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Old 11-23-2012, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,881 posts, read 7,310,269 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Who?Me?! View Post

Your personal experiences do not dictate what everyone else should do.
Nunnor will never get it. Ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Now you will make them feel even more sad by telling them that they will be missed, how their life was, etc. That's how I would have felt. Because usually when you talk about the dead person, the close family remembers it and makes them cry. Maybe us religious people think diffently because we were raised with having morality?!
I've had many people thank for for my kind words and admit that I did help them and make them feel better. Just because you have not personally experienced something does not mean it can't happen for another.

And while you may also not believe it but non-religious people can also be raised with morals. Religion does not own morals.

 
Old 11-23-2012, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,291,704 times
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Speaking from memory during my Atheist years.

Very often there is nothing that can be said or even needs to be said. If a person is prepared for death words are not needed. If they are not prepared no words will help.

The best option is to just let the living know you cared and offer any help you may see needed:

Sending food to their house
offering rides
offering to watch small children

It is usually difficult for the bereaved to think of what they need, look for something you can help with.
 
Old 11-23-2012, 08:20 PM
 
16,104 posts, read 17,907,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Now you will make them feel even more sad by telling them that they will be missed, how their life was, etc. That's how I would have felt. Because usually when you talk about the dead person, the close family remembers it and makes them cry. Maybe us religious people think diffently because we were raised with having morality?!
Sadness is part of grieving. It is NOT bad to feel sad when someone dies. For the kids, trying to make them feel all better is NOT very helpful. There are many books that can help children with their feelings. Not talking about the sadness often makes things worse.

Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss (Elf-Help Books for Kids): Michaelene Mundy, R. W. Alley: 9780870293214: Amazon.com: Books

Amazon.com: Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies (9781577490852): Janis Silverman: Books

I Miss You: A First Look At Death: Pat Thomas, Leslie Harker: 9780764117640: Amazon.com: Books

Atheists have morality, btw. We don't derive it from religion. We think carefully about these things and use empathy.
 
Old 11-23-2012, 08:24 PM
 
1,266 posts, read 1,525,822 times
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When my mom died, I found it most comforting when others reminisced about what a neat lady she was and shared with me their special memories of her. Many of the stories I heard after her death I had not heard before. So, it was comforting to hear how her presence here also positively impacted others (and not just us, her immediate family). Condolences of this sort just felt right to me--more so than those who shared words of the afterlife/heaven, etc. But I respected and appreciated their sentiments as well.
 
Old 11-23-2012, 09:19 PM
 
21,044 posts, read 19,565,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TotallyTam View Post
When my mom died, I found it most comforting when others reminisced about what a neat lady she was and shared with me their special memories of her. Many of the stories I heard after her death I had not heard before. So, it was comforting to hear how her presence here also positively impacted others (and not just us, her immediate family). Condolences of this sort just felt right to me--more so than those who shared words of the afterlife/heaven, etc. But I respected and appreciated their sentiments as well.
I totally agree with you. While I appreciated the thoughts of religious friends after my mother's death the comments I really loved were about my mother NOT the hereafter or god or angels or heaven, it was about my MOTHER and her LIFE.
 
Old 11-23-2012, 09:52 PM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,534,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Hi...

I always wondered this, but since I only have one atheist friend (who is Jewish) she did not respond to my question very well, because she was confused with her non-faith.

When a person you know is going to die or has died (for any reason), how do you comfort his/her close family?
Like us religious people, we often say "he/she will be going to a better place", "It was God's will", "You will see him/her in heaven and paradise", "He/She is God's Angel", etc. - How do you as a non-believer do and say?

Thank You for respond

If the person is still alive but at the end of life, I will empathize with the family, as I have lost family members, too. "Oh, sweetie, I know. It's so hard." I will offer a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen.

If the person has passed on, I will say that I will miss the person and say why, "I'll miss So-and-So's incredible sense of humor/kindness/passion for what he/she does."

Then I will take action of some kind, whether it's sending a fruit basket, making food, helping with things around the house, etc. Two hands taking action can do far more than 10,000 clasped in prayer.

And for the record, the approach I take with respect to the deceased is what I feel everyone should do, for the sake of good manners. As an atheist, I cannot tell you how annoying and offensive it is for people to come up to me after the death of one of my loved ones and start taking about "God's will" and "heaven" and all of that when they KNOW I am an atheist. What's more, in this day and age, unless you are close enough with those you are consoling to KNOW 100% without a doubt that they are religious--as in, you go to church with them--the fact is that you just cannot assume anyone is a believer anymore. The most comforting thing you can say will be personal, and about the deceased, if you knew the deceased. And if you didn't know the deceased well but are there to console a friend or coworker, a simple, "I am so sorry for your loss" will suffice.

Besides, even believers get sick of hearing about "God's will." If you know anything about the stages of grief, you know that anger is one of them, and quite a few people snap at the mention of "God's will" or any other platitude. A lot of people get pretty pissed at "God" for "taking" their loved one, especially if the person died young. I don't know anyone who takes comfort in hearing that, and the rest of my family is Catholic. Everyone I know finds it to be condescending and snotty, like, "Tut-tut, it's God's will and you just have to suck it up."
 
Old 11-23-2012, 10:30 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,743,974 times
Reputation: 1328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Hi...

I always wondered this, but since I only have one atheist friend (who is Jewish) she did not respond to my question very well, because she was confused with her non-faith.

When a person you know is going to die or has died (for any reason), how do you comfort his/her close family?
Like us religious people, we often say "he/she will be going to a better place", "It was God's will", "You will see him/her in heaven and paradise", "He/She is God's Angel", etc. - How do you as a non-believer do and say?

Thank You for respond
As a faithful and deeply religious pure Agnostic:

I tell them what they want to hear. I try not to mention that which they don't want to hear. Atheists will usually want to hear about the end of suffering, a great and fully-lived life, the understood sadness, the nature of reality (the bluntness of how it naturally appears to be). With theists I try to shower them with agreement on whatever baseless and wishful assumptions they make. I try to hold myself back from correcting any of their undue assumptions, or pointing out other hopeful (yet usually hated by them) or chastising(adj.) religious points of views. I guess both approaches are the same; you'd be surprised how many irreligious theists like to hear the same obvious realities that atheists and deists like to talk about.

A sort of "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" approach. Death usually wounds beasts, and wounded beasts don't like being prodded with a meter stick. If anyone cared about your opinions they would hire you as a consultant or read your writings. Enough cognitive dissonance goes through people's minds during these times to deal upon them some extra weight.

If it was a friend of mine who wouldn't be deeply hurt by the opinions they would already know I hold, I would say something along the lines of "well, at least we can hope they are out of the matrix now."
If I had a feeling they wouldn't appreciate my humor then I would shower them with what they wanted to hear or keep quiet and ask them to talk and listen respectfully exaggerating my agreement.
 
Old 11-24-2012, 06:33 AM
 
21,044 posts, read 19,565,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
If the person is still alive but at the end of life, I will empathize with the family, as I have lost family members, too. "Oh, sweetie, I know. It's so hard." I will offer a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen.

If the person has passed on, I will say that I will miss the person and say why, "I'll miss So-and-So's incredible sense of humor/kindness/passion for what he/she does."

Then I will take action of some kind, whether it's sending a fruit basket, making food, helping with things around the house, etc. Two hands taking action can do far more than 10,000 clasped in prayer.

And for the record, the approach I take with respect to the deceased is what I feel everyone should do, for the sake of good manners. As an atheist, I cannot tell you how annoying and offensive it is for people to come up to me after the death of one of my loved ones and start taking about "God's will" and "heaven" and all of that when they KNOW I am an atheist. What's more, in this day and age, unless you are close enough with those you are consoling to KNOW 100% without a doubt that they are religious--as in, you go to church with them--the fact is that you just cannot assume anyone is a believer anymore. The most comforting thing you can say will be personal, and about the deceased, if you knew the deceased. And if you didn't know the deceased well but are there to console a friend or coworker, a simple, "I am so sorry for your loss" will suffice.

Besides, even believers get sick of hearing about "God's will." If you know anything about the stages of grief, you know that anger is one of them, and quite a few people snap at the mention of "God's will" or any other platitude. A lot of people get pretty pissed at "God" for "taking" their loved one, especially if the person died young. I don't know anyone who takes comfort in hearing that, and the rest of my family is Catholic. Everyone I know finds it to be condescending and snotty, like, "Tut-tut, it's God's will and you just have to suck it up."
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post
As a faithful and deeply religious pure Agnostic:

I tell them what they want to hear. I try not to mention that which they don't want to hear. Atheists will usually want to hear about the end of suffering, a great and fully-lived life, the understood sadness, the nature of reality (the bluntness of how it naturally appears to be). With theists I try to shower them with agreement on whatever baseless and wishful assumptions they make. I try to hold myself back from correcting any of their undue assumptions, or pointing out other hopeful (yet usually hated by them) or chastising(adj.) religious points of views. I guess both approaches are the same; you'd be surprised how many irreligious theists like to hear the same obvious realities that atheists and deists like to talk about.

A sort of "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" approach. Death usually wounds beasts, and wounded beasts don't like being prodded with a meter stick. If anyone cared about your opinions they would hire you as a consultant or read your writings. Enough cognitive dissonance goes through people's minds during these times to deal upon them some extra weight.

If it was a friend of mine who wouldn't be deeply hurt by the opinions they would already know I hold, I would say something along the lines of "well, at least we can hope they are out of the matrix now."
If I had a feeling they wouldn't appreciate my humor then I would shower them with what they wanted to hear or keep quiet and ask them to talk and listen respectfully exaggerating my agreement.
Two very sensible, kind, understanding, compassionate posts!

I especially liked , "Two hands taking action can do far more than 10,000 clasped in prayer."


I hope the OP got his answer.....
 
Old 11-24-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,309 posts, read 11,230,213 times
Reputation: 14194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
When a person you know is going to die or has died (for any reason), how do you comfort his/her close family?
Like us religious people, we often say "he/she will be going to a better place", "It was God's will", "You will see him/her in heaven and paradise", "He/She is God's Angel", etc. - How do you as a non-believer do and say?

Thank You for respond
You claim that as a member of a religion you were raised with morality, but I find this kind of response to be deeply immoral. All you're telling the bereaved person is that they should ignore their loss and that things are better now that their friend or family member is dead.

The responses from atheists on this thread, particularly comments indicating an appreciation for the life of the deceased person, or, even if you didn't know the deceased, recognition for the good the person did in life, coupled with an honest recognition that the bereaved person has suffered a loss and will feel that loss for some time into the future are far better than these fanciful comments you would make.

Oh, and one other thing: you may not recognize this, but your Christian theology is just plain wrong. An angel is not the same as a human being, and someone who dies will never become an angel. This is probably just one more example of the fact that we atheists tend to be better informed about the tenets of Christian theology than many believers.
 
Old 11-24-2012, 07:41 AM
 
794 posts, read 1,196,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
Like us religious people, we often say "he/she will be going to a better place", "It was God's will", "You will see him/her in heaven and paradise", "He/She is God's Angel", etc. - How do you as a non-believer do and say?
I have learned in my life that statements such as these (platitudes), are often enraging or belittling rather than comforting. We say them as a way to keep the pain of the bereaved at arm's length, to avoid the messy, dirty, sadness of feelings. When you're confronted with someone in agony you want to do something or say something to keep the sadness away from you, deny the death actually happened. And god forbid you should leave a gap of silence, they might start crying or something! Best fill it with words so you can move on as soon as possible. But what people need more is for you to listen, so giving them an opening to talk, and then responding to what they actually say is far more caring.

In a practical sense, as previous posters have said, this translates into saying "I'm sorry for your loss, would you like to talk?" Or, I'm sorry for your loss, John was such a lovely man, he once..., I'll miss him".
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