Having served with the 2nd Infantry Division near the DMZ in the Republic of Korea, I've maintained an interest in the region. One cannot help but notice the outpouring of grief, and wonder if it was required, even coerced. While this may be true, a nation that claims to be atheist can have nothing good to say about death, the final enemy. For an atheist, death is the end, with nothing further to hope for. Life has little meaning, since life is an accident of nature on a world that just exists for no higher purpose, and thus how we live is a matter of arbitrary preferences...in other words, the message of he book of Ecclesiastes.
If there is no God, a funeral has to be the ultimate downer, a miserable experience that reminds us that we will all die and cease to exist...but for the Christian, death is not "the end" but "to be continued". We can talk about the future, with hope. There is grief and loss expressed at Christian funerals, but not despair; certainly not the gun-wrenching agony we've seen on TV over the death of a ruler. C.S. Lewis confidently stated, "There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." Amen.
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