Fear of Death

public domain

By Jon Kauffman

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14, 15. NIV

I am currently reading the “Case for Heaven” by Lee Strobel. 1.

In the first chapter, Lee interviews Clay Butler Jones, DMin, and provides many quotes concerning the fear of death.

Harvard researchers released a new study documenting that attendance at religious services dramatically reduces deaths from suicide, drugs, and alcohol. Attending services at least once a week cut these so-called “deaths by despair” by 33 percent among men and a whopping 68 percent among women, compared to those who never attended services.

“People often talk about an epidemic of suicide,” concluded Jones, “but the real epidemic is the increasing rejection of a robust belief in an afterlife. That’s what is miring more and more people in hopelessness. 2.

Strobel and Jones discussed methods people use to gain immortality. For example, they may have children or build something great or track down their genealogy. But the fear of death remains.

A trio of deer crossing the Swan River in Salmon Prairie #MontanaMoment
Copyright © 2021 by Leon Kauffman

In his book, Clay Jones quotes an exchange between atheist Richard Wade and a spiritual skeptic named Anne, who wrote to say that her fear of death was causing her such severe panic attacks that she would almost pass out.3.

Faced with the abject failure of various attempts to achieve immortality apart from God, many atheists have taken another approach to dealing with the fear of death. Maybe, they say, dying isn’t so bad after all. Perhaps it’s actually better than the idea of immortality. Maybe the grave is a blessing in disguise. “They try to paper over the fear of death by maintaining that they wouldn’t want to live forever anyway,” Jones said to me. “They claim that eternal life would be supremely boring.4.

Jones pointed out that heaven will not be boring, “if heaven is real, then God will make all things new, and he will be continually creating a world of joy and wonder for us. If God can create all the beauty and excitement of our current universe, he’s certainly capable of creating an eternally stimulating and rewarding experience for his followers in the new heaven and the new earth.” A Bible verse that says as much popped into my mind: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”5.

But what if heaven is not real? As philosopher Thomas Nagel said, “if life is all we have, then losing it would be ‘the greatest loss we can sustain.’”6.

As a physician wrote in Psychology Today, ‘I’ve tried to resolve my fear of death intellectually and come to the conclusion that it can’t be done, at least by me.’

….Christianity, in contrast, offers the best possible outcome for followers of Christ after they pass from this world. Reveling in God’s presence. Reuniting with loved ones. Living without tears or struggles or fears. Experiencing a wondrous world of adventure, excitement, and exploration. Contentment, joy, love—forever. It’s no wonder that even the atheist philosopher Luc Ferry concedes, “I grant you that amongst the available doctrines of salvation, nothing can compete with Christianity—provided, that is, that you are a believer.” 7.

Caeli, the author of the “Modconspiracy” blog recently said in her post “Life on ‘D’ Street”:

I was one who feared death and hell. Though I lived a life fit for that dreaded place, the fear of the unknown would come to haunt me at night. That was what life in D Street (Matthew 7:13b) was for me before I decided to take permanent residency on ‘C’ Street (Isaiah 35:8, John 14:6)…. When you become a new creation, the fear of death loses its power. Fear of the unknown only remains when the soul has no certainty on its destination. Death is like closing your eyes to sleep.8.

“There are no atheists in foxholes.” War correspondent Ernie Pyle may have been the first of many to use this quote. This quote demonstrates that when death is lurking nearby, people often turn to God.

Susan Kelley performed a study, “Are There Atheists in Foxholes? Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior,” and found many World War II veterans participate in religious activities and even today (75-95 years of age) are still deeply involved in religious activity.9.

My fear of death is the number 1 reason I searched for Jesus and wanted a “born again” experience. Before my rebirth, I gave very little thought to serving Jesus or a relationship with him. Before finding salvation in Jesus, I was terrified of death. Perhaps that is why I was blind to the fact that Jesus required that I forgive those who have harmed me. See “Is it Possible to Forgive?

But Jesus is the antidote to the terror of death. I know from experience. Soon after I experienced the rebirth, I nearly drowned swimming in a river. I tried to swim too far. My arms and legs were weak, I could no longer swim, I was sinking, and had no hope of rescue. I felt a great calm and knew I would see Jesus soon. Suddenly a fisherman who could swim like a fish grabbed my arm and rescued me.

Many atheists claim they have no fear of death. I wonder, is it true?

1.Lee Strobel, The Case for Heaven, A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for Life After Death. (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2021)

2.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 12.

3.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 17.

4.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 20.

5.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 21.

6.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 22.

7.Strobel, Case for Heaven, Page 23.

8.Caeli, Modconspriacy, “Life on ‘D’ Street”, WordPress, 2021

9.Susan Kelley, No Atheists in Foxholes: WWII Vets Remain Religious. (Cornell Chronicle,2013)

Copyright © 2021 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Conversation with an Atheist. Murder is Wrong.

By Jon Kauffman

I watched Ray Comfort’s excellent film “The Fool.”

Ray is the banana man. Atheists have used his standup banana routine to turn Ray into a fool. The banana gave Ray many opportunities to present the gospel and to hold discussions with atheists.

This is a good thing, however, in my opinion, Ray Comfort could greatly improve the effectiveness of his wonderful movie by removing 30 seconds from the film.

Peace Dove

Ray has spoken out many times against abortion.

Ray interviewed atheist Thunderfoot and spoke very strongly against violence, especially abortion, as a moral wrong. He says we must not murder.

During the interview Thunderfoot says that murder is contingent on the circumstance and he has a view similar to Ray’s.

Ray claims his position is different. Is it different? Ray weakly claims, while presenting no Biblical evidence, that he is willing to kill in self-defense and to protect his family. He says it is alright to kill in those circumstances and that is his conviction.

Not because Jesus taught it, but because it is his conviction. If he would cut those 30 seconds weakly defending Christian violence, he would greatly increase the effectiveness of the movie.

With his statement about violent self-defense, does Ray Comfort hold atheists and pro-abortion Christians to a different standard than he holds for himself?

Ray Comfort holds Pro-Abortion Christians to a High Standard.

The pro-abortion Christian believes he is helping women and feels in his heart that this is true. He has conviction! He has used hyperbole such as “10,000 women die every year from back alley abortions” to defend his position.

A pro-abortion Christian may say a woman is defending herself (self-defense) when she has an abortion.

A pro-abortion Christian may quote the Bible to defend his position.

Nothing in the Bible specifically says that abortion is wrong. However, a pro-life position can be inferred from many Biblical passages and from the teachings of Jesus. If we look at the writings of early Christians, we can see that they held a strong pro-life position.

Ray Comfort Holds Himself to a Lower Standard for Violent Self-defense:

Mr. Comfort claims that just because he feels a personal conviction that killing in self-defense is acceptable, then he can kill in self-defense. Mr. Comfort does not use the teachings of Jesus to defend his conviction that murder is acceptable for self-defense.

Many Christians feel in their hearts that violence by Christians is OK. They also have conviction. They may use hyperbole to defend their position. “What if a man broke into my house and was raping my daughter or What about Hitler?”

Unlike the pro-life position, there are a multitude of Biblical passages to directly support the nonviolent position. Many other Biblical passages infer that violence is wrong. There are also many writings from early church leaders teaching pacifism.

Even Martin Luther, a supporter of violence by the state, claimed personal self-defense was wrong.

Why is it acceptable for Ray Comfort to resort to moral relativity?

The Example of Jesus

Jesus said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26,27

Stoning of Stephen

Stephen was the first Christian Martyr. Shortly before Stephen’s death, 3,000 men came to know Christ. If Jesus had taught violence was acceptable for self-defense, why didn’t these 3,000 men come to rescue Stephen?

The Stoning of St Stephen, Annibale Carracci, 1560-1609

The Early Church

During the first 300 years of Christianity, the Roman government tried to wipe out the Christians in a way similar to the way Hitler tried to wipe out the Jews.

In 64 AD, using the fire in Rome as an excuse, Nero severely persecuted the Christians, trying to wipe them out.

About 300 AD the Diocletian Persecution took place. This was the most severe Roman persecution against the Christians. Several emperors during this time attempted to wipe out Christianity.

Throughout the years in between these great persecutions, sporadic persecution of Christians often occurred.

These early Christian died as martyrs and did not use violence to protect themselves. The reason they died is not because they ran out of bullets or swords. These Christians died like sheep.

The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883) PD-US

Origen said “Nowhere does He teach that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to anyone, however wicked. For He deemed the killing of any individual to be against His laws which were divine in origin. If Christians had owed their origins to a rebellion, they would not have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character. These laws do not even allow them on any occasion to resist their persecutors, even when they are called to be slaughtered as sheep.” Origen, Against Celsus, book 3 Chapter 7, about 250 AD.

United States

It seems many Christians think that the US military can do no wrong. We killed 1.2 million innocent men, women and children bombing Japan during World War II. Many Christians claim that was self-defense and therefor OK.

Why do some Christians turn to violence?

Do some Christians turn to violent self-defense out of fear? One source says the Bible says 366 times “Do Not Fear.”

Are we afraid that Jesus will not protect us? Are we afraid that if we die like Jesus, at the hands of violent men Jesus will not use it for good? Are we afraid that Jesus will not make the situation right and bring about justice in the future if we die without fighting? Jesus promised to wipe away every tear when we reach heaven. Why can’t we trust him?

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16b & 18 NIV

Good Bye

After an interview with Laurence Krause, Laurence and Ray say good bye. Ray explains that good bye is a contraction for “God be With Thee.”

If Ray Comfort can be a fool for Christ’s sake, maybe I can be a fool too?

I highly recommend Ray Comforts film, “The Fool”

What should a Christian do when Hitler comes?  What About Hitler?

Was it acceptable for Christians to kill 1.2 million Japanese civilians?
Hiroshima and Mass Murder?

Ray Comfort says we have the right to self-defense. Keith Giles wrote a Christian Bill of Rights. See it here: “Christian Bill of Rights.” Pastor Giles did not include violent self-defense as a right and I agree.

See reasons that others have given to support violence by Christians: Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

All My Posts (Links)

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Does Matthew 4: 8-9 Teach Nonviolence?

by Jon Kauffman

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 4: 8-9 NIV

Though not coming in huge amounts, the snow has been pretty persistent the past few days.
Picture: © 2020 by Leon Kauffman

Just War

When the Church began to teach “Just War” did the Church fall to the temptation that Jesus conquered in the desert?

Ambrose of Milan was the first to write about “Just War.” Ambrose was a very political man, bound up in government as Governor of Liguria and Emilia. He became bishop of Milan in 374 at the request of the people.

Did the church bow down and worship the evil one by grasping for and worshiping political power and wealth?

Who do we worship?

Are we worshiping our government when we participate in government and the military and call for safety and security? Are we worshiping the US government (Rome) or the devil when we put our dependence and trust in the military?

There is not one word written in the New Testament or by the church leaders for the first 300 years that would allow Christians to kill another human being.

Martyrs and Love

The early Christians put their total faith in Jesus and refused to worship the Roman Emperor or the Roman Government and did not use violence to protect themselves.

Thousands of Christians died as martyrs for Jesus in the early church. They did not use violence to protect themselves or their children.

They died out of love for their enemies. Three times in those first three centuries of the church Rome tried to wipe out the Christians like Hitler tried to wipe out the Jews. Christians did not use violence to protect themselves.


Do we modern day Christians resort to violence because we have fear?

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19. NIV

Out of fear are we bowing down to the devil and grasping for power, for physical security, for food stamps, for social security?

Instead of loving the poor and the sick and the homeless like Jesus did, are we allowing the government to try to do the job of the followers of Jesus? Are we trying to give the churches job to the devil? Are we trusting the government to be our military security and provider of food and shelter. Are we worshiping the government when we allow government programs to care for the poor and the widows when it is the churches job? Do we worship our Superbowl heroes?

God is love and we can put our whole trust in him and have no fear.

Trusting in God

As St. Paul said:

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 34-39

If there is nothing that can separate us from God, we have no need of fear. We can love as Jesus loved. We do not need violence.

Teaching Violence

If there is nothing in the teaching of Jesus to justify Christian violence, how do we justify teaching violence today?

The Flag and Daniel

Born Again

Living in Two Worlds Credited to Tony Campolo by Mike Cope

All My Posts (Links)

Copyright © 2020 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post. Anything I write may be used to further the Kingdom of God without credit to me.

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