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Thread: Theistic Death

  1. #1
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    Theistic Death

    As this is an obvious question, I'm sure many theists already have an answer ready. But, I wonder, why do theists mourn the death of a loved one?

    Consider, if there is a god and a heaven, are these people not much better off then they were before? I'd be quite happy to see a good man die, if I knew as confidently as most theists do, that he is going to heaven. Theists often act like it's a last parting, when in fact, by their beliefs, they'll meet up again when they die. So, why do people wear black and get emotional and sad, when something so incredibly good happens?
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    Re: Theistic Death

    I mourned the death of my parents - but I was aware that it was a 'me' thing, in a way, it was selfish indulgence . They had both lived a very good life and were loved by many. I did not, and do not feel sorry for them - they both lived about 80 years and now I feel very strongly that they are in a better place than we could ever imagine.

    If a child dies or is killed, I may mourn it's death and imagine that it could have been a great scientist or politician etc. - but they are irrational thoughts. The child's mortal life has come to an end and that's that.

    Mouring is a very human expression, that we love and/or care. It is for us, and not really for them - as they are now in a situation to know how we feel anyway.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    I feel very strongly that they are in a better place than we could ever imagine.
    That's the line most Theists believe. So, you seem to be saying that it's for yourself, not them, that you mourn; I still don't quite understand it, according to your beliefs, you'll see them soon enough anyways, in a far better place. The time you'll have together is infinitely longer than your time appart (as anything out of infinity = 0, it is, in effect, nil). Besides, it's more than just the feeling sad, people have large, somber funerals; some people dress in black, lovers commit suicide, or go into deep depression over the death of a loved one. Yet those same people say they believe that they will go to heaven. According to theists, you are merely going away for 10-20 years. Yet they act as though it's forever. Mourning seems to be inconsistant with theistic beliefs, but consistant with the idea that there is no afterlife.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Iluvater, if I told you I was getting a new job that was my heart's desire, but said job prevented me from ever posting to ODN EVER again, wouldn't you miss me? If you're not partial to my postings, then pick someone you do like and imagine them in a better job, but never having the time / ability to communicate with you or ODN in any way. You'd be happy for me/them but at the same time, you'd be sad.

    Zhavric =/= slept last night.

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    Re: Theistic Death

    Zhav, you missed the last part. What if I was also going to leave for that same job in a few years/when I die?
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvatar
    Zhav, you missed the last part. What if I was also going to leave for that same job in a few years/when I die?
    It's hard to think that a person we cared about is gone never to return. It's hard to imagine that in an instant all our thoughts are extinguished and everything we ever were is just snuffed out. It's much easier (and much more memetically appealing) to want to believe that there is some great beyond waiting for us... a melodramatic utopia where answers are revealed, bad people (who spent most of their lives getting away with it) get punished, and good people (who spent most of their lives toiling away) are elevated.

    We're social mammals. It's instinctual for us to be saddened by the loss of one of our "tribe members" no matter what we believe may have happened to them.

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    Re: Theistic Death

    Iluvatar - It is very human thing - the parting from my parents is a kind of 'sweet sorrow'. Although theists feel they 'hopefully' will be reunited, there is still the shorter term to deal with and their own natural feelings. Remember, faith is about feeling and belief; it is not about 'certainty.'

    There are times when I feel my parents' presence in a 'very real' way, but it is not the same as when they were alive. It is familial normality that I miss. I go along with much of what Zhav. expresses, but my slant on it is not atheistic.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
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    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

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    Re: Theistic Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvatar
    As this is an obvious question, I'm sure many theists already have an answer ready. But, I wonder, why do theists mourn the death of a loved one?

    Consider, if there is a god and a heaven, are these people not much better off then they were before? I'd be quite happy to see a good man die, if I knew as confidently as most theists do, that he is going to heaven. Theists often act like it's a last parting, when in fact, by their beliefs, they'll meet up again when they die. So, why do people wear black and get emotional and sad, when something so incredibly good happens?
    I know that most theists do mourn for their lost ones, and rightly so. We do not mourn because they made it to heaven, it's because we lost them from us here in the physical world, that we can't hang out, talk, and the fact that they won't see them for some time.

    As for me, I do not mourn for them at all, i'm not really disturbed by the loss of people. My grandfather died, and I loved the guy, but I knew he was doing alright. It was sad that I wouldn't see him again, but I was confident that he was perfectly okay, it's part of life, so I move on. I guess I'm weird like that...
    "With His dying breath... He saved me, with His wounds... He healed me, with His life... He died for me, although I never met Him, He remembered... me."

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    Re: Theistic Death

    This is odd. As I have said in the past, my wife's side of the family are devout catholics. Even when the death of a family relation is early and tragic you don't see people sitting around in black clothes and weeping at the visitation. Instead, we all sit around and talk about all the good times the deceased had brought our way. There is laughter, there is happiness. My wife's family does not believe that all the weeping and sadness has a place when saying a last goodbye to a loved one. They even believe that to do so is disrespectful to the deceased. If I have ever known a family that lives by the tenets of their religion it would be my wife's family.

    They smile through tears and laugh with a broken heart. They do so because they know that the deceased loved one would want it that way. I have already outlined what I wish to hapen upon my demise, and though there will be, I do not wish hearts to break when I die. In spite of most of my life being some sort of hell, (figuretively) I still look back on it and realize that I have always taken on life with the notion that any day could be my last. So I live each day as though it may well be my last. I WILL not pass from this life with any regrets. Therefore I want no one to grieve anymore than they must.

    (of course being a martial artist I wish to be buried in my dobok, [uniform] with all who knew me through the martial arts wearing their uniforms as well.) I've even asked my wife to end the burial with a loud wild applause (she has ruled out any guns darn it!) not that darkens my passing, but rather celebrates my having lived.

    Of course since I am atheist, I will never know. Just like I can't be sure that my wife will have me cremated and have my ashes scattered on my favorite spot in the whole world. Up on top a very high cliff which overlooks for miles a meandering river in the rockies, a place I spent many days of my life.

    When someone on my side of the family dies, we show up, we say little, and we go back to our own seperate lives. Though I'm not religious, I like to think that my wife's family will be able to reflect my living as my own family has disented to the point we are no longer family so far as the heart goes.........that's the sad part for me. Is that I will have passed from a family that does not know how to fix itself...........:O)
    Last edited by Cyberclown; March 14th, 2005 at 11:47 AM.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvatar
    As this is an obvious question, I'm sure many theists already have an answer ready. But, I wonder, why do theists mourn the death of a loved one?

    Consider, if there is a god and a heaven, are these people not much better off then they were before? I'd be quite happy to see a good man die, if I knew as confidently as most theists do, that he is going to heaven. Theists often act like it's a last parting, when in fact, by their beliefs, they'll meet up again when they die. So, why do people wear black and get emotional and sad, when something so incredibly good happens?
    Because we are sad for ourselves, that we won't get to be with them again for a long time. Knowing that they have entered Heaven alleviates much of the pain, but there is still the intense sense of loss, even if temporary.

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    Re: Theistic Death

    Agreed w/ the other posters. When we "mourn for", it is meant that we mourn for the loss of relationship that we had w/ that person. While it may be true that we will see them soon in the afterlife, it does not mean that we are still sad to "see them go" until then.

    My brother and niece visit me once a year. I'm sad to see them go after their 1 week or so here, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW I'll see them next year.

    It may be true that theists have LESS pain than atheists when it comes to loved ones' deaths, but it is not true that they have NO pain. It is the loss of that relationship that we are saddened by.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Bah, far to many well-reasoned views here. The vast majority of theists I meet treat death as a permanent thing; just my luck I get to debate the few more-or-less self-consistent theists.

    I can't very well say that you are all lying, and that you really subconsciously know that your loved ones are gone forever, but it seems that the vast majority of theists do. They treat the dead as if they are dead, not living eternally in paradise. I suspect that most theists, in their hearts, don't believe that they are ever going to see their loved one again, as they sure as hell act that way. I have never seen anyone but a child be truly comforted by "They're in a better place now".
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvatar
    As this is an obvious question, I'm sure many theists already have an answer ready. But, I wonder, why do theists mourn the death of a loved one?

    Consider, if there is a god and a heaven, are these people not much better off then they were before? I'd be quite happy to see a good man die, if I knew as confidently as most theists do, that he is going to heaven. Theists often act like it's a last parting, when in fact, by their beliefs, they'll meet up again when they die. So, why do people wear black and get emotional and sad, when something so incredibly good happens?
    I didnt read this whole thread yet, but I can answer you this, I watched my grandmother pass away almost a month ago...I was in conflict with myself (for some reason I cant cry...but I felt the pain nonetheless). When I saw the priest declare that my grandmother was abolished of her sin's, I was happy.

    As a matter of fact right after she passed away, my whole family came together and I felt that she was still with us.

    *Edit after reading the whole thread.

    Just saw KB's post, he basicaly nailed it down. (no cryptic pun intended)
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Also, I forgot to address the question of Christians mourning grievously when a non-Christian family member or friend dies. When this happens, then it truly is a sad time, because after all the chances they have had to repent and accept Christ's Gift, they have turned them all down, and are destined for an eternity of torment. When that happens, then it truly is a time for mourning.

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    Re: Theistic Death

    I agree with the above posts. Mourning is more of a service to one's self than to the dead person. One is mourning the loss of a relationship. Whether the person is in heaven or just plain gone, mourning is not going to do them any good. It really just helps release the stress of a loss.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    Also, I forgot to address the question of Christians mourning grievously when a non-Christian family member or friend dies. When this happens, then it truly is a sad time, because after all the chances they have had to repent and accept Christ's Gift, they have turned them all down, and are destined for an eternity of torment. When that happens, then it truly is a time for mourning.
    Even then Kev - that mourning will be an irrational human thing.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    Assuming there is a heaven and good people go there, can you imagine being someone famous, dying and going to heaven? I know if I was to go to heaven, that I'd want to meet many a famous people. These famous people would have to endure heaven for eternity signing autographs (so to speak). I'd wanna meet Einstein, Cleopatra, Marylin Monroe, Abe Lincoln, Aristotle, and quite a few others, assuming they made it to heaven. This doesn't sound like much of a heaven to me. Then there's the thought of running into people like my ex-wife, knowing that she'd be around for eternity, UGH! Personally I like the "lights Out, The End" theory upon my death.


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    Re: Theistic Death

    because after all the chances they have had to repent and accept Christ's Gift, they have turned them all down, and are destined for an eternity of torment. When that happens, then it truly is a time for mourning.
    I could say the opposite, for I hate to see self-delusion. I mourn when a person has had the truth in front of them their entire life, but died, blindly clinging to an ancient promise. This is indeed a sad time.

    On a different note, since the original question has lost steam, I've always wondered what the actual "Nature of Heaven" is. Is it a bunch of people sitting on clouds, playing harps? Is it some sort of infinitely happy place, where every person has exactly what they want? Is it simply a very good place, where there is lots of good food and friends? Heaven is usually defined as paradise, and it the ultimate positive re-enforcement. What do you think it's like?
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    Re: Theistic Death

    I feel that Heaven is the absence of all that is bad, painful and negative. Rather like infinity, it is a concept that I can intellectually only nibble around the fringes of.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
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    Re: Theistic Death

    "I feel that Heaven is the absence of all that is bad, painful and negative." Yah, that's waht it's viewed as. But consider, heaven is full of people. They are good people, but they are not perfect. There would have to be at least some bad, as there are imperfect people there. There would still have to be some arguements and discord, some anger and fighting.

    Also, consider this. What if a person hates everything, and deeply desires to rape, abuse, and murder everyone around him. However, he controls his urges for the durration of his life, and is a good an kind person. What's in heaven for him? If what someone wants most is bad, negative, or painful, and that is absent from heaven, would that not be an eternal torment?
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