A place for us to grieve
Death is hard on those who accept its terminal reality. There’s no magical playland in the sky, there’s no transference or retention of our thought patterns, and there’s no evidence whatsoever that the mind is anything more than the brain. Materialism may not be appealing to the majority of the population, but it’s undeniably the only reality so far to manifest itself. These supernatural fairy-tales we’ve constructed during the infancy of our species – a time when the tools for understanding the world had not yet been invented – should be treated with contempt, and yet we languish in ignorance in favor of comforting thoughts.
One of the hardest transitions into atheism is the acceptance that death is final, and this can be a powerful blow for those still partially wrapped up in the bubble of religious delusion. In many cases, dealing with the non-reality of Heaven (or some analogue) is like losing your deceased loved ones all over again. I can only imagine my reaction if this was compounded by trite, childish words meant for comfort. How can we convey the sorrow of reality to someone still living (quite literally) in a fantasy land?
Were it not for the fact that we occupy the same physical space, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. Luckily, the Internet is exactly the kind of place where you don’t have to. There, grieving atheists like Rebecca Hensler have a place where they can express their sorrow. After her 3 month old child Jude died in 2009, Rebecca created a Facebook group called “Grief Beyond Belief“, a place where atheists can share their grief in an environment not populated by delusional idiots sharing their thoughtless platitudes. The story of this has since been picked up by the mainstream media and so far, there are a few trolls on both sides (a non-believer attempting to debate about some finer point of atheism, and a few Christian douchebags spewing hateful shit), so I strongly urge you to participate in shaming these morons. Also, there’s something beautifully melancholic of reading the stories of lost loved ones. Makes you appreciate what you do have, doesn’t it?