On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, my mother passed away. In the course of making arrangements, I placed an obituary in the Visalia Times Delta. One of the benefits of the Internet is having that announcement posted online, available for family and friends to see and leave condolences. It’s become apparent that certain “Christians” also troll those online announcements, for purposes of proselytization. On Monday, May 15, my sister in Kansas received the letter shown above. Here is the text of that letter:
May 11, 2017
To the Family of Wanda Reeves:
I would like to extend my condolences for the death of your loved one. I saw the obituary online in Legacy.com. The death of a loved one can affect us deeply and it may seem that we will never be able to cope. But, did you know that death is not necessarily the end of everything? The Bible compares death to sleep (Psalms 13:3; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60). When you are fast asleep, you are not aware of the occurrences around you. Likewise, our dead loved ones are not conscious of anything (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6). Yet the Bible teaches that God can awaken the dead as if from sleep and give them life again (Job 14:13-15). For those whom God resurrects, death is not the end of everything. If you would like more information on what hope there is for our dead loved ones, please visit http://www.jw.org and search “What Hope is There for the Dead?” or type this link into your browser: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/good-news-from-god/what-hope-for-the-dead/. I sincerely hope that you have found this letter comforting.
Warmly, Mrs. Na’Ieshah Aaron
To say my family was not pleased to get such a letter is an understatement.
Our beliefs range from my solid atheism, various spiritual-but-not-religious beliefs, to your more mainstream versions of Christianity (at least in our extended family). I find trolling obituaries and then researching online to find mailing addresses in order to send religious tracts objectionable in the extreme.
With no clue as to what our family’s beliefs might be, this Jehovah’s Witness Church in Birmingham, Alabama, took it upon itself to intrude into our mourning with unsolicited religious dogma. The insensitivity and arrogance of this mindset is appalling. I can only wonder how often this “church” scours the Internet to find people like us to send this come-on for their mythology.
Can they, and others who peddle these myths, think anyone in the United States, or the rest of the developed world for that matter, hasn’t heard about their dogma? Do they really think it’s appropriate to start preaching at people in these situations? Would they appreciate me sending them information on atheism immediately after someone they cared for died? I wonder how I would be received if I knocked on their door early some morning, wanting to talk about how the universe has no need for gods?
I will give them one point, however, for an apparent variation in the Christian mythos. On the page link listed in the letter, talking about the dead, they appear not to believe in hellfire for eternity. That’s, at least, an improvement over most other versions of the Jesus/God myth. The page also contradicts the commonly held thoughts about the recently departed watching us from heaven, waiting for us to join them. (This is where I expect to get the “they’re not *REAL* Christians” blow-back from other Jesus sects)
Still, I’m not interested in their “church”, or it’s teachings.
Especially not at a time like this.