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Why We Fear Death

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Sam Snead

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Why We Fear Death

Why Do We Fear How would you describe death?
What emotions? - Evil
- Natural
- The end
-Unknown There are no experts on death, we are all equals when thinking about death. Death is natural, it is part of the circle of life
however the fact that we can not completely understand death until we die, frightens people. Why do we fear death? Fear of pain
Fear of the unknown
Fear of non existence
Fear of eternal punishment Pain: People associate death with excruciating pain and suffering. For instance a healthy person may witness a cancer patient dying and fear the same pain will occur for them. Unknown: Death is the ultimate unknown; there are no experts on death because no one has survived to tell us what happens afterward. It is in our human nature to be curious and long to understand and make sense of the world around us. However death will remain a mystery to us as long as we are still alive. Non Existence: Many people fear that they will cease to exist after death, this fear is not confined to non religious people many people of faith worry that their belief in the after live is not real. Eternal Punishment: People religious or not fear that they will be punished for their actions on earth once they die. Thanatophobia
The Fear of Death Healthy Fear of Death:
When we fear death we are more careful and take safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt and eating better to reduce risk of heart attack.


The fear of death is beneficial because it reminds us that we have a limited amount of time on this earth and we have to cherish our love ones and make the most out of our time here. Unhealthy Fear of Death When it becomes an obsession, and infers with the daily life of that person. It consumes their thoughts, attitudes and effects the decisions they make. "If we reintroduce death into our lives as an expected companion opposed to a dreaded stranger."
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Three different philosophies through out the ages
Fear of death has been an issue since the beginning of mankind. A journey to explore: To help you form your own informed opinion on the fear of death. Epicurus' view that death is not to be feared. He argued that man should rid himself of the irrational fear of death. He believed that:
"death is nothing to us.” Pre Socratic Philosopher: Epicurus Epicurus’s basic argument is laid out as followed:

1. Death involves neither pleasure nor pain.

2. The only thing that is bad for us is pain.

Thus, death is not bad for us.
Epicurus tried to explain the nature of death itself, he proposes that when we die, we are unaware of our death since our consciousness (our soul) ceases to exist at the point of our death.

Epicurus reasons that the soul could not be empty spaces because it operates dynamically with the body, he describes the atoms of the soul being distributed around the body and they dissolve when we die.

So we are no longer capable of sensing anything, if you are unable to feel anything mentally or physically when you die, then it is foolish to let the fear of death cause you pain while you are alive. Elizabeth Kubler Ross Wrote the groundbreaking book titled, On Death and Dying Why is it so hard to die? "Death reminds us of our human vulnerability in spite of all our technological advances we may be able to delay it but we can not escape it." On Fear on Death Elizabeth explains how in our unconscious minds we can not perceive our own death, yet we can conceive the death of our neighbour. Focuses on the individual When we grow older and begin to realize that our omnipotence is not really so great, that our strongest wishes are not powerful enough to make the impossible possible. When a love one dies we are usually over come with guilt.
For instance A husband and wife may have been fighting for years, but "when the partner dies, the survivor will cry and be overwhelmed with regret, fear, and anguish, and will fear his own death more, still believing in the law of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth-"I am responsible for her death, I will have to die a pitiful death in retribution." Death is still considered a fearful and frightening event. The fear of death is an universal fear. Even if we think we have mastered it on many levels,
What has changed is the way we cope with it Attitudes towards death
Focuses on society “If we now take a look at our society, we may want to ask ourselves what happens to man in a society bent on ignoring or avoiding death. What factors, contribute to the increasing anxiety in relation to death?” Contributing Factors Science and technology In the old days a man was able to face his enemy eye to eye. He had a fair chance in a personal encounter with a visible enemy. Now with the new technology the soldier as well as the civilian has to anticipate weapons of mass destruction. With the click of a button certain humans are in control on the lives of thousands of others.

With the chance of destruction striking at any moment the battle is no longer about the man who fights for his rights, or honor it now involves the nation including its women and children who are not in the war. If we cannot deny death
we may attempt to master it When denial is no longer possible, we can attempt to master death by challenging it.

If we can drive the highways at rapid speed, if we can come back home from Vietnam, we must indeed feel immune to death. Return back to the individual human being and start from scratch,


attempt to conceive our own death and learn to face this tragic but inevitable happening with less irrationality and fear. Elizabeth's Solution: Factor Number 2: Defying Death With technological advancements and new scientific achievements specifically weapons of mass destruction have contributed to the ever increasing fear of destruction and violent death. Death is the separation of the soul from the body Catholicism What is death? What happens at death?
At death the soul is separated from the body.

The soul is judged by God, and rewarded with heaven, punished with hell, or sent for a time to be cleansed in purgatory. No need to fear death for death is a part of life; it is just the end of this temporary life on this earth which leads to the destination of permanent residence in heaven with God. Catholic Perspective: Living a good life does not mean you were perfect and made no mistakes it means when you made mistakes you asked for forgiveness and penance. The way the Catholic church regards death is not to be feared but excepted and anticipated for because if you live a good life you will get to join our Holy Creator in the great Kingdom of Heaven.
. How does the Catholic Church see death and judgement ?

Catholicism distinguishes between two kinds of judgments at death. The first is the Particular judgment, determining the fate of the soul at death, and secondly, the General judgment, which will occur when Christ returns and is upon mankind as a whole. Don't fear the Reaper Christian Interpretation of death:
In the Apostles Creed the line “I believe in life ever lasting.”
Just as Christ is risen and lives forever, so all of us will rise on the last day.’ In the Apostles Creed the line:
“I believe in life ever lasting.”
Christians believe in ever lasting life (after death) in Heaven with their Holy Father. Catholic Perspective on Death Christians strive towards attaining eternal life in heaven with the Most Holy Trinity, Heaven is the ultimate end and ultimate fulfillment of human longings, state of supreme definitive happiness. Eternal Life According to the Church’s Magisterium, God had originally destined for man not to die, death was introduced to man as a consequence of sin. Death was seen as the last enemy of man.
Death is transformed by Christ, by Jesus suffering the death that is part of the human condition he has transformed the curse of death into a blessing. The Church encourages its people to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death especially in prayer for instance in the Hail Mary:

“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death." No need to fear death for death is a part of life; it is just the end of this temporary life on this earth which leads to the destination of permanent residence in heaven with God. We feel the need to face death, to conquer and master it and to come out of it alive. Which of the three do you most agree with? Death is nothing to us We fear death due to contributing factors such as technology and denial No need to fear death for death is a part of life; end of a temporary life that leads to permanent residence in heaven with God Personal Opinion: - Series of Unfortunate Events
Aunt Josephine
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