The purpose of god

One of the functions of god is to give us something or someone to direct our anger at.

A friend of mine has just died unexpectedly but of natural causes at the age of 48.  As well as feeling shocked, I am angry, but there is no-one to be angry with.  It is no-one’s fault, and it isn’t even an act of betrayal by a deity.  It is just the shit that happens.  It would be so much easier if I could rage against a deity.

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18 responses to “The purpose of god

  1. I am so very sorry. My condolences. 48 is so young.

    *hugs*

    I think that that is why a lot of people are religious – so they know exactly who to blame when things go tits-up.

  2. Condolences also.

  3. I’ve noticed reglious people deal far better with bearvement and impeding terminal illness. It’s harder when you’re an athetist.

    The hardest of all is when you’re middle aged and just *not* expecting it at all.

    Condolences.. *hug*

  4. I have never found religion the slightest use in dealing with bereavement, or with my own terminal illness and impending demise. I have no wish to be offered spurious pie-in-the-sky fairytales of a happy afterlife by sanctimonious clergymen, and when they prowled around my hospital ward I told them they were talking rubbish, at which they smiled weakly and moved on.

  5. Condolences.

    I agree with Anticant on religion. It doesn’t offer comfort, it’s just a way of preying on vulnerable people. I was seven when my Dad very unexpectedly died. My Sunday school teacher, who also happened to be my school teacher, swiftly picked me up an brainwashed me to a devout hardpraying X-ian. It wasn’t until my early teens I managed to break free.

  6. I am sorry to hear about your friend.

    I think that sometimes Christians have it much harder at times like this. Not only do they have to grapple with overwhelming grief, but there is also the sheer confusion created, grappling with a deity that has “caused” so much pain and anguish to someone who hardly deserved it.

    It’s better, I think, to keep things simple.

  7. My condolences.

    I’m not sure how my faith affects the way I react to such things. I have been lucky in that I have not lost close friends at a young age – losing my grandfather was a wrench, but not unexpected. I think you may have a point, though, with having someone to rage at – when things are bad, I find myself communicating my feelings to God more than to my fellow human beings.

    Religion that is forced upon one would be utterly useless, I agree. But a personal faith? That’s a different thing entirely.

  8. Thanks all for your comments. I am still very confused by what has happened, and will be going to the funeral tomorrow.

    Reed – there are so many reasons for religion – the word covers a multitude of needs

    SoRB – thank you

    Z – yes, when I believed in the immortality of the soul I could contextualise or rationalise death much more easily because it made more sense and didn’t seem to matter so much

    Anticant – religion can only be of use to those who beleive. I watched my mother struggle with the nibblings of unbelief for years because she feared the implications of unbelief. For those of us that don’t believe then religion in extremis is at best embarrasing.

    Dragonqueen – I think religion can offer comfort, in fact I think it’s a Class A comfort blankie, but only for believers. I’ve also seen astonishing personal change for the better sparked and sustained by religious belief. That doesn’t make what is believed in either true or effective though. It’s a trick that only works up until the point that you know it’s not real.

    Colm – I guess it depends on what your expectations are of God. If you think he is beneficent then you are going to be confused by shit that happens. Read the book of Job for the effects of belief as a Class A mind-fuck.

    Mind-fuck and comfort blankie – it’s a slippery thing, isn’t it?

    Singing Librarian – thank you. You make a good point about the difference between religion and faith. I’ve been obsessed by belief for a long time, but never really factored faith into my thinking.

    Thanks all for reading and commenting

    Aphra.

  9. I simply cannot understand these weird people – beleivers or not – who regard death as unnatural, or a dirty trick played by a capricious deity. Surely we all know we and our loved ones are going to die, even if we are in denial about it most of the time. But immortality in this life would be horrible, wouldn’t it, which is why we invent fairytale heavens and spinetingling hells.

    I am the first male in my father’s family for five generations to live into his seventies; I am now nearly 81, and never expected to reach this age. A sad part of growing older is that you are always losing family and friends, like a tree shedding its autumn leaves [half a dozen this year so far]. But I have lost people unexpectedly early throughout my life, including two young cousins: one aged 7, and another quite recently died of liver cancer a few days after his first birthday, which was agonising for his parents.

    What particularly puzzles me about Christians is that they are always warbling on and on about the joys awaiting them in the next life, but become distraught at prospect of leaving this one. Alas, it is a fact of life we simply have to accept, however sad at the time. As the Burial Service tells us, “In the midst of life we are in death”. And John Donne said: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

  10. In my case, Anticant, I’ve found myself reacting on two levels: there’s my intellectual reaction which is to acknowledge that there is a more or less random spread of shit happening throughout the population all the time, with clusters around particular focuses of human stupidity or selfishness; and then there’s my emotional reaction which I caught and recorded on the fly yesterday which was – essentially – “huh?” The confusion, inability to make sense of it and desire to feel angry is my emotional response, not my intellectual one. Emotionally I want the security of an ordered and orderly world. Intellectually I know it’s random. The two are have been in conflict, but my intellect will win out. It always has so far. In the end.

    AB

  11. “Huh?” is the only possible reaction any sane person [meaning me – you are a bit mad and everyone else is somewhat to barking mad!] can have to the ghastly world and ghastly decade we are living through. Almost everything now is run by lunatics or crooks or both.

    I hope you will soon derive comfort from the happy memories of your friend that I’m sure will outlast the immediate grief pangs.

  12. Forty-eight is far too young.

    To lose anyone at that age does make one want to go and kick walls and brandish ones fist at the sky. I suppose it’s the feeling of impotence and the reminder that we’re here for but a short time.

  13. I do find all this “forty-eight is far too young to die” business rather irritating. Yes – it’s always sad when people die before they, or we, expect them to. But haven’t you folk noticed the many far younger people who are dying all around us all the time? Often through their own fault, or by their or their peer-group’s actions, though that doesn’t make it any better. I have lost several friends who didn’t reach 45. One of them was brutally murdered.

    Do any of us really have a “life expectancy”? We could each walk under a bus the next time we cross the road. As the hymn says, “Live each day as if it it were thy last”. The instant now is the only reality we’ve got.

  14. Major shit – fuck Darwin…and if everyone will move out of the sodding way…*hug*

    Colm: Christians have less of a bad time as they have it all worked out that it’s all thier god’s plan.

    I knew a guy who becamoe a 7th day Adventist. He continually suffered from epilepsy which meant he couldn’t drive then he could then a few months later another attack.

    He then got caner which was cured he then got bowel cancer which killed him at 33y.o. painfully. He was a superb engineer and would have had a great live.

    However, before he died he said to others that he was prepared to die as it was all gods plan for him.

    Well, fuck god, he’s a c*nt if part of his plan is to give someone cancer twice and then kill them.

    I also know a lass who has gone theology recently…must be knwoing the Reverend Canon Doctor Alan Billings Platitude of the Day contributor and Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion, Lancaster University. She said recently that she is prepared to die for her god, lay her life on the line as what is important is the next life not this one and she is worried that buying a house and having nice stuff is really that important as this life is just part of the journey to the next one.

    She grew up in a very religious family, she had ‘fun’ for a lot of years but now it seems she’s totally lost it.

    It scares me what shite outwardly intelligent and rational people can rationlise to be the truth.

  15. Oh, I wasn’t sure if I could say cunt or not so I asterixed part of it out just in case. Hope that’s OK.

  16. Hi Aphra,

    My condolences; I just recently lost my father and I know how you feel. *Hugs all round*

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