Of course, more than one person pointed me towards The Onion’s video, “Leading Cause of Death in the US is God Needing Another Angel,” this week. And more than one person questioned whether this would be funny to a grieving atheist parent.
All nonbelievers reject the sugary tropes explaining why an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving god would allow a child to die. But those of us who have actually lost a young son or daughter are the ones most harmed when people spout this crap. Making up “comforting” lies about God requiring “sweet baby angels to help him paint rainbows in the sky” isn’t just silliness to us, it is a way of dismissing, derailing or simply avoiding the pain we feel and the randomness of the tragedy that caused it.
So while I understand that plenty of atheists are just having a good laugh at the way religious explanations for death would be reported if they represented actual causes of death, grieving atheist parents are watching this video with a bitter sense of familiarity.
Is it funny to us? I can only speak for myself.
To me it went well beyond funny. Past the rueful chuckle was a sense of relief that finally, all over the internet, people are mocking the saccharine dismissal of our loss to which we are subjected by so many believers. And mockery is exactly what it deserves. So watch and laugh. Yes, I’m offended, but not by this video.