ARE THEY GONE TO A BETTER PLACE?

Rev. Dr. Ronald Lloyd RyanRev. Dr. Ronald RyanLeave a Comment

By Rev. Dr. Ronald Ryan

I find that I am more and more concerned about the foolish statements made by clergy and lay people alike when they talk about people who have died. “He has gone to a better place, She has gone to a better place,” they say. Just a little while ago, I attended the funeral of a lady who had suffered from a variety of diseases, predeceased by her husband who had been physically handicapped. The minister proclaimed that the woman and her husband were now in Heaven, that better place, no longer crippled, no longer diseased, having a grand ole time. He painted such a picture of bliss and happiness that I wanted to go, then and there! He didn’t say anything about the woman’s two previous husbands or the man’s former wife, or the latter’s former husband who also had had two wives. I supposed they were all in bed together having an orgy?
It is all nonsense. It is certainly not Biblical!

Many people will quote 1 John 3: 2. “ Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” and they interpret the last few words as “we will see people who have died exactly as they were on earth … which raises all sorts of questions.
But, that is not what Paul says . He says that we shall see Jesus as he is, however that is.
Besides, Jesus was asked the self-same question as recorded in Matthew 22, Mark 12, Luke 20. Jesus responded that there would be no marriage or giving in marriage. So, no family get-togethers around the celestial feast table.

The fact is, death is still the enemy, not something embraced or joyfully looked forward to, and certainly not something to be actively sought. Let’s be honest with ourselves and each other: We have no idea what happens after death. Sometimes, I will say that after we die we return to our source, which, I guess, at a minimum is stardust, cosmic energy. In fact, there is precious little information in the Bible about what happens after death, although many people and clergy manufacture castles in the air from information from which one could hardly build a dog-house.I know that does not sound very comforting for people who have lost loved ones and are grieving. I also understand that some people may become angry with me because they want to imagine their loved one in a happy place, no longer old (although I don’t know what age is most appropriate), no longer disease-ridden, no longer filled with

I know that does not sound very comforting for people who have lost loved ones and are grieving. I also understand that some people may become angry with me because they want to imagine their loved one in a happy place, no longer old (although I don’t know what age is most appropriate), no longer disease-ridden, no longer filled with angst of one kind or another.What is being lost in all of this is that this life is to be lived to its fullest, here, now! This life is NOT preparation for eternity!! To perceive life that way is to cheat ourselves of what life offers us, this one time around! The other aspect of living that is being lost is that we should cherish each other and love and support each other while our loved ones are living. Much grieving is the result of guilt that we now no longer have the opportunity to have

What is being lost in all of this is that this life is to be lived to its fullest, here, now! This life is NOT preparation for eternity!! To perceive life that way is to cheat ourselves of what life offers us, this one time around! The other aspect of living that is being lost is that we should cherish each other and love and support each other while our loved ones are living. Much grieving is the result of guilt that we now no longer have the opportunity to have relationship with those who have died because we didn’t take the time to have relationship with them when they were living.This life is a one shot deal! We should live it the best way we can, having

This life is a one shot deal! We should live it the best way we can, having relationship with people in the most loving and compassionate way we can.

The other issue, maybe the most important one, is that clergy, in their effort to comfort families, engage in hyperbole because they don’t know what else to do, in their belief that the families want to be comforted in this manner. They draw such a beautiful picture of Heaven that some people begin to believe that it is real. Some suicides are no more than an effort to get to this heaven as soon as possible. Some of my readers will recall an incident in which one family member, believing the clergies’ hyperbole, killed another family member so that the latter, who was “saved,” could get to Heaven before they began to sin again.

The bottom line: do not lose sight of your rationality. Death is still death; We do NOT know what lies beyond however strong our belief and however eloquent and convincing the clergy are. To say that a person who has died “has gone to a better place” is pure, unadulterated nonsense.