"god has a plan."
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04-02-2015, 02:09 AM
"god has a plan."
Hello,
I have joined this forum seeking assistance in supporting a very close friend of mine whose son just died this past weekend. She and I and many others who have been supporting her and her family, and who will be attending the memorial, span the spectrum of atheism from confrontational and hardline through secular indifference. That being said, the memorial will be a Catholic mass due to the fact that the boy's father is Catholic, and the deceased himself was a vaguely spiritual young man. The mother and I and many of our friends are of the opinion that having a Catholic service is at the very least harmless, and at best a comfort to a grieving father. She views the service as a way of honoring her son "in a different language" so to speak.

Where I will need some advice from this community is in supporting the mother through the one thing she has expressed dread over: having to hear and accept "god has a plan" as a consolation from a large number of religious attendees. As gracious and tolerant as you can imagine this woman to be, hearing this statement is the one thing that will push her over the edge, as it makes her feel that the gravity and validity of her grief is being minimized. I was hoping that some of you have been in similar situations, and may have some tips on how to either prevent this from happening, or shielding her from it, or helping her cope with inevitably hearing it. One thing we do not want is to make a needless spectacle over it, as you can imagine.

Please help.
-CP
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04-02-2015, 03:33 AM
RE: "god has a plan."
Yeah! I can imagine that "Fuck your god and his sadistic plan" might not go down too well.

Welcome to TTA, btw.

Bear in mind that the other attendees are also coping with loss or, if they're not close, attempting to give comfort from within their frame of reference.
So, the best response might be "thank you."

My preferred response is slightly pointed but sincere enough if not said with malice.

"Thank you. I can understand why you say that."

Then move on or change the subject to something that reminds you of happy moments


Good memories of the past not delusions about the future.

All the best.

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04-02-2015, 09:54 AM
RE: "god has a plan."
(04-02-2015 02:09 AM)Blue Calx Wrote:  Hello,
I have joined this forum seeking assistance in supporting a very close friend of mine whose son just died this past weekend. She and I and many others who have been supporting her and her family, and who will be attending the memorial, span the spectrum of atheism from confrontational and hardline through secular indifference. That being said, the memorial will be a Catholic mass due to the fact that the boy's father is Catholic, and the deceased himself was a vaguely spiritual young man. The mother and I and many of our friends are of the opinion that having a Catholic service is at the very least harmless, and at best a comfort to a grieving father. She views the service as a way of honoring her son "in a different language" so to speak.

Where I will need some advice from this community is in supporting the mother through the one thing she has expressed dread over: having to hear and accept "god has a plan" as a consolation from a large number of religious attendees. As gracious and tolerant as you can imagine this woman to be, hearing this statement is the one thing that will push her over the edge, as it makes her feel that the gravity and validity of her grief is being minimized. I was hoping that some of you have been in similar situations, and may have some tips on how to either prevent this from happening, or shielding her from it, or helping her cope with inevitably hearing it. One thing we do not want is to make a needless spectacle over it, as you can imagine.

Please help.
-CP

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to prevent someone at the memorial from saying something like this. You can request that the priest not bring this idea into his church service, after all this is a memorial for your friends son.

Perhaps this will help your friend forget others who bring up "gods plan" . It was written by physicist, Aaron Freedman

"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen."

-Aaron Freeman.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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04-02-2015, 10:05 AM
RE: "god has a plan."
I insisted on giving the eulogy at my aunt's Catholic funeral. Maybe you can do the same and prevent such utterings?

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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04-02-2015, 10:29 AM
RE: "god has a plan."
(04-02-2015 09:54 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. ..."
-Aaron Freeman.

Something like this? (the joke here is that the guy being eulogized was a completely nasty individual who nobody could find anything good to say about)





To the OP, sorry, I have no advice to offer except to tell her to respond "no plan that requires this much suffering is a good one" or some such line. She'll get a pass because she is grieving but she can let them know what she really thinks about it.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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04-02-2015, 11:12 AM
RE: "god has a plan."
You guys are awesome, thank you. We've been discussing this issue for the past few days, and I think I will pass the link to this thread along to her.

We all do understand that "god has a plan" is the best, even the only way that some people can offer comfort. I have even been to services where that phrase has very real, tangible power (though, I believe it was acting through the men and women in the room). Our beliefs outside of this circumstance is not the issue; the issue is the intense, primal stuff that happens in the moment when you're too overwhelmed to reason about it.

Thank you again for your suggestions!
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04-02-2015, 12:20 PM
RE: "god has a plan."
Both my parents had non-religious funerals and still I heard plenty of these 'god's plan', 'better place now' comments.
People carry their beliefs with them wherever they go, and pull them out when needed. It seems to be an automatic response for them.
By the end of the services the comments had been getting to me, but I just tried to remember that they meant well.
Normally , under most any other circumstances, I would call them out. I just didn't see the point in making a miserable day worse. (Wrong time wrong place)
I managed to grin and bear it until I could get away from them, get out of that suit, and meet up with my siblings for food and several drinks.
Hope that can help some.
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04-02-2015, 01:39 PM
RE: "god has a plan."
It is just terrible burying one of your children. I can not imagine the pain of your friend. Maybe this can be a catalyst for a campaign to stop people from saying "god had a plan" when a loved one passes. I is a really insensitive thing to say even to a believer.
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06-02-2015, 07:40 PM
RE: "god has a plan."
(04-02-2015 09:54 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to prevent someone at the memorial from saying something like this. You can request that the priest not bring this idea into his church service, after all this is a memorial for your friends son.

Perhaps this will help your friend forget others who bring up "gods plan" . It was written by physicist, Aaron Freedman

"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen."

-Aaron Freeman.

We got a eulogy thread around here somewhere that's going into. Thumbsup

#sigh
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06-02-2015, 07:57 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2015 08:19 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: "god has a plan."
(04-02-2015 02:09 AM)Blue Calx Wrote:  Where I will need some advice from this community is in supporting the mother through the one thing she has expressed dread over: having to hear and accept "god has a plan" as a consolation from a large number of religious attendees. As gracious and tolerant as you can imagine this woman to be, hearing this statement is the one thing that will push her over the edge, as it makes her feel that the gravity and validity of her grief is being minimized. I was hoping that some of you have been in similar situations, and may have some tips on how to either prevent this from happening, or shielding her from it, or helping her cope with inevitably hearing it. One thing we do not want is to make a needless spectacle over it, as you can imagine.

Please help.
-CP

I been in a few "My Condolences" lines and to be honest I didn't hear what anyone said. I gave a perfunctory "Thank you" and returned a handshake, hug, or kiss as appropriate but I was preoccupied replaying a biography in my head.

#sigh
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