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The Fear of Death

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It seems to underlie everything that makes the world difficult and dangerous for man.

Christians, though they hope for salvation, nevertheless are never ever sure they’re on the right path, or that they’ve done enough to merit eternal life in heaven.

Thus, the constant return to the citadel of faith both to reaffirm their own belief and achieve some sort of temporary, provisional peace in this life.

After all, an awful lot of time remains in eternity if you’re not in the right place.

If heaven were guaranteed, then there’d be no need to punish oneself in life.

A militant young Muslim in Gaza said to a reporter, “The thing that makes you in the West weak is that you treasure life; we who know what awaits us in our Islamic faith love death with the same intensity. It cannot come soon enough.”

Thus, we see how it is that a life lived without the fear of death can be a reality.

But is it truly necessary to love death in order not to fear it?

Is it not possible to love life and not, in the final analysis, fear death?

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About bookofjoe

  • personally, i think that it IS possible to love life and yet not fear death. I don’t fear death; i know it will come to me, and maybe i’ll get to experience something amazing afterwards (some kind of afterlife). But if i don’t, it’s not like i have a real choice in the matter. it may depend to a certain extent on belief, but belief alone cannot be the ONLY factor that determines whether you get to have a spirit or not.
    And the very reason i love life is because, to be honest, i don’t KNOW what comes next. If i did, i’d be sorted, but i don’t. I may become a ghost that spies on fit women showering, or i may turn out to be some minor god or something, or maybe there’s nothing after life. I’d let you know when i die, except i can’t guarantee being able to touch keys…

  • Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi, although having trained for much of his life not to fear death, spent a lot of his life appreciating it in poetry and painting and other things that are cultural. I wonder about those who profess not to fear death and who claim they have no attachments to our world. Are they just pretending to be that way until they get their unthinkable deeds done? All you have to do is trick yourself for a relatively brief period of time in order to carry out a suicide bombing and end your life forever. That young kid from Gaza, deep inside himself, beyond all of the words of bravado, probably does love some things in this world. He has only tricked himself into forgetting about them. This ability to deceive ourselves is perhaps the scariest aspect of human nature. Yikes.

  • Survival is the most powerful human instinct. All fear death, in my opinion. The suicidal merely fear life more than its end.

    And religious zealots are brainwashed into believing that death promises rewards unimaginable. But I suspect they are still very fearful just before the end.

    I recall hearing about how Kamakazis were only given enough fuel for a one-way trip. And if they did somehow manage to turn around, they were to be shot down, and dishonor would be brought upon their entire family.

    Just because most didn’t turn around didn’t mean they weren’t scared. The alternative just was worse…

  • “This ability to deceive ourselves is perhaps the scariest aspect of human nature. Yikes.”
    perhaps, but i’m gonna have to agree with what Terry Pratchett mentions in some of the Discworld books: it is precisely because of our ability to deceive ourselves that most of us survive. If we were not able to do so then most, if not all, of us would be wholly insane at the very least

  • Christian

    I dont fear death at all. I think its because I’m the type of person who says “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it”

    Secondly, I’m Christian, and I dont consider myself religious, although an athiest would. I follow Christ because what he does for me here on planet earth, not for some award after death.

    Even if death reaches oblivion, I am still happy with my decision to follow Christ, because afterall my life has been wonderful since making that choice!

  • Nancy

    I guess my faith never went deep enough before I ditched it completely, because I never lost my fear of death, and as I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten more intense, a pretty dumb reaction actually when I do consider that it’s inevitable & universal. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like the idea of going before I’ve achieved a few things I really, really want to do. I don’t know, since I don’t like to think about it. The best I was able to do in coping with it was to maximize my usefulness to others after my demise by ensuring I was registered as a donor for anything useful before the rest gets trashed.

  • I think the young Muslim for whom you have such misty-eyed admiration was just talking through his asshole. If he loves death so much, why hasn’t he already blown his goddam brains out?

  • My Opinion, That’s All

    I don’t have a fear of death because we’re all going to die sooner or later, however, I don’t want to die. As a Christian, I believe that God has a Paradise waiting for me on “the other side”. Simply because I think there is an afterlife, doesn’t mean I’m in a hurry to get there, like my Muslim counterparts. I think life is beautiful and should be cherished and everyone should have a chance to enjoy a life free from harm. That’s the difference, I guess, between us Christians and Muslims. They don’t think life is scared or has meaning, so they destroy all life because they seem to think that the more they destroy, the more they earn in their form of heaven. To me, that’s wrong. To a Christian, one of our Ten Commandments is “Thou Shalt Not Murder”. To me, it’s a sin that damns a person to Hell.

  • steve

    Fear not, For he is with us whether its life or death.

  • Aoede

    Correction: While the Catholic church believes in works+faith as prerequisites to salvation, most Protestant denominations believe that people are saved by faith alone – i.e., there’s no way people could EVER be “good” enough to merit salvation, and they’re being given a free ride, courtesy of God. It’s not about being good in order to be saved – it’s about being good in gratitude for being saved.

  • Coca Cola

    Trust me, those who claim they don’t fear death fear it the most. I think the main issue here is fear itself as a very troublesome state of mind in the everyday life. We all know fear, worry and anxiety has never contributed anything good in our lives. The reason fear is so problematic is because most people live either in the past or the future. They are stuck with constant doubts and worries that can result badly in the future and bad thoughts and memories from the past instead of just focusing on the present moment. When you live for the moment, you’re in control of your life completely. You’ll experience inner peace instead of fear, just like in meditation, totally in the NOW. Why waste time on the things we cannot change? We are always in control of the NOW. History never has to repeat itself and time will surely tell once we start practicing ourself to grip the present moment more often and be productive instead of destructive.

  • william cabral

    dont fear death for death is in your life everyday. all the hate in this world in controlled by death. make death fear you

  • mina

    I don’t fear death. Wait, am I supposed to fear death? I don’t have to be a terrorist or a suicidal to not fear death. Fear life, never death. To fear death is to be dead. There are so many things in life that we love and cherish. We all know that one day we all will die (accept it or deny it, it is true). Either way we are dying. The death time is set and will not change; you don’t know when you will die but you know that you will die. It is only a matter of time. So, the point is to live righteously and conscientiously. To be always prepared.To live your day as if it is your last day. The death of others warns you. WHAT WILL YOU DO IN TODAY, I MEAN YOUR LAST DAY?