I’ve had a friend commit suicide. And, like most everybody, I’ve been to several funerals. Even the religious ones I’ve attended tend to focus on the life that was lived and how the person is now “in a better place.” Bullshit, no doubt, but comforting, uplifting bullshit for the people who buy into it.
Rebecca Tippens recently went to the (religious) funeral of a childhood friend who committed suicide. Instead of bringing everyone together, though, the pastor chose to condemn the way in which the friend took his life:
… the service wasn’t comforting. Far from it, in fact. The pastor didn’t deliver the usual “at least he’s in a better place” spiel or any sort of unifying message. Instead, he offered the heavy-handed question “What does scripture have to say about the taking of one’s own life?” with a horribly unpalatable answer: “God creates life, and therefore life belongs to God. In taking that life from him, we are betraying God’s trust and revealing our own lack of faith.”
Who goes to a funeral and insults the person in the coffin?! It must take religion to do something that dickish.
Rebecca couldn’t believe it:
… the hypocrisy here was just too much to bear in my grief. That a faith could so thoroughly devalue human life while offering reprimand (at a horrifically inappropriate time, no less) for someone who wholeheartedly buys into that message and just wants to get to heaven a little faster is disconcerting, appalling, outrageous — I can’t even find a word suitable to convey my sorrow and disgust. It’s not enough to molest the minds of the living, we have to disrespect the dead as well?
She adds that if she wasn’t an atheist already, she would’ve been by the end of the service.
It brings to mind the outburst by Tony Danza when he went to a friend’s funeral and encountered a priest who was much more interested in Jesus than the life of the person who just passed.
This is why you should just have friends and family members deliver eulogies at a funeral. If they know you well, then they can talk about you. The pastors offer lies — and in these cases, not even positive ones.