Some of you may know that my stepdad has dementia, fell and broke his hip, can't walk or stand up, and can now barely talk. He's hard to understand but has said he is going downhill very fast. This is true and also why I have his papers and things now. This is what brought me to this discussion.

   My mother has been dead now for over 6 years and in going through dad's stuff I found a book in remembrance of her. That's what the book said anyway. It had her name, birth and death date, and was a half inch thick. Inside is nothing but religious pictures and verses one right after the other. I know we were Pentecostal and they were very religious, but none of this helps me remember my mother. In fact, I don't recall mom saying any of the things in these verses unless it was tied to a sermon at church recently. It draws a big blank with me. What did my mother have to do with it?

   Browsing info on relatives that dad had collected over the years I found a card from the funeral of my dead cousin Steve. The front side plainly has Jesus knocking at a door. Anybody who was ever religious has seen that picture. The back of the card has Steve's name, birth and death dates and then the 23rd Psalm. Am I to read this and believe everything is in god's hands and it's all OK? Back to the front side and Jesus stands at the door and knocks. How do I open that door if I'm dead? Oh, now I got it. You better get right with god before this happens to you.

   Both cases here have too much about an invisible god and little or nothing about the person who has passed and has no life any longer. It's not about your loved one. Religion is advertising. They are playing upon your fears and advertising themselves. Instead this should all be a celebration of the life of the deceased. It isn't about that at all. It's about fear. Fear of god and fear of death.

   That brings me to a point as I watched a scary movie. The frightened person prayed. "Now I lay me down to sleep." Most of us know the rest. It's a children's bedtime prayer from the 18th century. It's astounding how afraid we are. We think we have a soul rather than the fact that we are a soul. If we die in our sleep we want to have our invisible god take that soul. (Just imagine all of the horror that was taught if he didn't) We are taught to be very upset at the idea of that because of god's buddy the devil. How do any of the religious have any peace?

   As for me, if I die in my sleep then I will never know it. Hey, not a bad way to go.

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Sounds a bit like my granddaughter's wedding a few years ago. The whole ''ceremony'' & reception were about gawd, & the two of them being brought to jeezzuz, to serve, & the babies better start coming along......yadayadayada.

Not one word about love, their future together, joy, happiness.....nothing.

The groom's father, a pastor ''performed'' the nonsense.

We stayed long enough for the meal, & got the hell back to our hotel & had cheesecake.

The next granddaughter is engaged......we won't be going to another of that...... 

I understand this fully. It should have been all about them and bringing them together. A celebration of a life together that was just starting. Often it is not, and the religious do not see this. Why is that? If I go on about gawd and jeezzuz  bringing them together and all of the imaginary things that will happen to them now and in the future all I'm doing is hawking the imaginary beings.

It might as well be Casper the Friendly Ghost. Of course, like Loren pointed out to me recently, Casper's sheet has probably worn out by now.

Yes, exactly.

We figured the ceremony would be over the top, but the reception too just floored us!

We spent a lot of money on fares, hotel room, meals, & taxis, for that farce. Not gonna happen again, that's for sure!

Patricia, that sounds almost exactly like my brother's wedding.  god this and god that.  It's like he thought they were marrying god, not each other.

A friend of mine became atheist over the years so when he died we had a remembrance service at the community center. Four preachers showed up and wanted to turn it into something about god. Most people there were believers so they didn't mind. I was greatly offended by it.

There were celebrations of life for my in-laws when they died within 8 months of each other. It was a huge party, just as they wanted.....no gawds, jezzuzzes, preaching, nada. It was great!

Patricia, the celebration of their lives sounds like a festive event. A great way to see long lost relatives and meet their friends. I enjoy those times most of all.

I want to attend my memorial and see all may cousins again. What memories we have. 

Yes, we had a wonderful time, exactly as they wished.

This is exactly as it should be.

It was pretty disgusting, that's for sure. They even had the word ''obey'' for Lisa in the vows! I thought that was long gone!

If "obey" isn't gone by now, it should be. Maybe we have to rehearse the speaker and evaluate his or her words. 

At our memorials that we had in my garden, we didn't have religious speakers invited. We had time when people could speak about the loved one if they wanted. At Dad's memorial, his co-worker and formerly his apprentice in carpentry told a story about Dad never having a sharp pencil in his pocket. He would sharpen his pencils at the start of the day and then break the sharp end off. He didn't like getting poked by a sharp pencil while he went about his work.

Michael, have you written a book about mother? What it felt like to be her son? Was she soft or stiff? Did she smell of perfume or bleach? What was her favorite color? Who were her friends? Did she like clothes? What kind of house did she keep? Was she a good gook? What was your favorite dish of hers? Was she happy, and smile, and laugh? What do you want your mother's book to contain? 

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