Friday, November 7, 2014

Death And Faith

In the religious tradition I was raised (Christianity) death was viewed as the last enemy of humankind and was dealt a final blow by the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. That blow would be finalized by Jesus at the resurrection at the end:

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:25,26, NIV.)

Of course that isn't the only way religions deal with death. I no longer hold that particular faith view. In fact, I'm agnostic about post-mortem existence - albeit a hopeful agnostic!

When it comes to death, faith is the only way to remain optimistic.

And speaking of faith, I have to say that Richard Cohen, in writing of The Courage of Brittany Maynard, offers an astounding faith in science being able to one day conquer death. Actually, he seems to be writing of his faith in science as a certainty (although to be fair, Cohen is a columnist, not a scientist):

The death of death is fast approaching -- fast being a matter of decades or maybe more, but sooner or later science will kill the Grim Reaper and future generations will look back on us and wonder what it was like knowing the end was always coming. We will, no doubt, vanquish death. In the meantime, we will have to deal with it.

We are now, Cohen suggests, waiting for the "technical problems" to be solved.

Okay, that may be true. It requires more faith in science than I have, but okay. It's a target worth aiming for.

In the meantime I'm dying. My mirror and inner barometer won't allow me to doubt it. My heart is unwilling to totally let loose of faith that death might no be the end. If I can't have certainty, at least allow me hope.


  1. Guessing the future is an interesting exercise. Suppose the prediction about death is correct, a number of interesting questions arise .....

    1. How many people will be able to receive immortality? Will other people kill to get immortality?

    2. If everyone can cheat death, how will the world's population be controlled? (I can't see people stopping having sex and wanting to have children. So will childlessness be enforced?

    3. People tend to see the rosy future created by science, but maybe the future will be more like Blade Runner. If we don't do something serious soon about global warming, the carrying capacity of the earth may be less than the current population. What future then?

    History suggests that, one way or the other, the future won't be all roses!

    1. Interesting questions. Frankly I'm still struggling with science defeating death. Mother Nature always seems to have the last say.

  2. Yes, we might discover some unimagined consequences. Our bodies and brains might develop characteristics over hundreds of years that they don't show over our current lifespan.

  3. At the university in my city the researchers are testing extending life span of dogs. STOP
    There is so much suffering, illness and NEEDLESS DEATH death in our NOW, let us work on that first. I have had MS for 25 years and death is not my biggest fear. Tomorrow is as far as I look.

    1. I certainly would agree that worrying about the the problems of the NOW is more important than eradicating death.