Saturday, May 1, 2010

The BIG Question...

I realise that this is really coming from left field but it's been bugging me a bit lately. Here's the gist:

I am an Atheist, so I don't believe in anything after death. I've been thinking about what will happen when someone close to us dies and my kids ask where they've gone. I have no idea what to say.

Should I tell them that our loved one went to heaven with the angels so they wont be scared? Even though I don't believe that?
Or maybe they became a star?
Or should I just say that I don't know? (Because I really don't)

So if you are also an Atheist, what did you / will you tell your kids? I am really interested in how other parents handled this subject!


Julie said...

Its a hard one. (Now sorry for any gory details) When my son was four our pet cow, Victoria, died, we cremated her (bonfire) he didn't see much of it but we had to tell him what happened and HE told me she was going up into the sky and stars in the smoke and then we spread some ashes around the garden so she is in the garden too. Clever kid. He wasn't really wrong and he was quite happy that she is still here in one form or another. I don't know if that helps but Victoria is mentioned by him when other animals or people have died. He has his own little picture of what happens that is obviously not too scary for him.

willywagtail said...

It isn't good to liken death to going on a long journey or just sleeping because then children worry that these things may mean death to them too. My son never had any problem with understanding what death meant. Very logically he understood that death was the opposite of life. When you are alive your body works, you think, feel, sleep, wake up; when you are dead none of these things happen. You simply stop being and your body goes back to being dust which is what we are made of. Interestingly , this is also what the Bible REALLY teaches. It does never support the idea of heaven or hell as the place for dead ones. It doesn't teach that God turns good people into angels or that He needed another angel and that is why He took the baby, etc. It simply says that "the wages sin pays is death" and that "the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all".
Churches that have tried to force people into submission have for centuries told lies about death and stopped the common people from reading the truth by banning the Bible. That then stops people from believing a promise that says "Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out" and “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.  And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
It would be sad if you were to continue teaching the lies that you don't even believe in just because they are still accepted by so many gullible people. Cherrie

Cat said...

I try to tell the truth, and hope she does not ask too many difficult questions.
When my step-dads cat died (Abbey was a little over 3yo) we had to tell her he had died. We said he was no longer alive any more, his body stopped working (he was an old cat) and she has accepted this explanation.
She some times talks about a toy of hers dying when playing, and I am sure she does not understand quite how final death is.
It is a tough one Kris!

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