As time continues along with my exit from the religion i think about this question often. Is living a slaves existence in order to HOPEFULLY gain an eternal life worth it? I have begun to wonder what will happen to me when i am dying whether i will see a bright light or not or will i awaken to a heavenly courtroom to be judged for my deeds that will be laid before me. if we return to dust then why waste time fearing something unavoidable?
Does the fear of death prevent a fullfilled life?
'Is living a slaves existence in order to HOPEFULLY gain an eternal life worth it?'
I don't think so. Give your fear, or the object of your fear the finger, long and hard. Then tell it 'fu^^% you!'. One of the objectives of life is to become free, or rather, realize that we are free. The way to do that is to face your fears, as much as possible. In the case that you describe, it's not somebody w a gun at your head, or a knife at your throat. It's something in your head. So, try the above exercise, or something like it, until the fear is gone. If god is love, you have nothing to worry about. If he doesn't exist, you have nothing to worry about. If he's like many humans are, then you might be in trouble. Do you think that he's human? Anyhow, that's my opinion and my recommended mental exercise technique.
Imo, fear does not belong in our minds. It's like a foriegn invader. Likewise others' ideas about god/gods. Form your own view on the divine, or try to, at least.
To be honest, I think a healthy (but not all-consuming) fear of death CONTRIBUTES to a fulfilled life rather than takes from it. It's natural to fear the unknown, and the more aware you become of your own mortality, the more precious and fleeting life in the here and now seems, and you're more inclined to make each day count and focus on what's really important. I say this as someone who's had more near-death experiences than should be alloted to your average human.
Only if you let it. Read a short story called "Cautionary Tales" by Larry Niven. It can be found in one of his collections called "Convergent Series." Your library should have it.
May seem weird but here are some of my favorite quotes on death.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
A man's dying is more the survivors' affair than his own. ~Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice... that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person. ~Arthur Schopenhauer
Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. ~Socrates
Death is a delightful hiding place for weary men. ~Herodotus
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins
To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death of one's own free choice, death at the proper time, with a clear head and with joyfulness, consummated in the midst of children and witnesses: so that an actual leave-taking is possible while he who is leaving is still there. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Expeditions of an Untimely Man
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.— Albus Dumbledore
Though Death searched for many long years, he was unable to find Ignotus, who successfully hid from Death for a good many years using the Cloak of Invisibility. Finally, when he was a ripe old age and had lived a long and happy life, Ignotus decided to take off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. Ignotus then greeted Death as an old friend, and together they departed this world as equals. ~The Tale of the Three Brothers
I knew a man who once said, "death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back." ~From the movie Gladiator
No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well. ~Plato
Suicide is man's way of telling God, "You can't fire me - I quit." ~Bill Maher, on Politically Incorrect, 1995
Suicide is... the sincerest form of criticism life gets. ~Wilfred Sheed, The Good Word, 1978
Death is a release from the impressions of sense, and from impulses that make us their puppets, from the vagaries of the mind, and the hard service of the flesh. ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it. ~H.L. Mencken
And they die an equal death - the idler and the man of mighty deeds. ~Homer, Iliad
Death a friend that alone can bring the peace his treasures cannot purchase, and remove the pain his physicians cannot cure. ~Mortimer Collins
"The greatest death is what dies inside us while we live"... indeed.
Ironically, those of us who have been killed internally by the WT may have been (unintentionally by them) done a favor in preparing us to face the inevitable... in the opposite way they intended... than many of those inside the organization who've been led to believe they'd never taste death.
Funny how that works out.
My best answer would be yes, an unhealthy fear of anything can lead to an unfulfilled life.
I guess for me because of the JW upbringing, death is final and nothing to be afraid of whereas "The fear of the Known" was the biggest thing to grapple with, again completely unhealthy.
I narrow fear down to things like injury or illness. Entering the decade of life I'm in I now avoid extreme sports. My BIL who is a couple of years older has had two motorcycle accidents in the past year, hobbleing around with pins in the joints doesn't sound like what I want. Or if I had some terminal illness I don't see the need to prolong life in some vegetative state....when you turn out the lights as you leave could you unplug the gizmo, thanks
On the other hand, some people like to scare themselves. They thrive on risk taking and living on the edge. This kind of self induced fear might be a good thing for some people. It's a way of conquering fear, at least temporarily, until their next risk.