Western society has no explanation for death, so death is feared. This weakness of the western worldview ought perhaps to prompt westerners to consider whether the secular humanist worldview is the best explanation of reality after all.
Consider how death is perceived in Canadian and Australian society: hidden, held at arms length, hushed. Think of the way death is referred to: either it’s dreadful significance is downplayed with phrases like: ‘passed away’, ‘passed on’, or it’s made light of: ‘kicked the bucket’, ‘pushing up the daisies’. Nervous laughter in the face of death is common: On his death bed Oscar Wilde is known to have said: ‘These curtains are dreadful – one of us will have to go!’ Consider how death is hidden away. The crematorium and grave yard which I have most frequented as a pastor, Pine Grove Memorial Cemetery, is hidden on the edge of the suburbs, next to the garbage dump! Death is hidden: out of sight, out of mind.
At the root of this denial and nervous joking is this: our secular society has no firm explanation of the meaning of death and what comes afterward, so death is feared. No explanations, no hope, nothing to pray; only endings, last breaths, and fear. Science can explain how we got here– it can explain the beginning of life and the world (so it says) – but it has nothing to say about the end of life.
There is surely something wrong with a world view that has nothing to say about this all important event our lives, our death. Such a worldview fails to explain a most important aspect of our reality. Perhaps this failure ought to prompt westerners to consider whether the secular humanist worldview is the best explanation of reality after all. Perhaps it is time to weigh the secular humanist worldview against a Christian one and consider which fits best with our experience of the world.
Consider this: where were people buried one hundred years ago? Graveyards of the past were in the front and back yards of churches. And churches were right in the centre of town, on main street. Dead people were buried publically. Such public burials display a deep confidence in the face of death. A different worldview prevailed then. The reality of God was affirmed. So death was faced with more confidence.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the Christian worldview. The bible places Jesus’ resurrection at the centre of history. In raising Jesus from the dead God places a giant, earth changing, tick of approval on this world. It shows us that human life, human bodies and all of creation matters to God! Jesus resurrection is the beginning of new creation. What God did for Christ in raising him from the dead, he will soon do for the whole world.
To conclude, I love thoughtful Christian tombstones. Here is a popular Christian tombstone from an age past. RESURGUM: this is a Latin word. It means: ‘I will arise’.
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