For any Christian family members who may read this, you may want to look away because I know I’m going to upset you. You’ve been warned.
A week ago, I attended the funeral of a friend and co-worker of my wife. I didn’t know her very well, but she was a kind person, one who believed in her friends and family. She was one who was overjoyed about her new baby, her civil law husband, and the community that she contributed to as a whole. And most importantly to her, and many of her friends and family, she was a devoted catholic, almost to the point of zealous. As I understand it, she was someone who had been looking for something that would fulfill her need in something greater than herself.
All of that is fine and well. As those who’ve read my rants about faith in the past, I have found that faith in a higher being is something that brings happiness and comfort to a lot of people. It’s something that I myself was once apart of, before I started to see past what I perceive and believe are simply illusions and parlour tricks. But no matter my own feelings on the matter, if people want to still believe and follow mythology, it’s their choice. I just refuse to support the illusion anymore, and will simply remain silence when encountered in situations where I’m surrounded by the needless ritual.
It was in this exact situation, that I found myself accompanying my wife at the funeral. That in itself is not unusual, as this was supposed to be a celebration of her life despite disease and adversity. Instead, I literally found myself getting angrier and angrier as each moment passed.
First, there were a number of speeches about her. The first was a fairly straightforward retelling of the points on her life bit by bit. A bit dull, but at least you get an idea of her history. But then came the next speech, and a video and so on… and so my anger rose.
Each speech, the music theme for the video, the little mentions of her history and the highlights of her life, were not so much celebrated as almost ignored and even belittled. And worse, virtually everyone in that room saw that that was absolutely natural. You see, the event ceased to be a celebration of her life, but a great thank you to the God almighty for afflicting her with a fatal disease and to just casually take her life just after having given birth. There wasn’t really any mention on how she was a loving mom, or a good friend, just praise be to Him for giving and taking life away for what seems to be totally arbitrary reasons ranging from “only He knows” to “what the hell, why not.”
I was reminded by my wife that this was her friend’s belief, and that of her community, and as it wasn’t my place to say anything, I just sat and remained quiet the entire time. And as I was watching it continue, moment by moment, I just couldn’t help but look at this as a travesty and a disservice to the memory of her friend.
It’s been days since then, and as I looked back on my own life, I started to think about all of the funerals I’ve been to over the years and realized I was looking at a mirror. Both my grandmothers’ funerals. The odd teacher and so on… and I wonder, was I that oblivious? And I really have only one answer… probably. I was quite devout as a kid, and still had some modicum of belief even 3-4 years back. But now I’m also ever more determined to reject religion altogether as well.
After a few years of being lazy, I’ve begun to rewrite my will, as well as a living will for once. I’m also going to have to explain this to my family later this year, as they’re very much the devout Catholics. If anything I’ve done since my rejection of religious faith is going to upset them, it’s probably going to be this…. that should there ever be a service of some sort because something’s happened to me, I don’t want a priest of any sort to get 1,000 miles of me unless he’s a personal friend. I reject the Catholic Church, the Christian faith as a whole in life, and I see absolutely no distinction in that in death. If there’s any service of any sort, it’s going to be a celebration of my friends and family, and bits of their interaction with me, but anyone who even thinks of praising God or Jesus instead of themselves, for the people they are for making me someone who believes in civic duty and familial love, they had better keep it to themselves. I would honestly find that someone thanking God for me being in their lives, or for the way I believe in my family and friends as God or Jesus’ way, as a complete and total insult to myself, and to everyone I love.
Why the hell are we passing the credit to some mythical being that may or may not have ever existed? We create the world we live in, and we are the ones who interact and love and live with one another. Why do we want to strengthen the image of that greater being and a Church or faith of some sort, instead of giving credit where credit is really due, that is with one another. There’s a classic saying, it takes a village to raise a child, I find that so much in line with my own beliefs and my causes. And at the end, it’s those people who made me the person I am who I would want celebrated, not God, Zeus, Odin or The Easter Bunny.
After all, in the end, wouldn’t you want to be remembered for the person you are, and not that you were some mindless automaton that just followed a faith blindly and that every action you’ve taken of note was of your own undertaking? That every one of your triumphs was because you had the drive, the spirit and the guts to achieve it? Stop giving credit to some unknown spirit of the sky, Give the credit to whom in belongs to… yourselves.