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athgarvan

How do non-believers face death?

Christians believe that there is a Great Loving Life-giving Mystery that they call "God" who has created the world and all living things. They believe that when they die they will, in some form, continue to share in that loving creative Mystery.

According to St. Paul non-Christians live “having no hope and without God” (Eph 2:12). How, then, do the various non-Christians look upon death? Not what will happen to their bodies after death, but, not having such hope as do  Christians, what is their mind-set as they approach death? Joy? Dread? Equanimity?

Comments

There are other religious faiths with views on what happens next of course.

I quite like the Buddhist concept of coming back as a lesser being if you haven't been too good this time round! :o)
death is part of the cycle
all things come into being - grow - live - decline - die
people are part of the natural cycle
individuals fear the loss of loved ones - grieve - just as christians do
there is no after-life
you live and love the best you can and rejoice in life - and come to accept its end
I am not a Christian, but I believe that I am a spiritual person. I nearly died of drowning at the age of 11 and, even now, I remember the initial fear when I realised that I was going to die which was replaced by a warm feeling of light and energy. I am soon 67 and while my health is good, one must realise that one is on the downhill slope. I am in no hurry to leave this life, but I am not afraid to do so.

When my father was getting close to death when he was 82, he got unsettled at what was coming. Not afraid, I think, but although he had been a self-proclaimed agnostic during his adult life, he asked me what I thought and felt and we discussed my feelings and beliefs at some length. It was obvious that my beliefs were foreign to him and I asked him what I could do to help him. He had me go across the street to a neighbour who, while not a friend, he did know because when my parents had first moved into the neighbourhood, the man and his wife came over to introduce themselves and they did mention that if my parents were interested, they would enjoy introducing them to their church (I believe they were Lutherans). Through the years living there, my father knew that these people seemed to be living a good and moral life and he wanted to talk to him, given his approaching end. I went to the man, who immediately dropped what he was doing, grabbed his Bible and came over and I left him to sit with my father. They spoke for perhaps an hour and whatever was said, it did seem to bring some peace to my father. At least when the end came, my father slipped away gently with me holding his hand and just talking with him about how much he was loved.
It is interesting that you speak of seeing a bright light. In many 'Near Death Experiences'. In all cases this seems to involve seeing a bright light.
More than that, it was the warm and peaceful feeling that came over me that is still clear some 56 years later.
I am not a Christian, but I believe that I am a spiritual person. I nearly died of drowning at the age of 11 and, even now, I remember the initial fear when I realised that I was going to die which was replaced by a warm feeling of light and energy. I am soon 67 and while my health is good, one must realise that one is on the downhill slope. I am in no hurry to leave this life, but I am not afraid to do so.

When my father was getting close to death when he was 82, he got unsettled at what was coming. Not afraid, I think, but although he had been a self-proclaimed agnostic during his adult life, he asked me what I thought and felt and we discussed my feelings and beliefs at some length. It was obvious that my beliefs were foreign to him and I asked him what I could do to help him. He had me go across the street to a neighbour who, while not a friend, he did know because when my parents had first moved into the neighbourhood, the man and his wife came over to introduce themselves and they did mention that if my parents were interested, they would enjoy introducing them to their church (I believe they were Lutherans). Through the years living there, my father knew that these people seemed to be living a good and moral life and he wanted to talk to him, given his approaching end. I went to the man, who immediately dropped what he was doing, grabbed his Bible and came over and I left him to sit with my father. They spoke for perhaps an hour and whatever was said, it did seem to bring some peace to my father. At least when the end came, my father slipped away gently with me holding his hand and just talking with him about how much he was loved.
I am not and never will be a Christian. I need no intercession, I stand on my own - good deeds and bad, good decisions and poor ones. Life and death are part of the Song, an everlasting melody that cannot be broken or changed. My part in that is so small it is infinitesimal, but important nonetheless. How can I fear what is the next step. I'll step off the cliff, looking forward to the ride and the opportunity to discover what happens next since that is the nature of the universe.

As for fear - my fear is not for death, rather for the manner of my death. I really hope for a minimum of pain, a maximum of mind and brain, and the ability to still decide my own life choices for as long as possible.

- Erulisse (one L)
Having had a look at the passage you quoted, it seems clear to me that Paul is not generalising about all non-Christians; and is also stating his view of the non-Christian world, not an objective fact.
In my pagan beliefs I see the divine residing in everything - people plants, animals, trees, rocks, rivers, etc... I believe that the divine is immanent and not in a distant heaven.

I still toss around what happens after death. I do believe that the spirit continues. In my shamanic studies, I know that the animistic world view says that the ancestors are just beyond our ordinary vision, with us. I believe that, but I think there are more steps after a time. I suppose what I should say is that I don't believe in a judgement. There's just a process that happens.

I'm good with it, whatever it is. Even if there is a judgement, I don't think that any god would be interested in all the rules that mankind claims are from said god.