The argument goes something like this. If christians really believed in heaven, they’d all be dying to go there. If they really thought life was better after we die, they wouldn’t be sad at funerals. Doesn’t this show they don’t really believe it? Comedian Doug Stanhope put it this way:
If you really believe that death leads to eternal bliss, then why are you wearing a seatbelt?
So, is that a fair argument, or not?
Do christians fear death?
In my experience, christians don’t fear death, but see it as the gateway to a new and better life:
- Christian funerals are invariably full of hope and peace, even in the middle of grief.
- I know when my mother and brother (both christians) knew they were dying, they were at peace, thankful for their lives and confident of their future.
Should christians welcome death?
But there are many reasons why a christian will be sad about death:
- We were made to enjoy this life, so why not enjoy it?
- Dying can be messy, painful and unpleasant, so we naturally want to avoid it.
- Our bodies and minds are made with a ‘will to live’, and we wouldn’t survive as well without it.
- When we die, we mostly leave others behind, and we don’t want to cause them grief. This will especially be a problem if a person dies ‘prematurely’, leaving a young family or someone in need of special care.
- Christians live to serve God and other people (in theory at least, but hopefully in practice too). We want to finish the tasks we have been given.
- It’s the law to wear a seatbelt! : )
We can conclude ….
…. People can feel more than one emotion, and it isn’t unreasonable to both believe in an afterlife and want to keep enjoying this life. Doug may be a good stand-up comedian, but you wouldn’t want take what he says too seriously!