Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Life And Death
"'Will the captain read the service?' she asked...
"She handed him the prayerbook. Me? he thought. But I never believed - She was watching. They all were. His finger stained the pages as he read aloud the majestic words."
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 444.
"Do I believe any of this? Rod wondered."
-Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God's Eye (London, 1979).
"'I am the Resurrection...'
"'I heard a voice from Heaven...'
"'Day of wrath, and doom impending...'
"'Unto Almighty God we commend the souls...'" (pp. 390-391)
It is generally accepted in society that we attend marriages and funerals of friends and colleagues, irrespective of their religious tradition. This unites us - most of us. Only a few sectarians disagree.
Rod rightly questions but rightly keeps quiet during a funeral service. There are appropriate channels to continue questioning. One of the chaplains is his confessor. When Rod inwardly philosophizes:
"...there's got to be some purpose in this universe..." (p. 391)
- he begins a discussion in which I would argue otherwise. Our inner conflicts imply that we have evolved without any design or purpose.
Dominic Flandry is less reflective. His nearest approach to deep questioning is when he asks his dead fiancee to help him believe...and adds that he is sorry.