So we all know people use religion as a crutch, everyone needs something to help keep them upright in life at some point or another..... But when things are really bad for you - say the person you love is dying.... Would you ever find yourself, an atheist, down on your knees praying for them to get better?

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I know you are talking about losing a loved one to a death, but in terms of losing friendships, I've never really lost anyone that mattered regarding my open atheism. in fact my 82 year old father and I had a great conversation regarding my kids lack of confirmation as Catholics and zero church attendance other than family funerals.

I said as a Catholic he should know that if my kid wants to get married in a church, which I highly doubt anyway, all I need to do is show up with enough money and it will happen.

He then shared with me that even though he had a bit of a relapse when his brother died awhile back, he doesn't really believe in god, and figures its over at death.

This is coming from an old traditional Italian guy, and a conversation I could never see myself having with him. He said that we were 'brave' to hold our position on our lack of belief publically. I told him that thankfully its easier to do in this day and age because more people understand what Atheism really is vs. the demonic attributes given to it by popular religious culture.

In fact it is much more brave for him with his conditioning to discuss his lack of belief, than it is for me, and it is easier still for the kids. All signs that we are heading in the right direction.

My wife a mild non-church going, hedging her bets Catholic, and my daughter and I recently went to the wake of a family friend whose father had died, and my 17 year old was a bit worried about how to act and being very certain that she did not want to kneel and appear to pray at the coffin. So my wife did the kneeling, and I told her to stand behind her next to me and 'look solemn' (we really didn't know the deceased, just the family). When it is someone closer to us, I stand behind my kneeling wife and rest a supportive hand on her shoulder. She then stands and I lean over and whisper in he ear that 'that shit is crazy, you know' and she either laughs or smacks me depending directly on our closeness to the deceased.

Marc, I realize your grandfather is too young to have been actively involved in WW II, but I recall vividly a tornado that destroyed our home and our town when I was only 7, and the devastating effect it had on everyone I knew - he would have certainly been old enough to have been aware of the effect the war was having on those he knew as well.

This is a rhetorical question, as there is no definitive answer, but do you think that possibly WW II might have had an affect on his atheism? No one, not even a child - maybe ESPECIALLY a child - could possibly believe that a loving god could allow so much death and misery and destruction and heartache, when if that god could create a universe, he could certainly prevent a war.

Could be, my Dad was 10-15 years old during 1940-45. He did not witness that war firsthand, but later served in the Navy in Korea.

He led a regular church going life as we were growing up, I was an altar boy, went to church regularly. Dropped off for awhile, restarted when his brother died about 15 years ago, probably saw his own mortality.

A very common sense and practical guy. It seems interesting that now at this point in his life when folks have a tendency to migrate towards religion for mortality reasons, he has done the opposite.

I bet if I were to ask him his answer would be more like 'I don't see much difference in this world that supposedly has a god, from one that doesn't.'

As far as my own mortality, I've told my kids a direct cremation is $595 here in Rochester. Buy a nice vase at Target if you want. If you spend anymore than that, you're nuts, calling hours at my favorite bar, buy your own drinks.

RE: 'I don't see much difference in this world that supposedly has a god, from one that doesn't.'

Even if you're a theist, assuming you're not super-glued to your Bible, that makes a lot of sense.

It is possible that we do not yet know 'what kind of universe' this is. It is unclear to me if the accupants of this little world are yet up to the task of what appears to be a binary truth, up or down. I am optimistic, but a little concerned about one possible result.....;p) 


I can remember being very distraught at one point in my life and screaming out loud "God, I wish you existed so I could have someone to be pissed at!"  I felt much better after that.

Old habits die hard.

My grandfather just died he was very religious.All my relatives all prayed for him, they pretended he was not dead, they pretended he was living in a mansion built by jesus christ. They waste so much time on people they can not help they forget about the living. It is incredibly frustrating to see people unable to accept death. I am not talking about those people who fight knowing they will lose eventually. But those who throw in the towel and wait for someone else to do the work. To me that is what praying is the notion that someone else should do my work for me.

I lived with my grandfather for most of my life(did not get on with my stepfather) In hes later life he was not really a religious man though when he was dying my step grandmother convinced him to see a priest and come back into Christianity. when he was sick and near death i did not pray for him as there is no point , i accept reality on realities terms.  What utterly pissed me off though was the priest at hes funeral. now my grandfather was not perfect, who is?, but he loved me and showed  more patience and did far more for me than i deserved . while that bastard priest  downplayed every good thing about him and turned hes funeral into an infomercial for Christianity. " he was an evil  sinner who had turned hes back on god , but look at how merciful god is as he accepted him back into the flock near deaths door" (this is but a small part of that priests transgressions that day) . Now i am not a violent person, i have never started a physical fight through anger and i usually have tight control over my emotions. But i swear to hes god that i came within a hairs breadth of getting up and punching him that day. He had no right to demonize my grandfather  to promote hes religion. It still pisses me off thinking about it today.

I can completely relate to this. I understand when you say how you are not a violent person and yet if you could have hit anyone, you would have hit that person on that day. But try to let go of that anger now if you can. Anger is a huge negative and it will consume you if you let it. I suggest you take a punch at something next time you get the chance.... A pillow or cushion and think about that experience while you do it. Hit it as hard as you can, take a massive deep breath.... Smile and move on. Don't carry the weight that "Christian" put on you - move on with a happier and lighter heart :-)
Great advice :)


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