Is our final fate any different than other animals? I don’t think so. But most religions disagree with me, painting the fate of humans as uniquely different from all other creatures. They don’t believe in “Roadkill Theology“: the theological position that all creatures share the same final fate.
I remember the first time I verbalized my Roadkill Theology. It was to a Western Buddhist friend.
My friend was very fond of his Tibetan guru (teacher) and over the past year had bragged to me often of what a unique opportunity he had to study with this man. He was convinced that this man was an incarnation of a previous very famous lama (monk). Then one day, he got news that his master died – smashed by a truck on a chaotic India road. It was a generic death.
My friend was distraught with grief. I felt sorry for him. However, after two days of grieving he appeared more cheerful. He told me that he realized that his Master was probably died for a reason and would soon re-incarnate and return to teach at a higher level.
I’d seen this “everything-happens-for-a-reason” nonsense before: among Christians (God’s plan), New Agers (the Universe’ teaching), Muslim’s (Allah’s will) and now a Buddhist (karma’s care). Argggghhhh.
In my teens, I lost my dearest friend to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. His parents, born-again Christians, were devastated. His mom took 10 years to recover enough to merge again into society. But three days after my friend died I witnessed my friend’s father smiling and shaking hands with people who were trying to comfort him. The father was reassuring the well-wishers by saying, “I know my son is in a better place. Somehow this was in God’s plan.”
I understand how these mechanisms protect us and comfort us — well, some of us. But I can no longer feel these comforts. I no longer believe these stories.
Whatever theory of life and death someone contrives, if it doesn’t treat roadkill squirrels, raccoons, deer, mice, worms and humans identically, then I know it is wrong. The death of a moth smeared thin on my car’s windshield can’t can’t be ruled as an accidental death while that of a human child who wandered into traffic as being part of a divine or karmic plan.
Roadkill theology states that: All theories of death must treat human and animal roadkill identically.
But tell us what you think:
Photo Credit: My photo — a roadkill squirrel near my home.