In his book Dying Without God: Francois Mitterand's Meditations on Living and Dying, journalist Franz-Olivier Giesbert reflects on how athiesm shaped the former French President's view of death.
Al Mohler has written a fine post on the topic.
Giesbert describes Mitterand as "a Nietzschean until his dying day." He described himself as a mystic with the mind of a rationalist. He did not deny that a form of transcendence might exist, but he described the idea that his spirit might survive his death as "embarrassing." He was fond of paraphrasing Celine: "Eternity must be very long, especially toward the end."
Mitterand lived by a moral code that matched his worldview. Giesbert described Mitterand's hands as made to strangle men and to seduce women. At his funeral, his mistress and their daughter sat close to Mitterand's wife and their children. As a Nietzchean, he was committed above all to the acquisition and retention of power.
In the end, he died, as he had lived, without God.
Mitterand's secular view of life and death represented an entire generation of European intellectuals and political figures. Deeply committed to atheism, agnosticism, existentialism, or Marxism, these intellectuals simply left no place for God in their worldview. They died without fear of God and without faith in God.
Death forces the most significant questions of life. To consider death -- particularly one's own death -- is to face the question of God, of the meaning of life, the question of life after death.
Read the entire post HERE.