Do we really know what is on the other side of the grave? Indeed, we have our holy books such as the Bible, the Koran, and the Torah to comfort us and help us focus our minds on what lies beyond. But for many people - or those who maybe, may not believe in any kind of God, those holy books are not enough. Death is the ultimate unknown and it is this 'unknown' that creates the biggest fear factor of all.
Man has traveled to the Moon, and now has plans to journey even further to reach Planet Mars. We have climbed and conquered the highest mountains on Earth. And, we have even sunk to the depths of the seas in our curiosity to discover more of our planet, We are born 'discoverers' and this in-built trait we carry within all of us as a human species from the moment we are born.
It pushes us even further to find out more about ourselves and about our world and the universe as a whole. But the greatest journey of all, and the greatest 'unknown' of all is,indeed, death. If human beings discover that death is 'not the end', and can somehow bring back proof of that, then that will be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind on this planet. So much so, that it would far surpass the discovery of alien intelligent life.
People are afraid of death simply because it is that 'great unknown'. However, many have had glimpses of what could lie beyond the grave - in reference to out of the body experiences. Could these 'experiences' hold the key to death itself? And is this the reason as to why many of those who have positive out of the body experiences lose all fear in death?
Do people who have a strong faith in their religion, fear death? It seems that those who have that strong faith are absolutely sure that they will be fine - even after they have passed away. They do not fear death because they believe in God, and they have the assurance from God that death is only the beginning and not the end.
However, there are others whose faith is not so strong - or who may not have any kind of faith in any religion at all. What is there for them, to comfort them in their hour of need? Who or what do they lean upon if they do not believe in God or any kind of afterlife? This then brings about their fear of death because it is the 'finality' of it. with no words of comfort that they can lean upon.
Because there are many people who, although they may not believe in an afterlife, are still not sure whether death is the end or not. What also frightens many people is the fact that if death is the end, then that is it. They will simply cease to exist and go back into nothing from where they came.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and then no more. Because ultimately, that is what we all are, ashes and dust. No matter how rich a person may have been in life, how powerful, or how poor, or what color and nationality he or she happened to be in life... in the end, death is the 'great equalizer' and in death, we are all equal. If a person had gone through life thinking that they were somehow 'better' than another, based on finances, color of skin, or nationality, those former things have now passed away because death does not prejudge anyone, but takes everyone regardless.
However, there are others who are terrified of death and what [or who] may lie in wait on the 'other side' for them. Religion has had a huge part to play in fueling this fear - especially the Roman Catholic Church. Their images of death portrayed so vividly have been ingrained so deeply into the minds of millions of people throughout the years, that they have been virtually impossible to shake off - even now, in the so-called 'enlightened age' of the 21st century.
Indeed, those images are always there, in the back of our minds, not helped by fire and brimstone sermons. Not helped by the images of everlasting punishment of the wicked and the damned - in order to keep 'their flock' under control. And certainly not helped by what has come to be known as 'Negative Out of the Body Experiences' [or NOBE's], in which the soul/spirit is dragged to the gates of Hell by demons. Could these experiences actually be real? Or are they visions caused by the dying brain firing off endorphins? No one really knows the answer to that, but studies are continuing into this terrifying phenomenon.
Religion, and its uses of frightening imagery of Hell and Satan, has been the biggest curse upon the human psyche. And it is this natural fear of death that religion has used in order to keep under even tighter control, its followers - and those who are thinking about leaving the 'faith' altogether.
The fact of the matter is that no religion, no man, or woman truly knows what lies ahead of us all when we die. No one knows who or what will be waiting to collect us on the other side. Or even if anyone or anything will be there at all. It is how we each perceive and view death.
There are some who do not fear death at all, they merely look upon death as the inevitable and natural thing that must occur, eventually. They neither fear death nor loath it. However, they accept it because there is simply nothing they can do about it. Death is part of life, the two go hand in hand and there is no escaping from that fact. So they get on with their lives and live their lives..
There are three kinds of people here that can be put into three categories. The first category is for people who have absolute faith in God. A strong faith comforts them and they fall back on that when death strikes their loved ones. They themselves do not fear death but rather, they take comfort in the promises made by God to the 'faithful. that all the former things like pain and suffering, tears and despair shall be wiped away.
They are comforted by their understanding that death is not the end, but merely the beginning. It is the next phase that the human soul must journey too, whether we like it or not.. And, furthermore, that our bodies are mere shells that house our soul/spirit while alive on this Earth.
That through these biological shells we experience all human emotion, fear, hatred, love, compassion and so on. And it is through these 'shells' - and what we do with them - that will determine whether we are damned or blessed, on our journey through this life to eventual death and/or the afterlife.
The second category are those people who are not sure either way, but are very fearful of death nevertheless. And the third category are those people who simply do not fear death at all, but look upon death as just a natural occurrence that has to happen. At the end of the day, death is by far, the 'great unknown'.
We may have traveled to space, walked on the Moon, climbed the highest mountains and sunk to the depths of the oceans. But death, always death, is the greatest journey we will all face eventually. It shadows us in life, and touches us in ways that makes us pause to, take in a deep breath and a step back and to think about our own eventual demise.
Death also makes us think about just who - or what - will be waiting for us, if there is 'another side', and this is yet another thought that can terrify the majority of us. This is the biggest fear of all - the fear of the 'unknown' - when thinking about the inevitability of our own demise and death.