I saw this image posted on Facebook yesterday, and it really pissed me off because it is a complete fantasy and a gross misrepresentation of reality. The brutal truth of the matter is that the children who were murdered the other day in Connecticut are not floating in the clouds with Jesus. They are not in a “better place” living happily ever after. The brutal reality is that they are DEAD. WIPED OUT. GONE. They no longer exist, and there is nothing that can change the finality of their deaths, no matter how much we wish it could be different.
Christopher Hitchens famously commented that “religion poisons everything”, and he was correct. Fantasies such as that depicted in this image are just that — fantasies. It may be comfortable to believe that the young, innocent lives that were tragically cut short are continuing in another realm, but that just simply is not the case. I understand the need to find some source of comfort and hope when unspeakable tragedies such as this occur, but those sources of comfort should be solidly based in reality. Escaping into religious fantasy is not a healthy way to deal with shock or grief, and it is not helpful in the long run. Carl Sagan once said that it is far better to grasp the universe as it is than to persist in delusion, no matter how satisfying.
Facing the fact that those young lives were snuffed out beyond any hope of recovery is hard. It is brutal. It is unspeakably, tragically, indescribably sad. But it is reality, and it cannot be changed. It is far better to face that brutal reality head on than it is to escape from it into a religious fantasy world.
My heart goes out to the families and everyone else affected by this horrific tragedy. If I was able to say anything to offer comfort, it would be showing that I care and would do anything within my power to ease their suffering. That’s all any of us can do and I’m thankful that those who are qualified and are in a position to help are doing so.