Over at Dogster, Kelly Pulley explains how her pets taught her to believe in god. Because if you *really* hope for something, then it automatically becomes real…
My dogs have taught me about faith, particularly about faith in the unknown. They taught me how to take a leap of faith with their undying trust in me. They also introduced me to unconditional love, which encouraged my mind to wander and my heart to seek this amazing thing, whether in the form of God, gods, Buddha, angels, a guru, or anything or anyone you see it in. They taught me how to be persistent to get what I wanted, and to know that prayer can be a powerful thing. Just consider a dog sitting at your elbow at the dinner table, watching each bite you take, never moving, almost in a meditative state as he silently asks for a piece of meat to drop.
The very existence of dogs also gives us a reason to believe in something or someone beyond our realm. I saw myself as agnostic for many years until my beloved dogs started succumbing to old age. At the third dog’s passing within about five years, I found that my grief was not being assuaged by any agnostic thoughts of comfort (“She lives on in your memories” and crap like that). It made no sense that I loved these creatures so much but would never see them again once they died. So my return to a concept of God was from a need to picture myself in some sort of heaven, surrounded by my dogs and maybe a few humans, too.
I’m not mocking Pulley — she’s not saying anything millions of other religious people haven’t said before. I sympathize with her losses. But it’s still delusional to think you’ll be reacquainted with your pets (or relatives or friends) in the future. Some people just need false hope to get through tough times.
Even though Pulley thinks it’s “crap,” I would get more solace out of the fact that the pet or person made my life better and I’ll have them in my memories forever… even if that doesn’t bring them physically back to life.
Side note: As I write this, several commenters completely agree with her… while one atheist basically trashes her. It’s not compassionate and it comes off as dickish — even if it’s honest. Is there a better way to respond? A way in which she could still find comfort in a dog’s passing, without invoking the supernatural?
(Thanks to Julie for the link!)