Contemporary philosopher Simon Critchley writes about how we don’t know how to prepare for death. He’s especially surprised that Christians, who have many reasons not to fear death, are still so afraid to die. A detailed national survey … from 2003 claimed that fully 92 percent of Americans believe in God, 85 percent believe in heaven and 82 percent believe in miracles.
But the surprising thing is that faith apparently brings believers little comfort in the face of death. Even those who say they believe in God seem to put their trust in the medical profession and the use of technology that is designed to support long life. Christians don’t seem to practice what they preach. The bible teaches that life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14) but we Christians seem almost as obsessed as non-believers in pursuing longevity. The bible teaches that we are to give up the obsession over wealth and power, but we often seem just as dedicated to the pursuit of wealth as the general population. When we succumb to this mindset, we become Christian atheists—governed by a desire for long life and a terror of death, and controlled by stuff instead of the Savior.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to live longer. There’s nothing wrong with having stuff. But when these become our primary objectives, we are indicating that we may be living for this world instead of the kingdom of God. We need to set our hearts on heaven and things above, rather than things below. May God give us the grace to understand the difference.