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an
      earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the
      underlying reality.”


      • He’s confusing religion with belief in God and probably doesn’t know Buddhists are atheists. Someone who doesn’t believe or know something can’t qualify it. Like men saying they know what it’s like to give birth.

        Knowing God doesn’t make one perfect. Life is a process, like a good master painting.

        Hypocrisy abounds. That’s why humans die of preventable disease and car crashes.

        And I still cry sometimes over my dead cat. It was torture to euthanize her though I know for a fact it ended her pain.

        I guess I’m not as much as an idealist as I used to be. When I started meditating years ago, I thought it’d cure some of my personality quirks. It did only to un layer hundreds more ; )

        Religious don’t have the corner on self defeating dogma and petty tyranny. Humans do.


  8. Having spent a few of my early years in church I always wondered why it wasn’t a celebration; ala Bon Voyage sort of affair when one of the congregation passed on to heaven. I always assumed that they actually went to hell because of something everyone “knew” the deceased had done in life but never discussed openly. Their tears gave it away that they all knew and it was no secret. The kids in attendance would only scratch their heads and wonder why there was no singing and rejoicing… Maybe that would seem weird and you might actually look forward to dying? Who knows.

    An inspired and inspiring post/meme nonetheless signore. Thank you.


  9. My great grandmother died when I was a little kid. At her funeral, looking at everyone crying around me, I remember wondering the same thing. “Why is everyone so sad? Shouldn’t we be happy?”
    Thought the same thing about how shitty the world is. If people really think we’re headed for self-destruction, and God’s going to come eventually, anyway, why do we stress so much about fixing things? The sooner we destroy this place the better!
    Guess it all comes down to the lack of proof upon which religion is built. Sure, people have their faith. But faith can only go so far — hence, people cry at funerals. We all crave certainty, but certainty (outside of the physical limitations of the earth) we have none.


    • Not the devil, Eve! It was all Eve’s fault. I guess that’s what happens when you fashion something out of a rib and some mud. My dad always said, “Son, don’t trust a dirty rib… they’ll damn an entire universe just for a grape.”


  10. Ah, I’ve been away from WordPress for far too long… nice to come back and find you to put a smile back on my face.

    This one raises a couple of interesting points… apart from the immediately obvious. Firstly, how is it that it’s the atheists who are more able to respond to death by celebrating life. And secondly, why do gods need us to die before we can live an immortal life – what a sadistic and sad thing to enforce upon your people.


    • I was wondering where you’d disappeared to. Hope you’ve been well.

      Not sure if atheists are any better at responding to death than theists (the loss is just the same), but there is a greater emphasis on the urgency of life which is perhaps not shared by the theist.

      As per your second question, that is a logical fallacy which I’d like to hear a theist answer, too. In fact, we can go back even further in the whole idea and ask the question: why create the physical universe at all? Surely the supernal wonderland was ideal…


      • Ah, a new job and struggling with my novel… they’ve stolen me away from my blog. I’m going to try to spend more time back here though. Good to see you’re still on form.


  11. We had fabulous parties for each of my parents when they died. After the Humanist ceremony we celebrated the wonderful life each had led. For my Mum we lit fireworks as she had come in to the world to the sound of fireworks (on 5th November) and wanted to leave her one, beautiful life in the same way. 🙂


  12. @JZ

    “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; […]

    Regarding your post a few days ago about how Atheists believe in nothing.

    So christians are quote-mining Thomas Paine for their silly sayings.

    Thomas Paine….

    I find their choice of who to dopplegang amusing. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s