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Do we live in a death denying culture - Essay Example

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Death is defined as the end of life or the cessation of life (Medicinenet.com). All the religions in the world teach us to accept death as it is a fact of life but we as human beings have learned to deny its existence. It is a subject that we do not like to mention until or unless we come face to face with it…
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Do we live in a death denying culture
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Download file to see previous pages Death is something that is natural and nobody can stop it. When the time comes all of us have to go and the sooner we accept this fact, the more at ease we will be. We do not teach our children about death and it is something that the children learn themselves, when they experience a death of a loved one or through their experience of the world.
We can say that we live in a death denying culture. There may be a few exceptions where people accept death and greet it with open arms when it comes otherwise majority of the people are scared of it; the problems, the diseases and the plagues that it brings with it.
The concept of death has changed with time. During the Middle Ages people accepted death more easily and with tranquility. It was considered shameful to die suddenly; the concept of tame death was common among these times. People wanted to prepare for their deaths and for this they needed time, thus the tame death was what everybody wanted for themselves. Also, friends and family would gather around to offer their support and prayers.
At this time people believed that the person entered sleep-like state to peacefully await salvation. It was believed that the dead person slept tranquilly during this period in a garden of flowers (Moller, 1996). Cemeteries were built far away from towns and cities as people were scared in the presence of the dead. The cemeteries slowly moved into the Churchyard as towns spread, but only the people who the Church recognized as virtuous or holy could be buried there.
One very interesting fact was that to make space for the dead, the old graves were dug up and the bones were removed. As more time went by, the cemeteries became an attraction to the people; more people met up there and started living around the area. This was because the population started to grow and there was not enough space for housing. People started to be less scared of death and could be around it for a longer period of time.
Many theories and patterns of death evolved; tame death being the first. The second patter was that of the death of self. An individual's acts, during this time, were categorized as good or bad and people had the ability to choose which path they will follow. The participation of the devil and the angel were brought into consideration and the records that they kept were evaluated when a person died. Based on there records, an individual was either sent to heaven or hell.
In the fifteenth century, the concept of the day of final judgment emerges. "The salvation of a person's soul was now to be determined by the act of death rather than the acts of life. Dying a good death became the key to salvation." (Moller, 1996)
According to this concept, a good death was when a person died while praying and if during the dying process if the dying person was tempted by the devil his death was to be damned. The main different between the two concepts then becomes the difference between universal salvation and individual judgment. During the sixteenth century, the plague happened and people realized that death could come at any time without them knowing it. Thus, at this time it became more important to do whatever a person had set out to achieve in life, so that when death does actually knock on the person's door, he has no regrets. This led people to develop calmness ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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