If children go to Heaven when they die, why do we mourn?
This is another question that I’ve asked countless times in religion class as a child, but have yet to have answered in any meaningful way.
If my understanding of Heaven is correct, a child who has been baptized and brought up to believe that Jesus is our Lord should begin experiencing an eternity of bliss immediately upon death.
…shouldn’t funerals be treated more like celebrations?
If we sincerely believe that admittance into Heaven is based off of the choices we make during our life on Earth, where we’ll constantly be tempted to question our faith (e.g. by scientific evidence or by the persuasions of other religions) or to commit sins for which we might not repent (e.g. being born homosexual), then shouldn’t we be relieved that our children escaped this test of life before they were old enough to fall victim to one of these traps?
This test-of-faith seems to have quite a high failure rate, given that more than 60% of the world’s population aren’t Christian. And of the 40% who are, there are many who would not meet the moral standards that would seem to be required for an eternal paradise – meaning a large majority of the population will not be admitted into Heaven.
If this version of faith is to be believed, then shouldn’t funerals be treated more like celebrations?
In fact, the only reasons that any of us would mourn a child taken from us while still basking in glorious ignorance of innocence would be if we were perversely selfish and cruel. The idea that we would miss them while we were still living on Earth, and therefore, want them to be back with us, is among the wickedest thoughts a parent could have.
I would’ve been better off dying as a child, while I was too young to question what my parents told me about God.
We wouldn’t just be saying that we want them here with us. We’d be asking them to forego their guaranteed admittance into an everlasting paradise with God so they can spend a few more years with us, and risk having their souls eternally tortured because they remained alive long enough to perhaps move away from Jesus or discover that they were gay?
For instance, if these teachings are true, then I would’ve been better off dying as a child, while I was too young to question what my parents told me about God.
Because I’ve learned about the scientific evidence behind evolution (as well as other things), I’m apparently doomed to an afterlife of never-ending suffering. And so are my children, most likely, since I’m not raising them with any specific theology and I won’t be able to warn them. I would’ve been better off not experiencing these 40+ amazing years because the result is nothing but infinite misery for my children, and their children, and their children.
It has to be pointed out that this type of belief would seem to be a pretty morbid view of life. But a person of faith would hold a view similar to this, because it’s what’s been taught by the church for thousands of years.
A Parent Should Mourn
Now, obviously I don’t believe any of this. I don’t believe that any of us know anything about whether or not an afterlife exists, forget about if we’d actually know anything about it (who gets in, or how – though I propose a theory). I feel that it’s perfectly natural and understandable for anybody to grieve deeply if they were to lose a child.
It just confuses me how anyone who truly, honestly believes that their child will be in Heaven, and that spending more time on Earth would’ve given them a greater chance of earning eternal suffering, could mourn without feeling an overwhelming sense of selfishness and guilt. It seems like a contradictory reaction.
Those are just my thoughts. If anybody has a different take that they’d like to share, I would appreciate hearing them. And I hope that none of you are ever confronted with this.