Fear of Dying
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Fear of Dying
Comments by Stephen Kaufman - 14 Dec 2004

Thanks for sharing, Heidi. I think Becker (now deceased) would say that your fear of leading a meaningless life is a manifestation of fear of death.

Doing something of value, something important that transcends our brief earthly existence is our way of handling our innate fear of death. This could be anything from raising children to producing a work of art. If such activities are psychologically motivated by a fear of death, this is not a bad thing. Becker acknowledged that his work on the psychological mechanisms by which we deny death was his own "immortality project."

It is disconcerting that people are being taught that fear is a sign of faithlessness. In essence, people are being taught that we should be afraid of fear, which encourages them to psychologically deny fear by repression.

This would encourage them to adopt absolute convictions which would unassailable by evidence, experience, or logic, making them dangerous.

Those who constantly, humbly struggle to follow God, who are unsure that their love is genuine or broad enough, are much more likely to recognize when their actions are hurtful. Reevaluating their actions to be sure that they are loving and compassionate helps keep them on a path of loving-kindness and mindfulness. So, I see doubt, struggle, and fear of the Lord (fear in the sense of awe, wonder, and reverence, not fear of vengeance) as signs of faith. Technically, it's true that if you have no fear you have great faith, but it is a dangerous, narrow, uncritical faith which says nothing about one's degree of understanding and truth. The 9/11 attackers had absolute faith, and they were motivated by what they considered a love of God.


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