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New question: Why is death feared and mourned?

  1. Pcunix profile image90
    Pcunixposted 5 years ago

    Inspired by another thread in which I awarded the "Best Answer by a theist" prize for this answer: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/67562?p … ost1479754 , I have another question.

    By the way,three things: first, I'm not joking or being sarcastic.  I think he really did give the best answer.

    Second: of course someone could still give a better answer. Too bad, you are too late: judges decisions are final smile

    Finally, don't expect me not to react sarcastically to foolish posts.  But let's see if somebody can impress me as just_curious did:

    Atheists find the theistic concept of heavenly life after death as very strange because we observe that theists avoid death just as actively as we do and mourn deeply when loved ones die. 

    Why? It's Heaven!  The loved ones have gone to a "better place". Why cry - you'll see them again soon enough, right?

    1. Aficionada profile image92
      Aficionadaposted 5 years ago in reply to this



      I'm not planning to return to discuss this, because I don't like the way well-intentioned discussions here devolve into arguments. But, since I have two loved ones right now whose critical health issues have focused my attention recently on their possible looming death, and since all of us (i.e., these two and I) are Christians, I will answer as I see the issue.

      1) Even in view of the temporary nature of the loss, the death of a loved one is an actual loss for a time.  On a spiritual level, it might be compared to misplacing an object. (Sorry, I know the comparison sounds trite.  It's intended as an example, no more.)

      You may have the greatest confidence that the object can be found eventually (you may not know when), but the temporary absence of it can still sting or even cause great pain.  How much more true that is with the people we know and love!  We can have all the confidence in the world that we will see them and be with them again, but the temporary absence from them is sad and painful.

      2) We can also be sad that the good influence of the people we have lost (temporarily) on the idiots (oops, my bad, I mean the Unknowing) around them has now ceased.

      3) We may feel sorrow and sympathy for the physical pain they may have to suffer during the physical process of death.  That is temporary, yes, and we believe it leads to something much better.  But the current reality is - real. smile  And we may be sad to see that real pain that they experience. (Why is that not a good thing, i.e. to sympathize with someone's pain?)

      4) Most of the Christian funerals I have attended have included a strong element of celebration - celebration of the now-past, physical life (of the deceased) that we were able to know and enjoy, as well as a celebration of what we believe them to be experiencing now.

      1. Pcunix profile image90
        Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I'm not going to make fun of thoughtful replies like yours.  I don't think I could give it a prize, but it is nothing to belittle.

        1. 61
          stoneyyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          The lady was indicating how *she* sees things.  Posts like hers are, as you point out, thoughtful.  I find posts like hers to be quite informative as it is an exploration of views.  Whether one agrees, or not, is immaterial and irrelevant-in my view.

          1. Pcunix profile image90
            Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I agree.  I just think there will be better answers.

    2. 61
      stoneyyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      --pcunix
      Atheists find the theistic concept of heavenly life after death as very strange because we observe that theists avoid death just as actively as we do and mourn deeply when loved ones die. --pcunix

      I trust you're speaking very generally as individual reactions differ.  A few points, if I may.  Suicide bombers tend to be, now-a-days, members of the Islam superstition. 

      There's an aspect of JW's, for one, I have great respect for.  An individual's life can be saved by a simple blood transfusion.  These people refuse such care based on their belief.  It's self-determination.  I think the stance is nuts, but I do have great respect for them.

      --pcunix
      Why? It's Heaven!  The loved ones have gone to a "better place". Why cry - you'll see them again soon enough, right?--pcunix

      Johnny Hart-the BC cartoonist-was very concerned that his mother was residing in 'Hell'.  He wasn't sure she qualified for 'Heaven.'  Of course, he was certain he was 'Heaven Bound[tm]'.  His mother could have been certain about her 'final destination,' but was concerned about his.

      Side note:  I found this article "The Irish Affliction" interesting.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/magaz … ish-t.html

      The lady who's comment is quoted here is, imo, quite indicative.  I'm not using the word 'indicative' in a negative fashion.

      start
      Many Irish find the idea of abandoning Catholicism to be as counterintuitive as giving up their racial or sexual identity. During a panel discussion, a television reporter asked a woman if she was ready to leave the Catholic Church. She paused, as if befuddled, then said, ‘‘Where would I go?’’
      finish

    3. Jeff Berndt profile image91
      Jeff Berndtposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      "Atheists find the theistic concept of heavenly life after death as very strange because we observe that theists avoid death just as actively as we do and mourn deeply when loved ones die.

      Why? It's Heaven!  The loved ones have gone to a "better place". Why cry - you'll see them again soon enough, right?"

      Well, on the one hand, it's a selfish thing. We're going to miss the deceased person just as much as if they were moving to Australia never to be seen again. (Australians, please substitute America. Thanks.)

      On the other hand, some theists do celebrate the death of a loved one, even though they'll still miss them. I for one hope that my surviving friends and relations celebrate my death with a modern version of a viking funeral: light a longship (or a canoe; we might be on a budget) on fire, drop my body in, shove it out to sea, and have a rockin' party on the beach.

      Then again, perhaps some theists mourn their loved ones' deaths because they're not 100% sure the poor slob isn't going to end up in Hell. That's a problem a lot of theists have: they assume that they're going to Heaven (though not 100% sure, hence the fear of their own death), but they worry that the other guy might not be right with God. Maybe it's part of the need some of us have to feel like we're better than others? But there it is.

    4. Cagsil profile image60
      Cagsilposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Ridiculous. roll

  2. Pandoras Box profile image81
    Pandoras Boxposted 5 years ago

    I gotta say, I'm not impressed by the answer you found so impressive. It's basically standard christian teaching.

    And thanks for the reminder. I gotta get Edweirdo's filter for Chrome.

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well, remember, I'm not saying the answer is a good answer in general, I'm saying it was a good answer for a theist.

      Of course it's a lousy answer in fact. All religious answers to questions are useless.

  3. Pandoras Box profile image81
    Pandoras Boxposted 5 years ago

    I'd guess that if I believed in the biblical god I'd cry when my loved ones went to meet him as well.

    But honestly I don't think most believers really believe. They believe despite their disbelief. Another standard christian teaching.

  4. Dave Mathews profile image59
    Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago

    I have no idea why death is feared. This makes no sense at all.

    As for people mourning. I do not mourn death. I believe in celebrating it. Maybe some mourn because they have lost someone they care about. Maybe they mourn because they are still alive who knows for sure.

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well, you certainly are not a typical Christian in this regard.

      1. Dave Mathews profile image59
        Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        There is nothing typical about me in any regards. I am an extremely unique spirit individual like nothing you have ever encountered before or ever will encounter again.

        1. Pcunix profile image90
          Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Aren't we all?

        2. Mark Knowles profile image61
          Mark Knowlesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          That is what you think. I know exactly what you are going to say to every question you answer.

          I have read your instruction manual. lol

          1. Dave Mathews profile image59
            Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Ha Ha Ha! is this what my next response is supposed to be? I can be a very sarcastic S.O.B. when required. Beware the wings.

            1. Pcunix profile image90
              Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Oh, yeah: you impress us regularly..

            2. Daniel Carter profile image91
              Daniel Carterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Be careful. That would be very unChristian of you. It makes you no different than any of the other lost souls.

            3. Mark Knowles profile image61
              Mark Knowlesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Uncanny. big_smile

  5. starme77 profile image85
    starme77posted 5 years ago

    people fear death cause they are scared of the unknown - they mourn people who pass away cause they don't knnow where they went

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Christians know where they went.

    2. 61
      stoneyyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Death isn't anything to fear.  The person no longer exists.  Corpses don't get up and stroll away, so the body remains in the location it was disposed of.

  6. livelonger profile image88
    livelongerposted 5 years ago

    People fear death either because of the unknown, and/or because we all value life and will struggle to avoid losing it (this has both religious and instinctive bases).

    People mourn because they miss having their loved one in their life. (I think very few worry about their fate in the afterlife, but I could be wrong)

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      No.  You miss someone who leaves you, but the mourning after death is of a much different nature.

      My aunt is in a hospice in California. I will never see her again. I don't mourn her now -but I will when she dies.

      1. Dave Mathews profile image59
        Dave Mathewsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Will you mourn her because she has passed on, or will you mourn because you are still here? There is a big difference.

        1. Pcunix profile image90
          Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          She will not have "passed on". She'll be dead. Non-existent.  I will mourn because the world will have lost a very talented, intelligent and deeply interesting person.

      2. livelonger profile image88
        livelongerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        There is something comforting about the fact that you can see her (or talk to her on the phone, etc) now if you want -- even if you choose not to -- but after she's gone, that possibility will forever be lost.

        It's the irrevocability of the termination of contact that death brings that's acutely different.

  7. Daniel Carter profile image91
    Daniel Carterposted 5 years ago

    We mourn most likely because we have formed attachments. We miss the presence of the person who passed. We want it reversed, restored, and to have them back, but it doesn't happen.

    We fear death probably because we fear pain and find death in many situations mostly about suffering and pain. In addition, no one really knows if there is anything beyond death, when it comes right down to dying.

    As for any of the other stuff, it doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

  8. 0
    Neville Walkposted 5 years ago

    I agree that religious believers believe, despite their disbelief and that even the most zealous, deep down, if they were to really admit it to themselves, are not 100% convinced by their own religion.  It is not surprising that even the religious are afraid of death, because religion exists in the first place as a means to come-to-terms with our own mortality, by creating the concepts of an eternal life in some spiritual dimension.  Human beings, as possibly the only animal to be aware of mortality, are horrified at the prospect, and will try to convince themselves of the impossible and fantastic in a vain attempt to overcome their horror of non-existence. 

    In my time, I have been a Jehovah's Witness, a Quaker and a Spiritualist, yet have never truly believed in any of these, or any other religion.  My reason for seeking a spiritual path, was as an attempt to run away from my own mortality.  No matter, how hard life can be at times, I would still rather opt for the only life I have in favour of the reality that is presented by the prospect of my death.  So, I have tried my hardest to force myself into religious belief, no matter how absurd some of the theology I have tried to convince myself of.

    I can only suspect that this is the situation with many other people of religion.  It is that feeling, I get, when attending a funeral, when singing 'Abide with Me' or 'There is a Green Hill' and knowing that I don't believe a word of it.  I try my best to join in the singing, in respect for the person about to be reduced to ashes, but find my voice drying up every time, and instead, I stand there, silent, thinking of the pointlessness and shortness of life and realising that one day soon, it shall be me, for whom people are singing 'Abide with Me.'  In response, I try once again to convince myself that death is not really the end, because for me the alternative is too terrifying.  I do try to believe, despite my disbelief, yet fail every time. 

    Although I have spent many years seeking a spiritual path, I have always been aware that this attempt has been about fighting the inevitability of my death, and I have never tried to deny this.  I suppose though that some religious are better at denial than I am, although I suspect even they doubt what they evangelically claim to the world to be 'The Truth.'  It is for this reason, I would suggest that even the most religious in society are not exactly overjoyed when their loved ones have departed.

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      You are definitely in the running for "best answer".

  9. 2uesday profile image88
    2uesdayposted 5 years ago

    The bereaved mourn and grieve because their world has changed.

    When somebody you care for has a terminal illness you begin to mourn for them even before they die, it is about the loss of something you hold dear in your life.

    Mourning and bereavement grief are a process of adjustment to your loss of a person that was part of your life. It is the state of mind you find yourself in at that time in your life that can cause problems.

    Unfortunately in the modern world some prefer not to acknowledge the experience a bereaved person is going through.

    However this is probably not a direct answer to the questions asked.

  10. Daniel Carter profile image91
    Daniel Carterposted 5 years ago

    This got me thinking about my dad's death. We hated each other for about 45 years. I forgave him so I could move on. It was genuine, not contrived forgiveness. I learned to love him in the end. Dad suffered horribly at his death, bleeding from eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Prednisone caused the linings and tissues to thin to that point.

    I cried bitterly at his death because of the completely mixed emotions I had, remembering how bitter we were to each other, and then remembering how good forgiveness finally was. For him it was religious, but forgiveness for me was not. It just meant that I let go of him and no longer chained him to me. Oddly, shortly after setting him free, he died. The complete irony of it.

    I didn't sleep for a few days. I was a mess. I missed him terribly, for the first time in my life. After I went through the grief process, anger, resentment, etc. of him leaving me, I finally found acceptance with his death. It took well over a year.

    I don't know why or how acceptance comes about. I don't know how forgiveness happens. I don't understand why I grieved so much. There aren't any sufficient explanations for me in religion, philosophy, or metaphysical voodoo. All I know is that it happened.

    I know that I feared losing him while I watched him die, and I mourned his loss terribly after. My fear was losing him. He didn't seem to have fear about dying. Perhaps in part because of the suffering he went through. My mourning was about resentment that I lost him so soon after I discovered I had forgiven him.

    I don't know about any other stuff.

    1. Pcunix profile image90
      Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That is sad.  I am sorry that you reconciled so late.

      1. Daniel Carter profile image91
        Daniel Carterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Thank you. Much appreciated. But I've found some resolve, and I'm fine.

  11. 0
    just_curiousposted 5 years ago

    Hey pcunix.  I agree with the posters that said my answer wasn't that insightful, but thanks for the compliment.  I'll give this one a shot.

    I watched someone slowly die; who was too young to have reached the point where he would have pondered his own mortality.  I guess he would be considered Christian, he was raised Catholic but wasn't a practising one. The fear of the unknown pretty much drove him crazy.  It doesn't matter how religious anyone says they are, any thinking person argues with the atheist in them when they ponder death.

    As to why we mourn?  It's a selfish act. We lost someone we love.  I want to believe my mother is in heaven and she's very happy; but all the atheist in me knows is that she's gone.

    Christians have hope.  No knowledge. It drives me crazy. Those that claim they have knowledge are, I guess, luckier than I am.

  12. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 5 years ago

    There have been some people who can step through death with delight and acceptance. There are however a number of reasons why people do not readily accept death.

    Since we are emotional beings we have fears. Our emotions can manifest under a number of situations for example if one's home burned down we can become emotional about that. If a loved one is in the hospital in pain, suffering we can become emotional about that. Life is a precious gift and to simply discard that isn't really in our nature. Life is so precious that even the son of God felt grief over the reality that he was now about to walk that road which will lead to his death.

 
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