In politics, a gaffe is defined by when a gov’t official accidentally says what he really thinks. You’re not supposed to let the electorate in on what you truly plan do to. At best, you save the bad news until after the election.
We see the same dynamic in atheism. This accounts for the ironic spectacle of militant atheists who express outrage if Christians depict atheism on its own terms. That’s “insensitive” (or worse).
Atheism is unspeakable when the consequences count. And death is one of those things where the consequences count.
Atheistic bravado in the face of death is shaken when the decedent is a friend. Or when he dies prematurely. That cuts too close to home.
Francis Schaeffer famously argued that atheism is unlivable. It’s not a creed that individuals can consistently live by or live out. They fudge. They cheat.
Infidels ordinarily strike a truth-for-truth’s-sake pose. But when issue at hand happens to be a dead atheist, then you’re not supposed to speak the truth–for the sake of the living. How dare you depict the fate of an atheist in atheistic terms! Even though atheism is true (so we’re told), you should spare the feelings of the living by tactfully acting as if atheism is false. Nothing could be ruder than to share the truth when the implications actually stick. When they impact the hearts and lives of real people.