What can an atheist say to a friend who is grieving the death of a loved one? Believers have a standard repertoire: “He’s with God now.” “I’ll pray for you.” “She’s in heaven now.”
As I’ve written before, I don’t really have a standard phrase to utter in those situations, but that’s probably for the best. I certainly don’t want to sound like a greeting card.
Greta Christina recently raised this same issue. She and her readers compiled a list of approaches for people who don’t believe in God. Her extensive list includes the following:
1. “I’m so sorry.”
2. “I remember when… /My life is so much better because of…”
3. “What can I do to help?”
Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.