This Friday I went to a funeral. The lady who had passed away, was a Lady in all aspects, kind, humorous, compassionate, observant, helpful, empathic, and lovable. She was old, so death was no surprise. But she was that kind of woman who had energy like she could live forever.
And that was what all believed, and expressed today. She died, but only to live forever in Heaven. So death was not extinction, it was only a transformation to an eternal life together with God. The speeches, the songs, the readings from the Bible, all underlined this strong belief in a personal God, welcoming the good lady. For good she was, indeed.
I once use to believe in the same God, in Jahve. I once considered myself being a Christian. And I once found comfort in the thought of a personal God taking care of me in my life. And it was all good, because I really needed God in my life to face my living. And during this funeral I had no problems with identifying the need for a personal God, for Heaven, for salvation, and for religion. And when death meets us, the need is felt stronger than ever.
But I sat there, thinking about what they were saying, what the really believed in. And I asked myself if it is possible to have such a faith. Yes, I know it is possible, because I once myself believed. But I don’t anymore believe in a personal and protecting God. I can’t for sure He is not there, so I am no atheist. Rather I am an agnostic, because I find rejecting God is as much a fault as believe in Him. The question of God is beyond what we actually can know for sure.
While the others believed, I felt myself sort of standing outside, looking into a world in which I did not belong. I felt like a stranger, although I was accepted and incorporated like anyone else. And I got a good feeling watching how the others found comfort from their sorrow when they turned to God in prayer. It would have been most inappropriate for me to demonstrate my doubts. So I just watched, and felt the atmosphere, in a mindful way, wishing them all the best.
I know that Darwin never could accept his loss of faith in God. He was bothered by this all his life, and perhaps that was one of the reasons for his assumed depressive episodes. I know how he felt, because I sometimes miss my religion as well. But I am unable to have faith in something I actually do not believe in. So I have to concentrate on my life here and now, and let the questions which I can never answer for sure just continue be without an answer. Perhaps I shall know one day, but for now I don’t know. That is a fact I have to contemplate and ultimately accept.
Men come forth and live, they enter (again) and die. (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 50. Translation Legge)