"When I die and I discover there is nothing there and I cease to exist, it's okay."

One priest mentor of mine told us during a retreat trying to explain why he believes that Christianity should dump a complete focus on the afterlife. He said that following Jesus should be done for its own sake and not for an eternal reward, and he admits the possibility that the images of the afterlife are nothing more than pious metaphor. Or to use theologian Rosemary Ruether's view, we only exist after death as memories in God's mind, and there is no actual literal afterlife.

Is that satisfactory from a Christian perspective, do you think, do we need a literal afterlife for the faith, or is resurrection simply a metaphor?
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Comments

  • To me it’s essential to the faith that I have the hope of eternal life in God’s kingdom of love, a kingdom that’s built on earth as it is in heaven as long as we love one another. It’s not that I see it as a reward, but a natural progression.

    Of course, we won’t know until the time comes, and the images we have built up in literature and art are limited to that which we can grasp in our imaginations, whether they are created out of them or ‘given’ to some people in dreams and visions.
  • That title gave me a shock, but I would add, it might not be OK! I mean, my feelings about it are irrelevant. By the way, it's odd to say you die and then discover X. There is no more discovering.
  • Like @Raptor Eye I consider the existence of the afterlife a fundamental part of the faith. Jesus flat out told us we could be with him in Heaven. I am not willing to accept that he lied about it. However, I do agree with the priest mentor that following Jesus should be done for its own sake and not for any reward. We should do good simply because it is the right thing to do and not because we did a cost-benefit analysis and decided in our self-interest it was the most beneficial course to take.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Or to use theologian Rosemary Ruether's view, we only exist after death as memories in God's mind, and there is no actual literal afterlife.

    Of course, in Genesis 1 all of creation is simply an idea in God's mind. The fact that God thinks it makes it real.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    If we’re following Jesus for a reward we’ve got things back to front. Life and life abundantly is God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ. Following Jesus is our response to God’s love for us made real in Jesus.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    As long as there's one child born to carry on(to carry on, to carry on...)
  • Pascal's Wager is all about the idea that it's worth living for Christ in this life even if there turns out not to be a next one, isn't it?

    Where this falls down for me, though, is that no matter how hard I try, I can't make sense of the Christian faith if this life is all there is.

    If the promises of ultimate restoration and healing, of a true Home, are no more than simply vain promises, we might piously feel good about our Christian selves now, but we are deluded, and, as Paul says, to be pitied most among all men.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Pascal's Wager is all about the idea that it's worth living for Christ in this life even if there turns out not to be a next one, isn't it?

    Not so much that it's worth it, but it's your least dangerous risk.

    If you believe in God, but there is no God, okay, you've wasted a bit of your time with religion, but nothing bad will happen to you after you die.

    OTOH if you disbelieve in God, but there IS a God, you're gonna be in a shitload of trouble when you die.

    So, best to believe in God, and if you're wrong, no huge loss. And if you're right, eternal reward.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Personally I don’t mind oblivion on death.

    Maybe it’s lack of imagination on my part, but I can’t envisage a heaven that works.
  • It just omits the problem of getting to belief, if you don't have it.
  • I'm having very unworthy suspicions here, and should probably be ignored altogether. Fair warning!

    There is a temptation (I know, because I've often felt it. Not going to tell you if I acted on it! :mrgreen: ) to sound nobler-than-thou by refusing a perfectly legitimate treat that everyone else is looking forward to--be that an ice cream sundae, or heaven. And of course it sounds very noble to disclaim any interest in an afterlife, the resurrection, the new heaven and new earth, etc. on the grounds that one should love Christ for who he is (of course we should) and that we shouldn't need bribes to follow Jesus (of course we shouldn't).

    But the fact remains that he did make these promises, these very LAVISH promises, and presumably he did it knowing full well what effect it would have on us. And judged it still worth making the promises.

    So yeah, I think it's fine to look forward to heaven/the resurrection/the new heavens and new earth. And I don't think it does me any good to be high-minded (or pretend to be high-minded, as everyone on the Ship knows otherwise by this point). And I think altering historic Christianity to look high-minded is a major mistake, besides probably bugging the fuck out of God--who presumably knew what he was promising, and disapproves of editors.
  • Personally, the 'rest' part of 'eternal rest' sounds pretty good right now. If that's oblivion, then yes, I'm okay with that.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited February 19
    Oh goodness no @Lamb Chopped, that’s not me - I never refuse treats!

    I lack belief and imagination - I don’t lack the ability to enjoy life.
  • ZoeZoe Shipmate
    I think I come at the whole thing from a somewhat-similar, somewhat-different perspective to Anglican Brat's priest. I don't know whether or not I believe Christianity is true in the sense of being scientifically and historically accurate (whether there's a deity in existence somewhere, whether that Jesus bloke in first century Palestine was part of a deity and/or performed miracles, etc, etc). At times in the past, I was massively concerned as to whether Christianity is true in those senses or not, but trying to work out the answers about that just completely did my head in with very little or no benefit. On a related note, I ain't got a clue what happens to anybody when they die. Personally, I'd be fine with oblivion (I wouldn't be conscious of ceasing to exist, so I wouldn't be able to mind it, would I?) or with some version of heaven / paradise. I used to be terrified at the very real-feeling prospect of eternal, conscious suffering, but if the universe is really being run by a despot who would inflict that on millions of souls just because they believed the wrong things while on earth - well, me being terrified about it isn't going to do much good or change such a messed-up way things are at all, is it? So I've come to the conclusion that a Christianity based on Christ and on a God of love is true in that it makes sense of the world for me and is a helpful framework for me to live the best ways I can - that's why I try to follow it, not because I'm confident in any particular beliefs about the afterlife or how my experience of any afterlife may be dependent on what I think and say and do now.
  • Jesus' morality was no different from the world's morality: the appendix to "An Experiment in Criticism" makes this clear. If all we have of Jesus is a good moral teacher, there's no reason to be Christian at all. And even then we have to strip away all the things he says about the afterlife to get down to the merely moral teachings themselves, an exercise in circular reasoning if there ever was one. Paul was accused of preaching of two new gods in Athens: Jesus, and Resurrection. I don't think leaving out the afterlife is satisfactory from a Christian perspective. I don't think it's the Gospel at all.
  • I just want to see all those people who teased me or made fun or just dissed me real bad, I want to see them punished in the next life. I want to sit on Judgement Day with Jesus, ( on a panel I guess) , and see those awful people get their comeuppance.
    "Eternal viewing of repeats of MASH episodes"
    And other sentences handed out like that.
    That will be my reward. Watching that for being such a nice guy in this life.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    (Singing)
    My object all sublime
    I shall achieve in time--
    To let the punishment fit the crime--
    The punishment fit the crime;
    And make each prisoner pent
    Unwillingly represent
    A source of innocent merriment!
    Of innocent merriment!
  • ZoeZoe Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Jesus' morality was no different from the world's morality: the appendix to "An Experiment in Criticism" makes this clear. If all we have of Jesus is a good moral teacher, there's no reason to be Christian at all. And even then we have to strip away all the things he says about the afterlife to get down to the merely moral teachings themselves, an exercise in circular reasoning if there ever was one. Paul was accused of preaching of two new gods in Athens: Jesus, and Resurrection. I don't think leaving out the afterlife is satisfactory from a Christian perspective. I don't think it's the Gospel at all.

    If this is addressed to my previous post -
    I don't try to live as though Jesus was a good moral teacher and did not say anything to that effect in my post. I try (to the best of my not-great ability) to follow Christianity - a trinitarian religion in which the Jesus Christ who was wandering round first century Palestine was and is the second person of the godhead and in which God confers his grace onto humankind via sacraments and yadda, yadda, yadda. The fact that I at some level believe this to be true and think it makes me live a better life than I otherwise would does not equate to me having great confidence in its scientific or historical accuracy. I would say I'm sorry that you don't think where I'm at is satisfactory from a Christian perspective, but actually I'm not sorry because I'm entirely unfussed. I think as much as I am following the Gospel, it's redemptive in my life. I just still got no clue or confidence regarding what will happen when I die but continue to think living the best life I can at the moment is preferable to wallowing in self-pity wasting all my time worrying if I'm going to a hell of eternal, conscious torment.
  • (Singing):
    My object all sublime
    I shall achieve in time--
    To let the punishment fit the crime--
    The punishment fit the crime;
    And make each prisoner pent
    Unwillingly represent
    A source of innocent merriment!
    Of innocent merriment!
    :lol:

    Actually, it was the words to “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table” that came into my mind:

    “I’m gonna tell God how you treat me,
    I’m gonna tell God how you treat me one of these days.”

    One priest mentor of mine told us during a retreat trying to explain why he believes that Christianity should dump a complete focus on the afterlife.
    I would agree that anyone who has a “complete focus” on the afterlife should dump it. But there’s a lot of space between focusing completely on the afterlife and seeing the resurrection as just a metaphor.

    I aim to focus on this life and try (incompletely more often than not) to live as Jesus would have me live—loving God and loving neighbor. Beyond that, I trust Jesus with what’s next.

  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    One priest mentor of mine told us during a retreat trying to explain why he believes that Christianity should dump a complete focus on the afterlife. He said that following Jesus should be done for its own sake and not for an eternal reward, and he admits the possibility that the images of the afterlife are nothing more than pious metaphor. Or to use theologian Rosemary Ruether's view, we only exist after death as memories in God's mind, and there is no actual literal afterlife.

    Is that satisfactory from a Christian perspective, do you think, do we need a literal afterlife for the faith, or is resurrection simply a metaphor?

    The Priest is in the wrong job.

    In any case "When I die how would I discover there is nothing there and I cease to exist."

  • I just want to see all those people who teased me or made fun or just dissed me real bad, I want to see them punished in the next life. I want to sit on Judgement Day with Jesus, ( on a panel I guess) , and see those awful people get their comeuppance.
    "Eternal viewing of repeats of MASH episodes"
    And other sentences handed out like that.
    That will be my reward. Watching that for being such a nice guy in this life.

    I've mentioned this before, but if you really want to get thinking about this kind of thing, I recommend Steven L. Peck's A Short Stay in Hell (reviews here and here).
  • I just want to see all those people who teased me or made fun or just dissed me real bad, I want to see them punished in the next life. I want to sit on Judgement Day with Jesus, ( on a panel I guess) , and see those awful people get their comeuppance.
    "Eternal viewing of repeats of MASH episodes"
    And other sentences handed out like that.
    That will be my reward. Watching that for being such a nice guy in this life.

    I can just feel Jesus rolling his eyes now...

    I'd ask whether there truly was anybody on earth who felt this way, but after four years of Trump, I'm uneasily aware that people are far more terrible than even I knew.

  • Zoe wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Jesus' morality was no different from the world's morality: the appendix to "An Experiment in Criticism" makes this clear. If all we have of Jesus is a good moral teacher, there's no reason to be Christian at all. And even then we have to strip away all the things he says about the afterlife to get down to the merely moral teachings themselves, an exercise in circular reasoning if there ever was one. Paul was accused of preaching of two new gods in Athens: Jesus, and Resurrection. I don't think leaving out the afterlife is satisfactory from a Christian perspective. I don't think it's the Gospel at all.

    If this is addressed to my previous post -
    I don't try to live as though Jesus was a good moral teacher and did not say anything to that effect in my post. I try (to the best of my not-great ability) to follow Christianity - a trinitarian religion in which the Jesus Christ who was wandering round first century Palestine was and is the second person of the godhead and in which God confers his grace onto humankind via sacraments and yadda, yadda, yadda. The fact that I at some level believe this to be true and think it makes me live a better life than I otherwise would does not equate to me having great confidence in its scientific or historical accuracy. I would say I'm sorry that you don't think where I'm at is satisfactory from a Christian perspective, but actually I'm not sorry because I'm entirely unfussed. I think as much as I am following the Gospel, it's redemptive in my life. I just still got no clue or confidence regarding what will happen when I die but continue to think living the best life I can at the moment is preferable to wallowing in self-pity wasting all my time worrying if I'm going to a hell of eternal, conscious torment.

    If I had been referring to you, I would have quoted you or tagged you.
  • Read the OP hours ago. Came back. And it just came to me. All we can know is... there's nothing. That's what we know. We'd like it to be otherwise. And if Jesus is the real deal, it is. Meanwhile, as yer Greeks asked themselves, how then are we to live? Regardless? Yer Aristotle's eudaimonism in 'is Nicomachean Ethics. We are to live as if He were the real deal. Ethically. Not wah hoo I'm saved. He certainly was the real deal ethically, in the 400 years of stories, which is why He's credible as God. But when in doubt, seek to do something decent. It helps, believe me. Enlightened self interest.
  • I accept heaven - because I trust Jesus, and His life and recorded words are the basis and definition of the 'good' that I try to do. But I sometimes find it motivating to imagine that there's no heaven (wooo-hoooo, ooooh). What if the Good only lives on in me, and you, and this short life is our only, brief, finite opportunity to revel in it? That when we are gone we'll never again have a chance to take part in Love; it will be up to our children, and theirs, but our part will be over. What if we realised at the moment of death we had forgotten to take part?

    That's not a very biblical view, but I find it motivating.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Am I alone in being irked by the suggestion in the title that we can "discover" there's nothing after death when we die? If death is the end we will never actually know it, because we won't exist to do the knowing.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Am I alone in being irked by the suggestion in the title that we can "discover" there's nothing after death when we die? If death is the end we will never actually know it, because we won't exist to do the knowing.

    I thought that odd also. "And it turns out" makes more sense. Because if I cease to exist, I won't discover squat because there won't be no me to be discovering.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Am I alone in being irked by the suggestion in the title that we can "discover" there's nothing after death when we die? If death is the end we will never actually know it, because we won't exist to do the knowing.

    @quetzalcoatl raised the point in the third post.
  • I accept heaven - because I trust Jesus, and His life and recorded words are the basis and definition of the 'good' that I try to do. But I sometimes find it motivating to imagine that there's no heaven (wooo-hoooo, ooooh). What if the Good only lives on in me, and you, and this short life is our only, brief, finite opportunity to revel in it? That when we are gone we'll never again have a chance to take part in Love; it will be up to our children, and theirs, but our part will be over. What if we realised at the moment of death we had forgotten to take part?

    That's not a very biblical view, but I find it motivating.

    I find it exciting. This is it.
  • Lamb Chopped wrote:
    I'm having very unworthy suspicions here, and should probably be ignored altogether. Fair warning!

    Like hell I'm going to ignore a post starting with that!!!
    BroJames wrote: »
    If we’re following Jesus for a reward we’ve got things back to front. Life and life abundantly is God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ. Following Jesus is our response to God’s love for us made real in Jesus.

    That's where I am. Life, and life abundantly.

    Easter makes no sense without a reality different to this one.
  • I've actually told God repeatedly that if He's not there I'm going to be so annoyed.
  • demasdemas Shipmate
    This is all rather individualistic isn't it.

    What I believe about my future. I personally wouldn't mind oblivion. But Jesus promised me eternal life! etc, etc, etc.

    But that's not the way we approach death, really. We approach it as the great destroyer of relationships. Our children, our parents, our lovers, our friends. Taken from our sight. "I will never again hear my grandfather's stories, because he is dead." "I will never again hold my child's hand, for she is gone." This is death's sting.

    No matter how stoic we might be, or pretend to be, death (like sin) tears at the ties which connect us all together.

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @Anglican Brat reluctant as I suppose I should be to diss your priest mentor, I agree that we shouldn't just be trying to follow Jesus because we want to die clean and win the prize - though even that motive is better than not trying at all. All the same I think he is completely wrong. There are three reasons at least.

    First, and most importantly, his view is in direct conflict with what Jesus both said and did. He was very explicit that the Sadducees were wrong in their negative belief that there was no afterlife. He brought people back from the dead and he rose from the dead himself.

    A church that chooses to abandon a core feature of what Jesus says, what he did and who he is, is on a hiding to nothing.

    Second, everything that @Lamb Chopped has said about being nobler-than-thou and pretending to be more high-minded than God.

    Third, I don't think trying to follow teaching is enough. It's my experience that at the core of Christian faith is that at least sometimes, we do enjoy a foretaste, even if only a smidgeon of a foretaste, of eternal life, the kingdom of heaven here, in the now.


    I also agree with all those who have pointed out the obvious logical flaw that if there is no life after death, when we get there, we will none of us have a consciousness to know. 😛

  • If the dead stay dead then none of us has anything to worry about other than the verdict of (family) history.

    In this respect, Christianity is, at minimum, insurance in the event of the resurrection of all humanity. The registration fee is zero, but the annual subscription is everything you’ve got, Luke 14:33.

    Other belief systems are available. (Apparently there are more male-centric offers involving 72 virgins or angels or wives, depending on the translation - always read the small print). Feel free to compare the market.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    demas wrote: »
    We approach it as the great destroyer of relationships. Our children, our parents, our lovers, our friends. Taken from our sight. "I will never again hear my grandfather's stories, because he is dead." "I will never again hold my child's hand, for she is gone." This is death's sting.

    No. They are all waiting for us at the table of the Heavenly Banquet, where they have saved a place for us. It's pot luck: my mother's homemade chicken soup, my grandmother's homemade lasagna (she rolled the dough herself -- no store bought noodles for her), my cousin's lemon meringue pie.

    Or so we are comforted by thinking. In reality, I'm beginning to wonder more and more if Wordsworth had it backwards. Not "Out birth is but a sleep and a forgetting" but rather our death is.
  • Isn't death also a relief? I don't mean because of heaven. I'm tired.
  • To go with the proposition in the OP, I'd have to accept that it would be okay for Jesus to have been wrong - or lying when he talked about only teaching what the Father had given him to say. Or what he taught about the afterlife eg, the heavenly banquet, the judgement, the wedding feast etc. And similarly, either deluded or lying about his claims to the peculiar authority he claimed as Son of Man, and Messiah.

    It would trash a very large amount of his teaching - the rewards of those who practice their piety in secret eg, all the parables about the return of the Landowner to judge his servants and reward them accordingly, the sheep and the goats, the invitation of the most unlikely people to the heavenly marriage feast, the conversations with rabbis about the marriage relationship, the power structure of who sits where in heaven, the timing of the Second Coming - to name but a few. Even allowing that much (though probably not all) of that teaching could still be used as metaphor in other ways, Jesus was quite directly teaching these things as literally real, and these were to be taken as a whole package, giving authority to any separate moral teaching in terms of everyday living in the present life. If we disbelieve the Messianic identity of Christ which justified all that side of his life and work, then Jesus is, of course, just a good, but flawed teacher, with a fairly serious delusions of grandeur complex.

    'Christ' is the title - job description - we give Jesus because we believe he is the Anointed of the Supernatural God who promises the new heaven and the new earth, judgement, afterlife etc. So if we don't believe in afterlife, there can be no Messiah, no Christ in our thinking - that part of the job description of Jesus of Nazareth doesn't work. While I feel it's possible for a Marxist to be a Marxist without believing essentially all that Marx taught, believed and claimed for himself, I think that probably doesn't work with Christ and calling oneself a Christian. I could be a Jesus follower. But if I'm a Christian, then logically it's because I believe in the Christ (Messiah) who sits at the right hand of God and whose coming again has been foretold, and who taught the things recorded of him etc.

    Of course, I know it's not as straightforward as that! If only!
  • The following are words associated with the Jesuit Francis Xavier. They might not be quite suitable for today's Christians, but for me there is something worthwhile in them.
    We have here an English translation of Xavier's ideas based already on a Latin and a Spanish poem.

    My God, I love thee not because I hope for Heaven thereby
    Nor because they who love thee not must burn eternally

    The why, o blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love thee well
    Not for the hope of winning Heaven nor of escaping Hell

    E'en so I love thee and will love and in thy praise will sing
    Solely because thou art my God and my eternal King.

    Of course we can admire the human and moral qualities in the teachings of Jesus and yes, we can attempt to follow these without necessarily believing that Jesus is indeed the Son of God but without a belief in the promises of New Life given by Christ we are not really Christians, even though we may be numbered amongst those trying to apply the teachings of Christ in our daily life.

    Anglican Brat's priest is right to say that we have to focus here on earth on our attempts to follow the teachings of love of God and love of neighbour, but if we leave the teachings of New and eternal Life aside, what is really the use of Anglican Brat's priest's priesthood ?
    It would certainly mean that the various discussions here on these boards about the 'real Truth' of the Gospels are useless as indeed the value of any religious denomination whether it claims to be the one true Church or even just a part of the one true Church is only a vain and fondly imagined thing.
  • demas wrote: »
    What I believe about my future. I personally wouldn't mind oblivion. But Jesus promised me eternal life! etc, etc, etc.

    This is a really unjust caricature.
  • demas wrote: »

    But that's not the way we approach death, really. We approach it as the great destroyer of relationships. Our children, our parents, our lovers, our friends. Taken from our sight. "I will never again hear my grandfather's stories, because he is dead." "I will never again hold my child's hand, for she is gone." This is death's sting.

    No matter how stoic we might be, or pretend to be, death (like sin) tears at the ties which connect us all together.

    I agree with this, it's important. But - we must be matter-of-fact (as, thank God, my mother has always been, thinking right back to the earliest frightened memories I have as a small child of asking her about it) as it is coming, and has come, and many people better than me have faced it bravely and squarely. I am comforted by the thought that the Meaning I want to impute in all those lost relationships, comes for me with the acceptance of the framework of faith, which in turn comes with a promise of heaven which I do not understand and cannot witness to.

    I'm being a little cautious, as I am afraid that for someone with no faith and perhaps no hope, any sense of smugness or bullshit from someone with such hope would be very unhelpful. I expect I am failing, but I am conscious of it.


  • demas wrote: »

    But that's not the way we approach death, really. We approach it as the great destroyer of relationships. Our children, our parents, our lovers, our friends. Taken from our sight. "I will never again hear my grandfather's stories, because he is dead." "I will never again hold my child's hand, for she is gone." This is death's sting.

    No matter how stoic we might be, or pretend to be, death (like sin) tears at the ties which connect us all together.

    I agree with this, it's important. But - we must be matter-of-fact (as, thank God, my mother has always been, thinking right back to the earliest frightened memories I have as a small child of asking her about it) as it is coming, and has come, and many people better than me have faced it bravely and squarely. I am comforted by the thought that the Meaning I want to impute in all those lost relationships, comes for me with the acceptance of the framework of faith, which in turn comes with a promise of heaven which I do not understand and cannot witness to.

    I'm being a little cautious, as I am afraid that for someone with no faith and perhaps no hope, any sense of smugness or bullshit from someone with such hope would be very unhelpful. I expect I am failing, but I am conscious of it.


    Does someone without hope (in an afterlife) or faith have a distinct advantage? Many hopes are dashed and faith is always tested, sometimes to breaking point. The most common experience of prayer is that it goes unanswered. Believers face bereavement and loss, same as anyone. Even St Paul “despaired of life itself” 2 Corinthians 1:8
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited February 21
    I imagine it depends on one's temperament. My hope isn't in seeing things fulfilled so much as it is in the character and faithfulness of God. So loss, etc doesn't destroy me.
  • And the good news is that temperament isn’t fixed. It gets tempered by events whether we like it or not. Usually not.
  • demas wrote: »
    This is all rather individualistic isn't it.

    What I believe about my future. I personally wouldn't mind oblivion. But Jesus promised me eternal life! etc, etc, etc.

    But that's not the way we approach death, really. We approach it as the great destroyer of relationships. Our children, our parents, our lovers, our friends. Taken from our sight. "I will never again hear my grandfather's stories, because he is dead." "I will never again hold my child's hand, for she is gone." This is death's sting.

    No matter how stoic we might be, or pretend to be, death (like sin) tears at the ties which connect us all together.

    Yes, the loss of death needs to be acknowledged. I see the funeral service as an essential element of the grieving process for this reason.

    A simple cremation ‘with no fuss or tears’ as is being encouraged by some will leave many, I think, with a feeling that there is something unfinished.

    A Christian funeral needs to accept the tears of pain and also the tears of joy, not only for past joys but for the hope of future joys. It should help us to balance life relationships, living alongside each other, with acceptance of death: as shown to the disciples through friendship, the cross and the resurrection.

  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    A simple cremation ‘with no fuss or tears’ as is being encouraged by some will leave many, I think, with a feeling that there is something unfinished.

    You've noticed those adverts, too?

    Even for non-believers I would doubt, in most cases, the advisability of having no specific ceremony to properly and communally grieve and acknowledge the loss of a loved one. Not giving the next of kin a properly solemn moment of facing the harsh reality of the bereavement, in the context of supportive friends has surely been one of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic. And yet these ads seem to promote this as a good thing. I get that the ad shows a happy party on the beach, as if that is somehow the replacement of the funeral ceremony. But it seems like a very messy, mixed up, unhelpfully jolly approach to the reality of death.

    And I always think the 'no tears' bit would be rather a slap in the face of the deceased! Or does the ghostly cartoon dead-Dad intend to go round haunting his loved ones if they have a cry at his departure? An implication of the advert is that he wasn't worth having a cry over. Otherwise, it just conflates the enjoyment of the wake or funeral 'do' with the equally necessary moment of a more solemn acknowledgement of saying goodbye to the remains, having permission to grieve publicly.

  • Even for non religious types you can rent a hall and lay out food and drink and have people stand up and propose toasts to the departed and say good things about them. This serves as a type of closure (my experience having been to more than one of these events).
  • I just want to see all those people who teased me or made fun or just dissed me real bad, I want to see them punished in the next life. I want to sit on Judgement Day with Jesus, ( on a panel I guess) , and see those awful people get their comeuppance.
    "Eternal viewing of repeats of MASH episodes"
    And other sentences handed out like that.
    That will be my reward. Watching that for being such a nice guy in this life.
    During my long(ish) life I have known people, two in particular, who stored resentement and bitter feelings about things, just as those you mention here. Those to whom it was directed got on with their own lives without suffering as a result of the thoughts, words and actions directed towards them. The damage is done to the thinker and storer of such resentment and that is sad.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Jesus' morality was no different from the world's morality: the appendix to "An Experiment in Criticism" makes this clear. If all we have of Jesus is a good moral teacher, there's no reason to be Christian at all. And even then we have to strip away all the things he says about the afterlife to get down to the merely moral teachings themselves, an exercise in circular reasoning if there ever was one. Paul was accused of preaching of two new gods in Athens: Jesus, and Resurrection. I don't think leaving out the afterlife is satisfactory from a Christian perspective. I don't think it's the Gospel at all.

    It isn't gospel, but it may be true that Jesus was a moral teacher and example, and nothing supernaturally more: that there is no resurrection, and no after life.
    That at most, we live on through our children, or sans children, by those we've associated with during life. Or both.
    That we should be living today, focussed on being good people and helping others.
    The future will take care of itself, and if this includes afterlife, that will be another adventure. Doesn't matter presently. And it should not matter presently, because faith has been taken to such extremes such that people are okay with the suffering of others, exploiting the planet for gain and harming everything in the world. Because faith seems to trump works, and seems to have for a very long time.
  • @NOprophet_NØprofit — No argument.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    @NOprophet_NØprofit — No argument.

    Just realized I absent-mindedly used to the word "trump" in my response and for that I will burn in hell.
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