Q: My husband died several months ago (of cancer), and they have been the hardest months of my life. People try to cheer me up by saying he’s in heaven now, and I believe it, but it doesn’t take away the hurt. How can I get over this? — E.W.
A: I am sorry for you loss. I have never suffered a loss of this magnitude, so I don’t think I can give you any good advice beyond suggesting that you seek out a grief counselor (hopefully, a secular one).
I am also sorry that you were tricked into believing that the teachings of the Christian church are true. While no one can definitively say whether there is some sort of afterlife or not, we can with utmost confidence say that the Christian god and heaven are not real. The rational arguments in favor of this position are overwhelming. The same can be said of all afterlives (heavens, paradises, hells) described by other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. I think that belief in the afterlife is an immature reaction to the reality of death. Death of a loved one is very difficult to deal with. Believing that you will be reunited with that loved one in an afterlife may provide some comfort, but it is a false comfort. We should realize that our departed loved ones will live on in the memories of others and in the legacies they generated during their lives. This is something real that we can take comfort in.
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