Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Atheist Thoughts About a Friend Who Passed

One of our people fighting for their life passed away in the night. I morn that passing, and honor them with my profound thought. This is a letter in response to my grieving friend, who mourned the loss.

I am doing well. Thanks my friend. When I read of one of our people falling, it does hurt. It causes me pain when people are distressed. I feel so helpless. Who wouldn't want to be able to wave a magic wand and make everything all better? Loved people in hospital fighting for their lives, and asking for a prayer. They believe it might help, but not I. So what do I say to them and not become a liar or a hypocrite? How can I give comfort?

I tell them that I hope fate will be kind. That I hope they have skilled doctors. That I hope they recover quickly. I can only offer hope, and the assurance that humans will work as hard as they can, with the knowledge and skills they've cultivated, to return them to health. I can only offer my faith in the human spirit. My faith that people are good, and do care about them. Then sometimes all the prayers, and offered hope fails us. We primitive, ignorant humans a slave to a mortal frame. Our consciousness locked inside and dependent on biological processes, it is like a cruel joke. 13 billion years in the making, only to shine brightly for an infinitesimally short time, then lost forever to oblivion. We and I are helpless to the coming non-existence.

Still I should be counting myself as one of the lucky ones, as should we all. At least the matter we call "self" did become sentient. Our eyes did for a time see, and our ears did hear. Knowing from whence we came, and being able to contemplate it, that is the grandest thing in existence. When we are at the door to oblivion, but knowledgeable humans yank us back from that fate, I'll not cheapen their efforts. I'll give credit due. But when all fails, and despite all our knowledge and efforts one of our people pass, I'll morn that loss, and say so long my fellow. Soon I will join you in the void of the unthinking.

I once read that since our beginning there has been approximately 100 billion humans who have ever lived. Now there are 7 billion persons alive today. That tells me that 93% of the people who have ever existed are now passed away. Indeed, I'll count myself as one of the lucky 7% who are still alive.