“Bacon & God’s Wrath”

The silly stories about deathbed conversions of atheists have a flipside.

Not long before she died, my own grandmother surprised us by expressing the view that religion was all nonsense.

It was also interesting to read in Neil Armstrong's biography, that his seriously devout mother, in her final days, seemed to develop a sense of clarity about how incredible it all seemed. Armstrong himself was somewhat hard to pin down on the subject, but he was certainly not an observant christian.

From The New Yorker:
Razie, the subject of Sol Friedman’s documentary “Bacon & God’s Wrath,” is a Jewish woman who’s about to turn ninety. She has also recently become an atheist and is about to try bacon for the first time. From that simple setup, surprises flow. Lying on a couch, like one of Freud’s analysands, Razie tells us about her strictly religious upbringing, which seems to have brought her little joy. As she describes how using the Internet led her to atheism (“Some of my most intimate thoughts and questions . . . were so common that the Google could anticipate it!”), a picture of her wry, inquisitive, unsentimental mind emerges. Something is at stake in her decision to try bacon: it's a way of marking a transformation—of asserting that, even late in life, it's possible to change. It's also, one senses, a way of claiming independence from the fear of death that can haunt old age.