Why is dead sad?

I don’t understand why people get so wrapped up over death. If you are religious, I think you would just welcome death as soon as you can – within the “rules” – (suicide = bad; suicide bomber = good, depending on your faith). Once you are dead, assuming you’ve lived a pure life, you live eternally, right? Where is the fear there? 38 virgins (28 – how many? Does it matter? WHO chose the number anyway?), and all that. Depending on what RSS feed you subscribe to, of course. (RSS – Real Simple Salvation).

Personally, I am in no hurry to die (although I have to agree that you couldn’t prove that by my actions. I drink, I smoke, I ride a motorcycle – never more than 2 of the three at a time though. Usually).

If you aren’t religious then there is no hell to fear. Just “nothing”. And “nothing” can be quite a rest after dealing with life. So non-religious people shouldn’t fear death either.

People claim I am full of shit when I say I don’t care when I die. They are mostly wrong – I want to get my kids to the point they can feed themselves. So I do not want to die TODAY, but assuming I reach my primary goal, death doesn’t scare me. But I care STRONGLY about HOW I die. How is a hell of a lot more important to me than what happens after “how”.

But when? Who cares? I won’t, I am sure. I’ll be dead.

“But don’t you want to meet your grandchildren?”, people ask. I might. But they could be brats. The argument though is silly – you might as well ask if I want to meet my great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren. If I never meet them, I’ll never miss them. I wouldn’t anyway – I would be dead.

Why this fear of death? I don’t fear death – I fear pain – I fear lingering – but I certainly do not fear dying. The people I’ve felt most sorry for in my life are the ones who hang on day after day, week after week until they finally succumb to what is certainly their ultimate fate. We all die. Why is it so bad?

I hope I succumb after drinking a few beers on a nice sunny day, enjoying time with friends over a beer and a few good smokes, then riding my motorcycle into the exhaust plume of a launching Space Shuttle. Quick.

My will is very simple in this regard – I direct one of my oldest friends to “throw a party, make sure everyone has fun, and do what you will with anything that is left”.

Because I won’t care what happens to my money (if any). I’ll be dead. And who is to say that being dead is a bad thing. It sounds quite relaxing, actually.

We place far too much weight on death, I think. I can’t be avoided – so why fear it? If you fear death, how can you possibly be enjoying life?

I know a lot of very healthy people today that are not even living their lives – so I wonder what they hell they are afraid of death for. Life is what most people are afraid of. Life is something you can fail at. Eventually all of us succeed at death – equally.


  1. @Yuvi .. yes, that’s absolutely correct. And it’s a process (‘revising’ the bible) that continues to this day.
    While this is, of course, well known and not disputed amongst scholars, there’s still a mind boggling number of Christians who think that the bible was ‘given to us by God’ … like POOF … here’s your BOOK.
    Also, all we have are copies of copies of copies, etc etc. There is not a single original document left! Not even of the most recent part of the bible: the gospels (written in the first century after Jesus died. Not even of those parts of the bible that were inserted HUNDREDS of years after Jesus died, for that matter … just translations of translations of copies of copies …

  2. I’m the dumbest guy around here, but isn’t the bible actually a collection of books written by different authors in different time periods independently of each other without knowledge that one day their works are going to go together under a single name?

  3. @Deannie … I know you’re a religious person. And I know you’re also open about it and willing to discuss it. And more importantly, to think about things. (I guess I know a few other religious people who probably would listen to my questions, but would never actually ‘ponder’ them).

    So, here’s a question for you (and it’s about how YOU experience and ‘deal with’ ‘difficult’ areas in the bible..)

    When I read your comment, I came across the phrase “For all the offspring of Adam & Eve” .. and I realized that it’s likely that you believe in a literal Adam and Eve story (after all, the majority of Christians in North America do).

    Let’s ignore everything that happened BEFORE that .. all the supernatural Genesis action that we may disagree upon… here we are: creation has happened, we’re now at the ‘natural’ level…from here everything proceeds the way we both know nature behaves. Adam stares Eve in the eyes… curtain opens.

    My question then to you is: How do you deal with a phrase like “For all the offspring of Adam & Eve”? Aren’t there IMMEDIATELY all kinds of alarms going off, red flag being waved? The word ” I N C E S T ” starts flashing somewhere in big red letters? When Cain took himself a wife .. who was that? His sister or his mother? Or didn’t incest ‘evolve’ until much later? How do you resolve such a simple ‘problem’?

  4. @Deannie: Like Rob .. I’m confused. This time by your comment above: You inform us of what the bible has to say about an afterlife.

    The first reference clearly and vehemently declares there’s no afterlife. Dead is dead. Your final destination is a heap op dust. Period.

    The second reference teaches the exact opposite.

    Since they clearly can’t both be true (a notion one comes across almost every other page in the “Good Book”), WHICH idea should we PICK and hold as true?

    (Let me answer this: The most popular method is: The one you WANT to be true! That’s the “faith” method. The other method: “The most rational and logical one”, -the “scientific” method- is far less popular .. yes, even frowned upon)

    (If you ever wondered why Christianity knows so many denominations …here’s your answer: The Good Book is chock full of errors and contradictions)
    (This is also why the Bible is the most quoted book ever: It’s a book of ‘pick and choose’ ideas: Find something that seems to contradict your preference? Skip ahead a few pages! VERY few Christians have ever read the Bible from cover to cover (some, like Roman Catholics are actually actively DISCOURAGED to do so by their clergy -for reasons that sound reasonable, but basically come down to: “You’re too stupid to understand it’-).
    And of the few that claim they HAVE read it from cover to cover, most lie.
    Which is a pity. Unlike the Roman Catholic chruch .. I DO encourage all Christians to read the Bible from cover to cover.
    It may help to get an interesting -and possibly dificult but yet fulfilling- process started.
    SO, to be fair, you’re warned! Quite a few DEEPLY fundamentalist religious people have lost their faith once they started to SERIOUSLY study the bible!

  5. ahh well, you have hit the nail on the head! Do you recall the story of Adam & Eve? When they rebelled in the garden, do you remember what God’s judgement was? “From dust you came and to dust you will return”. They didn’t exist before and they were sentenced to go back to non-existance. Eccl 9:5 expresses it this way: “For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.”

    The Bible teaches us that when we die, we simply don’t exist anymore, we are concious of nothing at all. There is no evidence in the Bible that anyone automatically gets to keep on living either in bliss in heaven or in tortuous hell after their body has died.

    And why do we die? Because we are sinful, missing the mark of perfection. For all the offspring of Adam & Eve, this is a sentence that we did nothing to merit ourselves. We were born into this condition.

    So then you begin to see why the hope of everlasting life by means of faith in Jesus Christ begins to take on meaning. Many people know this passage of the Bible well in John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life”.

  6. @Deannie (no disrespect intended) – but, I’m confused. If death is sad because there is always so much more to learn in life, and one assumes they are going to heaven after death, should they be sad because they will no longer learn anything in heaven?

    I mean, what kind of afterlife would that be? No new YouTube videos – just the same ones played over, and over, and over.

    But if you CAN learn in heaven, that it seems to me your chances of learning more there would be MUCH higher – since you’ll be a step or two up the ladder closer to the creator!

    So then, if you assume heaven exists, and that you can learn there (and that it too is beautiful), then why not just rush right up there?

  7. As a religious person, I will tell you the Bible’s explanation for why dead is sad: Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “Everything he has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the [true] God has made from the start to the finish.” We are created wanting to live forever; the idea of not living eternally is so sad because there is so much more yet to be discovered and life always ends too soon.

    A life ending too soon is always very sad.