Death, however it arrives, is not a pretty sight. I still have frightening memories of seeing my father in law in the hospital bed a couple of hours after he died. It was him, his mouth wide open, his cheeks drained of colour, but he was gone. No bringing back. From his death his trajectory was decay, embalming, cremation and a few ashes: all that remained of his whole history.
That's the fate of all of us. It's pretty scary, isn't it. That diet I'm on, the teeth whitening sessions, the new clothes, the plans, the imagination. Wiped away in an instant. There you are: engaging with the world, smelling the roses, anticipating that next steak, worrying about the car service and in an instant. Gone.
All the pain is no more. That deadly, painful cancer, the recurrent bowel problem, the endless letters and calls from creditors. Ended. As the light goes out - your engagement with this world, this Universe, this everything ceases.
O.K. for some we merely switch channel. Instead of terrestrial existence we move to incorporeal Sky broadband. Death is the portal to a richer, fuller reality. When all we are, all our potentiality, all our pasts, presents and futures are in one eternal present conflated and we are truly human. Sounds good doesn't it?
That, I think, is what some Christians and non Christians believe: there's more to this life than resting on a slab in the morgue in an episode of "Lewis".
I don't know what Muslims, or Hindus or Sikhs or Scientologists for that matter, believe. I just think believing blasting people into oblivion as a way of achieving eternal salvation/life rather silly. Just because someone doesn't agree with you is not a reason for wiping them off the face of the planet. I'd suggest if you think that you have real issues.
It may be you didn't get on with your mum, dad, sister, brother, dog, cat, TV. It may be you thought people were laughing at you: that you were short, fat, stupid, had a small penis. You might have been humiliated, like Ed Miliband. Having, however, lost his party 20 years of power he didn't machine gun down the whole of the Conservative Party. Or, it could be you had an uncontrollable adoration of power and a belief that you couldn't be wrong. But you're not Tony Blair surely?
Or maybe you look around your country and see a few get away with almost anything, and the many unable to have the basics to sustain life. You may look around and see a few companies growing fat on the greed of an elite, privileged few and knowing that such wealth squandered in Western bank accounts could free millions from pain and poverty. You may look around at the fat, well heeled, over indulging Europeans sunning themselves on beaches you can't afford and think this isn't as it should be.
And you may ask yourself, why are Western politicians blaming us when for the past 100 years they've done all they can to bolster the companies and regimes that make them rich and us impoverished.
And in despair you lash out.
In Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Egypt, in Somalia, in Nigeria, in Kenya...in the USA. And in other places the State crushes any legitimate complaint.
Even so, no matter how strong your case, no matter how culpable your victims, killing is not a solution. It's a cry of desperation, of impotency, of despair: and that leads to Hell.
I may not believe in the Devil, but I know we can create our own daemons and our own sulphurous pit of despair.
I do my best to laugh it off.