“Grief Beyond Belief”, Rebecca Hensler on Atheists Talk


In many ways, religious people “own” death and bereavement. They are rarely so confident, or feel they are on such solid ground, as they are when someone dies. But the comfort offered by believers is often the last thing a grieving atheist needs. Talk of life after death or God’s plans offers little comfort to those who don’t believe.

A few years ago, facing her own grief and the religious assumptions of her support group, Rebecca Hensler started Grief Beyond Belief, a support group for grieving non-believers. She joins us this Sunday to talk about the group and the challenges that deaths of our loved ones provide for atheists.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve never heard of this group and it’s a relief to see secular support actually offered bya secular group. I wish there had been such a place when my mother died. Several religious based groups that offered their take on secular were offered, and they meant well, but it often made me feel worse. I just started avoiding the topic whenever someone mentioned it, it was easier to cry alone than to try and relate to people who try as they might, could not help bring religion into it.

    I get it, it’s ingrained into our culture. It’s in our language. In our very thought process. I don’t what to say or do either when trying to comfort someone grieving, but I feel like a fraud when trying to support someone who is religious. I can only imagine they feel the same way when talking to atheists like me.

  2. grignon says

    I’m wonder if grief didn’t provide the genesis for religion in the first place.
    When confronted with the final loss, the terrifying uncertainty about the future can be tempered a bit by recalling/imagining the deceased as just temporarily somewhere else.

    The religious never integrated their loved one’s death into the new, not as awful as it first seemed reality. They just put them on permanent vacation.

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