Death, Dying, and So On

Recently, “Mak” wrote a post related to immortality, which generated a number of comments. A recent post by +Charles, although initially on another topic, migrated to the topic of death and dying.

Since our ultimate end seems to be the subject du jour, I decided to add my two cents and write a post on that final(?) destiny of all humans.

First, a quote by Mark Twain (Thanks, Victoria):

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Wikipedia defines death as: “the termination of all biological functions that sustain a living organism.”  If we are logically-minded, I think most of us would agree with this description of our demise. (There is, however, a certain segment of our society that disagrees and are certain they will live on in some type of fairy tale land. As many of us were once a member of this group, we may sometimes find ourselves wavering as we consider the finality of death.)

Since death is not a very pleasant way for our existence to end, some have considered other “alternatives.” One of these is cryonics suspension —  full-body cryo-preservation of humans (and pets), DNA, & tissue storage in hopes future medical technology may be able to someday revive and restore them to full health.

There is also an organization that believes there is a way to “delay” death since dying is a process, not an event, and by intercepting and/or stopping this process within a certain window of time, it may be possible to reverse the process.

Others like the idea of reincarnation; that is, the reappearance of a person in another form. In fact, it’s been said reincarnation offers one of the most attractive explanations of humanity’s destiny. To know you have lived many lives before this one … and that there are many more to come … is a very attractive perspective to some people.

For sure, the end of LIFE is certainly not something any of us look forward to. At least not while we’re young and in good health. Yet, it is a certainty that none of us can escape.

Additional thoughts that go along with the end of life revolve around how we want our body disposed of. Burial? Cremation? Resomation? PlastinationEternal Reefs? Promession? What would be your choice?

Finally, I think there is one thing that lurks in the back of nearly everyone’s mind — the existence of an afterlife. Some will vehemently deny they have any thoughts of such a possibility. But how can we be sure there isn’t “something more?” It has been a teaching for hundreds and hundreds of years within many cultures. And, of course, it is the core doctrine of Christianity.

What do you think? Does the curtain close at our death? Or will we “live on” in some sort of netherworld? Or perhaps the energy of which we are made simply disperses and becomes, once again, a part of the universe?

Or do you agree with Mr. Twain?


Religion to the Rescue

life buoyA month or so back, a local couple, after spending time on the Oregon coast and becoming engaged, were on their way home when they were involved in a car accident.  Tragically, the accident took the life of the newly-engaged young woman. Her new husband-to-be suffered neck and brain injuries and was nearly paralyzed. He has now recovered enough that he’s been able to return to work (finance manager), but has several surgeries still in store for him.

In a follow-up article about the incident, a news reporter from the local paper interviewed the young man. He is unable to remember driving home or anything about the accident. The reports are that he entered the center turn lane, apparently to pull into a small community located off the highway, and crashed head-on into an oncoming car. Some people who happened upon the crash pulled the couple out of the burning vehicle and reported each reached out and grabbed the other’s hand as they lay on the ground. Both were transported to the closest hospital, where the young lady was pronounced dead.

In the interview, the fellow reported that although he’s getting better physically, it’s been much harder to mend emotionally.

And then he commented (and this is the point of my post) that while growing up, life for him was very matter of fact and logical. He felt no need for religion or faith. However, after the accident, he said he felt faith was his only real option. Rather than find comfort in, say, alcoholism or drugs, he chose to find strength and comfort from God.

Such a transition in worldview is not unusual because this is how the religious world paints the portrait of “God” – the helper, the comforter, the one who takes away the pain of life. What most fail to recognize is the power to heal (emotionally and physically) is within ourselves. We don’t need some supernatural power to step in and make it all better (besides, in reality, it can’t).

Certainly, circumstances often make this life a very rough road to travel, but as many, many others have proven (my mind goes to Zoe, Victoria, and Ruth), it can be done. I just find it sad that so many fail to recognize this.

Life … and Death

This is an excerpt of a comment I made on another blog. I felt it needed repeating here.

I think the primary reason behind why nearly every Christian believes in God/Jesus is because it’s just too difficult for some people to live in this world on their own. Rather than rely on their own natural-born source of power, they must turn to an invisible “supernatural” being to help them handle life.

The thing is … this “being” is really all in their mind. And if they could/would just recognize and accept that, they might discover the pure joy of living and being part of this magnificent universe … no strings attached.

In addition to those who are unable to face life on their own, many find death even more fearful and must seek solace in an imaginary afterlife.

Certainly, none of us know what’s happens at life’s end, but why does it matter? Why is it so difficult to accept that this is the only life we have? We didn’t know anything before we were born … why must it be different when we die?