“Rest in peace,” or its oft-used initialism, is a phrase one sees a lot on that there Internet. Especially, like over the last couple of days, when a high profile death occurs. And I can’t help but wonder if all those people who write “RIP” on weblog comments or social bookmarking sites actually believe in the concept of Judgement Day.
Aside from the properly religious folk who know and believe The Bible, my guess is that a fair amount of the vaguely-Christian-raised folk who use “RIP” also think that dying means floating up to, or climbing a stairway to, Heaven straight away; rather than hanging around in some afterlife version of a hotel, soundly sleeping until Jesus tells them if they made the cut. My rather shaky and unresearched assumption leads me to believe that there’s not much resting involved if you don’t believe in Judgement Day (unless Heaven’s got loads of health spas, that is).
And what if the person who died was incontinent? Do they have to sleep in a pool of piss, covered in bed sores until Judgement Day? What if you’re a light sleeper and the soul next to you is snoring? Can you get up and watch a bit of telly or read a magazine? Is the bar open? Do they have a pool table or air hockey? Is there a 24-hour garage where you can buy some fags and a Kit Kat? I really would like to know.
My suspicion, though, is that “Rest in peace” is just a way for people to say “Hey, that’s sad that X died, I kinda liked his/her stuff,” because we’re all at a bit of a loss for words when people tell us that someone is dead.