Thursday, December 17, 2009

Me & Abraham

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, December 14, 2009

Darwin's Theory

So much has been made of Darwin's Theory so I found this summary:

Summary of Darwin's Theory of Evolution
• A species is a population of organisms that interbreeds and has fertile offspring.
• Living organisms have descended with modifications from species that lived before them.
• Natural selection explains how this evolution has happened:
— More organisms are produced than can survive because of limited resources.
— Organisms struggle for the necessities of life; there is competition for resources.
— Individuals within a population vary in their traits; some of these traits are heritable -- passed on to offspring.
— Some variants are better adapted to survive and reproduce under local conditions than others.
— Better-adapted individuals (the "fit enough") are more likely to survive and reproduce, thereby passing on copies of their genes to the next generation.
— Species whose individuals are best adapted survive; others become extinct.

One of you quoted from answers to Jonathan Wells "The peppered moth photos are...not scientific evidence for natural selection."

However the complete quote is: The peppered moth photos are the same sort of illustration, not scientific evidence for natural selection. This is the problem I have with many of your arguments and others on the blogs for creationism, misquotes and quotes out of context as well as partial quotes. If you go back and read the response the author is explaining that illustrations are used to demonstrate a point not to prove a theory.

Last night I watched a segment of 60 minutes that recounts the progress made in regeneration of body parts. Livers, hearts, kidneys and even ears! Wow! One of the stories was about a man who had received "pixie dust" a substance from pig bladders called Extra Cellular Matrix, and actually grew a new esophagus and another who grew new muscles. Story Here

These studies are amazing and may someday save your life or the life of someone you love.

I think all this is due to Darwin's Theory and the continued study of how life exists.

I don't "believe" in Darwinism I accept the facts found through scientific study every day,that proves that all living matter is genetically similar.

Learning is a continual process. It isn't about accepting the answer because someone says it is so. It is a process of discovery and correction. Science isn't always right...they don't get it right every time but science never stops searching for the answers. Someone stated that creationism is a "done deal" 6 days and it is done. Science will never be done; there much to learn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

I couldn't have said it better!

From someone whom I admire greatly for his courage and forthrightness.

Subject: So, Jesus Came to Earth to Stop God from Barbarically Killing Any More People and in mercifully doing away with the Stop-Me-Before-I-Kill-Again Lord's Law of Moses, this is therefore supposed to make "Jesus the King/God Responsible For All the Killing in the First Place" deserving of our eternal worship and unending gratitude--not to mention making us dependent on him for our salvation and happiness?

Praise the abuser, while blaming yourself for the abuse he heaps upon you?

I mean, how sick is that?

In another thread, poster "CosmoMcK" explains the wonderful gory glory of this proctology cosmology:

"Jesus was exposing their [the stoners] hypocrisy and teaching them about forgiveness. The concept of stoning was a Jewish one, not a Christian one. Christ did away with the Law of Moses, and Christians believe they live by the law of mercy. Come to think of it, I don't hear of Jews stoning people anymore either. I do hear of Muslims stoning people."

(Subject: "Re: And christians can't seem to explain HOW you could interpret it to mean what they claim it does," Date: 4 December 2009, 02:07, Author: CosmoMcK, Mail Address:, at:

This is what Jesus should be honored for--exposing the sinfulness of those who, in earlier times, had simply been doing what God himself had ordered them to do: bashing people's brains in with rocks?

Jesus finally puts a stop to this heaven-sanctioned sick-in-the-head slaughter of humankind and for this he deserves our adoration and love forever and ever?

Gimme a break. Jesus/Jehovah/My-Way-or-the-Highway Yahweh was in on it, for gawd's sake!

Besides, what in the hell was God doing ordering such murderous, revolting, pathological punishment in the first place?

Why would anyone want to honor such a savagely sadistic, out-of-control, damnable deity who was guilty of ordering the stoning to death of every man, woman, child or animal in sight whom this gruesome God monster had deemed deserving of cranium-crushing by rock-chucking?

Geezus. It's enough to make you upchuck.

Let me get this straight: Jesus came to earth to do away with a form of killer criminality that was originally approved and commanded by God?

Well, let's sure as hell hope so.

I mean, someone has to stop this gawd-awful God from his maniacal, murderous ways before he wipes out the entire planet in a frothing fit of mindless madness. ("Um, Dad, sorry to interrupt your stone-to-death fest, but can I have a word with you?")

For the revolting record, death by stoning was a God-ordained punishment for the following "crimes" against Heaven:

--for those who touched Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:12-13);

--for an ox that gores a person, with not only the offending ox stoned to death but its owner also put to death if found negligent for not preventing his ox from doing the goring (Exodus 21:28-29);

--for an ox that gores a slave, with the owner of the ox forced to pay the owner of the slave 30 shekels of silver (Exodus 21:32)

--for those with "familiar spirits"--i.e, folks like witches and fortune tellers (Leviticus 20:27)

--for a woman whose husband decides he hates her and who he can claim was not a virgin when they married--that is, if the woman's father fails to produce the "tokens of her virginity" (in this case, bloody sheets). Failing to do that, she is to be stoned to death at her father's doorstep (Leviticus 22:13-21)

--for a man who blaphemes or curses while arguing with another man, being stoned to death by the community as a whole (Leviticus 24:10-23)

--for those who generally blaspheme or curse, being stoned to death, again, by the entire community (Leviticus 24:16)

--for a stubborn or rebellious son, being stoned to death by his father and the other men in the neighborhood (Deuteronomy 12:18-21)

--for a raped virgin who fails to scream out loud enough, being stoned to death by the men in town (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

--for Achan, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his sheep and all his other animals, who were taken by Joshua and stoned to death by all the people of Israel, after which their bodies were burned (Joshua 7:24-26)

--for the Ammonites, whom the Lord killed by casting stones down on them from heaven (Joshua 10:11)

--for blaspheming "god and the king" (1 Kings 21:10-13)

--for small children, whose death by rocks to the head will make one happy as one "taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones" (Psalms 137:9)

--for one of two sisters who was found guilty of "committing whoredoms" by, with her sibling, pressing their breasts and bruising "the teats of their virginity," and therefore whose nose and ears were cut off, who was then made to "pluck off" her own breasts, and after having been forced to do so was raped and mutilated before being stoned to death (Ezekiel 23:1-49)

--for offending sons and daughters who the Israelites were commanded to "stone . . . with stones, and [to] dispatch . . . with their swords; [and] . . . [to] slay . . . and [to] burn up their houses with fire" (Ezekiel 23:47)

--for all the people of Samaria, whom God will destroy with, of course, stones (Micah 1:6)

--for animals that "so much as . . . touch the mountain" (2 Thessalonians 12:20)

Praise God! Jesus came down from Heaven above to stop God from any more stoning to death down below.

Well, whoopty-doo-doo.

Give the guy a hand--even though he was part and parcel of the whole bloody business from the beginning.

Date: Dec 04 03:14
Author: steve benson

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Absence

It has been a difficult few weeks but I want to let you know something that I discovered. I was in a great deal of pain and truly wished to die. I found little relief without very strong drugs and I was completely unable to care for myself. Fortunately, there was no need for concern since my children were there to take care of all the details.

I could have died and I was fully aware of that possibility. Since this is the first time I have been in such a position, I wondered just how I would react. Many have told me that when faced with death they question their beliefs, in either direction. I didn’t. I was and am proud to say I did not pray to any unseen god nor did I beg for divine intervention. I suffered the pain without any compromise.

As you may know, I have 2 very religious daughters, one quasi-religious daughter and a tolerant son. I am also proud that they did not try to convert me in my distress. I’m sure they prayed and asked for divine intervention but they did it in private, away from my bedside.

I thank them for that and I’m glad for me; glad that I did not reach for a crutch in my misery, glad that I faced real diversity and maintained my absolute doubt in a supernatural being.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Atheist Campaign

Similar to the bus campaign in London; 100 of these signs will be on Seatle buses beginning November. I'm sure it will get the christians in an uproar. However, the point is that the manger and the wisemen have had their time on the buses. It's about time we non-believers had the same opportunity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What will happen when Jesus comes back?

Picked this up from another site where they are having a discussion on the second coming of Christ.

First comes the Rapture where anyone, regardless of denomination or religion, who believes that Jesus died for their sins and allowed him to become their Lord and Savior, is taken up to heaven.

Next comes 7 years of horror called the Tribulation. The first 3 and 1/2 years will be bad, but then the second 3 and 1/2 years will be worse. During that time, the Beast whoever or whatever that is, will make everyone who is still alive take a mark on his/her right hand or forehead to be able to buy or sell. Some form of 666 is to be used.

Back in the 1970's there was a very famous book called the "Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey. It spelled out how everything would go down.

Back then, we didn't have the technology we have today that would be able to track people and mark people with the infamous 666. Now we do. Those little microchips they already use to put in the necks of family pets could just as easily be used in people. Bar codes could also be used for easy scanning.

Ok, to continue, during those 7 years of horror there will be 144,000 Jewish (Not Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons or anything else) Jewish evangelists that will go throughout the world telling people there is still time to repent and beome born again before the end of the world. Now, before you think, "Ok, I'll just wait till the Rapture happens and then get right with God," I should warn you, it will be a perilous time. There will be Earthquakes, fires, famines, wholesale murder etc. during those 7 years. You may or may not get that second chance to get right with God.

So,that's that?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hell, what is it?

Now that I know I'm going to hell I wanted to do a little reading about it. While having my house painted this weekend I did a little reading...not enough yet, but just a start.

My son had this book at work and handed it to me one day. I scanned it and put it aside. Go to Hell: A Heated History of the Underworld by Chuck Crisafulli and Kyra Thompson. However with my new travel plans I decided to do some research. I started with this book and went to the bible. I used the KJV and the internet, online bible sites. I was surprised to find how little mention there is in the christian handbook about this horrible place.

So now let's talk about hell. How do you know it exists? What verses do you quote to be sure of your knowledge about hell? Does the bible describe it?

Well, I'm just asking?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The family who walked on all fours is an absolutely fascinating discovery. Although this is old news for some, I only recently learned of these children. The family was visited by scientist and journalist beginning in about 2002 and PBS broadcast a program in 2006 and reran it recently.

“The three sisters and two brothers may offer insight into the way our apelike ancestors moved, according to scientists. Human ancestors are believed to have begun walking on two legs more than three million years ago. Discovered in a remote area of southern Turkey last summer, the family of ethnic Kurds has sparked a scientific debate…”

On one side of the debate Uner Tan, a neurophysiologist at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey believes the siblings are “evolutionary throwbacks—a "missing link" to our forebears.”

Then, German geneticists believe the siblings' genetic abnormality may be because the children do not have the gene responsible for bipedalism, or two-legged walking, in humans.

And yet another says the cause is twofold: the way the siblings were raised and brain damage resulting from the genetic defect.

An incredible discovery to say the least but what fascinates me about all this is the debate! At this point none of the scientist involved agree…that’s perfect! Now they go to work, they ask questions, they test theories and make conclusions. We may never have a definitive answer but we will always have the questions. As long as there are questions and someone seeking answers, we will progress.

Wow! What a wonderful world to which we are born.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Big Bang

Okay we need a new thread. I have said before that I cannot argue the big bang theory. I don't claim to believe it, but I also don't disbelieve it. I am waiting to see what else is discovered and what new "proofs" become available. I really do not spend a lot of time thinking about how humanity or the universe came into existence. I am certain that I do not believe in a creator beyond that I cannot say any more about it.

How did I come to this place? I asked questions; hard questions. Why can't I see god, why does he let kids get sick and die, why does he allow bad things to happen? Where is he and why is he hiding? Why is the bible so vulgar and cruel if it is the word of god?

I asked my parents, my ministers anyone who would listen. But I soon realized that no one had the answers to my questions. I realized that I would have to find out for myself. So I began to read...everything. I started with the bible and book about how to read the bible, which I received from my minister. The more I read the bible the more disturbed I became. I was only 12 years old. I needed guidance so I went to one of my teachers for help. She could not answer my questions either.

So I went to the library. It was a small library, only one room and the librarian showed me to the 200's where the books on religion are shelved. I finally knew where to find the answers but they were not there.

I came to my disbelief in gods and all things supernatural by reading and studying many materials, including the bible, the book of Mormon, Will and Ariel Durant's History of Civilization, the work of Joseph Campbell and many others.

It was not a pivotal moment it was a slow process and it took years. I continued to go to church until 1991 when I woke one morning knowing that I would never again doubt myself or depend on others for my answers. I made up my own mind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Richard Dawkins-The God Delusion

I had no idea how powerful this book really is. I read it a few years ago along with several other atheist books but never realized what an impact it had on so many people.

Check out the Converts Corner. Awesome stories of rationality. It gives me hope that so many are finding their way out of superstition and ignorance.

"The most valuable thing you have taught me is that there are people in the world who think rationally, reason justly and don't live in subjugation to superstition. That knowledge alone makes me feel, at times, quite a bit better."

-Stephen "the onus of proof is not on me" H

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This I Believe

I believe that the earth is one of 8 (or 9 if you count Pluto) planets in a Solar System which revolves around the sun. I believe that our Solar System is just one small part of a huge galaxy which is only one small part of a vast Universe.

I believe that I was born of the love of two wonderful people I call my parents as they were born of their parents and my children of me and their father.

I believe that the only constant is change and that all life is evolving as it has in the past and will continue in the future. I believe humans like all life, adapt to the situation at hand

I believe that while I am on this earth that it is my responsibility to leave it better than I found it. I believe that my children and their children are my legacy and that it is my task to pass on my beliefs to them.

I believe most people are morally sound and emotionally logical. I believe that religion is dangerous because it provides an excuse for bad behavior (“I am weak and I sin.”) and a crutch when things don’t turn out well (“God please forgive me”). I believe that religion provides a bucket for one’s responsibility. (“It’s God’s will”)

I believe that I am responsible for my life; my decisions and the consequences. I believe that I make mistakes and that I learn from my mistakes. I believe that I have something to offer the world, even when I have no idea what it may be. I believe that I will die and that my body will become dust and rejoin the earth. I believe that I will live on after I die in the memories of those who love me. I believe that death is the end of the body and that the only thing that remains is the footprint I made while I was here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Faith...what is it?

Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith,
then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.
- Dan Barker

Last night I watched several episodes of The Athesim Tapes. If you aren't familiar with them they we done by Jonathan Miller for the BBC. He interviews several scientist and avowed atheist and theologians. He is a terrific interviewer but I kept wanting him to ask about faith. He asked for a definition of atheism but not I am still wanting.

What is it? How can you explain it? How is it defined?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

God Wouldn't Do That!

A frequent commenter in this space, Rick B. made, in part, the following statements (some spelling and punctuation corrections made):

“… I find it funny people … claim, we don’t believe God exists, we don’t believe
God would do this or that.… how can you say, you don’t believe God would do this
or that; you deny He even exists, so why do you care what He would do or not

I have decided to create a new thread to answer his question. Rick finds it “funny” that atheist would say we don’t believe in God and then that we don’t believe “He” would do that.

He may be right on this point, at least in the literal sense of the statement. However, my statement is somewhat different:

I do not believe in the existence of any god.

Rick provides me with a description of his god and I reject the notion just as I do many others. But the second part of his statement needs some clarification I think because I agree that if you DO NOT believe in something you CAN NOT disbelieve that the thing you don’t believe in would or would not do something.

What should be expressed here is the disbelief that ANY god who COULD create a perfect universe with perfect creatures WOULD do so. And if he/she WOULD do so, there must be a logical explanation.

It makes no logical sense for a god to create a people that he/she requires to worship and obey him/her, and then allow them to do otherwise. I’ve heard that free will stuff but it makes no logical sense.

If I were god I would do it right the first time and have my worshipers at my feet for eternity…why take chances…why wait…why play games with the lives of my perfect creations?

So Rick, I don't "care what he/she does or doesn't do" and I don't believe he/she exist and I don't believe if he/she did exist he/she would do the things you claim.

It makes no sense.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Religions' Interference in Government

Richard Packham has a post on his site about the California Prop 8. Okay I know it's old news but I was struck by one of the responses from the church.

The church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference. (italics are mine)

My first and last thought is: I don't object to your rights to practice your religion, so long as your practice does not infringe on my rights or the constitutional rights of the government to operate free from religious interference.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Lesson Well Taught

My mom is gone now but I remember well the things she taught me. She always said:

  • always be proud to sign your name to what you do
  • if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well
  • do it right the first time and you won't have to do it over

Okay...I did a great job this morning; I'm proud to sign my name to it, but I know that next Saturday I'll have to mow that damn lawn again!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lord willing and the creek don't rise

An old gentleman who works in my office said yesterday as he was leaving, "See you tomorrow, lord willing and the creek don't rise." Then, he didn't come in today.

I wondered, did the creek rise or was the lord not willing? It bothered me all day.

The more I thought about it the more ridiculous it sounded. My dad used to say the same thing and I always wondered about it. If the lord was willing wouldn't he keep the creek from rising?

Just a late night thought.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Nature of God or Gods

I've been reading Mormon Coffee again and it occured to me that the argument going on is over the top.

You have the Mormons and the Christians debating the nature of god and whether or not men can become gods. On one side the belief is that mankind is created in his image...maybe both sides...but then they part company. The Christians rant that no one can be a god except god. The Mormons say they can be "like god" but seem to stop short, at least in public, of saying they will be gods.

Did they ever stop to think about how incredible, and I mean unbelievable, the entire idea of god is? Do they not understand how non-believers look and listen to their stories and marvel that intelligent, educated people can believe such malarky?

I truly hope, as I have been told, that we are closer to being a secular nation. It's about time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I have been reading an exchange on Mormon Coffee about the lightening strike on the temple adornment called Moroni. What I find interesting is that the non mormons are accusing the mormons of idol worship and then the mormons are saying what about the cross?

What strikes me is that they are both completely blind to how they sound to reasonable people.

Check it out. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Role Reversal

I have just returned from a two week trip to Europe. I would have stayed even longer had I not been expected back to work.

I went to visit a friend with whom I had lost touch more than 30 years ago. What a surprise when she just called me out of the blue! And what a treat to be invited to her home in Germany.

When we became friends we were both living in California, both with new marriages and small children. Our friendship blossomed in spite of the fact that I was religious and she was not. I went to church, taught my children about god and said my prayers.

In the ensuing years I returned to school, became a teacher and dumped religion. Remembering the many heated conversations we shared all those years ago, I was looking forward to telling her that she had won all the arguments; that I too, am an atheist. Now, you can see where this is going…

Her former husband died in a traffic accident and she remarried; a believer. Now she is one too!

Well, so much for the win/loss record.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Immigration Laws

I need to talk about this.

Recently there have been changes to the immigration laws for employers. I wanted to get a handle on the changes and the implication for my company, so I dug in. I thought I was doing a good thing, however, my boss sees it differently. His MO: don’t ask, don’t tell. He says he is willing to take the risk for the people who work for us; even if we know we are out of compliance. I am trying to be understanding but it makes me so mad to know that so many people who are legal citizens, have lost their jobs yet we are perpetuating their loss by giving undocumented workers a free ride.

Am I wrong? Or just too anal-retentive.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Afterlife or NO?

Polygamy and Mormonism are historically connected and I as I am learning, in the future of every believing Mormon. I asked my Mormon daughter what she thought about the fact that her husband would have several wives in celestial heaven. Her response suprised me! She said I don't care about that 'cause I'll be dead!

So my thought is this...she doesn't believe in the afterlife. How could she and not care? According to her belief she must baptize me and all the family so we will all be together in heaven but she doesn't care if her husband suddenly acquires his own little harem.

Well, maybe there is hope for her after all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Once more for science!

Being unbusy at work gives me an opportunity to catch up on my blog reading. I just ran across this article. I have often said that the more educated a society the less religious:

...survey, published by the Cambridge University Press.....concluded that "high levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality."

For all my non believing friends out there; maybe there is still hope...after all we are barely out of the post colonial period!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Lincoln Cents and 'In God We Trust' New Lincoln Cents and 'In God We Trust'

Another evil plot by atheists that wasn't.

But it should be. Why is that a motto that represents only a portion of the people should be forced on those of us who are not represented. It is a false motto and should be discontinued...

and I believe it will be in time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The War Prayer

The War Prayer by Mark Twain is one that invokes deeper thought than at first glance. When I was a college student preparing to become a teacher I was required to make an analysis of the essay, albeit subjective .

I'm not now a praying person but at the time I was struggling with my desire to understand the falsehoods I had discovered in religion and the teachings of my parents. I wanted to believe there was a god watching over me and that he would hear and answer my prayers.

The absurdity of prayer became crystal clear when, as in Twain's work, I took the time to consider the prayer and its implications. The youngest student in science learns early, Newton's third law of motion. Simply stated, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now consider the act of praying...if, and I don't believe it is possible, there were a god who listened and answered prayers, what kind of god could he be? How would he decide who's prayer is answered?

Perhaps, Christians will say that righteousness wins out, that he who is good and obedient will ultimately, gain their reward. But may I propose:

Country A and Country B are at war.

Two very devout and pious mothers, each righteous and obedient, pray for the success of her son in that war. One, the mother of a soldier fighting for Country A; the other praying for her son from Country B. By all reason they are each deserving but how can they both receive that for which they ask? And, why should they? They are praying two prayers; one articulated to save her son and the unsaid prayer to destroy the other mother's son.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Life Before Death II

I went to see my brother yesterday. He lives about an hour and a half away. I had not actually visited him since my sister died 3 years ago.

My middle daughter was with me and we had a nice visit with my brother, his wife and various other family members.

My bro is so kind hearted that even when he has not worked in a year and has only minimal income, his house is open to the family bums. He has two 30 something nephews living with him...not working...not contributing to the troubled household but selfishly mooching off a dying man. I asked him why; he really had no answer. I didn't pursue it as it seemed rather pointless but it makes me wonder.

I can't say my brother looked well; he didn't. He is 6'3'' and he now weighs 148 lbs. He says he will lose more weight if he decides to continue with radiation and chemo. I don't think he wants to go through it again. He seems to be ready to end all this pain and suffering. But even with all the pain, he was upbeat. He said his affairs are in order and he has taken care of things so his wife can go on living in their home. My sister-in-law said she isn't worried because she knows god will take care of her.

How am I? I don't know. I question my feelings everyday. I love my brother but the fact that he is dying has not shattered my life. It makes me wonder about my own health, since I am older than all but one of my siblings who have died. It makes me think about our growing up years..not all happy times, but we have not been close for a long time.

Am I cold-hearted? I hope not.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Call to Arms

I am usually a happy person. Fairly satisfied with my financial station in life, I contribute to causes with which I concur. But today something has upset my satisfaction. I wish to have the resources of Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey. Not to indulge myself in bobbles and bling but to finance a real defense of science. Here, is what got me going. And this.

It has already been said, better than I can but this is a cause I completely support.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life Before Death

I just learned that the last of my three brothers is dying. He, like the other two, has cancer. It has metastasized and spread throughout his body. He is only 54. It is sad that his life is shortened but I, like him, have accepted the fact. There is nothing more to do.

Death is not new to me as I have experienced it many times in my life. I was the second born to a family of 8 children. Now our parents are gone and we are down to 4, soon to be three. But this post is not to elicit pity but to discuss the way we handle death.

My oldest daughter, a born again christian, learned of her uncle's illness and went hysterical. Really. She became so distraught she could not function. Why?

I really don't understand. She nor any of my children are close to my siblings; neither am I. We call once in a while, usually when someone is dying, but we rarely see each other. It has been that way for most of my life. I left home at 15 and never really went back.

Okay, so what does this have to do with anything?

Here goes...I am an atheist...I don't believe in an afterlife. When your dead your dead. My daughter is a self proclaimed born again christian. See where I'm going with this? I know there is nothing after death and I'm calm and accepting of the inevitable. My daughter, on the other hand, who believes that her uncle is going "to a better place" to be with Jesus, is unable to accept his death. She is praying non-stop. Why? It makes no sense to me.