Belief and Fear of Death

Belief and Fear of Death

2012, Religion  -    -  Playlist 73 Comments
Ratings: 7.47/10 from 68 users.

A two-part series, made by TheraminTrees, exploring the relationship between belief and fear of death.

Fear of death features in both historical and contemporary theories of religion, but the relationship between death anxiety and religious belief is still ambiguous, largely due to the use of inappropriate or imprecise measures.

So, who's afraid of death? Some of us find the question itself to be distasteful. We don't even want to think about it. To know would be depressing, and perhaps if it were to be sooner than later, well, that would put a damper on things.

"Imagine a number of men in chains, all under sentence of death, some of whom are each day butchered in the sight of the others; those remaining see their own condition in that of their fellows, and looking at each other with grief and despair await their turn. This is an image of the human condition" - Blaise Pascal.

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Cris Sale
2 years ago

Religion makes death a horrific event. If only we realize that we need to die inorder to give chance to live to other specie - simple as that.

3 years ago

He pretends to know that there is no afterlife. This is not scientific and there is countless evidence against this. Besides, he had some good arguments in the first part, the second part didnt make a lot of sense to me.
The phenomenon of rebirth has been researched over and over, OBEs have been experienced by millions/billions of people, yet some still think we are only within the molecules of our body. This is a stupid and old view.

Linda Best
3 years ago

Irregardless of whatever belief you may have, reality is that we all, as well as most animals, immediately find ourselves in our spirit body when the silver cord is broken. My husband was terrified when he died. (I know because he told me.) Gary told me he would be with me when I die , so I will not have to go through what he did. Gary's death was totally unexpected and in blackness. I don't know how long he was in that state before someone came to him and said "follow me." He is doing very well now and is in the 3rd sphere, which is much better than earth. People go to a place that matches their soul condition. If anyone finds themselves in hell, don't worry. There is no eternal fire. Plenty of people- spirits want to help anyone who wants help. My proof of the spirit body is personal experience. I saw myself from the ceiling looking at my body on the bed. The spirit body is created simultaneously with our physical body. When we sleep, our spirit bodies go to the spirit world. When babies are aborted, spirits take the tiny spirit to Summerland, located at the top of the 1st sphere. I know God is a reality. When I desperately called for "HELP", immediately I was given God's love, which is much better than our human love. Anyone can prove the reality of God, if they earnestly desire Love. Jesus' true mission was to bring the availability of God's Love to anyone who desired it. Though God's Love has been available for 2000 years, there's no mention of it in the Bible . Today's Christianity is false. Where we find ourselves after death is relative to how much love is in our souls. Anyone who is brighter , knows more. So, if a dark spirit comes to you, look for a brighter spirit. Our God-created souls are who we are. We are not our physical or our spirit bodies. Many opportunities are in the spirit world for our growth. There are now 36 spheres.

3 years ago

I find the video very compelling and I can not disagree with any of the ideas presented here. Religion is a coping phenomenon that many are addicted to, and cannot survive without. This is not just true of religion but of any world view in general. While we think we see the world as it is, experiments confirm that what we actually see is what the brain thinks it is seeing- it uses algorithms to make sense of an enormous amount of information that is actually out there. This is so critical to our existence that as social animals we cannot tolerate the dissonance. Look at how we treat schizophrenics. Having said that, however, I am not so convinced that there is nothing to religion beyond it being a device to cope with death. Our worldviews differ in terms of how we process information, but there is real information out there, To me religion, or spiritual philosophy, beyond its role as a coping device, is also a means to convey ideas about reality that are beyond our experience and so difficult to express. Science is now providing another arguably more universal language to do that, but that does not negate the ideas themselves. I therefore wonder if in reducing religion to just one aspect, we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

4 years ago

I recently had a nightmare that I was being put to death by electrocution. Perhaps because I recently watched a documentary on the development of the first electric chair. I watched this presentation, and I found it intellectually honest. I am not terrified of what came before my birth, and I am not terrified of that same state of non-existence that will follow after my death. Now, about the physical aspects of dying....I don't like to think about it. And no religion can remove physical agony. It just IS.

7 years ago

Lol - Al's comment

7 years ago

Enjoyed this....wish it was longer, more in depth. The religious historian Karen Armstrong is also interesting on this very topic. Anyone know of any other similar resources that delve into this area?

7 years ago

Interesting documentary, I enjoyed it!
All you afterlife nuts must realize that your own self is merly the product of the way your brain connections are arranged. Within minutes of your death those connections degenerate(hence why braindamage is so easily sustained with lack of oxygen and bloodflow) effectivly removing your self from existence. Your own brain is the product of your own exact life and can not be replicated nor repaired once broken. Would you be you without your spesific memories, skills, and thought patterns? NO! No brain, no you. No brain, no afterlife. period. These are things we know for sure, might aswell accept it.

7 years ago

Why don't people try to get the FACTS once in a while; instead of going on about stuff they know nothing about?
Ask the Atheists what they think of Near Death Experiences, if they ever even bothered to study them at all.
Knowledge (not only belief) in an Afterlife has been known about for countless millennia, and by some of the smartest humans that have ever existed. Everyone from the ancient AEGyptians to Plato and onward.
No damn fool Atheist Philosopher is going to tell me that there is NO Afterlife!
And my opinions are based on solid scientific research!

7 years ago

I see these "nobody KNOWS = 50/50" or some variation thereof in many contexts. Of course it is foolish.
We never have absolute proof of anything but thinking reasoning people look at the evidence and come to their conclusion of the most likely. In the case of afterlife, well it is pretty unlikely. The first thing is the failure to meet the burden of proof. In other words you start with zero and add evidence, if there is no evidence you are still at zero. Zero is not 50/50.

Richard Neva
8 years ago

I have a real distaste for infomercials that this film resembles. Could not watch it. I don't mind death, all my loved ones are dead and I long to join them in the afterlife I know exists. Do you?

9 years ago

Far too obsessive, lacking the faintest vestige of humour. As one about to pass through the door without a handle on the other side, have no fear of meeting the Grim Reapah, just don't relish the prospects of any pain attached to making his acquaintance. Nor, as I have said before, arousing the ire of many Christians should I suffer a stroke and be paralysed, incapable of switching own light off, not to fall into their hands, having as they have done re-interpreted 'Thou shalt not kill' to 'Thou shalt strive to keep alive for as long as possible." Thus prolonging both physical and mental agony in an interminable torture. Have had regrets for past youthfull 'sins' of both commission and omission but no longer, having as I consider paid my dues. Like the narrator having studied religions in order to find 'The Answer' have discarded all their fallacies. Finding peace of mind in the universal "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I try each day to make someone smile or laugh. It has been a wonderful tour as seaman, soldier, construction worker, cab driver, smuggler, convict, psychiatric patient, teacher and finally philosopher, meeting every kind of person among you from all over the world. When asked if I would live it all over again, have done so writing the autobiography - suffering in the process every moment of excruciating pain, compensated by those of inexpressible joy. Would I like to return ? Not likely, this place is a bloody madhouse - another planet's version of hell ! Still love the ladies . . . . . .and kids though.
Don't worry, when your time comes just hold a piece of dry-ice underneath your nose-----------and you'll keep a stiff upper lip.

9 years ago

I very much enjoyed this philosophical pondering, (check it out) even if I didn't agree with all of his conclusions. His idea that 'atheism' is the highest form of enlightenment is only a condescension towards all who have faith. ( I am a superior thinker because I have discarded faith - wrong) His perspective is based upon the premise that anyone who has spiritual tendencies holds fast to them as a comfort against death. There is an equally compelling argument that atheism is a comfort for those who fear life. (I hate everything, so let me die so I can embrace nothing, and please don't bring me back)
While I may agree with many of his assertions regarding different religions, our perspectives diverge because he 'believes' that his 5 senses have informed him about everything, when they have not.
The bottom line is this: Science (proof), and faith(improvable) are opposite sides of the same coin trying to explain existence in it's entirety. To conclude otherwise is to imply disparity where none exists.
Like religion, the 'belief' that science can answer everything, is merely another form of self delusion, because it never will. Whether it be religion or science, never confuse ' blind faith' with real 'faith'. This is akin to confusing 'a truth' with 'the truth'. Since 'the truth' consists of everything, you cannot dismiss that which you don't like, just because you don't understand it, or agree with it. To embrace this, is to embrace life itself, an enlightenment few of us can ever achieve! Take care, and best wishes everyone.

9 years ago

Very interesting I really enjoyed the thoughts perspectives and experiments.

9 years ago

Nice one. Wish I where high while watching it yet still nice nevertheless..

9 years ago

What is wrong with left wing rhetoric. I do believe it's less harmful than right wing Nazi rhetoric. And how can the paranoid theory of globalism and the new world order be ever classed as left wing when all of the crazies say it's a way for the elite to enslave humanity. And the left wing point of view has always been seen as liberalism, Basically what I am saying is why would a group of people who have always been in favor of individual human freedoms enforce a thing like globalism in the form of worldwide slavery which is just a fantasy in any case be it a right wing or left wing agenda Adam.

Adam Stanley
9 years ago comes the globalism environmental left wing rhetoric...i knew it would show up...

9 years ago

dig the music at the start.

10 years ago

I grew up in a divorced family where my mom converted to judaism and my dad was Lutheran. I participated in both religions until 18. Although I participated I didnt believe and in 2004 when I joined the Marines I saw how fear really impacted religion. I used to deal with an immense amount of guilt for my lack of belief especially after being very religious christian and most of the guilt was fear.I used to think that each persons view of death would be their reality, perhaps thats still true. Now I believe we are energy and the universe experiencing itself subjectively and maybe in some sense we are reincarnated maybe not in the traditional sense but as matter. I clicked on this documentary because I felt a resonance with the title. I think its really interesting.

10 years ago

personally i am an athiest so the religious view of an after life does not apply to my thinking.. quite frankly i have n o idea what may or may not happen after death..on the other hand those who claim an after life exists have the onus of proff on them

10 years ago

I haven't cried liked this in a while but this is the first time I have done so without sadness, it feels more like clarity . . . i hope i can go out like this guy

Sara Jasper
10 years ago

I love this guy's voice.

Dash Dudash
10 years ago

I am an agnostic and I find your argument thoroughly unpersuasive; you seem to have misunderstood epistemology and ontology. Just explaining how we come to have a belief in something does not show whether that belief true or false. For example, someone might come to know that the world is round through reading a comic book, but does that mean just because they learned it through a comic book that the world is not round?

In the same way, EVEN IF a person becomes a theist as an act of “denial of death” that does not in any way prove that theism is false. You have just asserted that theism is irrational by showing how people might come to know about it. This simply is a fallacy.

Unless and until you make an argument to show theism is ontologically false no one should take your current argument seriously. You need to prove that theism is false! Instead of trying to deny theism by showing how people might come to know about it.

Your argument and video might work with sophomore college students; however it definitely will not stand a chance in the academic culture beyond that.

Paul Gloor
10 years ago

I can say, after being under general anaesthetic, that dreamless sleep, only vaguely aware of its beginning or exactly when it ended was the best sleep I ever had. I imagine death to be much the same, but without the waking up part.
Without the body you were grown in, not even the proposed future of 'backing backing ourselves up' really offers immortality. I can't wrap my head around the idea when it would be no more different than going to sleep and having 'something' else waking up, saying and believing, they were you.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that somewhere in my lifespan there will be technology to help me maintain this hardware I call a body so far as I have the choice to say "I've done everything, I'm ready to grow old" call me peter pan, whatever, but I'll not cling to the idea of an afterlife of any sort.

10 years ago

I don't pretend to know what happens, even though our greatest scientists and thinkers know a great deal about life, death and the universe, we are still; in a sense, in the dark about a great many things. It is inappropriate to say you know for definite their is or is not.

Thormod Nordahl
10 years ago


10 years ago

I think you should consider all the options available and search for more answers before landing on one stop and throw everything behind your back!

Thormod Nordahl
10 years ago

And now, that I have watched it, I offer my conclusion: "Bullseye!"

Save us from the mentally ill, who wish the universe' destruction asap - so that they may have an eternal orgasm and screw the rest of us!

Thormod Nordahl
10 years ago

" It would be revolutionary, if we could honestly discuss death in an honest and intelligent manner "

Life, purpose and death can only be DISCUSSED among atheists.

anna miller
10 years ago

The deepest primordial fear is death. Fear of death is the birth of all religions. Theramin Trees brilliantly explains why the fear of death is subverted by the religious. This documentary shows why the fear of death is used by the religious to subvert others. Fear of death is really
evolutionary. It would be revolutionary, if we could honestly discuss death in an honest and intelligent manner.

10 years ago

aaah just hate his stuff... not because of the content if not because how is delivered... NEXT...

10 years ago

I have never heard of TheraminTrees.
This doc consists of written pop-ups with the some cartoon-like illustrations.
The narrator spoke very fast so I found his points hard to follow.
I'll admit I had a really hard time understanding what he was talking about till the second part.
Maybe if I watched the first part again, I'd grasp more of his points-but I'm too lazy.
He doesn't believe in an afterlife and was shocked to learn that people like him (atheists?) were hated by those who did believe. And all these different religious beliefs only led to conflicts throughout society.
That's what I came away with.

10 years ago

I have been with more than my share of people at the moment
of their death. It has lost it's mystery. Some were in pain from illness, more than I care to remember from combat injuries and one other, my Grandmother, who for all intents and purposes simply said, in her own way, goodbye and closed her eyes.

Last words I've heard: After assuring my mother I would handle everything, none. "I have to see my other babies now", from Bubba
(Grand Mother). I've heard mommy, sh1t, no, Jesus, am I going to die, cries of pain and sighs were some on the battle field. There every day held the reality of the possibility of death. All handled it in their own way. They handled it well in order to function but all hoped it would be quick if it happened. Quick and painless was universal.

What’s it like: Who knows? No one! I knew two people who had NDE’s. One lost his fear of death and it was life changing. Another, after requesting no resuscitation, had four consecutive resuscitation attempts and came out of them functional bodily but her personality would, very sporadically and momentarily, emerge.

Are there any unbiased references? Yes but just one. The next two are biased by a belief system. The Talmud says to sleep as 1/60th of death. The Chandoga Upanishad says we visit it every day in sleep. The unbiased source is Dave in “2001 A Space Odyssey” where HAL asks, “Dave, will I dream? Dave replies, “I don’t know HAL”. Dave was honest.

From the Talmud and the Upanishad point of view we all experience death every day as dreamless sleep. Rather than reflecting on time past prior to birth reflect on the dreamless sleep experience. How much do you remember?

If you believe in a heaven or a hell of some type, remember either
one is your own creation. Believers can finish this quote on their own, “Not all those who say Lord, Lord”.

If you believe in reincarnation or transmigration, after the dreamless sleep it would be just like waking up but with no memories or experiences and you wouldn't know you were reincarnated. If you have no belief in a hereafter, refer back to dreamless sleep, without end.

So the best hope is that it happens without pain and quickly.

“To die: to sleep no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to……. To sleep: perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,”... Hamlet

10 years ago

really you want to talk about ghost's out of all the time I lived on this earth I have seen some strange things but it really don't mean that its a spirit of a loved one that died it really could be anything have you ever learned anything about other dimensions for all you no ghost are images of people from other dimensions that are brains are trying to see but can't for all you no are brains could still be incomplete for are evolution and are eyes cant see everything there is a girl with special eyes she can see things I could only dream of and there is a boy that can see in the dark without any lights how is that possible unless humans are still not complete you no you really did not think about this to hard did you

10 years ago

question - who's the more closed minded ? 1) the one who believes there is no such a thing as ghost or the paranormal and it's all down to hoaxes and / or hallucination. 2) the one who at least bothers to check the research and find that while there is no concrete evidence to support the idea of ghost ( some would even argue that ) there is how ever enough material to support the fact that something of an unknown nature outside of our minds does occur.
people who can't even bring themselves to the point of even considering the possibility i think are the worst science has to offer.

10 years ago

if you don't except death your evil because death will find you he always find's who he is looking for except. it move on and no that your not the only one that death want's because death wants everyone not just one because unlike the devil or god he don't care who you are or were your from he will except you and your life and all the bad things you have done and take it all away from you at the last moments of your life.I don't no what life has in store for me but. in the end all that matters is what I leave behind and that could be anything its up to you if you chose to leave something behind but in the end you will leave something behind be it your bones or a child you will always be a part of the world ALWAYS and there is nothing anyone can do about it other then except it

10 years ago

to believe in nothing after death is no different than believing in an afterlife in that both sides have drawn a line in the sand saying " this is truth " so this guys take is no more valid than the believers because at the end of the day, nobody actually knows.