Today I visited with a friend of mine who shares a lot of things in common with me. One of the things we share is a belief in a power greater than ourselves although both of us would be quite reluctant to call that being God. We do call that being God, I suppose, because it is easier to say when we are conversing. God we think, is just too simplistic.
Another thing we both agree on is acceptance. The only way to over come the fear of death is with faith, courage, and acceptance. With a belief, faith, and acceptance...courage seems un-neccessary.
All great men of faith have courage.
One of the things I absolutely marvel at, is the atheistic approach to life. I know a number of atheists and agnostics. Very often atheists are so convinced that there is no afterlife or hereafter that they do everything imaginable to extend their lives. Recently I read where Larry King wants his body suspended in some hope that one day they can find a cure to whatever killed him and bring him back. As soon as I read that, I immediately suspected that King was an atheist. Men of faith do not speak that way. Atheists and agnostics fear death to such an extent that their lives become some compilation of learned behaviors and safety precautions. Even retroactive precautions like suspended animation. Here is the worst part.
They believe that there is no greater power than themselves. Think about that. If you are an atheist, that has to be true does it not? You are the center of the universe. That is scary. It has to be lonely, being an atheist.
What happens when you practice faith, courage, and acceptance? You begin to see a process much larger than your own tiny and lonely existence. You begin to trust in a much larger community. You feel intuitive truth. You begin to believe in a process. It is the cycle of things. There is the planting time, the growing time, the harvest time, and the dying time. The process resets and starts anew. Over and over again and virtually everywhere- we see this. We see this in the daily and seasonal rotation of our planet. We see it in all life forms. We begin to think, maybe I'll just accept and embrace this death process when it comes. Our fears are removed. We have let go. We are going to trust in powers far greater than we are. We are going to believe that somehow a spark of life was delivered here- for some reason that we cannot comprehend. We just know everything is going to be alright. Fear is going to have to burden someone else.
I would not have been ready for this years ago. There is something to be said about consciousness and timing.
I think it was Nietsche who asked why we would fear something that we cannot feel or comprehend anyway. Did we fear being born? Though Nietsche was an atheist, I understand what he was saying even though we have divergent views of what that might entail. He is processing what makes sense to him, I tend to process and envision something a whole lot different.
I hate to call my friend and I fatalists. But we probably are. We are Aristotelian logical fatalists. We believe that we are going to die on some predetermined date. Perhaps we could intervene and change dates, but that is not particularly necessary as the outcome remains the same. Nor would we know whether we had impacted or effected any date change. The difference between our atheistic counterparts and ourselves is that we have embraced the idea of death and accepted it. Perhaps the atheists, despite all of their precautions, don't wield any more control over their deaths than we do. Perhaps what is, is already predetermined according to logical fatalism. The only difference is the level of fear attached to it.