For atheists who need some support after experienced the death of a loved one, there’s a new Facebook group that could offer some help: Grief Beyond Belief.
Grief Beyond Belief provides a safe space for atheists and other non-religious people to share and process the death of a loved one. Because bereavement is sometimes the catalyst for questioning or letting go of religious beliefs, people who are still struggling with these issues are encouraged to join. However, the page is not intended as a venue for debate, but as a space for shared compassion and support.
Rebecca Hensler founded the group after dealing with the loss of her three-month-old son:
Even if you are fortunate enough to not have lost someone close to you, you can “Like” the page and offer your support to those who have.
“I quickly found a network of parents who were also grieving the deaths of their children at The Compassionate Friends (a 42-year-old parental grief support group). But I often felt alienated by assurances from other members that my son was in heaven or by offers to pray for me, comforts that were kindly meant but that I do not believe and cannot accept. It wasn’t until an atheist member reached out to me in friendship that I understood what I had been missing.” Hensler soon discovered that she was not the only non-believer who felt a need for safe space to grieve without faith or belief in an afterlife.
Greta Christina explains why something like this is so important:
We talk a lot about how religion is, for many people, the only game in town when it comes to community and support in a time of loss and grief — and how, if we’re going to make atheism a viable alternative to religion, we need to build community and support networks to replace it.
Well, this is one of those ways, and I hope it won’t be the only one.