Thursday, July 3, 2008

Death Is Not A Better Place

The recent news that a friends' father had passed away got me thinking about how some of the religious or goo-intentioned, I should also add have a tendency to try and make you feel better by saying that the deceased has gone on to a better place.

Always disappointing.

While I try my best not to get angry when someone says this (and luckily I don't think anyone said it to me when my father died) it is a bit disappointing to me because it feels like a cliched response, as well as, one that plainly gives me no comfort.

He's in a better place.

Looking at the situation realistically and using my father's death as an example, why would he be in a better place, in death? Even if you believe in an afterlife, which neither he nor I do, there is still a vast amount of uncertainty in where you actually go after death so how can you really believe that that unknown abyss is better? You know what life has to offer, at least I do. But what does death have to offer? My honest opinion: nothing and a great nothingness.

The other argument here is for an ailing person or one who died of a terminal illness, as my father did. I guess death and the end of their pain would still be a better option, right? Again, still gives me no comfort. Because I know in my heart that if given the choice between life and its possibilities and potentials and death and its unknown uncertainty, I would always choose life along with a clean bill of health. I honestly, truly believe there is nothing more precious than life.

And if given a choice I know my father would have chosen life, with me, in good health of course.

For that, ultimately, would be his heaven.


Cat said...

I think we hope that death is a better place or simply another phase because if its not we have to wonder about why we exist and really force ourselves to make a difference in THIS life.
One issue I and some of my family had with a very close now deceased aunt was that she basically started giving up and not living life. She was a Jehovah Witness and most of their beliefs is that this life is about waiting to get to the good part, the afterlife with second coming (since until Jesus comes again you just remain in a sleep so says their religion). The scary part is, if there is no great beyond and you spend the now waiting around- well, what a waste. I personally believe there is an after life but I also believe this life serves a purpose to and transition is just difficult

Your Friendly Neighborhood Skeptic said...

You know, there very well may be an afterlife of some sort. Although everything we know about the universe says "no", we still can't rule it out. We would all love for there to be this otherworldly place where there's no pain, no suffering, no embarassment, no negativity. It's a truly comforting thought. Nothing would make me happier right now than to know that my pops is living the good life in (insert name of your after life here). Reality, however, tells me that I will never see my dad again and it tells us that we would be wise to max out the time we know FOR SURE we have now.

I know that RIGHT NOW I exist and am living. I could have a brain anyurism(sp) take me out as I type this. So while I'm alive and kicking I'm going to make the most of my time. Simple as that. This way of living makes every breath I take more precious. I don't look at my existence as some place for me to wipe my feet before going to "The Big Place." If you really take the time to think about it, knowing that you only have one guaranteed shot at this thing makes it all the better. In my opinion, no one believes in an afterlife because they know it exists. They believe it because they want to believe it and they've been told (by people who've never even been there, no less) that it exists.