Rose experienced something truly frightening the other day.
I had a wreck yesterday on the way home from work. I hit a patch of ice and lost control of the car and as it slid toward the guard rail, I yelled loudly, “Fuck!” and thought of all the things I haven’t done.
Her thoughts didn’t turn to God or religion — she didn’t recant and accept Jesus into her life or anything — she thought of her life and everything she’s made of it.
My first thought was of my husband, will he be ok? Then, it was of my book, which I am still revising. Then I had a few more fleeting thoughts about unfinished work and my lifelong companion Bunny, who would be at home as I slammed into the railing.
I suppose times like these are when religious people suddenly thank their maker and make promises to attend services and be kinder to others and give to charity etc etc. Instead I went home and hugged my husband, and emailed my parents and my job and then went about life as usual. Until I fell asleep.
Rose wonders (and I do, too) if her thinking is similar to other atheists who face death, even if just for a moment.
If you’ve been in that situation, what do you think of?
Does the thought ever cross your mind that you could have been wrong about God and now is as good a time as any to believe?
Do theists think about God first in a situation like this? Or do they think of their family and loved ones?
When we all experience the most universal part of life, do we all think the same thing or are our thoughts shaped by our religious outlook?