Faith and Philosophy Consistent with Reason and Reality
I was wondering how you would council or comfort a person going through a loss of a loved one.
Naturaly you would be giving services for members who follow the teachings.
But what do you say at such events?
If it’s currently “none of my business” I can accept that as well.
First, please be assured that your questions have always been welcome, and this one is too.
Such issues should be handled with both honesty and sensitivity.
In terms of honesty, I will begin by pointing to a relevant statement of the Scionics/Scio-Buddhist position regarding life and death. As you can see, we do not have a belief in any sort of supernatural afterlife. We believe that brain activity and mental activity are directly correlated. Changes in the brain are directly correlated with changes in the mind. If the brain ceases to function, the mind ceases to function, and we have no credible evidence to the contrary. These may not be the fact we want, but wanting something to be a certain way does not make it true, and we are much more powerful in our actual lives when when we understand and act on truth rather than “wishful thinking.” Again, this is just honesty.
When dealing with bereavement, there is both the public Funeral Service, as well as more private counseling to friends and family. Here is a link to the suggested format of our Funeral Services. As you can see, there is quite a lot of room for “customization” of these services, depending upon the specific circumstances. It should be noted, however, that the existence or non-existence of any sort of afterlife is not mentioned at all in this suggested format. This can be an understandably difficult issue for some, and it would be unwise and unkind to call attention to possibly painful things at a time when some may already be (understandably) in a state of distress.
In more private counseling with friends and family of the deceased, it is important to be sensitive to them and tailor one’s approach accordingly. If they express curiosity regarding the possibility of of afterlife, it is best to be honest and explain the Scionics/Scio-Buddhist position. Some people calmly accept the logic of this position. Others really seem to want to believe in some sort of afterlife; in such cases it might be best to say something like, “Although the Scionics/Scio-Buddhist position does seem to be the most scientifically supported position, it is always possible that there are things we don’t know.” This allows one to remain completely honest, while leaving a bit of room open for hope in some afterlife, for those who seem to really need it.
Having said all of this, the most positive way to deal with the bereaved is not to focus on the existence or non-existence of the afterlife, but upon using the memory of the deceased as something positive. You can suggest that the bereaved think about positive things which the deceased valued or accomplished, or that the bereaved try to live in ways which would honor the positive values which were held or supported by the deceased, as a way of ensuring that the deceased’s life continues to bring positive value into the world.
Very good answer, thank you.