Debate: Are fear of death and sorrow compatible with faith?

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Ok, the question is simple. There are many believers of many different faiths in this world, and they all, more or less, believe in some sort of "afterlife". With this in mind, is the faith in an afterlife compatible with the grief that we often feel when someone dear to us dies, or with the fear that most of us feel when thinking about dying? Wouldn't happiness be a more suitable emotion, for instance, when someone who we loved - and who was a virtuous person in life - dies? Shouldn't we be eager to die, if we have a clear conscience? Does our attitude towards death show that we doubt the existence of an afterlife, or is it acceptable and justifiable even from a religious point of view?

Express your ideas, please :)

Yes, they are compatible

Yes they are. You may have true faith but still are afraid of death because, even if you expect Heaven in the afterlife, you may fear that you haven't finished your work on Earth. And still, there are people staying on Earth that you might miss.
You might as well feel sorrow for the exact same reason you feel sorrow when someone you love leave for a long time.--ARamis 01:06, 7 September 2011 (EDT)

Only Sorrow is compatible

Not only is sorrow Biblically compatible, it's preferable to laughter in certain cases. Biblically, you increase sorrow by increasing wisdom, and we are called to be wise.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

However, fear of death is something Christians should not have. It is a slavery that as Christians we are called to be free of:

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

--Jzy 02:59, 4 June 2012 (EDT)

No, they are not compatible




...and to inspire you, here is the famous soliloquy of Hamlet, by Shakespeare, which also deals with this issue :)


To be or not to be– that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, scene 1)

Yes, they certainly are, and Christ helps us know it. Even with the knowledge that He was the Son of God, was sinless and guiltless and would rise to sit at the Right Hand of God; even knowing all this, Jesus wept while in prayer on the Mount of Olives and asked that His necessary fate be removed from Him. More than this, as He died on the Cross, He asked, "Father, Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Since Christ was perfect and He had such moments Himself, how can we as preordained sinners,who cannot be perfect, but will always be stained and guilty be expected to have perfect faith? The makeup of man from the moment of birth will not allow it. As Paul pointed out, God made us sinful so that He might forgive us. No minister will ever convince me that I'm in danger because I don't have rock-solid faith. How can you be a sinner and have perfect faith? Imperfect faith is just another sin of which we are absolutely forgiven by the blood, sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice was so GREAT that he showed signs of an imperfect faith Himself. But who could endure perfectly taking on the sins of the entire world-past, present and future?

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