I rarely buy the local daily it has gotten so scant while the price keeps going up. Days that I do buy it, I linger over the impossibly absurd memorials on the obit page. I discovered this gem in yesterday's paper and thought it might amuse you. Maybe it's my age, but I am constantly reading the first paragraphs of obits in the local rag just to see how many people tell me how a love one has "gone to be with the Lord" or now finds him or her "resting in the arms of the Lord" or other deluded, completely illogical euphemisms for "died" or "passed" or "passed away." The memorials are something else. Considering the high cost of a display ad in the paper, it always amazes me when people shell out hundreds of dollars to tell us how much they miss a brother, cousin, Aunt Betsy or Sister Sarah. Sometimes they resort to poetry, as in this lone ad yesterday:
"In loving memory of [C.M.], Nov. 15, 1970 - Aug. 9, 2002
"God saw she was getting tired and a cure was not to be,/So He put His arms around her and whispered 'Come with me'/With tear filled eyes we watched her suffer and fade away./Although we loved her deeply we could not make her stay./A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands put to rest./God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best.
"A thousand words won't bring back, we know because we've tried,/neither will a thousand tears, we know because we've cried."
Far be it from me to criticize anyone poetasting; I am a prose craftsman and composed about a half-dozen poems in my time. But I cannot resist pointing out the fallacies in the poem, beginning with the simple question, "Why couldn't God have cured the loved one? I happen to have chronic leukemia. I pray to science rather than God. And science is at the threshold of finding a cure for this, the most common form of leukemia. As most know, Big Pharma prioritizes discovery of cures according to how large the group of people suffering from a particular ailment or disease. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (or CLL) is the most widespread form of the blood disorders, and research is intense to find its undoing. In my own time with the disease, at least one form of leukemia has been conquered by a cure that involves nothing more than taking a ill. The last resort for CLL patients is a bone marrow transplant, and the procedure for that has been streamlined considerably. If "God saw [C.M.] was getting tired and a cure was not to be," why have faith in Him at all? If He is all-powerful and good, why did he give C.M. the disease in the first place?
There is no god but Man.
I've read that poem before on Facebook and in the obituaries. It makes me want to scream. Another thing that makes me want to scream is when someone who has a disease, says they feel they were given the disease to be a spokesperson for others with it. My son's nurse (They both have type 1 diabetes), said this to me. I almost asked why the hell anyone had to have it, but she was walking out the door at the time. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Wait a sec, you mean to say the poem published in the display ad locally was not original? You mean they cribbed the poem from others? They did not write this crummy poem themselves?
Yep. This crummy poem has been around a while. Ugh.
Apparently, along with critical thinking, the concept of original thinking has also escaped them.
Indeed, and with all the cliches! Not an original thought in the whole piece.
Oh, my. I should have known.
My best wishes for successful treatment.
Your post is a peek into the elaborate architecture of the religious psychosis. Death happens because God wants the deceasd to be "with" him, given that he, as you note, cannot cure the patient. Also, death is "rest." And God takes only the best - everyone else goes to hell, I suppose.
This crap flies in the face of the reality of life and death. Consider: God lets my Mother, whose God-belief is just short of superstition, live to 95, while he "took" my father at the early age of 69. But Dad was a skeptic and an atheist. What does God want with him?
God did not want your dad. I talked to Saint Peter the other day and he said,"That guy? Fuck no! We sent him to Hell. He's down there chatting with Voltaire, Hitchens, and Samuel Clemens. We sent all those guys down there. Up here you gotta be special so you can meet Jerry Falwell, among our special guests." Consider Dad lucky (well, in a way).
"There is no god but Man." I love it. WE (or our future distant, distant, distant, distant...offspring) are the accident of evolution that will hopefully make something meaningful and kind and purposeful out of nonsensical existence in a nonsensical universe. WE are the ones who have found ourselves in a cruel, indifferent universe with the possibility of changing things, for ourselves and other creatures.
I too totally dislike the euphemisms for the word DIED. A member of my extended family DIED yesterday and immediately her relatives (otherwise smart, scientific, rational people) have this deceased lady turning into a guardian angel watching over her grandchild "on earth" and dancing in heaven with her recently deceased husband. They fantasize about the great reunion of these DEAD PEOPLE WHO NO LONGER HAVE FUNCTIONING BRAINS AND THUS NO CONSCIOUSNESS. Are they NUTS? Is it just a knee jerk reaction? Something scary and painful like death happens and they just immediately fall into fairy tale fantasies to ease the pain? How can they do it with a straight face? And the REAL question-- do they KNOW this stuff is nonsense on any level at all?
The only thing the poem promotes in me is my gag reflex.
I am sure the believers would tell you there are so many mansions in "the Lord's" house you would not even have any contact with the great number of them, any more than you have contact with, say, Australian aborigines. Theists come up with explanations for everything and probably would tell you that most of the dead are in Hell, not Heaven. The idea that there is no afterlife once consciousness ceases, subjective reality being the only kind there is, is anathema to the faithful. They would say life is pointless unless it is lived with a view toward the afterlife. The sad thing, to me, is that once their consciousness ceases (i.e. they are brain dead and therefore simply dead) they will not have any sort of enlightenment concerning the error of their way of thinking. Once dead they will not be able to see that they are, simply, dead, that there is no heaven nor hell and that they have wasted much of their lives pursuing the unattainable, all the while trying to impose their superstitious dogma on others. I mean, it's sad that I will die at the same time some believer dies and I will not be able to look at them, shake my head, and say, "I told you so!"