I’ve never had to suffer a bereavement and often thought of how I would cope. Closest person I have in my family is my dad and so have often tried not to think about it but being a person who likes to think about everything, I have envisaged it. Despair is what I see together with a commencement of some sort of plan to take care and manage the ordeal whilst always remembering the fortunate relationship I had even if guilt and other feelings will come. But dependent on the cause of it, I can see other emotions playing a part but on variable scales. What if it was a suicidal cause, then there is a whole otherness of comprehension to deal with, being someone who empathises with depression, one can only try to predict a plan to deal with those feelings, especially guilt.
Even though the closest person is my dad, that is not to depreciate the overwhelming sadness of experiencing another relative’s death, whether as far out on the closeness scale or not. The fact is my relationship with my dad is the strongest, even if it doesn’t seem at times, that is the fact, since my childhood and so it is only logical the effect would be the absolute most saddening. But that brings into that question of that single significant cause. Suicide. No matter who, or even if you hear about some stranger, there is a unanimous feeling of that different sadness, like a more of a ‘damn’ if you heard about any other cause. Obviously there could be many other factors into that feeling like hearing of a murder but what the point is, is that the suicidal cause is the one that brings its own feeling in people. I think it’s ultimately that fear, fear of the unknown, even though you know the cause, it’s not as simple as that, you’ll never know the cause that was hidden, deep-rooted in that person for them to choose their death.
But going back on thinking about a bereavement in the family, I’ve never experienced one. Again dependent on the cause and circumstance is how my feelings would go or rather dependent on the case what other feelings other than perpetual upset will I have to meet and learn to accompany.
Hearing about a suicide in the family or close circle of acquaintances would get me I can only deeply imagine and certainly come to pure knowledge of; as not only is it because of it being someone I have often engaged with but the whole idea is something that touches me truly and I think it would be powerful.
So having said that, recently this has unfortunately happened, they was not close, you could say not even family but technically they were as they were linked. Hearing about it, not just some stranger in the news of a sad case but just the fact it was someone linked and have known in some way is implicitly a shock you feel more deeply. Even with the empathising sadness of my closer relatives’ hurt, I did hurt. Like a slow motion hard-hitting punch, it has caused a sick feeling. It’s that cause, it feels wrong to say but such a sadder understanding. It can’t be emphasised enough how it is dependent on case and no doubt is it despairing regardless of cause but it’s that one cause of aforementioned darkening power it creates in your head (heart) that gets you. So many things to think about and question, and I wasn’t that close but that’s what it makes you do and feel. That’s one of the reasons of the darkness and shock too. It’s those questions.
It just goes to show, as cliched as it sounds and predictable as it comes to think about with the whole reason for this post, that seriously nobody ever knows what’s going on in there. I think not even ourselves with our own minds which is the scariest thing sometimes as we sanely all think of how uncontrollable and unfathomable that would be to do and get shocked when we hear about it whomever it is. But then yet we find ourselves doing it, or rather we are found to have done it by whoever is there, who they then have to contemplate this whole cycle of thoughts.
As much as we think on about it, it happens and can happen. You don’t have to be ‘mentally ill’, even though that’s what it’s classed as, as someone you know who is ‘fine’ can paradoxically be the antithesis. For all the ‘how are yous’ and automated ‘I’m fine’ replies, think about it, nobody is fine 100% of the time. And remember that. Just remember that thing of unknown that makes the fear, know the idea of that, be mindful of the fact that you can’t know someone truly all of the time. And all you can do is just be compassionate, empathising, non-judgmental and above all aware and just be there in any way you can. Just like you expect from everything. That way you know what you have been and you’ll be known in more ways than one. And I guess you never know what good can do… or rather you do know.
The homeless. What are peoples’ immediate thoughts on the homeless, the beggars for change on the streets? Is there prejudice and what is it? I know I am guilty of not handing over change as you can never be too sure where it goes and the unknown plays a huge part and many people share this thought. But there are many opinions on the homeless and it would be interesting to find out what goes through your mind when you see a fellow human begging you when you walk by?
Scrolling along my social network the other day, I came across this status “Funny that atheists celebrate Christmas” followed by someone commenting “That, dude, is materialism!” which had me thinking. As an atheist myself who celebrates Christmas, amongst many other non-believers, I feel as being non-believers, we are celebrating a time of year closing that has been labelled a Christian term. So we have more reason and a true one to celebrate it, the fact that it alludes to the biblical story only means that we disregard that as that is our debate and simply celebrate what it is become and actually is; a holiday season.
So without getting into a debate, it is just simply a remark on it’s more of a holiday whether one brings religion into it or not. Yes ‘CHRISTmas’ obviously is taught upon religiously, only in the sense that from growing up it’s about Jesus’s birthday and the whole Nativity of it but without expertly commenting on it and its origin, it is most definitely to do with the closing of the year and the winter solstice too as I remember coming across something saying that Christmas day wasn’t actually Jesus’s birthday so the fact that we celebrate something on an individual day to suit the year’s end says something about that.
Also how often do you see it actually linking to religion nowadays except from primary Religious education as it’s only that story they can teach, which is a whole other matter hence atheism.
But the recurring point is, that it is a holiday season whether one wants to bring religion into it or not. And one could say it’s funny how, if it is about Christianity and what not then how come most, well certainly a lot, of ‘Christians’ don’t go to the midnight masses and church. Then on the other hand, the religious people that do that probably dislike the ‘materialism’ of it and how they ‘know the true meaning’ when really the ‘true meaning’, as many stories in literature not on a Christian side, denote it as a time for family, friends and bla bla bla and teach kids to not indulge in the consumerism of it so to speak.
So yes it may have materialistic connotations but so does every holiday, and that’s the point, it is a holiday. A time when people get a bit of time off and presents can be shared with a good meal and doing the things one likes on their time off. How good is that and isn’t that what every person appreciates and does regardless of your beliefs or non-beliefs? Just a food for thought for anyone, whilst you stuff yourself until there’s no more room on your turkey/chicken/non-meat Christmas feast, open up your many gifts or maybe one or just a card with a message, give any presents to others, and remember, that if it is all materialism, then every one of us is guilty, atheist or not. Merry Christmas and merry end of the year to all.
I’ve never got into or had to get into a debate on religion and belief but I know if I did, I would fear of being preachy on my view as like any opinion and argument, you’re explaining why you’re right or why you think you’re right. And when I think of religion and the “does ‘God’ exist” debate, I do feel myself of being a bit arrogant as people with my view may be perceived as this, because it is seen as cynical. Even though in recent years there have been an increase in people who hold my view, however it would probably be fair to say the majority of the world are all in one unanimous view and as you would put it, religious.
So as you’ve probably guessed the view I refer to having is atheism. Even stating that I am an atheist, I feel qualms because I may be an agnostic as the very latter denotes what I am questioning even on my own view, that uncertainty and uncertainty in belief. However I then go full circle and say, “no, I am an atheist” as the meaning of it is what I am, a non-believer in God. What the blurred distinction I conflict with in my mind is that I also think maybe I believe in a God, but in taking the name and not the meaning as using it as a representation of something greater in general i.e. nature to me could be God.
Even as a young child I felt a little different and maybe it was my close relationship with my father, who is a science believer, mixed with my genes from my father and my own adaptedness. And so me and my dad would debate God and he would teach me what he has learnt on his atheistic stance. I loved it and seeing our mutual affection, awe and fascination of science. I remember in secondary school, it annoyed me that I didn’t finish my R.E exam (which was one of the longest at 2 hours) because I think I went rambling philosophically in my answers.
What has spurred me to write this is because earlier this evening somebody made a comment on not comprehending why some people don’t believe in something or thinking something doesn’t exist. Then there was a discussion about spiritual encounters and talks of ‘weird’ happenings with spiritualists telling them about their passed loved ones as they had recently lost people in the family. This girl had lost her father recently and obviously her belief is probably more significant as you could tell when she spoke of hoping to see him again. Sitting there as a non-believer (I say non-believer in terms of God but really you could say I am a believer, in my God, my belief in science and nature and reason) I was tempted to question something. But it then dawned on me with a thought that flew in my brain that I feel many other atheists may have had too. This thinking of a sense of guilt of the atheist view because these people were religious and speaking of personal ties of passed family members with their views. You do feel as an atheist, even though you have the right as they have to speak a view, to keep quiet as it would feel cold and discourteous to basically tell someone who is in grievance and an emotional phase to deprecate their belief and say why they won’t see their father again.
The girl who was speaking and had lost her father said something along the thoughts of atheists not having something to look forward to after death and must lack an awe. I then posed the idea, as I explained many atheists do have awe and don’t fear death but rather accept it and the beauty of science. She then asked do I believe in God and there I said in a brief statement my non-believing in God and why I have this view and seeing death as a part of life. She and the other women as I knew accepted what I was saying and I knew there wasn’t going to be a tense debate as I didn’t preach (for want of a better word) and neither did they as I was asked my view and gave it. I didn’t have to get into one and even so, it was that thought I had that made me reflect that I did feel more cautious as of the nature of the views being shared. Yet they as they are speaking of unfortunate losses in their lives are still making their own statements.
Just as in this writing, I haven’t gone into my atheist view and declared why billions of people are wrong because just like in speaking earlier to the girl, I don’t feel I have to and even though I would have a right, just like a religious person going into detail on their view, it wouldn’t interest me unless I was asked. Honestly I haven’t had a debate on it as far as I can think of at least not recently,and I would like to be prepared. I’ve just took debates with my father and youtubed (yes, I’ve coined that) obsessively other inspirational atheist people (Stephen Fry, Derren Brown, Ricky Gervais). Basically what they say is exactly what I have learnt in my own intelligent outlook (not meaning to sound egotistical) as these people resonate intelligence. It does have a correlation don’t you think is what I’m saying? I would urge anyone to youtube them on their thoughts and just even their shows. I would be tempted to end on the clichéd ‘everyone has the right to a belief’ and all that but I will end on a Gervais quote which I think is better.
“Everyone has the right to believe anything they want. And everyone else has the right to find it fucking ridiculous.” :]