The past several weeks you may have noticed a drop in the number of articles I have been putting out. This is because I've been dealing with a long illness that ended with the death of my mother.
Writing on the internet, I come across a lot of jaded people who have come to the conclusion that people on embrace religion because they are scared to leave. This is particularly an issue when dealing with the questions of death. I have two responses for that.
First, just because a religion promises an afterlife doesn't mean that's the reason people embrace it. After all, lots of religions have after-death beliefs. Clearly a specific religion is going to need more than that to gain a convert in this day and age when people can fairly easily get information about many faiths.
Second, not all religions do offer explanations of death, and not all believers find teachings that do exist comforting. Wiccans traditionally believe in reincarnation. I don't find that reassuring in the least, Even if I do reincarnate, all sense of "Catherine Beyer" will be gone, as is obvious by my lack of memories of previous incarnations. But I don't even embrace that belief. Wicca is about life, not death. We reap the consequences of our actions in this life. Reincarnation is an explanation of what Wiccans believe happen next. It doesn't impact our lives in the here and now, so its not a big deal if different Wiccans have different opinions on the matter.
Religion, therefore, offers me no comfort in dealing with the death of my mother. She's gone, and it's crushing. And yet I still have faith, and so do many other people.