A couple of months ago I attended a Buddhist funeral. The deceased was a
43-year old father of two little boys who escaped from Cambodia with his
mother, father, brothers and sisters during the reign of the Kmer
Rouge. The eulogy was delivered by a retired bureau chief for the New York
Times who was one of the characters in the film, The Killing Fields. He
had been stationed in Cambodia during the Viet Nam war and knew the family
there. He also arranged for their relocation to this country when he
learned they were in a Thai refugee camp.
I know the family well, and at the funeral I talked with Steve who married
into the family. Steve and Mom (that's her name) have three beautiful
(half American and half Cambodian) children. A few weeks prior to the
death of his bother-in-law, Steve and Mom were remarried in the Catholic
church. Even though Steve was raised Catholic, they had a Buddhist
ceremony when they married the first time, and only when one of his younger
children asked: "Dad, if you are Catholic and Mother is Buddhist, what am
I?" did it occur to him that the subject of religion needed to be
addressed. That got Steve to thinking, and it culminated in the conversion
of his wife and their remarrying in the Catholic church. His brother-in
law, now deceased, took the pictures.
I asked Steve about the untimely death of his brother-in-law. He had a
cancerous growth removed from his colon months earlier and it was suspected
that the cancer had returned. He was given a berium test to see what the
extent of the cancerous growth was. He had an adverse reaction
apparently, and after a day or two, he died. And died a Buddhist.
Neither Steve nor his recently converted wife thought to witness to him
even though they knew he was in danger of dying. I was shocked! Was being
a Christian nothing more than a ceremony? Had they learned nothing in the
classes they were required to take? How could they let him die a nonbeliever?
There were many tears shed at the funeral that day. But those there,
friends and family, monks in orange robes, all cried at the loss of a
physical life, for the children now fatherless, for the widow with no
husband. I cried at the loss too. The loss of a loving soul to whom
nobody bothered to bear witness to Christ before it was too late.
As far as physical death is concerned - a hundred years from now we are all
dead - so who cares? If I treat the subject more callously then you,
please forgive me - that's just me. My tears are reserved for the truly
lost, those who die without knowing Christ.
As for PJ, at the very least he is an opportunist. He takes uniformed
Christians and makes them misinformed Christians. Armed with
misinformation, they muddy the waters, obscuring the truth from those who
might otherwise seek it.
Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution - www.orisol.com
"The answer we should have known about 150 years ago"
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