View Full Version : "Granny/Grandpa/Mummy/Daddy/Whoever is in Heaven" Is there harm in this statement?

03 Dec 2011, 04:22
I had a thought earlier today that if something happened to one of my family it would be me that would explain what death was to my brothers.

I'm an atheist. My brothers go to a catholic school and we have a very weird relationship with religious discussion in my household. Both my brothers are young and so believe as they are taught to believe, in God and heaven. So if something happened to a member of the family is it acceptable to tell a child that -enter person they love here- is in heaven and will be watching over them?

Even take it as children who have not been brought up to believe in God. Take a family where religion wasn't talked about. Is it still a harmless statement?

I know it is said in comfort, and it is said in comfort to adults as well, but I have a problem with it. I feel it is a lie and a false comfort, however I can understand why you would do it. It's a very hard subject.


03 Dec 2011, 05:24
When my grandfather died, we told Sophie that his body had stopped working, and that his soul (loosely defined as "the part of a person that makes them special--for Grandpa, its what made him *our* Grandpa) moved on to whatever happens next. We told her that death is life's greatest mystery and that there are many ideas about what happens next--some people believe that people's soul go to a special place called heaven, while other people believe that their soul waits until it is given to a new baby being born, and other people believe that their soul just disappears when they die. But either way, it doesn't matter. What matters is that their love always stays with us in our hearts as long as we remember them, and it will always be there when we need it, because love never ends.

Perhaps an over simplification, maybe a lie...but I think that when we really love someone, it lingers, even past death, and resonates in our lives as long as we keep their memory.

03 Dec 2011, 11:54
I got told both how they went to Heaven and how their bodies were worm food. It sufficed for me, but I also know that it may not apply to everyone. Just remember that YOU believe it's a lie; to THEM it's the truth about the afterlife. Everyone believes in different things.

03 Dec 2011, 22:06
Think of it this way. Would you want to be told something that was not in accordance with your religion? You probably don't want to hear that we all go to heaven and get to frolic with gold wings on gold paved streets. It won't help you since it's not what you personally believe. So just because they are kids doesn't mean we shouldn't still respect their belief system (at the time) We all know kids grow up and do what they want anyways!

04 Dec 2011, 15:04
I think that as long as they believe what they believe and you believe what you believe, it shouldn't really matter. If you are teaching someone about death, you could teach mainly what they believe and then say what you believe, and then it's up to them what they chose to believe.

Tylluan Penry
07 Dec 2011, 09:40
If you are reallly stuck, just say that nobody is really sure, but one thought is that.... and then fill in the blanks. There is absolutely nothing wrong in giving someone comfort when they are devastated with their loss. Just because it may not comfort one person doesn't mean it won't comfort someone else.

Usually I'll try and act from the greatest love towards the person I am trying to help, and if that means chucking my own beliefs out of the window for a few hours (especially if children are involved) then so be it. I'll tidy up my karma later. ;)

07 Dec 2011, 10:41
In theory, the point of telling children about death as if their loved one 'went to heaven' is to alleviate the fear of death. That is, the fear of everything just stopping. You don't have to talk about heaven to them if they're aware of your varying beliefs, but you may want to touch upon it. As long as you insinuate that their soul/spirit/essence/whatever is somewhere else but still kicking, you'll have all the theories covered.

Except worm food. Nobody explained to me what death was when I was a kid, I already knew. Chances are, your brothers already have a clue. It's a natural part of the life cycle, it'll work out. Don't fret about the details. :)

11 Dec 2011, 02:15
Never lie to anybody even a child, as long as the memory of someone lives in the heart and thoughts of another, they are alive in memory so make sure you leave good ones.

12 Dec 2011, 00:37
I was 11 when my father died. I was not Christian. Never was even though I was raised a Catholic. I was always a non deity believer. My brother is a Baptist minister. So when we were at the grave of my father and my brother was talking to me he told me HIS version of death. Dad will be in the ground until Jesus comes back down to Earth and takes all the dead back to heaven. Until then he will stay in this ground.

Needless to say F my brother and we no longer speak.