Bad Arguments: The Fear of Death


Let’s consider for a moment the religions of this world: across the board, adherents of countless religions are expected to refrain from various pleasures from alcohol and drug use to pre-marital sexual intercourse and consumption of certain foods. Despite this required or expected deprivation, little stops the uneducated skeptic from claiming that the general belief in God is based on a certain fear of dying. In the various religions of the world, the actions listed above, combined with a multitude of other deeds which are frowned upon are seen from the moral viewpoint as in the sense of the ideal only being achievable by virtue of abstaining from partaking in them. For the Christian, however, the act of abstaining is for edification and growth. Such growth is desirable only through that which is inside of them, yet they deny themselves the pleasures that this world holds for the purpose of being pure and overcoming the desire for such things for the purpose of purification; this is not the “fear of death” that the uneducated skeptic would have people believe. No, instead, the fear of death compels a person to pursue pleasures – to indulge!

Soren Kierkegaard wrote quite wisely that “Death induces the sensual person to say: Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow we shall die – but this is sensuality’s cowardly lust for life, that contemptible order of things where one lives in order to eat and drink instead of eating and drinking in order to live” (Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions). For the adherent of a particular religion, it is the inherent knowledge and thirst that leads them to know that there is something more than what we see, that is to say something deeper and transcendent over the physical. For the Christian, the sole capability of refraining from such things rests on the knowledge that Christ Jesus rose from the grave and that we have a hope greater than the temporary enjoyment of the particular pleasures in life. This argument is built on shaky ground and cannot stand under any margin of scrutiny.

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