A Christian friend visited Sula House recently, and we "had a pow wow" and talked about theology. Of course heaven/hell was mentioned, and she asked me: "Are you afraid of death?" Because I'm not really a Christian, the question was kind of: "Aren't you afraid of Hell?" I'm not, because I don't really believe in it.
But I think the question has a more interesting philosophical underpinning - a lot of people who don't believe in Heaven or Hell still fear death. But why? I have a theory - because death is inevitable. I think that people who fear death also have an inherent fear of the inevitable.
Responses to Inevitability
1. Worry/Fear - Many people develop fear of "inevitables" because they cannot be controlled or avoided, despite human effort. "You can't stop it or change it! It's coming no matter what! There is no control! Doesn't that freak you out? There's nothing you can do about it!"
2. Indifference - Fewer people feel that because nothing can be done, there is no use worrying about something that cannot be avoided. "Well, I'm going to die someday and there's nothing I can do about it - so why waste the life I do have worrying about something I can't change?"
This doesn't just apply to things like death and (blaugh) taxes. You've already taken an exam and your professor is grading it. Do you worry about the outcome or relax because post-exam, it's completely out of your hands?
-> Do you worry about the inevitable or are you indifferent?
-> Are you afraid of death?
-> What other examples of "inevitables" can you think of?
-> Does your response to the "inevitable" change depending on its severity (i.e. I'm not worried about my exam score but the thought of death paralyzes me?)