Why Fear Death?

“Men fear death, as if unquestionably the greatest evil, and yet no man knows that it may not be the greatest good”. (William Mitford). The speaker really nails one of the most highly controversial topics since the modern human walked this earth, what comes with death? Religions usually talk of some sort of an afterlife, be it reincarnation, or a concept of heaven or hell. They see death as a type of rebirth and look highly upon the end of their life on earth. Others see death as the end. Something they would like to prolong for as long as possible. Then others see death as an escape from a harsh existence. A person”s value of life and their attitude towards death, whether a positive or negative reaction, plays a major role in both their individual lives and in society as a whole.

Walter Scott once said “Death-the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.” This is an example of someone seeing the lighter side of an event that has such a dark aura to many people. Thus comes the field of viewing death as a blessing or a thing to look forward to. The concept of a religion has created a whole culture of death is this or that people. Christians see death as the gateway to reach heaven. Where they will have no wants, everything you ever wanted is there. They also see the process of death as an act of God, for it is said that “only God can start a life and only God can take it away.” (Euthanasia.)The Islamic religion sees it the same way. Other beliefs across the globe have different theories. Hindus say that the spirit undergoes a form of reincarnation. So for many Hindus, death is a welcome event. A chance for them to enter the world anew, and escape the old. For them, death truly is an awakening.

For others though, it is an escape for many people, with religious beliefs or not, just want to die. This can be for many reasons. Either their life is going the wrong way; they may have just suffered a tough loss of their own, or for many other reasons. One of the most controversial of these reasons is to cut short a long-term battle with a chronic disease. In today”s age with so many diseases, despite our advanced technology, there is not a cure for many illnesses. With sicknesses such as AIDS, ALS, Huntington”s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer”s; many people go through great deals of pain and suffering while battling these ailments. Some see death as their only escape route and will go to great lengths to try and achieve death. This is known as assisted suicide. In our lifetime the man best known for this has been Dr. Jack Kevorkian. This Michigan man has been being the news many times for his roles in the deaths of many people suffering from chronic illness. Many people, including the State of Michigan, view him as a murderer, yet others see him as a doctor who is doing a service to people by ending their lives artificially. He has been tried many times for murder yet until recently, was not convicted. At this time, he is battling a sentence of 10-25 years for his role in the death of a man stricken with Lou Gehrig”s disease. Is it right to condemn a man for rescuing another from suffering? Apparently, this jury thought so when making their decision. And with this comes the arguments associated with euthanasia. Is it something that should be embraced by society or stricken from existence? The pluses and minuses are many and only time will tell what becomes of people like Jack Kevorkian.

Another aspect of assisted suicide is that it’s just plain cheaper to end it. Medical treatments are very expensive in the gadget-filled medical field of today. For someone with an incurable illness such as AIDS, death is a better option pain wise and economically speaking. Yet another positive aspect that can be forged from the event of death is good the dead body can do for others. With today”s medical technology, a dead body can be used in many practical ways.

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