This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The thirtieth through thirty-third entries deal with death.
Are you afraid of death? Why, why not?
At present I am not. Part of that is naïveté certainly. Part of it is because I am rather young and in theory I won’t have to worry about it for at least half a century. I take a dual approach (one from my vaguely Catholic side [I could pick any religion, but I’ll stick with Catholicism because I know it best and, well, I have to pick one.] and one from my agnostic side). If God exists I think I’ll go to heaven or at least purgatory (assuming that exists) (I haven’t committed any of what the Catholic Church calls mortal sins, which is a debatable term in and of itself.); however, I no longer regularly confess what “sins” I do have to a priest. I, of course, don’t know how important confession is to God, but neither does the Catholic Church really, so who knows. It just happens to be one of the seven sacraments. (I also question the authority of priests. I know some really sinful priests. How much can they really do to absolve me when they sin worse than I do?) I don’t preach the Bible anymore and seriously doubt the existence of God, but I think I’m a good person and remain open to the possibility of God and evidence asserting that claim. I believe that being a good person and acting in genuine accordance with what you feel is moral is good enough to get you some points. (I’ll repeat that if God really wanted us to blindly believe in him he shouldn’t have made his existence so logically improbable and given us reason and logic to have figured this out. So how can he punish someone simply for using his “gift” of logic? [I refer you to my “This I Believe” series that can be found earlier in this blog on more about what I believe.]) I still attend church and try to pay attention, but I admit most of the reason of my attendance is because I get paid rather well to play music. But I try to believe, and that is the point is it not?
So under the assumption that I will get to heaven, which I am reasonably confident of, and that heaven is a nice place, why worry about death?
Agnostically, I have focused myself on not wasting my time under the assumption that when I am near death if I feel I have accomplished all that I can and want, I will have no regrets (besides wanting more time). If I have lived a life I am proud of – one that has made me and others happy (I refer you back to the discussion of happiness [S.C. Parts 20 and 21] as to what I think makes me happy.) such that I feel fulfilled, then I will have done all I can do in life. I think that it is the fear of regret that causes such fear of death.