Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?


How do you respond when your child asks “Where do you go when you die?” As a new parent, this is something that gnaws at the back of your mind. You know your kid is going to ask eventually. How will you answer?

As an agnostic, the most truthful answer to the question that I have is “I don’t know.” I feel that this is the most honest answer I can give to my daughter. Nobody knows.

Every religion has its own version of an afterlife, but the definition of faith is believing something that you don’t know for certain to be true. “I don’t know” might be less satisfying than other answers. It might not console her or make her believe that everything will be alright the same way that telling her that you go to a better place and everything happens for a reason might. But I feel that honestly admitting the truth in this answer is a gift I can give her.

The gift of being able to decide for herself what she believes. The gift of not worrying that she’ll burn in torment forever if she doesn’t believe a certain thing or behave according to some arcane set of rules that have little connection to her life.

I will do my best to teach her empathy and compassion, virtue and kindness. I will teach her to respect the beliefs of others. But I won’t pretend to know for certain what happens after we die, and I wont use the afterlife as a Sword of Damocles to scare her into being good.

I will respond to her questions as best I can. I will ask her what she thinks. I will give the gift of honesty.