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LINK Science and Philosophy Offer More for Grief than Religion Bereavement is horrible, but religion is false comfort.

In a recent New York Times column, Stephen T. Asma claims that religion can help people to deal with grief much better than science can. His case for religion over science has four flaws. It depends on a view of how emotion works in the brain that has been rendered obsolete by advances in neuroscience. It underestimates how much science can help to understand the nature of grief and to point to ways of overcoming it. It overestimates the consoling power of religion. Finally, it neglects how science can collaborate with philosophy to suggest ways of dealing with grief.

zblaze 7 July 25

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Now that I believe how the world really is, religion will never comfort me if a loved one passes away. Death is just part of our life cycle.


Seems like a flippant approach to grief! The next time you have a loss or awful experience get out Dawkins Blind Watchmaker. That will get you the other side. You could also check out the famous Samuel Johnson/Bishop Berkrley interaction.


It is my opinion that any benefit that comes from religious belief is purely placebo effect since nothing in religion is real and just mind games. Science is testable, falsifiable, verifiable and repeatable.

Only in the physical sciences. Not psychology or sociology et al.


The scientific opinion often seems to be that we are nothing but our bodies, that conscious awareness is just the firing of neurons and that emotions are nothing but chemistry. The universe just sort of fell into existence on accident. There were some protein molecules lying around that accidentally turned into DNA and presto! Here we are. Tell that to the bereaved: You are nothing really. Your so-called feelings are just some chemical reactions. All your thoughts are nothing but neural activity. Your children who died were worth nothing anyway and you are nothing so get over it. That’ll be $200...NEXT.

There are better ways of looking at things, but a psychology founded in the materialist/reductionist view of reality doesn’t know those ways.

That is pretty much how I look at it.
People die. That is a fact of life, no one is immune.
I have no time for extended grief. Or those who wallow in it.

@KKGator You were not born and you will not die. My opinion of course.

@WilliamFleming That makes absolutely no sense to me, but have at it.

Exactly William. Let's tell every grieving mother and father to "get over it and man up, Life is a pointless mass of chemicals and your children were just a drain on resources. Get over yourself and make yourself useful to me!"


After reading the article (but not the study), it sounded more like an argument against faith as a way to handle grief, not religion. I also got the feeling it was focused on Christianity. Though I have no faith, I find the Jewish and Hindu practice of grieving with family over several days (often only for dinner), to reflect, share stories, or just be with others, to be not just lovely but a great way to support each other.
With that said, you can do that without religion, but having the structure for it probably helps.

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