Death and World Religions

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Death and Religious Study
The definition of “death” is as unique as the individual by whom its concept is being defined. Generally, one’s view of death is more than just a concise definition that can be explained without deep contemplation. It is more than just a word. Rather, it is an abstract, almost surreal notion that means much more than merely the end to life. Death cannot be controlled or avoided, and at some point we all die. This inevitability is coupled with our natural fear of the unknown creates a multi-dimensional conceptualization that is too troubling for many to even accept. Although, theoretically we are aware that one day we will die, many people are live their lives in denial of this fact and live as though their days on this earth are limitless.

In her book On Death and Dying, she writes, “For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.” Kubler-Ross conceived death to be more than just a natural biological progression of life, but rather an existential, yet foundational, experience from which knowledge can be drawn and ideologies can be developed. Additionally, she also believed there to be interdependence between religion and the perception of death; an individual’s experience with death, Kubler-Ross asserted to be more positive when correlated with dogmatic faith in an after-life. By erasing its finality and by adding purpose to life’s sufferings, although still unknown and undefined, “death” is approached with a sense of clarity and comfort. Author Ernest Becker believes that faith in religions serve as spiritual heroism, and it offers a sense of immortality upon reflection of death throughout history. In his book, The Denial of Death, he claims that the underlying motivation of humanity is driven by fear to overcome death and pursue immortality. Through “immortality projects,” people craft symbolic immortality with...
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