Death #1

I’ve been planning to write about death for a while now, specifically what I think is wrong about the concept and the way it is dealt with in our language. I’ll put that to one side for the moment, because there is another aspect about people passing away that I just want to get off my chest first.

This is going to be the blogging equivalent of me throwing furniture around, so if that bothers you, don’t read on.

Loved ones passing away usually pisses me off. Really pisses me off.

I don’t even get as sad as I used to. I think, “well, they had a life at least” and if it’s been cut short or taken away in stupid circumstances, I’ll get livid.

I can understand why some people look to find blame in others at times like these. How are you going to vent your anger?

Blame God? I don’t believe in he/she/it. That’s got to be an issue for atheists. At least those that get pissed off like I do.

Blame the hospital/family/etc? That’s usually unfair because unless there actually is negligence, which usually there isn’t, a death can be the result of a conflation of causes. If find it hard to blame people for this stuff.

Crying is easier, I think, than venting anger. Just let your sadness out like air out of a balloon. You can’t get it all out, but you can make a difference.

Eventually I get over anger, but it takes longer.

So what do you do if circumstance keeps throwing you the kind of deaths that piss you off?

At age 50 a few years ago, my Father was given two years to live. Four months later at age 51, he was dead. It made me very sad, naturally, but the circumstances really pissed me off. I could have vented unfairly I guess – the Doctor who took the first biopsy left the results on his desk for two weeks before calling my Father.

But that’s not what killed my Father. He worked hard in the sun, was exposed to various industrial chemicals and particulate matter, and smoke and drank quite a lot more than one should.

Contrast this with my Grandmother’s death later in the same year. 93! And she went out on her own terms! Knowing she was going to pass away soon, she went out and visited her grandchildren to make sure they were doing alright, placed her last bet on the horses, won, then quietly passed away with dignity.

You don’t get too many passings like that in life.

Two years later, my Uncle Den had decided with my Aunt, that they were going to retire. They worked hard all their lives to get where they were, really having to scrape the barrel at some points – especially back in the 1980s when they were paying off their housing loan. But eventually they made it.

Den was a top bloke. Everyone thought he was. He was a reliable best mate to his friends and he was exceptionally supportive to everyone when my Father passed away.

Later the same day that my Uncle Den had settled on his retirement, he drove back to the city, got home and collapsed on the floor and was unable to be revived. Nobody to blame, but still utter f**king bulls**t.

I was sad at his passing, but more than that I was angry. He deserved to live on more than many who do.

There’s nobody and nothing that you can smash to bring them back. You want to fight to protect or bring back your loved ones, but you can’t. I f**king hate it.

There have been other deaths in the past few years. And near deaths. And incidences of terminal illness. But the bad ones stick in your mind.

Right now I’m pissed off.

At around the same time that my Father was diagnosed with cancer, so was another Aunt of mine. She was given five years to live and she outlived it by a couple of years, her cancer going into remission.

The other day she went into the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a visit (things not going too well in the past few weeks) and contracted Swine Flu. A couple of hours ago she passed away.

I don’t as yet feel sad. Maybe I am and I just don’t feel it. But I am very f**king livid, as you can probably tell.

Seriously, for those who don’t go around blaming people (or things), how do you deal with this s**t?

~ Bruce

P.S. Don’t expect Death #2 until I calm down a bit. Which may take a while.

Rob Smith on ‘Worship at the temple of Onan’

Young men and women, have you ever felt guilty for your need to pleasure yourself? Have you ever felt guilty because of need arising before marriage? It could just be that you’ve been misled as to what The Bible alludes to. Rob Smith spills the beans in his second guest appearance at Thinkers’ Podium.

Hi everyone. I’m Rob, as you probably guessed from the introduction. Between work and running my unregistered charity, Hymns for Neglected Greyhounds, I pitch in as a youth group elder at the Uniting Way Church of The Blessed Tree. I’m also a part-time external student studying theology at the Sydney Theology of Faith University (STFU).

Obviously I’m not a theologian yet, but I do get quite a lot of young adults coming to me and asking if it’s okay to masturbate, or engage in pre-marital sex. So as Bruce says, I’ll spill the beans. (And to keep Bruce and Tipper happy, I’ll put all the smut over the fold.)

Worship at the temple of Onanrob_smith


Rob Smith

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Rob Smith’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame

It seems that Rob Smith’s first post to this blog was quite well received. My blog stats for the weekend are usually quite low, even when I post on the weekend – my usual readers apparently having more of a life than I do.

Within the first few hours of the statistical day clicking over, Rob had around a couple of hundred hits, thanks mostly to being discovered by someone using StumbleUpon (Rob says “thanks”, K-ady.) I bet if I didn’t shamelessly promote Rob’s post over at this thread at Pharyngula, it never would’ve happened. *Grumble, grumble, teeth-grind*

I didn’t think Rob’s post was quite that good!


My 15 minutes beats your confected envy, poor atheist…

At any rate, in the interests of traffic, I’ve secured a promise from Rob that he’ll write again for this blog. Indeed, he’s already got a topic in mind and further to that, he’s noticed that Alister McGrath’s The Twilight of Atheism (2004) has sat on my bookshelf, as yet unread.

The idea has got into his head that he could fill in as a guest book reviewer for when I’m too busy to read anything other than that which could turn out to be a waste of time. I guess that also includes Ken Ham’s The Lie: Evolution (1987), which made it onto my shelf for the princely chimney-sweeply price of ten cents.

But I digress. If Rob is or isn’t to write book reviews in the future, it’s very much up to him. What he has promised to do, in his own words, is to write a post…

“…refut[ing] the straw-men put about by New Atheists like Christopher Hitchens, on the topic of Christian positions on pre-marital sex and masturbation.”

(Rob Smith, last night.)

By “Christian positions”, one hopes that he doesn’t mean “missionary.”

Between Rob’s apparent popularity and that of the topic of sex on the Internet, I can feel my own posts being eclipsed already.

~ Bruce

How to talk to an arrogant New Atheist – Rob’s First Post!

Ever wondered just how to deal with that arrogant, intolerant New Atheist that heckles you so? Maybe you have one for a neighbour, or sadly, one of your family. Maybe you chat around the blogs and forums and keep running into them.

They can be very frustrating, these New Atheists. What with their mocking and what not.

Hi. I’m Rob. I’ve been allowed to use Bruce’s WordPress account to write this post.

I’m not a theologian, but I do like to read a bit of liberal theology from time to time. I love Jim Wallis and I think Obama marks a defining moment in the history of religion. I’ve been an on-and-off again elder at youth group and in my spare time I organise the unregistered charity, Hymns for Neglected Greyhounds.

I’m not a blogger, otherwise I’d have written this somewhere else. (Gee am I glad that Bruce is just an ordinary atheist and not a New Atheist, otherwise I’d never have gotten around to posting this. Perhaps I can coax his defection to liberal theism at a later point. Kidding!)

On with my first post!

How to talk to an arrogant New Atheistrob_smith


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