I am sad right now.  I am sad that a lot of myths people hold dear are not real.  I am sad because Christmas was my grandfathers favorite time of the year.  There was nothing off-limits around Christmas.

He is gone and I always feel a bit of melancholy about this time of year.  Being sick and work related stress aren’t helping.

But I’m mostly sad because I will never see my grandfather again.  I will never hear his stories and his sage advice.  I will never marvel at his skills with tools and mechanics.

He is gone.

Even if you believe in heaven, he is still gone.  Heaven is (according to the Bible) a place to worship God all day and night for eternity.  No evil can exist there.  And all people have that little touch of evil in them.  Oh it’s much less in some than others.  But if we go to heaven and are not complete as we are, then we no longer exist.  We are a mere shell of what we were… incomplete.

And that’s what saddens me most.  All the lies told by those who would comfort us when a loved one dies.  For they are lies.  No one can prove heaven even exists, much less what it is like.  All we have is the ravings of a 1900 year old man, who (for all intents and purposes) appears to be on LSD.*

Further, it doesn’t matter, because we’ll be dead too.

All that we have all that we know can only come from what happens during our lives.  When we die, it just stops.  We only can exist in the minds of those we have interacted with… and a few telemarketers databases.

I have had the fortune of touching hundreds of thousands of lives, soon to be millions of lives, in a way that few people can match.  Those people will never know my name, but there is a direct affect on their lives by how well I have done my job.  For that reason, not for fame or money, is why I do the best job that I can.

One should not tell a child that their dead parent will be watching them from heaven.  Evil can’t abide in heaven and there is too much evil in the world for it to be observable from heaven.

One should not tell a child that their dead parent will be waiting for them in heaven.  Want is an emotion that leads to a variety of condemned thoughts in heaven and has no place there.

One should not tell a child that they will find their dead parent in heaven.  That person cannot know that and disappointment cannot exist in heaven.

For if any of these exist in heaven, then it cannot be heaven.

It’s a damn shame, but even those who believe in heaven would be best just to say, “Child, your parent is gone.  All that remains are the memories that you carry with you.  Do not forget your parent, for when you do, they are truly gone from this world.”

Sucks, but that’s the way it is.  Death sucks.  It sucks to be missing that person whom you love so dearly.  But time will lessen the pain and that is the only thing that will lessen it.



* I speak here of the writer of the Book of Revelations, which is where we get our ideas of heaven from.

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10 Responses to Death

  1. Eugen says:

    “Heaven is (according to the Bible) a place to worship God all day and night for eternity”

    Hmm, eternity is long. What are we going to do? I said it once before, I hope there is no Vogon poetry.

    “Death sucks”

    …and life sometimes.

    Do you think act or process of understanding life and death by us humans is a gift or a curse? Also, practically speaking does it (ability to understand) provide us with evolutionary advantage comparing to other non-understanding life forms?

    Ogre, sorry to pester your blog but I find you answer and expand on points unlike some other atheist owned blogs. I find them sometimes hostile and I don’t feel like arguing too much.

  2. OgreMkV says:

    meh… I have to agree with the ‘live too’… a lot.

    There are other animals that have an understanding of death. Chimpanzees, for example, seem to have an almost human level of understanding of death. Many species seem to mourn. My own cats seemed depressed and lethargic for several days after the death of one of their number.

    There’s a specific website that I can’t find right now that details many of these examples.

    I don’t know if knowledge of death is a gift or a curse, I guess it depends on whose death. I do think that our ritualization of death and our creation of poost-death myths is an example of our hope (thanks Lex) and desire to be with our loved ones again.

    These are characters of intelligence… so I think it more likely a result of evolution rather than a advantage or disadvantage.

    Does that help?

  3. Eugen says:

    I watched nature shows where animals “grieve” from few minutes to few hours. Link you posted is excellent, too. Chimps are the most wonderful creatures, almost like us. They do look puzzled and curious about what’s going on with sick or dying group member. I highly doubt animals really understand how, why and what’s happening to the sick member. I hope you see that.

    Evolutionary view should be that human self-awareness and understanding (of logic for ex.) are unnecessary complication. It doesn’t help our survival chances, if anything it’s a burden because
    of the strong emotional component of our self-awareness. Actually no living machine is necessary past the most amazing survivalist, fit anywhere creature such as bacteria. It can live almost anyplace, use anything for food and survive in wide temperature range.

  4. OgreMkV says:

    Do we always know what’s going on with a loved one? Until just a few decades ago, no one understood cancer. Old people just got sick and died. It doesn’t change the feeling of loss.

    I disagree about the evolutionary view. The human brain, and the massive effort to raise children to an age they can survive on their own, is a massive energy burden. There must have been an evolutionary advantage for organisms that developed that huge brain and long care times.

    I think, and I think that the research supports me, is that the evolution of emotion, caring, even logic are a direct benefit… for the population. An emotional attachment to your immediate family is a survival benefit. Old people have wisdom and knowledge that the young need, recognizing that and feeding the elderly is to the benefit of a culture. The middle-aged people have some knowledge, but they also have strength and health. Recognizing their value is important for the survival of all. Children, of course, without children the population would become extinct. They must be cared for. Considering my own experiences with my child, it’s a bloody good thing I love him.

    There is an organism that has even a better advantage in the world than the bacteria. Can you guess what it is? (hint, that concept explains much of the diversity of life around us)

  5. Eugen says:

    Virus? That is one weird critter.

    Mid age wisdom I didn’t acquire. The other day, during morning commute to work I realized: when I was young I was stupid, now that I’m older still stupid. When will wisdom come?

    As for need to care for kids, I have three. Each needs 100% love which means my wife and me have to supply 300%. It is their hobby to test our patience limits daily 🙂

  6. OgreMkV says:

    Wisdom, like aging, is incremental. You don’t realize it now, but just wait til one of your kids tries something you did (and got yelled at for) when you were a kid. 🙂

  7. Eugen says:

    ” There is an organism that has even a better advantage in the world than the bacteria…”

    Is it virus?

  8. OgreMkV says:

    Oh sorry. Nope. It’s the predator of bacteria. Think of all the food it has.

    That’s why the concept is a big driver of diversity. Think of an arms race, with various populations competing to eat or avoid being eaten.

    If you have a cluster of organisms that span say, the US. The ones in the southern US have to avoid being eaten by rattlesnakes. The ones in the northern US have to avoid being eaten by lynx and wolves. There’s a big difference in the survival strategy. Over time, there will be a significant change in the northern population from the southern population. Pretty soon (relatively speaking) there will be such differences as to be no longer the same species.

    This applies to all species and population. One group gets a taste for another group and the other group has to adapt.

  9. Eugen says:

    It makes sense,tnx.

  10. Hannah says:

    Sorry for your loss. Have you fully read the Bible and the book of Revelations? Rather than dismissing it as craziness, why not have an open mind? Heaven seems like a great thing to hope for. Christianity is all about having faith anyways, and faith requires no hardcore evidence.

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