[This started life as a blog post but I figured it might enjoy more chance of finding commentary in this group hence the cross-posting.]
Was in a discussion about what is spirituality and it's relationship to
the supernatural on a thread on a website that includes a fair few
Christians and religious sorts and one person related in a public forum
this story to the OP:I cared for a young dying AIDS patient years ago. X. When he died I threw a rose into the ocean back home in Ireland
to remember his
passing. I said, "IF you are 'up there' - you get your ass in gear and
send it back as a message that things will come my way in time." He had
been very afraid to die, cause he was raised with the fear of hell.
Such a terrible abuse of a human being, especially a dying one. We
chatted a lot and I just said, "You love your partner don't you. How can
love be wrong/sin etc ?!"
Death does make people ask questions very
often and some times. Makes you ask questions when it's children who die
under your care. Well our chats lasted weeks, at nights. He would ask
to talk to me.
One day I was walking across the street here at
found a lovely packaged rose - still perfect in its wrapping in the
street, like it had been placed there. Honestly. I know - coincidence.
But I am a romantic and X kept his promise. I still have it. Who knows what life is, or is not, or if there is anything 'after'. Live the now
and do no being any harm. That's what I TRY to do though not
too well very often. It's what we all do here - try and make suffering
less for each other. What it's all about. We don't need 'religion' when
we have this kind of our own spirituality and camaraderie
I thought that story was a fine example of the kind of humanist ethics I
endorse, being kind to our fellow humans in their crises not because of
any religious edict but because they are suffering. , the very fact
that in offering up this gift to the dead soul of the departed patient
he then said the wrapped rose - he knew
was coincidence (unless Heaven has florists) which to me showed that as
entertaining as he was of departed souls and so on that this was still
rational behaviour so I said the following:
---------------------------Honouring the memory of someone who you
attended to and who died - what
could be more human or grounded in reality than that? That you made
them matter both before and after is admirable, that you remained
cognisant of the nature of the coincidence, shows it in no way implies a
Ritualised ancestor worship is weird. Coping with
someone dying is normal, and how you feel is important. Look, if
that's being spiritual, then a good thing because we all should have
that capacity to feel so connected. And atheism and scepticism don't
touch it because it's not making dubious claims about unprovable
thought I'd, frankly gone out of my way a little to show respect for the
action of praying to the dead and getting back something in return. I
was trying to distinguish that kind of act of remembrance which is
still self-aware that the rose didn't and could not have come from the
dead from the kind of ancestor or saint worship which obeys the same
instinct and is - yes- a little weird.
I even said I though such
'spirituality' (if that's how we are defining it) is admirable and good.
my surprise I was told my 'analysis' had intruded on a private
re-telling (I point out this was on a public forum where anyone can
reply to anything) that I had insulted the memory of the dead man and
the nurse who cared for him and that should go fuck myself.
feeling like the subject of a spot of-over-reaction but not wanting to
come of as the victim, I would appreciate some objectivity.
say something which was insulting and deserving of the reaction I got?