Saturday, 19 January 2008

Been a long time...

...since my last blog.

I have a good excuse my Dad died just before Xmas. I could use this blog to say how much I loved him and how grateful I feel to have been his son. I could use this entry to talk about the terrible state of the NHS and the high number of people working in it who just don't give a shit. But I'm not. Today I'm talking about Death and the gobsmacking arrogant behaviour of religious people.

This of course isn't all religious people just a fair percentage but enough to make an annoying difference.

Religion raised its ugly head pretty soon after dad's death. My dad was an atheist, a passionate atheist who always would argue the toss with any religious follower. Some of his best friends had religion it didn't stop him being friends with them but he wouldn't pander to there beliefs and he loved a good argument.

He had said on numerous occasions that he wanted a humanist funeral. He didn't want a churchman there, he had been to an Uncle's humanist funeral and was impressed. This was common knowledge yet from the outset I had relatives saying he did believe in God really and there should be a religious funeral. Now I could be generous and say that 'they knew not what they were doing' and were responding to their own grief but I won't. To have a religious funeral would have been against my Dad's wishes and would have been an insult to his memory. It didn't stop them from trying though. They were being selfish and disrespectful.

When my mum dies she will have a religious funeral. She is not a churchgoer but she believes in God and would like her funeral to be conducted by a churchman. I know the ceremony will be more about God, Jesus, the holy spirit and heaven than it will be about her. It wont be a celebration of her life but a bit of advertising and proselytising on behalf of the Vicar. It will probably not be very good. It will be solemn though – My religious side of the family are big on solemn. You'd think they'd be happy that someone was now in eternal paradise and would be jigging and a singing. But they ain't! Go figure! I will not object to this ceremony or as they did, maintain that she didn't believe really. I will honour her wishes no matter how silly I think it is.
Anyway the humanist ceremony for Dad went ahead but the Christian relatives managed to include an allusion to an afterlife by the retelling of a story that Dad had once told to his grandson. It was retold as the TRUTH. My dad also told the grand kids about a Japanese Prisoner of War who lived at the bottom of the garden. He was a great storyteller and told many stories but he didn't tell them all as the TRUTH. He told me about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and a visit to the dentist wouldn't hurt!

Later at the reception a spiritualist friend of Dad's assured me that she'd had a word with him up in heaven and he told her that he was having his dinner with his Mum and Dad and catching up on things. Other Christian 'well-wishers' reckoned he was playing golf with his dead friends. Would he get a hole in one every time in Paradise I wondered. I bit my lip and smiled. A hard trick but it had to be done.

I suppose for some, religion is a good way of avoiding death. Immortality sounds a blast until you really really think about it. The thought of living forever is my idea of hell. I love chocolate, but every day? For eternity? With religious people? Praising the head honcho all day or else he'd torture me for eternity?

Bugger that for a game of soldiers। As both my Dad and I would say.

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