SOMETHING TO CONSIDER

Posted on April 12, 2012

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Professor Andrew Stark of the University of Toronto quotes the Greek thinker Epicurius in stating that “The relationship between a person and his death, is a strange one.  Whenever one is present, the other is nowhere to be seen. As long as a person is alive, his death has not yet happened. And of course once his death occurs, he is no longer around. Since no one will ever encounter his own demise,  it should cause him no concern”. (or should it?) ” For as long as we exist, our death must remain absent”. Professor Stark, in reviewing Shelly Kagan’s book “Death”, asks “What it would take to live a life in which death was not really present to us.  Would we live, as Freud believed most in fact do live, not really believing that we will die—believing, as Mr. Kagan notes of Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich, that death is something that happens to other people? Most of us, like Ivan, go merrily along taking on new projects, forming new relationships and scheming new schemes to promote ourselves socially, even though death could interrupt us at any moment”.  The philosopher Blaise Pascal believed that human beings engage in endless pastimes and amusements in order to divert themselves from facing the reality of their own mortality. What all of these men are really talking about is the coping mechanisms that human beings have devised in order to abate their  anxiety and despair stemming from their refusal to make an existential choice concerning a relationship with God. It seems to me that we make far too complicated an issue out of a simple reality of life. In the words of  C.H. Spurgeon (one of Christianities greatest voices) “Salvation is really a very simple business. God help us to look at it simply and practically and to receive Christ and believe on His name”.

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