When I retired as a humanist celebrant I thought I'd stop writing this blog, but my fascination with all things death-related prompted more posts. They're just written from a slightly different perspective, that's all. Oh, and I still do the odd one, by special request.

Friday, July 12, 2013

On a good man's death, and a difference of opinion

I've just been talking to a young woman about her grandfather, who died recently. He was a friend and I know his views about religion, which were that it's all nonsense and he couldn't understand what anyone sees in it. He recently wrote,
On the rare occasions that I’ve discussed religion with a person of faith, I’ve asked if God made everything. The answer was always "Yes". I then asked why he made, for example, cancer. End of conversation. It all remains a mystery.
I don't know what it says on his death certificate about the cause of death, but cancer was part of his problem. Seems that he never discussed any of this with his granddaughter, who told me that the family are all Christian and it will seem strange having a humanist funeral. She expressed regret that he died without religion. I find it sad that she feels that way. I said that her grandparents had a very happy marriage, despite their differing views on religion, because they adopted the philosophy of "Live, and let live." She said we'd have to agree to differ. Made me wonder if she expected him to adopt his wife's faith, to make the family happy? They were happy, as far as I can tell. Incidentally, his wife is a non-conformist from an organisation that doesn't proselytise.

My friend was one of the kindest, gentlest people I've known; a man of few words, but when he did say anything, it was often after careful thought and worth listening to. He had a very dry sense of humour and very green fingers; his friends will remember his gifts of runner beans. Why does his granddaughter feel that it's regrettable that he rejected religion? Surely not because she fears for his salvation? If there was a god, and if he, she or it judged my friend wanting, I'd question its judgement.

I look forward to conducting my friend's funeral, and to making it clear that there is no reason to feel that there was anything missing from his life.