Friday, March 25, 2005

Letter to John Podhoretz

My friend:

We have written back and forth a few times through the years, but I am amazed by your misstatements of who wants what in the Terri Schiavo case.

There may be one person somewhere who does not believe that Terri Schiavo does not have a soul, or that her life is not a miracle, but I haven't met him or heard of him yet.

And I bet you haven't either.

It is very incendiary at times like these to make up generalizations about "most secular people who are uncomfortable with the idea of a divine spark" just for pedagogical purposes.

Beyond the "how much can the state interfere" issue, or the "parents versus husband issue" the issue is this:

If we have a soul that is to go to the afterlife, does God want us to stubbornly cling to that soul out of fear that what happens next is just a great void (and if I was setting up make-believe people I would include you and the billions who think like you)

Or is there a certain point where our faith in God is such that we can let a person go, knowing that we will meet her, in her healthy pure form, in the world to come (like me and the billions who think like me).

Why do those who claim to believe in heaven so reluctant to let Terri Schiavo go there?

Your friend

B After The Fact

John Podhoretz responded by writing:

"That is the nature of mystery -- we are not to hurry death to go to heaven. Otherwise religion would be about committing suicide. Life is the gift."

And I responded to him in turn:

"Religion should not be about suicide.

"But religion, and especially the one we share, is about how to live and how to let go.

"Otherwise, we would all be sacrificing our lives at the altar of the dead and the dying.

"I cannot imagine that is what God wants for us.

"And I cannot know this, obviously, but I cannot believe that is what Terri Schiavo wants for her family."

"My best to you and your family."

Bruce --