Tobasco da Gama (hehe) recently attended his grandfather’s funeral. He describes two eulogies that stood out, the first by a family friend:
… it talked about how my grandfather grew up in a poor neighbourhood, served in the Army, raised his kids and then grandkids. It talked about how proud he was of his grandkids, how he took care of all of us even into his old age. The eulogy talked about his personality, how he could be stubborn and crotchety sometimes but he still loved his family and was loved by them.
The other eulogy was read by a pastor.
That’s when Tobasco got angry:
All that stuff that actually mattered? Dismissed.
He talked about how totally sweet heaven is. It’s “a million times better than Hawaii”, he said. Then he talked about how my brother talked my grandfather through a deathbed conversion. (My brother’s like that, even though he doesn’t attend church.) The pastor said it was the best decision my grandfather made in his life, “even though it came right at the end.”
The conversion at the end? The high point in the grandfather’s life.
This is why I’m glad to be an atheist. Because I know that, when I go, there won’t be some asshole up at a podium using my death to push his agenda. Instead, my family will be there, remembering me for the life I actually lived and the things I actually did. That’s how I want it to be. That’s how it should be.
It makes sense to remember the life that was lived, not the fictitious afterlife that someone would like to see.