Saturday, September 19, 2009

Life and Death in America

I've noticed, as of late, that when someone dies in our country, the standard method of procedure is to immediately beatify them in a secular way. The best examples I can think of are Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy. Far from desecrating the memory of the dead, our culture seems to be systematically highlighting the supposed wonderful and influential lives these people lived. Only the thing is, in many ways, they led deplorable lives. The secular media makes them seem like saints but they are not, seemingly far from it. I mean Kennedy was responsible for the death of a woman for gosh sakes and Jackson's exploits were equally as despicable.

I wonder why our culture insists of making saints out of the dead, simply because of the fact that they are deceased? My guess is that this is largely due to the fact that our culture, as a whole, has no idea how to deal with death. The media fears death because they are incapable of making a decision on the matter. If there is no heaven and no hell, as John Lennon tells us, then what does it matter what kind of life the person lived? In reality though, this theory is so far fetched that no one can really believe it, especially not when the chips are down. So they frantically try to make a secular saint out of Ted Kennedy, trying to convince themselves that, "hey, he was a pretty good guy." Which is incredibly false. Because, just maybe, there really is something after death and maybe, if we say it enough or convincingly enough, this guy could be a really good guy. I suppose that in a morally relativistic society, where the predominant culture preaches that there is no right and wrong, every one is a "pretty good guy."

In reality Christ makes saints out of sinners. But, in a culture proud of rejecting Christianity, the secular media seems to have taken the task of sanctification upon itself.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Could be a fear of what happens after death.

Seems to me many people like to live as if "there is no heaven and no hell", but only for so long. At some point they realize they will die and then they must actually confront what exists after death. Gets scary then, because for a long while they have floated through life, reaping all they can, neglecting the Faith roots they may have once been given, and even neglecting God, whom deep down they believe in, but would rather delay working on their lot after death until "they have to".

Thus, deep down, they are afraid of what they have been.

However, seeing others weaknesses and poorly led lives, but being able to say, "Oh, what a great life they led", might make them feel they too, deep down, have after all, really led "OK" lives too and will likely be "OK" after death. And since I am not God, I actually cannot say if they will be "OK" or not.

But it reminds me of the Priest who "married" us. He presided at many wakes, and he used to say that he always thought you should say to people while they are alive the good things you say about them after they are dead. Makes sense to me. For any number of reasons that I certainly am not smart enough to explain, humans tend to reserve kind words while someone lives, but say them after they are dead. Why? I do not know.

So as the bumper sticker I saw said the other day......


Let's say the kind words while a person lives. Even if the kind words are really just encouraging words to help the person live better, those will work too.

dies irae said...

These may be images of how the secular christ would be in comparison to the true Christ. The true Christ is all about self sacrifice, justice, and love. These secular "christs" are the opposite: self benefit with the appearance of giving, "fairness" even though it is only fair to one side, and lust named love.

It's a perverted view of the perfect. Christopher West in his tlak on JP II's Theology of the Body gives an example of the world's perception of how things are to be (he puts it in the context of sexuality, but it can be applied elsewhere). he says people are driving around with flat tires on their cars because they think that's how things are supposed to be. These secular "christs" represent the image of how the liberal world sees what it thinks is the best life. The true Christ comes and says we should have air in our tires. What an idea!

Also, like you say, oh wise and bearded one, there is the fear of death so there has to be a spiritual "pacifier" developed to ease it.

We have to be the light in which the Christ calls us in order to snatch as many as possible from this twisted path of thorns and thickets, which leads to suffering and remorse...temporal and eternal.