Religion and Spirituality in Loss, Grief, and Mourning

Authored by: Dennis Klass

Handbook of Thanatology

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781138430815
eBook ISBN: 9780203767306
Adobe ISBN: 9781136726507

10.4324/9780203767306.ch15

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Abstract

Issues in religion and spirituality are inescapable when we grieve and when we try to help the bereaved because religion is about human limitations. To be sure a great deal of what we call religion and spirituality is about claiming political power for one group and denying it to other groups, or about rules that keep the society orderly, or about maintaining ethnic heritage. Still, at their best, religions are about life on the boundaries: the boundaries between myself and others, between meaning and absurdity, between hope and despair, between life and death. Difficult bereavements bring us to the boundary of life and death, and so there the potential meaning of life and the potential meaningless of life becomes clear, the possibilities of both hope and despair are present, the boundary between me and the person who has died as well as the boundaries between me and other mourners become both defined and blurred.

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