If you are religious, then you likely believe that a soul continues to live for eternity. Whether it’s heaven and hell, reincarnation, or the energy of the universe, you believe that life… never really ends. But what if you’re wrong? What if, when someone dies, that really is the end? How easy it is for a light to be snuffed out. There one moment, and the next… poof. Gone.
I don’t think believers really understand what it means to grieve as an atheist. I don’t think they understand how much it hurts. I don’t think they understand the horror in response to acts of violence.
How can they understand?
They think there is no end.
Well, that’s all well and fine, for you. But there is no evidence that a soul even exists. There is no evidence that anything continues on after death. There is no evidence of any of it. If there were, you wouldn’t need faith. All you have is your belief.
If that belief gives you comfort, fine. If that belief helps you cope, fine. But atheists don’t share your belief, and it is no comfort to be told that you are praying for the welfare of a soul that likely doesn’t even exist. Someone DIED. They’re gone. They’re not coming back. Their life ENDED.
They will no longer experience the joys and pains of this world. They will no longer experience love. All those life plans cut short. No more college. No more marriage. No more family. No more children. No more career struggles. No more parties. No more protests. No more movies. No more art. No more stories. No more traveling. No more… no more… No. More… life…
To take a life, to pull the plug on someone’s journey, is to take away something that can NEVER be returned. And no amount of praying can make that better. No amount of hope. No amount of faith. Because they’re GONE.
There is no comfort, no solace, to those who mourn such loss.
And so, as you find comfort in your beliefs, I hope you also take some time to mourn. Consider what has been lost. Consider the debt that never can be repaid. And I hope that you will do something to help prevent more unnecessary loss. I hope that you will care enough to offer more than just platitudes. I hope that you will be there for those who are suffering, and that you will help with action. Not just words. Because a life is worth far more than a few moments of “thoughts and prayers”.
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