Celebrity Angels

People die. In the last week or so we’ve had a couple of celebrities shuffle off their mortal coils at far too young of an age. That’s Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger, in case you’re wondering. So we talked about it a bit, God and I.

The first thing she pointed out to me is that people, on average, are living longer than ever before, so a couple of anecdotal data points don’t really amount to much. Then we got to talking about euphemisms for dying, and for being dead, and we got onto the one about the dead person “sleeping with the angels.” Saying that somebody sleeps with the angels is supposed to suggest that they’ve gone to heaven, but the thing is that it could just as easily mean that they’ve gone to hell. I mean both heaven and hell have a lot of angels hanging around. Heaven is where they all started out, but hell was founded and populated by fallen angels, so it’s also a pretty good place to run into them.

But getting back to that metaphor: somewhere along the way I’ve seen this whole thing get confused. A lot of people seem to be going with the notion these days that when people die they become angels. This is not only wrong but it’s sort of like suggesting that if you move near Disneyland that you become an animated mouse.

Honestly, you’d think that if people were going to invoke modern mythologies that they’d at least bother to learn some of the rules. Then again, maybe they look at how even celebrities, who have more than enough money to take good care of themselves, can end up dead at a pretty young age and they figure they just don’t have the time to learn what they’re talking about. Of course, when it comes to religion, that’s nothing new.

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