Atheists wonder, why do Christians cry at funerals?by Don Lacey on Nov. 10, 2012, under Atheism, Critical Thinking, Faith, Freethought, Logic, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, That's Life!
Have you ever wondered why Christians cry or act sad at funerals? Have you asked yourself why Christians fear or fight death at all? Why do they even bother treating life threatening diseases or engage in risk avoidance of any kind? One would think that if they really believed in a heaven, death would be seen as a welcome occurrence rather something to be resisted. After all, if heaven awaits, cutting this often unpleasant life short would be a blessing. It’s odd, that people who act so convinced that they are destined for a blissful eternity would do anything to delay it or feel sad when a love one gets to reap his reward.
Is there any evidence to suggest that people who believe in an afterlife are more accepting of others wasting their time? It seems like this would logically be the case. If you believe that life on this Earth is just a preamble to an infinitely long existence that will undoubtedly be better than this one, then why worry about how your time here is spent?
Compared to an eternity in heaven, time in this world is infinitesimally brief. After the equivalent of the first 1,000 Earth years spent in heaven, the years spent on Earth would seem like short lived, ancient history. Those first thousand years would also be just the beginning. After the equivalent of 1 million Earth years spent in heaven, the 80 or 90 years of one’s earthly life will seem like an utter triviality.
Many Christians and other believers will answer that they fight death because they have still have work to do on Earth (often in the form of winning more converts to the faith). But, when one of them dies why don’t they celebrate that his or her work is done? I suspect that many religious people actually harbor great doubts about the afterlife they claim to believe in. Despite their faith many believers probably recognize that this life on Earth is the only one they are guaranteed to get. Additionally, they recognize that there is a chance that they won’t be reunited with deceased friends and loved ones and that is why they cry at funerals just like the rest of us.
Belief in an afterlife makes some of the harsher aspects of this life easier to cope with. Someone who rejects the notion of an afterlife realizes that this is probably the only life they will ever have. That makes this life infinitely more valuable. They are less tolerant of people wishing to waste the limited time they have on this Earth and less willing to spend their life doing dull monotonous work. The realization that this will probably be the only life greatly enhances the importance of going places and doing things. Atheists are forced to view life as precious resource and a wild ride that is to be treasured at every moment. Knowing that this is our one shot at doing something meaningful is a far stronger catalyst to do it than a faith that minimizes and trivializes this life.
Not having an afterlife does not make this life less meaningful. If anything, not having an afterlife makes this life infinitely more valuable. It also makes relationships with friends and loved ones infinitely more valuable. Knowing time spent with loved ones is a precious resource that is in short supply is all the encouragement needed to make the most of it. I am saddened at funerals because I realize the person I am mourning really is gone forever. I am saddened because I realize there are countless experience I could have had with that person and things I could have told them that will never come to be. Realizing that we will not be reunited in an afterlife makes their time on earth even more valuable to me. That is why Atheists cry at funerals?