Fear of Death Itself Is Irrational
by Kevin Williams
I am terribly afraid of death
right now. I don't really know why. I've never been afraid
before. With so many different NDE versions, all claiming
to be the one answer, how could any of them really be?
Each person's NDE testimony is their own personal experience
of a reality that is far more dynamic than physical reality.
Detectives know that if you ask several eyewitnesses of
a robbery, for example, you will not get exactly the same
story and some may even be contradictory or erroneous for
various reasons. The reasons why near-death experiences
are so different from each other are the same reasons why
experiences in this world are different (although there
are a large amount of similarities). I have a web page that
gives a more in depth discussion on
The question as it exists today
is whether the NDE is an actual afterlife experience or
dying brains mass hallucinating tunnels, light, and being
told it isn't time yet. Looking at this from a scientific
view, which is somewhat limiting, the only conclusion is
that there is no scientific evidence that NDEs are actual
afterlife experiences. Perhaps it is impossible to obtain
scientific proof short of someone bringing back from a NDE
the sandal of Jesus.
Even if researchers scientifically
confirm that people are actually seeing and hearing things
far from their physical bodies, this only proves, in my
opinion, that conscious awareness can expand from the body
to witness remote events. It is not evidence that consciousness
can survive death. And even if doctors began performing "flatline
experiments" like in the movie "Flatliners"
(where would doctors voluntarily undergo clinical and brain
death and be revived to recount their NDE) and scientifically
verify that the experiencer was conscious while brain dead
and observed events far from their body, I still don't think
this will be enough to call it "scientific proof"
of an afterlife. The fact is the
NDE of Pam
Reynolds is probably the closest anyone has ever come
to providing such proof.
Here is a good web page
Campaign for Philosophical Freedom that gives good reasons
why the scientific establishment of today, who ignores the
evidence for survival, resembles the Church leaders who
ignored the evidence that the world is round.
(By the way, the website just mentioned is an excellent
source for information on the scientific effort to verify
the survival of consciousness after death. There motto is: "Scientific
proof of survival after death has existed for over a century.
The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom is working to increase
public awareness of the existence of scientific proof that
we all survive the death of our physical bodiesirrespective
of religious beliefs.")
Here is another excellent
article by The Campaign concerning
how quantum physics has proven the existence of a multi-dimensional
And then there is Victor Zammit's outstanding
A Lawyer Argues For The Afterlife which presents very
Although there may never be evidence
that satisfies the minds of orthodox scientism, I believe
very strong evidence will be discovered that will convince
most people that consciousness survives bodily death.
This aside, the circumstantial evidence in favor of
survival after death is so overwhelming that the proverbial
ball is really in the skeptic's court. We don't have to
explain anything. Millions of people having NDEs can't be
all wrong. It is the skeptics who must come up with proof
that it is only a brain thing. So far, all the skeptics'
arguments do not fit the scientific facts.
the following web pages that list some of the most fascinating
evidence from NDEs that suggest they are much more than
only a brain thing. Here they are:
Personally, I am convinced that
our consciousness survives bodily death. This is my belief
which is based on a mountain of circumstantial evidence.
Not much faith is required when the circumstantial evidence
is there. NDErs don't need any scientific or circumstantial
evidence to believe in an afterlife because they actually
experienced it. I have never been to France but I know it
exists because of what I have read and seen on TV. Perhaps
it is the scientific method that needs questioned here.
As for the fear of death, it is completely natural and
valuable to have because it is part of our "fight or
flight" mechanism that has evolved over millions of
years to help humans to be at the top of the food chain.
However, there is an affliction called "death anxiety"
that some people have that can interfere with their life.
This can be treated the same way that all anxieties are
treated, that is, with medicine. There is a wealth of
websites on death anxiety and they are worth visiting.
Of course, everyone is tremendously afraid of pain and
suffering. Everyone is afraid of death to some degree, but
some people have death anxiety so bad that they have trouble
functioning in life. It wouldn't hurt to tell your doctor
about it also.
Also, the overwhelming opinion of
those who have died and had a NDE is that death is not painful.
I have reports from people who were shot, run over, drowned,
drug overdose, committed suicide, illness, burns, etc..
and the overwhelming opinion is that trauma to the body
immediately causes your brain to produce morphine-like chemicals
that eliminates the pain. And NDErs generally say that any
pain they had was very brief. There are even NDEs where
a person is yanked from their body before the trauma happens
so they don't feel a thing. Read
NDE. This phenomenon is not uncommon. It is my opinion
that this phenomenon happens to people in deadly plane crashes
and other very traumatic catastrophes.
But even philosophically,
having an unnatural fear of death is not rational. This
is because there are only 2 options when it comes to death
and both of them are good.
There is no survival
If this option is true, then
at best you will have a NDE that ultimately results in oblivion
- the end of everything. And is this option so bad? Suppose
at death there is no NDE but absolute oblivion. Then, you
won't be around to fear it. It would be the "blessed
end of everything." This option only means that there
is nothing gained after death. It is irrational, I think,
to be sorrowful about something we were not given, in this
case life after death. I think of life after death as being "the
icing on the cake". We should probably live our lives
if we were going to die tomorrow anyway. And if it is the
blessed end of everything, then we won't be around to think
about it. It is just that there is nothing gained and nothing
There is survival after death.
If there is survival after death, then we can have our
cake and eat it too. If there is survival, the question
is whether life after death will be heavenly or hellish.
I am convinced that the same principle found in life also
applies to the afterlife. Life is what you make it. We can
kill someone and end up in prison. Or we can do good things
and live contently. I believe this principle applies to
heaven and hell. So, if any fear is justifiable, it would
be the fear of going to hell. But, if you are not a criminal
why worry about it? It is not the just who fears the law.
In conclusion, here is the cost/benefit analysis of
No survival ----> nothing
lost and nothing gained
Survival --------> nothing
lost and something gained
This means that death is a "win/win" situation.
Either option is a winner. Granted, the option of survival
after death would be preferred. So, by this formula, there
is no rational reason to fear death.
need to have "faith," faith implies the possibility
of doubt and a state of doubt can be miserable. Knowledge
implies certainty. And when it comes to NDEs, it is based
on solid knowledge and facts rather than faith. If a million
astronauts go to Mars and say that there's Martians living
there, I would be inclined to believe them. If a million
people experience death and then say there's life after
death, I would be inclined to believe them just the same.
This said, it is still a good idea to keep an open mind
on this and remain a true skeptic (holding to the possibility
that there isn't life after death). Probably the important
thing about NDEs is how their impact on society right now.
The concept of unconditional love is certainly something
the whole world should learn about. Everything else (religious,
scientific, metaphysical dogma) is like debating "How
many angels can dance on the head of a pin." There
is a lot of problems with dogma because, more often than
not, they only create limits to an open mind.
this reason, one can make the case that the only thing that
is really important is loving others, loving life, and loving
everything. Faith and knowledge can change, but love is
worth keeping and cultivating. Even the Bible says that
love is greater than faith. Having faith in religious dogma,
instead of having a healthy skepticism, can lead to disaster,
in my opinion. For example, that pastor named Paul Hill
who was just executed for killing an abortion doctor. This
guy was such a religious zealot that he turned into a devil.
My own religious experience has been one of constant
evolution. I change my mind all the time. Being manic depressive,
I mean this literally. The only thing that is constant is
love. This is why I always council people to "follow
your heart" because the head is subject to greater
change in my opinion. Suppose a person believes there is
no afterlife because of having a healthy skepticism. Such
skepticism does not really change anything about life. Right
now, it is this life that matters and it is love really
makes the world go around. The problem is that some people
are so sure there is no afterlife that they treat people
badly. This kind of situation is probably the only real "sin."
But not believing in an afterlife shouldn't change things.
A man named
wrote an excellent book about his death anxiety, NDE and
research into the many theories and beliefs about the afterlife.
It is entitled,
Searching For Eternity and it is well worth reading.
In conclusion, here are some words of wisdom concerning
the fear of death. Perhaps it will help.
fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when
one is not. For it is to think one knows what one does not
know. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to
be one of the greatest blessings of human beings. And yet
people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest
"Nothing in life is to
be feared, only understood." (Madame Marie Curie)
"In the light of the near-death experience, death
is nothing more than the illusion of separateness and finality,
and those who can believe in this vision of death, like
near-death experiencers themselves, lose all fear of it,
for how can you fear that which does not exist?" (Dr.