One of the issues that Godbots will try to use to demonstrate atheism is inadequate is the scenario of parents with a dead child.
It’s visceral, painful and easily empathized with.
The mistake is that you, as the person speaking to the grieving parents, are not responsible to explain anything to them. You can’t. You can only comfort as best as you can.
Lying to people, giving false comfort, isn’t doing the grievors any favours. It’s actually a little evil to use personal tragedies to advance your own agenda.
The best that anyone can say to anyone who’s grieving, is “I am sorry for your loss.”
Followed by an offer to provide whatever assistance that you actually can do – bring food, help with arrangements, do errands or just stay away and give the grieving time.
Why would telling silly stories about living in the clouds be at all comforting to the parents of a dead child?
“They are in a better place” Nonsense, the best place is with their family.
“They are out of pain” they are also now out of the joys of living.
“They are with god”. Then god’s a jerk for taking the child. If god called them home, doesn’t that make god a kidnapper?
That the parents – or anyone who’s lost someone they love – are grieving is because they know that person is gone.
Not somewhere else, not merely out of pain, not in a better place, but gone.
If people who claim belief in an afterlife really believed that the afterlife was real, then they wouldn’t be grieving – they would be happy that their loved one was in a better place.
You don’t grieve for people in a better place than yourself. Miss them, sure, but not grieve. Death, to someone who believes, shouldn’t be any worse than sending your kid out of state to college.
It’s believers who have to tell themselves stories to cope with the uncertainties of reality. You tell yourselves that:
- you are part of a larger plan to make yourself feel important and connected – and more, to try to give a reason to the events in your life
But, if you want to know why things happen, then look to your own decisions – the things that happen are the consequences of the decisions you make and the decisions of the people you interact with and encounter
- there’s a magical and powerful being looking out for you and caring about you
But, you have to convince yourself of the greater plan in order to explain away painful and negative things – after all, why would such a powerful and loving deity let bad things happen?
A loving and powerful person doesn’t let bad things happen that they could prevent, so this is explained away with the undefined plan – which is little more than Scarlett O’Hara’s “I’ll think about it tomorrow”
You’ve told yourselves is story and you have to keep making excuses and adding patches to hold the story together – but it doesn’t hold.
This is what makes believers angry and needing to force others to buy into the same story; partly to validate the belief and partly to end challenges to it that can’t defended against.
Believers tell another lie and to make them feel good about thinking poorly of others that they are lesser people – immoral, close minded, perpetual teenagers in rebellion.
The reality is that people who are outside of the norm have done a lot more thinking about life and themselves than any mainstream believer who has never considered not accepting the cultural context determined default setting.
People outside of their cultural norms have found the default setting wrong for them and found their own settings. Sort of like the difference of installing software the express default way – or working though the various install options in the customized and expert menu option.