So somewhat recently the new Pope, Francis, comforted a young boy who lost his dog by telling him, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
I found this fascinating.
A. Because it apparently goes against the church’s dogma (You have to have a soul to go to heaven. Animals, it is said, have no souls. They just eat soles).
B. Because it just strikes me as utterly inane.
I know … I know—Jeff bashes religion again. Well, yeah. Jeff is bashing religion again. Because it makes no sense, and I’m not quite sure what value comes with teaching our young nonsense.
“But, Jeff, you’re OK with Santa Claus, and we know Santa Claus isn’t true.”
Yes, that’s right. But ultimately people stop believing in Santa Claus and realize it’s fictional. Most people who tell others that they’ll see their dogs in heaven genuinely believe they’ll see their dogs in heaven. Which, I guess, isn’t a harmful thing to think … just UTTERLY INSANE AND NONSENSICAL!!!!!!!!!!!
More important, why do this? There’s something else we can tell kids when their pets die, and—to me—it’s equally comforting. How about, “You know, Bobby, Roscoe was really special. And what’s beautiful is that you and he got to share 12 amazing years together. You loved him and he loved you, and that’s something you’ll always be able to cherish.”
No mess, no fuss, no fiction.
To be clear: I don’t hate the idea of God. Actually, I love the idea of God. And Jesus. There’s a base beauty to the concept of entities of pure love, looking out for us. And while I don’t buy it, I certainly don’t bemoan. What I do bemoan are the interpretations. The manipulating. The never-ending need to soothe and comfort when, perhaps, hard times and tears and pain are simply parts of life. Maybe it’s OK to realize we’ll cease to exist. Maybe Roscoe being buried and dead is just a part of life. Heck, maybe the fleeting nature of existence is what makes existence so special.
Bobby, Roscoe ain’t floating on a cloud.
He’s in the dirt, decomposing.
And nothing’s wrong with that.