The inspiring and renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking passed away on Wednesday, and the world mourned the loss of one of history’s most brilliant minds. However, as with every notable thinker, Hawking has become something of a controversial figure in fanatical religious groups, thanks to his widely publicized disbelief in God and the afterlife. As a result, some hyper-religious folks are using Hawking’s passing as an opportunity to dish out tasteless “told ya so”s.
Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain sent his condolences to Hawking’s family, but also took a moment to subtly troll Hawking’s deep-seated beliefs — which, when you’re supposedly offering condolences, is pretty damn tacky.
Stephen Hawking now knows the truth about how the universe was actually made.— Briscoe Cain (@BriscoeCain) March 14, 2018
My condolences to his family.
The Statesman later asked Cain about his questionable tweet. However, Cain stood his ground and insisted that his sentiments were totally appropriate:
Asked about the etiquette of trolling the recently deceased, Cain told the American-Statesman, “I am sympathetic for his family’s loss. Losing a loved one is difficult for everyone. My prayers are with them.”
But, Cain continued, “While many see him as one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century, and no one disputes that he was brilliant, the fact remains that God exists. My tweet was to show the gravity of the Gospel and what happens when we die, namely, that we all will one day meet the Creator of the universe face to face.”
Cain wasn’t the only person to offer their unsolicited religious opinions on Hawking’s death, either. Plenty of people hoped that Hawking saw the “error of his ways” in death.
R.I.P. Stephen Hawking.— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) March 14, 2018
May he now have answered the question of why it is that we and the universe exist.
May he now know the mind of God.
Stephen hawking is burning in hell right now bet he's not an atheist anymore ! The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no God— Ed lopez (@youngdisciple7) March 14, 2018
Trust and believe Stephen Hawking is no longer an atheist. May God forgive him. RIP Stephen Hawking.— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) March 14, 2018
Good news: Stephen Hawking is no longer an atheist!— Westboro Baptist Church (@WBCSaysRepent) March 14, 2018
Bad news: it’s too late for him to repent of his blasphemy against His Creator and seek God’s mercy!
Woe unto worldly-wise men who forsake God. Don’t follow Hawking to Hell. pic.twitter.com/yh7PG7u8Mj
Stephen Hawking died. Now he gets to meet the God he so often denied.— Jon Kuiper (@jondiesel78) March 14, 2018
While it’s extremely frustrating for people to co-opt someone’s death as an opportunity to preach religious dogma (which the deceased would assuredly abhor), it’s also somewhat comforting to know that Hawking would be vastly entertained by the number of people scrambling to cast aspersions on him in death.
I guess the best way to gauge just how fully you’ve lived your life is by the number of who people say you’re going to “burn in Hell” once you die!