Thanatophobia, or fear of death

by Hope4Others 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Hope4Others

    Thanatophobia, or fear of death, is a relatively complicated phobia. Many, if not most, people are afraid of dying. Some people fear being dead, while others are afraid of the actual act of dying. However, if the fear is so prevalent as to affect your daily life.

    With this in mind being a jw has certainly had its toll on the majority to fear death. We have looked to the new system for so long, thinking that we will never taste death we are that close. As we age and things have gone on and on we again fear death even more so, because it may not come in our life time.

    Many people’s fear of death is tied into their religious beliefs, particularly if they happen to be going through a period of questioning. Some people think that they know what will happen after death, but worry that they may be wrong. Some believe that the path to salvation is very straight and narrow, and fear that any deviations or mistakes may cause them to be eternally condemned.

    Doomsday phobia is a broad category that can encompass any fear of the end of the world. Some people fear plague, others nuclear holocaust, while still other people are afraid of Armageddon. Doomsday phobias are surprisingly common, occurring in some form in virtually every corner of the world. These phobias can be loosely categorized in several types. Two of the most common are technology phobias and religious phobias.

    And don't Jw's have a tremendous amount of religious phobia's????????


  • FlyingHighNow

    How are you on this subject, Hope? Does the thought of dying scare you?

    I don't have an overwhelming fear of death. I feared it when I was a JW because I didn't like the idea at all of not really existing anymore. When I was a child, I feared being dead, but aware, and being trapped in my grave. Somehow heaven wasn't real to me. That fear went away when I was an agnostic and reading about eastern philosophies and religion. Now? I do believe in a life beyond this one and I hold onto the idea that it will be a lot better based on reading of death bed visions and near death experiences. Occasionally, I get this scary thought, but only once every three years or so, what if the world beyond this is just as screwed up and challenging in the same ways? But I don't really believe that. I don't think about death a lot, but when I do, it doesn't really scare me. If I had a terminal disease, maybe it would be more scary. I can't say for sure.

    My fears these days are more of something happening to hurt people I care about. I also don't like the idea of ever being physically helpless.

  • Hope4Others

    I use to really fear that fact I may grow old and die someday, and of course religion had a lot to do with it, well lets say a major part of it. Trying to

    live the christian life by the book so I would not die or displease God in anyway. I always feared Armaggedon ever since I was very young. I feared

    never growing up, I feared never being able to get married or have children because perhaps God felt I was not worthy or good enough to be part

    of the new system.

    And I feared a lot of what if's when I left Jw's always thinking in the back of my mind what if they are right.

    But after I read Steve Hassan's book...Combatting cult mind control, somehow I felt this peace come over me. I no longer fear death, since I am

    now free from the grasps of being part of a destructive cult. Its rather liberating now....its hard to explain how it just totally hit me like a huge light.


  • FlyingHighNow

    That's encouraging, Hope. I am very moved to hear how this book helped you. Fear is an awfully hard thing to live with. I have been in therapy since Andy got hurt two years ago, save three of the months. I was so overcome with anxiety that I was near to helpless with fears. I had them as a child and teen, but nothing like what would hit me in my early 20's and beyond. Maybe you've really helped me accept something that has crossed my mind here and there, that being a JW might have caused my tendancy to worry to be many times overblown. I feel infinitely better now after therapy.

  • caliber

    I fear prolonged dieing (suffering )but not physical death.. Life is like the ice cube that can become water or even vapor,

    one of three forms but still exists. Are we not much more than water vapor ? The spirit or life force that animates life cannot

    be destroyed !

    anyway here are some positive things to think about

    1. Live life the way you're supposed to. Don't waste your lifetime worrying about death. Instead, fill each day with as much joy as possible, and don't let little things get you down. Go outside, play with friends, or take up a new sport. Just do anything that will take your mind off dying, and put it on living.
    2. Don't worry until you need to. Death is something you shouldn't worry about but perhaps learn to accept as part of life. Death is something to worry about if you have a fatal disease, and the chances of death are high. But don't worry about this when you're 13 years old. The average life span is 75 years in most developed countries, and you can still live a lot longer.
    3. Be optimistic. It is shown that optimists are less likely to contract heart disease than pessimists. If you think badly of the future, you are likely to die sooner. So don't worry, and you'll live longer.
    4. Realize that there's hope. No one knows what happens when you die. If there really is a soul in your body, it could even be reborn. Hold on to your hopes, and they could actually come true.
    5. Develop Healthy Spirituality You don't need to belong to an organized religion, but do explore spirituality. There are also new scientific researches on near-death experiences and past lives that show death is not the end.
    6. Death does not equal pain. Although life is a great thing, remember that when you are dead you will not be in pain, or suffering. You will be free of your body, at the very least, and whatever pain your body brings you.
  • HintOfLime

    I do not fear dying, nor do I look forward to it. If I die tomorrow, then so be it; I love sleeping in. But that's not to say that JW's or ex-JW's do not have more than their fair share of irrational fears.


    As for myself, it is not some shallow fear of dying. I have many irrational fears, but most of them I will not share here. Suffice it is to say, my primary fear is that of complete irrelevance. I fear that a potentially enlightening and fruitful life has been partially squandered in the selfish pursuit of everlasting life. As if I needed or deserved such a thing. But to die now and have many potentially important thoughts and ideas – things that just might benefit our children - forever lost.. that frightens me. For my most-likely average ideas to never be considered or even entertained – that I fear. My comfort is that most likely, any idea I have has already been voiced by someone of greater education and intellect.

    Unfortunately, because of the lie I was taught to believe, and the dedication of my religiously infected parents, my intellect and experimental creativity up to this point was absolutely and completely squandered.

    How many minds that could have made the world a better place have been derailed by an indoctrinated process of non-thinking? By a process where you ignore answering potentially important questions and adopt an attitude of negative thinking? “We can’t fix it, I’ll just hope there is some superman that can.”

    I was raised by the irresponsible, and short-sighted. Any child knows that if YOU make a mess, it is YOUR job to clean it up. WE made this mess, and it is up to US to clean it up. Not some made-up super-housecleaner.

    I encourage anybody here – anyone at all that has ideas – to pursue higher education. I may not have a shot at getting into a top school anymore (on account that I quit calculus mid-semester to sell religious magazines full-time. That never bodes well for your rational thinking skills), but I’m not going to let the inability of my parents to perceive a bigger picture and purpose for my life discourage me from doing what I do naturally.


    So there it is. I won’t say we should not fear dying… I fear plenty of things, both rational and irrational. Vomiting… I completely freak out over spiders and wasps! But most of all, I fear letting an important lesson that I personally learned at enormous cost, to become forgotten. The world is NOT black and white, the world isn't even shades of grey. The world is in full glorious color, more colors than we can imagine. Black and white thinking and black and white rules will never do a lick of good when it comes to understanding the world, other people, or ourselves.

    - Lime

  • Hope4Others

    You hit the nail on the head Lime....

    I fear that a potentially enlightening and fruitful life has been partially squandered in the selfish pursuit of everlasting life.

    As witnesses we vowed this allegiance & obedience at all costs, even if it meant our very own well being mentally and physically.

    We were caught in the everlasting life trap. Pursue the goal, the prize and escape death.

    Now that is fear!

    How many have those fears? You fear death and fail to live now, live your life as to enjoy life.


  • HintOfLime

    Here's a little youtube video regarding my fear. This is actually me, demonstrating how to deal with the life or death threat of a wasp inside your house.

    To my embarassment, this isn't entirely a joke. I actually do put some of this crap on EVERY TIME a wasp gets into my house (most of my windows lack screens). Hey, if we can't laugh at ourselves.. what good are we?

    - Lime

  • Witness 007
    Witness 007

    I have this now thanks to the no more Paradise reality!

  • HintOfLime
    I have this now thanks to the no more Paradise reality!

    I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

    - Lime.. well, actually, Cypher

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