Per the Friendly Atheist, I came across a great little essay by one “Tobasco da Gama” about his feelings about two different eulogies given at his grandfather’s funeral. One celebrated his life… while the other was basically a used-car salesman making a pitch with someone’s grandfather as the bait.
Fair warning: it’s a little profanity-laden, and he even calls someone an A–wad. But they totaly deserved it, so it’s okay.
I’ve often had the same experience at funerals. When you think about it it’s really a very strange thing that we have these ceremonies at the culmination of the grieving process where people that know nothing about the person they are eulogizing purport to lecture an emotionally fragile audience about what’s really important about the life of a loved one. And, surprise: it’s all about to what degree that person bought into this or that ideology that the speaker favors.
I mean, it’s really quite amazing that we as human beings think that what someone passively believes or believed is such a gosh darn important thing about their worth as a fellow human being. A huge majority Christians seem shockingly comfortable with the idea that its the be-all and end-all of human life and something as decisive as one’s eternal fate.
It’s almost like a betrayal to find out that so many people think like this: that they say they celebrate free expression and freedom of belief in the here and now, but when it comes down to what they consider the most fundamental questions and fates of their fellows, it turns out that it was all just a passing pose. They’re content, at the end, to imagine dire and eternal consequences based on something as ultimately and fundamentally trivial as what concepts and beliefs flitted through someone’s brain in whatever the final few minutes of their life turned out to be.
It seems as insane as a good childhood friend of yours standing up at the end of a playdate and stabbing you in the back because you once mentioned that blue is your favorite color.