A Death In The Family and The Only Atheist in the Room

I have lost a favorite Aunt this week and I am in a sea of religion right now.  I loved her so very much and for the most part the religious stuff does not bother me, in fact it is helping me understand my position better.  In the past I would be viewing this phenom from the church pew but as an atheist this is new uncharted terriroty.


I am torn between deference and respect and the need to scream at the top of my lungs that I do not believe that I am an atheist.  It would not do to hang all this laundry out on the day of th funeral however I am getting that itch you get when you are supposed to behave but you have no means at your disposal to do so.


The physician who took care of my Aunt sent a card chocked full of Bible verse and he explained how no matter what we mere humans can do that GOD is in charge ultimately and we should just be content with that explanation.  Oh how I wish I could get that man alone in a room for a couple of hours.  I could beat him over the head with my intellectual muscle because despite that fact that he went to medical school and I did not I do believe that his citing bible and verse to my grieving cousins as reasons for my Aunt's untimely death is at the very least cowardly. 


Okay maybe I am a bit angry, however things happened in my Aunt's case that leaves me a little bit confused as to what actually happened to her.  Okay she had a carotid endarterectomy on Monday and she was dead by Tuesday evening.  This is not unusual the first 1-2 days post surgery is often the time when bad things happen.  She was not producing enough urine so she had started to retain water her heart went and then she had a bowl infarct and that was the end.  


I want to tell my cousins my Uncle and my Mom, who lost her very best friend in the world, that it was not God, it was biology and years of wear and tear on the body, through hypertension and weight gain and loss and age.  It is what happens it is unfortunate and I nearly hit the ground when I heard she was gone but the truth at least to me is that her body just failed to survive the surgery.


Why can't the surgeon see this?  Why can't people understand this?  Why do we have to give some innocent non existent being the blame and the credit?  


It is so much easier for me to accept her death when I can look at it from the biological side.  To try and make sense using god and the bible and religion only causes more confusion for me.  It always did.  I could never understand why a god would choose to lay so much crap on us and then take away those we love, if he "so loved the world" then why doesn't he just get on with it and act like it?  Why?  Because he does not exist, this thing this entity, deity thing is not there and that is what I want to yell, I am pissed she is gone.  She deserved so many more years, the kindest most gentle soul I will ever know.  I must attend a funeral mass tomorrow and if any of you have ever done this please feel free to advise in any way you can because I don't know if I can keep my mouth shut.


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If the doctor believes it's all in God's hands, why is he in that line of work?
My thoughts exactly.

Thanks that is a great idea...in fact you all are helping me more than you know.


God loved your aunt so much that he killed her? Is that what these imbeciles believe? We know that religion makes little sense and that believers try to seek comfort in it, looking for easy answers, but surely they can't think that God has any interest in people dying. Maybe just meaningless phrases they've been conditioned to repeat.

When my uncle (mom's brother) died a few years ago, she went on this rampage of telling everyone that "God waited until he was ripe" (meaning that he'd been kind of an ass until the last decade or so, when he'd become a really awesome person), "and then plucked him."


How could she not see how offensive that was? How in any way was that supposed to be a comforting thought? If God DID take him because he'd finally become a good person, what does that say except that apparently God is a spiteful bastard punishing him for... I guess for his youthful indiscretions?


Meaningless, maybe. Offensive, definitely.

Exactly!! These people are all rational on every other level except this one...it is really a conundrum.  I know this subject gets run about all over this site, but it really is a very central concept behind why we are not believers.  I can be irrational, as I feel right now, however it does pass and common sense will come back to me.  This really is a kind of mass hypnosis.  It is why they have to return every Sunday and sometimes Sunday and Wednesday to keep the illusion going and money coming.

Yeah, continuous brainwashing. It's why they feel like they need to meet in groups and "encourage" each other not to fall away from the faith. Because the bullshit will only hold up if they remind each other that there are dire consequences if they question it.


In my experience, questions almost always lead, at best, to an ineffectual, deistic kind of god that one only believes in for cultural reasons, and at worst, to atheism.

I know these things go around in my head the whole time while I am speaking with my family.  It is almost like they are all trying to appease an abusive spouse by just making excuses for him.  God is the abuser and they are the cowering masses who are afraid to upset him by confronting him with his evil.

Even within a religious framework, they don't have to think like that. The Christians I know believe in a god, but not in one who constantly interferes in people's life. Don't ask me why they bother praying then, but when someone dies they acknowledge that their body failed or that it was a tragic accident. But they don't blame their god for it.


I think that's because it's more of a cultural Christianity as opposed to the hardcore fundie kind. The people who are into Bible study and really into, overthink things. And when you actually think about religion it makes little sense. So they inevitably come with this twisted "logic" and horrendous thinking.


I much prefer the ones who just follow along without having given it much though than the ones who have convinced themselves that everything makes sense

And what makes it worse is that it seems to me that the surgeon was using god as an excuse to explain why she died.  He did not want to admit that he could have just lost a patient and not necessarily to his inability or neglect, but simply that this is what happens from time to time.  

Her body just couldn't handle the assault upon it.  She died and it is nobody's fault, period.  


Thanks your words are a great comfort.  You are right and I now understand something about the grief process for an atheist.  It is that which I need most from this is friendship and a helping hand and I thank you for that....you can never know how much this helps.


Thank you, again, very much for your kind words.


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