Ian McEwan on death

I watched The Unbelievers last week, some of it was very interesting but the film as a whole didn’t work for me. I would rather have seen more of Dawkins and Krauss in conversation and fewer shots of aeroplane wings and famous landmarks.

Playing over the credits are excerpts from interviews with famous atheists/agnostics/humanists including Ian McEwan who made a very good comparison that hadn’t really occurred to me before:

I think people don’t really believe in the myths they invent.

I’ve been to many funerals in which the priest has spoken of an afterlife and even the people who are there are sobbing profusely. They don’t really think they’re gonna meet their loved one in five years time. If, on the other hand, you stood on the quayside and watched the Queen Mary set off for New York the people on the quayside are not crying because they know they’re going to see those people again fairly soon.

A funeral is fundamentally different yet it should be the same.