Monday, June 18, 2007

selective mourning

6:35 PM Posted by: M., 2 comments

I am observing an interesting pattern of bereavement in my family. My parents were really, really over saddened by the deaths of Jerry Falwell and Ruth Graham, and now the owner of our local Christian bookstore died. I definitely understand that death is sad to all people, but I can't help but notice the special death mourning treatment that christians get in my parents' eyes compared to non-christians. It might seem to me that the death of a Christian would mean that God "took them home" and now they are in paradaise--that sounds pretty sweet to me, but is a non-christian dies, then they are burning eternally in the pit of Hell--that is really sad to me. So why do some christians act like christian deaths are 1000x sadder than non-christian ones? I don't know.


zilch said...

I've often wondered about this too. Perhaps it's because Christians are seen as being "on the right side" that their deaths are mourned more. And as far as Heaven and Hell go, I suspect that even many fervent Christians are still emotionally more affected by our earthly life, and death, because that's all we directly experience- the afterlife is only a promise and a belief, not something we live and breathe for years on end.

Speaking of sadness about non-Christians burning in Hell- Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short story in which he said that it wasn't Jesus, but rather Judas, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Judas' betrayal of Jesus was necessary for the Crucifixion, and thus necessary for our redemption. And although Jesus suffered on the Cross, He now reigns at the right hand of His Father in Heaven, while Judas burns in Hell.

There are similar stories, for instance by Thomas de Quincy, and Dostoevsky, but I like Borges' version the best. If you're interested, you can find it here.

lowendaction said...

To me this speaks to a deep sickness inside the christian church, and that is peoples misuse of it as an elite social club. Christians are called to love EVERYONE! So there should be equal love as well as saddness for all.

I would also add however, that to me it sounds less like their reactions are 'christian vs non-christian prefrence' related, and more that of friends and peers. And though this is pretty much goes hand in hand, I believe it is normal for people to mourn those they are "close" to more deeply than strangers. For your parents, I would venture to guess that the majority of their friends (if not all) are christians.

So their reactions to these two deaths doen't surprise me, or even shock me. Not knowing them personally, my challenge/question to them would be: do you really love all mankind as Jesus modeled in the bible? The rest will take care of itself.