Afterlife and Proselytising at funerals - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Afterlife and Proselytising at funerals

Couldn't come up with a decent thread title, don't like coming up with titles for threads anyway.

So something just reminded me of this but it seems like when someone dies even people who are relatively irreligious around you start talking about an afterlife if they were close to the person who died.

My nan died recently and my dad was talking about how she's with grandad now (which is another thing people often say when elderly married people die and their other half died before.) Just before the funeral on the phone, my dad was talking about how he'd had a conversation with the funeral director and she's said something like 'all the religions are really different interpretations of the same thing.' Anyway I can't remember how that conversation went exactly now because that was over a week ago but at some point the conversation became about God(s) and so I ended up expressing my dislike of the idea of a hierarchical God (I was trying to be sensitive but not lying,) I also said that you don't really need a God to believe in an afterlife (some kind of compromise,) but I think my dad got a little upset anyway, I mean I think he was upset anyway and I'd already said I didn't really want to talk about that. At one point he brought up Islam probably as though my opinions would magically change for that religion when I strongly dislike all the Abrahamic religions lol. But he's pretty racist and has problems with Muslim people among others.

Then at the funeral I assume the same person my dad talked to was reading out all this stuff about Jesus and basically proselytising. I felt like I was being lectured to about Christianity and how to get to this supposed afterlife by embracing Jesus (my brother agreed afterwards.) And it's upsetting to me. I preferred the part where they actually talked about my nan.

It was a lot more awkward than my grandad's funeral who my mum informed me had a non-religious one (though I think there were still some religious parts,) so maybe that's why. It's ironic really because my mum's family are more religious. Well maybe not her dad so much but they were all raised Catholic and went to catholic schools, but my grandma (mum's mum) is where the Catholicism comes from her family since if you go back a few generations there were a bunch of Irish relatives. Anyway my nan didn't talk about religion much around me I think her family was religious when she was a child and she had some spiritual beliefs. She never wanted to go to church anyway because a priest tried to rape her once when she was younger (I think probably after she was made stateless since she had to live in various odd places then, but not sure.)

I think it would be nice if an afterlife existed, but I don't really believe that in a cognitive sense. I don't want to go around pretending that I know what happens after people die, and there's this weird guilt about it. And I think the thing that's bothering me the most (other than feeling like I have to act obviously,) is the manipulative nature of it all. Like religion is just being pushed on you at a funeral, or when my dad talked to the funeral director before. Also I don't think all religions are the same at all they are very different from one another and I don't like it when Christians try and dismiss these other religions with 'oh well it's just some weird interpretation of my religion.'

She seemed like a nice person, and probably meant well so I feel a bit guilty being annoyed but still. I also remember this song:

Maybe I'll feel different when my parents die, but I didn't find this comforting in this situation at all. I found it manipulative and confining. At the very least I think I can definitively rule out anything ever influencing me to become Christian again specifically.

Originally Posted by YouTube comment
Yet another man lost to irony poisoning, cynicism, hyper-self awareness and the inability to be sincere.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 12:28 PM
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I believe in an afterlife/beforelife but not religion, I think there's a god but it doesn't exist in a way our puny physical minds are meant to understand.

My brother inherited our neighbours place after he died 10 years ago, a few weeks later my brother was feeding some animals one evening at dusk on some land that came with it & the old guy drifted by in a haze of mist then disappeared, he hadn't practised religion in 50+ years beforehand.

I believe if he had went to hell he wouldn't have got visitor rights back to earth to see his old place, so I think the afterlife is just one place.

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that strut's and fret's his hour upon the stage and is heard no more,
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
- Macbeth
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 01:13 PM
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Well, losing a close family member is a deep wound and that kind of loss is something that you're pretty much going to feel no matter who you are. Even the loss of a pet is usually traumatic enough to cause most people to seriously grieve for a long time.

So I guess it's just part of the nature of being human. There are things we can control and things we can't. When it comes to things that cannot be undone no matter what, the human mind is a very fragile thing and sometimes people will go to any place they can to find even the slightest glimmer of hope.

I would say I'm probably 90% atheist and 10% agnostic. I haven't lost anyone close to me (except for pets. Which was bad enough) but I have come close enough that I totally understand the impulse for someone who is hurting that bad to take refuge wherever they can. I doubt that I ever would but when you start getting older, the losses start coming faster and faster and you spend more and more time thinking about it.

So it is kind of like just be distraught for the rest of your life or find some way to cope with it. It's a pretty bleak psychological landscape for people to face and I honestly can't blame anyone who takes whatever comfort they can get from just about any source.

Sorry about your nan.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 01:48 PM
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it's the idiocy of humans that we solve problems by using nonsense, and stick to the nonsense even when the problems are gone.

didnt go to my grandmother's funeral - people said you will regret not going, like I would feel guilty for some reason, I dont understand that. my mums funeral was an appropriate time to cry and I could since my partner was with me. no support at the time of my brothers funeral, and it was kind of officious and hideous.

people from history are all dead and mostly no one remember them. people eat animals all the time and they dont think of them. death is fine and normal. it doesnt need some religious bull****. but yeah the religious bureaucracy is how people have done it for a long time and its stil the default thing. meaningless.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ― Mother Teresa
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2021, 05:51 PM
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I have similar, painful discussions with my parents. Its like every time I talk to them they are trying to lecture me or inculcate their beliefs onto me. I'm an agnostic and when I was younger I used to try to make my case when they brought it up but I think it just upset them so nowadays I mostly just let them say their piece and don't challenge them. But they will say the most outrageous things, like only people who do x or believe in x will go to heaven, like implying if I don't change my ways I won't be admitted. Not that this bothers me really because I don't believe in a heaven anyway, but it does upset me to know that they think less of me for it. They also believe in other craziness, like miracles etc. But they're getting older and I don't want to rock the boat too much so I usually don't challenge any of this. I just sort of try to change the subject, which can be awkward. But I hate their proselytizing, so I can understand your discomfort in that situation with both your dad and at the service.

You live up in your head
Scared of every little noise
Someone's always breaking in accidentally
Using nothing but their voice
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