For what it's worth, I think people overrate fear of death as a motive for anything other than trying to postpone it, especially overrating other people's fear of death.
Hamlet isn't afraid of nothingness in that famous speech, He's worried that what follows life isn't nothingness, and that if he is judged adversely, then he'll be forever toasted, but never toast. I think a lot of people who talk about "fear of death" in the abstract actually mean something like Hamlet's concern, fear of an "unhappy death."
Agnosticism is well misunderstood so I'm glad you could look past my error but more so in pointing it out.
Excellent explanation regarding how most people fear death, not because of hell as others would believe. So the study that atheists do not doubt when dying seems in line as well.
In fact there is even a historical source that proves this point, that not everyone emphasizes the afterlife when death occurs, I know many do not even consider the afterlife period with a total disbelief.
The historical source is a diary written between 1640 and 1683 by a Ralph Josselin, a Puritan vicar of Earl Cone.
belief in the after-life does not play an important part in his private thoughts as recorded in the Diary. There is not a single direct reference to hell or to damnation. It thus seems that a Puritan clergyman, who might have been expected to use heaven and hell as threats or inducements to himself and his congregation, showed the most tepid interest in both.’ (Macfarlane 1970a: 168)
Josselin was preoccupied with misfortune, illness and insecurities of various kinds. There are consequently many moving passages on death and disease. Yet what is striking in the Diary is the conviction that all suffering derived from God. In Josselin's thought there emerges very clearly principle that pain and evil came from God. There is no hint in the Diary that Josselin envisaged an alternative source of evil, Satan for example. Again he traces his own and the nation's troubles back to God' (Macfarlane 1970a: 173). Basically, 'Josselin seems to have accepted that pain was either divine purge, as in the story of job, or a punishment' (p. 174). Guilt strike throughout the Diary, for Josselin blamed himself for much of the suffering of those around him; in the most famous instance, he linked too much ch playing to illness and death. Thus, the roots of evil were ultimately in his own corrupt heart. It was no use blaming other people. The cause was either a loving God testing him, or his own, or the nation's failings. There is no suggestion that Josselin blamed witches, Satan or anyone else.
Somewhere, at some point in time, the general American Christian preoccupation with the Devil, hell, and the afterlife began, but it isn't a universally held belief among all Christians, from the past or presently.
It wouldn't surprise me if He has outsourced his prayer support center to India like everyone else.
Oh God no!
Edited by Lookitisoneofthosepeople, 07 July 2012 - 03:38 PM.