atheist, how do you console?

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  1. profile image0
    jomineposted 13 years ago

    How do you console a person who is going to die or somebody who just lost a loved one?
    shall we lie to them that there is god who'll take care of them? or shall we tell something else?

    1. Beelzedad profile image59
      Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Wouldn't it be obvious to anyone for an atheist to say to others a god will take care of them that is a lie?

      1. profile image0
        jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        the question is how you console? i confront death on a daily basis, luckily or unluckily most people are not in there senses to be consoled. but the story of their relatives is different. i don't believe in god, but, as most people are religious i tell them it was god's will or something similar to that(like it is not in our hands so on). what shall i tell them?

        1. Beelzedad profile image59
          Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Easy, consolation without the need to invoke magical beings. Is there any difference between telling the person a god will look after them or a star goat will look after them? smile

          1. profile image0
            jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            please tell me how? As bill says it is less said the better. i am in medical profession and cannot avoid seeing the grieving relatives. what am to tell them?
            I know i am lying when i say god is there, but don't know what else to say( it may be from the fact that this is the same stuff my professors used to say!)

            1. Beelzedad profile image59
              Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              Tell them no more than what you're paid to do as a medical professional if it bothers you so much. smile

              1. profile image0
                jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                yes, i work for  a salary, but does not mean i have no compassion!!

                1. Beelzedad profile image59
                  Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  No one is saying you don't have compassion. But, that doesn't mean as a medical professional you are obligated to provide words of comfort to others. If you feel compelled to provide those words, then don't talk about gods. Simple. smile

        2. profile image52
          paarsurreyposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I think if you just visit the agrieved; even if you don't say a word they will understand your feelings and love; and that is what matters to show your love.

    2. kess profile image59
      kessposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Your doubt in your belief is the cause of your insecurity.

      Otherwise you would be absolutly sure secure in the things which you allow .....or not allow

    3. recommend1 profile image60
      recommend1posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I would second those who have said to say as little as  possible. 

      If you have to say something then it should be on the lines of being thankful for the life they had - rather than the inevitable conclusion.

    4. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't lie to them. I usually just ask if it is OK if I have their CD collection. Laughter works wonders. big_smile

      1. Daniel Carter profile image62
        Daniel Carterposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Showing up, knowing they are dying is pretty powerful in and of itself, and I really like Mark's take. I told dad when he was dying that I was going to rob him blind after he passed. He laughed pretty hard over that. He said, "You mean you haven't done that yet? I'm pretty sure you did." Then I laughed till it hurt.

        Be risky. Laugh in the face of tragedy. But make sure the person who is dying is laughing also. What a relief that is.

        1. spookyfox profile image61
          spookyfoxposted 12 years agoin reply to this
    5. Merlin Fraser profile image61
      Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I think questions like this should fall into the category of ask a Bloody Stupid Question..... 

      For starters the question pre supposes that just because a person chooses not to believe in a God or doesn’t buy into the ridiculous age old lie that somehow you have to be a time served follower of a religious cult to have any emotion or alternatively saying an atheists is in some way bereft of human feelings.

      Personally I don’t know whether I am insulted or just plain Pissed at such an assumption and presume it must be born out of pure ignorance.

      Having very recently been in the situation of losing a very dear friend who was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous growth I have been through the entire ordeal from diagnosis to death in a matter of a few short weeks.

      It’s possible to ask how someone like me with pre religious Pagan beliefs, someone who finds the whole notion of people still believing in Gods in the 21st century ridiculous could have a friend who was a complete opposite.

      She was a devout believer, a true Christian in every sense of the word in both thought and deed and yes we discussed the differences in our beliefs so passionate were we in our opposite directions. But in spite of that we were friends and there came a time when inevitably we discussed death and what, if anything came after.

      So what do you think... Do you think I could console her in her final days... Do you think I would lie to a friend and pretend to see the light and confess that she was right and I wrong ?

      We did not discuss religion or God or even death unless she chose the subject, she was dying we both knew it, we knew each other so well to lie at that point would be unforgivable.  We talked about Life, her life what she had achieved, the sad times and the happy ones, we talked about the joy of our friendship and joked about how opposites attract. 

      I hope that answers your question, and if nothing else I hope it prevents any more such bloody ridiculous questions that start with a label like  Atheist....  We are first and foremost Humans and we all have feelings and emotions, these are within us all and they are not supplied along with the Hair Shirt,  Sack Cloth and Ashes required by the holier than Thou God Squad who could learn a lot if only they would get out more !

      1. profile image0
        jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        merlin i think you can understand
        but she was your friend and a simple touch might have been enough ti convey your feelings and meaning.
        but for me i am dealing with patients and bereaved relatives
        what shall i tell them?
        i do not believe in a god but as i know the patients do i tell them god take care- i just borrow there belief.

        1. Merlin Fraser profile image61
          Merlin Fraserposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I can see how it might make you feel about borrowing their beliefs as a means of giving comfort to complete strangers who look to you and probably lean on your strength.

            Goes with the territory I guess, people are never ready for Death, sooner or later the person dying will come to terms with it but more often than not those around them cannot or will not.

            Those are the problem ones, they are a pain in the ass to themselves to the person dying and the staff who are there to care.

            You probably want to give them a severe slap and tell them to grow a set !  They are not grieving for the dying but themselves and are of little comfort to anyone.

          As I said previously, my late friend was a devout Christian and an active member of her local church, when she declined chemo therapy as a means to extend her life she was moved to a Hospice, for the last few weeks of her life.   

          Her so called friends from the church group set up a round the clock prayer session.  Mercifully by this time she was in a coma;  why mercifully.... because I know that she would have hated that and would have told them to bugger off and let her die in peace.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is you need to find a way to deal with your situation and still be able to be true to your own beliefs.  Don’t lie, and don’t borrow someone else’s believe just to give comfort, that too is a lie.

          As you said a hand held goes a long way, so does a sympathetic ear, most of the time a gentle squeeze of the hand and a smile is better than words.

          1. profile image0
            jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Thank you

  2. SomewayOuttaHere profile image60
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 13 years ago

    ...well...whether or not you are do not have to say anything..just be there.....there are no words really that will really give most comfort...the less words the better...because you just never know how your words will be received or heard....too many times people say things that do not make sense to the person 'in the fog' and inadvertently say stupid things at the wrong time (not intentional - but it happens)...

    ...just be there...just in the moment....

  3. Bill Manning profile image69
    Bill Manningposted 13 years ago

    I don't believe in any higher form. So going to funerals is something I dread with a passion.

    NOT because I am scared of death, I don't even think about it. But because of how everyone wants to hear how their loved one is now in a better place and so on.

    People in grief lash out and act irrationally. So I can see that look on their faces when I'm saying stuff like, I'm sorry for your lost, at least he/she is at peace now.

    I can see that deep down, in their grief, they are thinking "oh F##K you, you think they are just dead now".

    So it's an awkward and very uncomfortable place for me to be. If I am told stuff like "they are with god now" and so on I just smile and nod. big_smile big_smile

  4. profile image0
    Sophia Angeliqueposted 13 years ago

    Jomine, is there any reason that you don't use capital letters to start a sentence? I note that you never use capital letters. It is extremely irritating.

    1. profile image0
      jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Typing is something which i never liked, nor will i ever like. Also i find it very difficult to type,looking and searching for each letters. That is why i use the minimum words and punctuations as

      1. profile image0
        Sophia Angeliqueposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you for that explanation. It is annoying to anyone who is accustomed to the written norm.

        1. aka-dj profile image67
          aka-djposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          It's fascinating how we jump to conclusions, until we get an explanation.
          A real Ahhh moment, that is! big_smile

          1. profile image0
            Sophia Angeliqueposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            @aka-dj. Actually, it doesn't make it acceptable to me. It just means I know that he dosen't have the time and the skill  to type it out correctly. It also means I will avoid anything he writes and says in future.

            To draw an analogy. If I go shopping and there's a beautifully made dress for $10 and there's a dress where the seamstress didn't hav the skill or the time to make the dress properly, regardless of the fact that the fabric is nicer looking, I'd rather spend my $10 on the well made dress.

            You see, I don't have the time to struggle through reading it.

            1. aka-dj profile image67
              aka-djposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              This shows impatience, and a disregard for someone less skilled than yourself.

              Do they not have something valid to contribute nonetheless?

              Of course, you are free to read what you like. I'm just saying. big_smile

              1. spookyfox profile image61
                spookyfoxposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                Or it shows lazyness from someone who has the resouces and since's he's posting here so much) I assume the time to take some simple online typing lessons.

                1. profile image0
                  jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  when you have a great eyesight typing might be fun!! i don't know, i am not blessed with one!

                  1. profile image0
                    jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                    i mean my eye sight is poor and have to use thick glasses

              2. profile image0
                Sophia Angeliqueposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                @aka-dk. Actually, it shows common sense. Why waste one's time reading something sub-standard when one can read something with the same information that is high quality. Nobody has got time to waste. Time is a very valuable commondity. Nor is anybody obliged to read something just because somebody else wrote it. It's a very competitive world, and if you're on Hub pages, it pays to write well, because it's quality content that is being sought by Google and other search engines.

            2. profile image0
              jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              thanks dj

              sophia its up to you whether to read or not. you can choose to ignore what i write because i don't use capitals(by the way the French are also reluctant to use capital much) or you can read - your choice
              please don't say Abraham Lincoln was a bad president or Charles dickens was a bad writer because they didn't study from neatly printed books!!

              1. Mark Knowles profile image59
                Mark Knowlesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                Nonsense. The French follow correct grammar and punctuation rules to the n-th degree. Makes Sophia look positively laid back. big_smile

                1. profile image0
                  jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  i was only saying about capitals, not punctuation, mark
                  my language have NO capitals

              2. profile image0
                Sophia Angeliqueposted 13 years agoin reply to this


                Whereo you get that information from, I don't know. Are you aware that Napoleon instituted a code for the French language so that there were exact rules to follow? Yes, it's possible that you know someone who is French who doesn't do it. However, that person would not be approved by the majority of French people.

                Charles Dickens had immaculate English as did Abraham Lincoln, so why you would be using them as an example, I have no idea. It doesn't matter where or how one attains a skill. It matters whether one has it.

                1. profile image0
                  jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  i never said French has no rules or punctuations, i only mentioned they are not as rigid as you for capitals- i think i use punctuations, though not frequently, use it any way, where it is needed!!
                  i didn't say they have faulty English, that too Charles dickens-one of my favorite writers- i said they never studied in class rooms from neatly printed books. Lincoln had to study from books others used and Dickens worked in a library!

  5. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 13 years ago

    We started with dead granny and ended with dead grammar. Oh,well,that's life!

    1. profile image0
      jomineposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      people get carried away

  6. know one profile image60
    know oneposted 13 years ago

    I think deep down people just want to know that their time on earth meant something. Focus on their positive contributions... and be kind enough to overlook their negative ones. This whole business about god's will, heaven, better place, etc annoys me. It takes the focus away from the person - a REAL life that had meaning and impact. I know I would not want to be thrown so readily down the god funnel. When death is inevitable and that death becomes an end to suffering then I would consider that to be consolation enough.

    1. slimmingcircle profile image59
      slimmingcircleposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I personally am an atheiest and find if anything it allows me to make the most of my time here on earth, believing that in all likely hood I will no longer exist once my body has decayed. I would like to believe that we all get rewarded in an after life and go on to better things which is probably why religion is so widely followed. It comforts those who chose to believe. that doesn't make it true in anyway shape or form. I find comfort in the harsh truth rather than a comforting lie. I console by reasurring that every living thing on this planet has the same fate awaiting. Whether you chose to believe that or a comforting story is up to you.

  7. dingdondingdon profile image59
    dingdondingdonposted 13 years ago

    When someone has died, I try to comfort the people left behind by reassuring them that the person was loved in life and won't be forgotten in death. I find the loss of a loved one hurts much less if you know that their life did mean something.

  8. xoxTamurílxox profile image61
    xoxTamurílxoxposted 12 years ago

    To say there is a god against a persons belief seems unseemly; to me, the consolation lies in the fact that whoever has passed, has found peace from whatever pain they may have endured. However, I also believe that sometimes humour is the best source of consolation; a laugh-worthy tale about the lost loved one can automatically evoke happy memories, as well as sad ones, but at the end of a conversation where a persons best characteristics are looked over and admired, it's hard not to feel grateful and thankful... Sometimes it isn't about consolation; sometimes it's just about knowing that the life that was lived was damn worth living.

  9. profile image0
    just_curiousposted 12 years ago

    I'm not an athiest.  No surprise.  Having read through this thread I would like to go on record that I would prefer an atheist not show up at a funeral, a consult with an oncologist to find out the results of any tests, or pretty much any occasion that might require the need to have a shoulder to lean on.  Atheists apparently have a firm grasp on what not to do, but not much else.


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