Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Faith envy

From Joseph Epstein's essay "Good Grief: Reflections on a dreaded emotion":
.... In our secular age, the dead are thought generally to go into the ground, up in flames, or into the heads of others. But what about grieving those who believe in an afterlife, which usually entails their going to a better place? Ought we to grieve their deaths, or rather to celebrate them? Cholbi writes that “the fact that believers in the afterlife genuinely grieve is difficult to reconcile with the notion that they grieve for what the deceased have lost by dying.” I had a neighbor named Dee Crosby, an earnest, daily Mass–attending Catholic, unmarried, a former schoolteacher, 10 or so years older than I. I recall her once telling me that she had no fear of death. She hoped to avoid a painful or a sloppy passing, but she was confident about where she was headed after death. When she told me this, I felt a stab of what I can only call faith envy. ....
We may very well grieve for what we have lost when a believing loved one dies but we should not grieve for what they have lost.

Joseph Epstein, "Good Grief:Reflections on a dreaded emotion," Commentary, July/August, 2022.

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