When we die is that it?
My old work colleague who had prostate cancer lost his battle last week. I 'd been able to visit him a couple of times recently, the last time being just a couple of days before he died. Today I went to his funeral which included a very Catholic requiem mass with lots of incense, prayers and a communion. Now John had a very strong faith that helped him cope with his coming end. He said many times that he did not worry about dying.
Clearly if you have a strong faith, and sincerely believe it, then a funeral is more of a celebration for a life not ended and just moving on to its next, and eternal, stage. If you have no faith, or a weak one, then a Christian funeral service can be a difficult thing to understand or feel part of. That was how I felt today: I just didn't connect with it. It didn't ring true to me.
One of the most meaningful funerals I have ever been to was for my ex-girlfriend's dad. It was a simple humanist service with one of the family members talking about dad with affection and fond memories. Their dad had lived a generally good and fulfilling life but now it had ended. There was no hope for a resurrection, to an eternal life, no fear of a hell, no wish for sins to be forgiven, just quiet thanks for the life that had come to its end. Somehow this felt right and how it should be if we are mature human beings.
And yet, something nags away at me: why does the universe have such complexity, why does it exist at all, why do love and human kindness feel so much more significant than just biological imperatives for the survival of our genes? To use a biblical phrase, "we see as in a glass dimly". Our human brains cannot comprehend the complexities that are the wonders of the universe. Maybe we just have to accept that we do not, and cannot, know if there is more to life than our three score years and ten, if we are lucky.
An agnostic I remain....