Imagine if we were to invite an alien being to read through the Earth’s obituaries. Surely he must come to the conclusion that this is a planet full of saints, beautiful people and kindly souls. Every dead soldier was heroic, every parent loving, each businessman thoughtful and caring.
Every newborn baby is beautiful and a genius, every dead person Christ-like. But what about in-between birth and the corpse? Observation tells me there are a lot of nasty shits in the world. Where are their obituaries?
‘Don’t speak badly of the dead,’ they say. So no truth here. Die and you shall be good! I believe the reason for this is a leftover of primitive superstition. The Romans allowed no burials within city limits. They also did not bury their dead near a crossroads. There was a genuine fear that the dead could strike at the living and that burying people near intersecting roads would give their ‘ghosts’ a chance to move freely in every direction.
Everyone is ‘good’ after they die because if we say bad things, even if we speak the truth, ‘they will come and get us,’ strike out from the other side.
A general fear of death is behind this too. Speak of it and it may happen to you!