Grief without God is a challenge for nonbelievers

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RNS photo by Mark Hundley.

RNS photo by Mark Hundley.

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(RNS) If you're an atheist who loses a child or loved one, there's no hope of a reunion in the afterlife. The absence of the comfort of religious ritual is one of the hardest adjustments for unbelievers, leading some nonbelievers to craft support groups and resources for grief without God. By Kimberly Winston.

  • gilhow

    This makes religious beliefs appear to be nothing but comfort deceits, no different than sweet, comforting kids’ stories told to soothe them to sleep at nap time or nighttime. It’s a big world to little kids and to adults very, very often, especially the reality that it ends, it’s temporary, it doesn’t last forever. All this can be rather frightening, but inventing comforting “fairy tales” or accepting old mythology that is no different, doesn’t change things at all. We must face facts, and the fact of our limited existence can never be erased by comforting, false tales about a continuing, imaginary life after real death. It’s more realistic and much better to be a devout non-believer than a devout believer.

  • Gallifrey1966

    Thank you, gilhow. It’s worth noting that most agnostics and atheists don’t see the world the way religious people would guess that they do. They don’t see emptiness and hopelessness and don’t find comfort in what they see as fictional afterlives.

  • Bart

    I’m starting a religion where the doctrine says your child isn’t REALLY dead and returning to the basic elements of which his/her body were comprised, he is actually living a secret existence in Disney World.

    The usual platitudes will go something like this:

    “Don’t worry, he / she is with Goofy now.”
    “It’s all part of Walt Disney’s plan.”