Humanism & Death

“Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki, but something much worse comes for you. For when you die, it will be . . . without honor.” This profound line was given by a talking rat to the metal clad nemesis of the motley teenage crew of mutant ninja turtles. Though the ninja turtle franchise was surely not seeking to contribute to moral philosophy, the rat had a good point. There are worse things than death.

Adam Lee, a journalist based in NYC who focuses mostly on atheism, says in a recent article that secular humanism is the remedy for soothing anxiety about death. Herein, in a world free from religious folklore, we might fight peace for our “souls” when contemplating non-existence. And if he is right, if there is no God, then some sort of humanistic value system might be the best hope we can offer a loved one at their hospice bedside. Freeing our mind from thoughts of God, or life after death, may very well be the solution to liberation from the fear of death. That is, if Lee is right and there is no God.

But what if he’s wrong?