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Our Obsession with Death: Why Did Death Become Entertainment?

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Facing Reality: A Culture of Death

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”― John Donne, Meditation XVII - Meditation 17

I find it very strange and very morbid that death, murder and destruction has become normal entertainment.

I grew up with it and watched it with my family yet now at age 65 and i as grow in God's grace I see how twisted and depraved we are as human beings. We on the one hand have laws and we preach against murder and destruction yet we will sit down and watch it for hours as "entertainment".

Some have called it hedonistic escapism and for many it seems to be just that.

Transhumanism and Death

Transhumanism claims to be advancing mankind into the future free of religion and all that would hold humanity back.

Transhumanism seems to be a materialistic quasi-religion that attempts to overcome the hopelessness of life in the face of death’s perceived oblivion. One of Transhumanism's attempts at defeating death is to use technology to help people attain immortality. This they hope can be accomplished by downloading our souls into computers etc.

Transhumanists believe that humans are progressing to a moment in time called the Singularity where digital immortality will be achieved and AI will begin to surpass human intelligence. Promoters of the Singularity say that this event will not only grant us immortality through technological means, but that we will be living alongside superintelligent artificial beings. Is transhumanism a utopian dream? How is this different from the belief in life after death? (Today roughly 85% of the world’s population believes in some form of life after death).." from the article: Transhumanism: Can Technology Defeat Death?

Memento Mori

The Puritans promoted an old Christian tradition that sought to bring the perspective of death into everyday life. "Memento Mori' means remember death from the perspective that death as an "unshakeable reality".

The Puritans life expectancy was less than half what it is for Americans today. They died in their homes (not medical facilities) in the same rooms where family members slept, ate their meals and lived life.

Our trend in thinking is when death is pushed out of our thinking we don't replace it with warmth, peace and happiness. In our sin we replace it with death’s many other faces and sadly we are entertained by the death and suffering of others.

We’re are continually anxious, defensive, insecure, angry, and despair to the point of depression and often suicide. We detach ourselves from death yet we spend our time and energy chasing a happiness we can never experience. No amount of happiness will change the fact of our mortality.

Our Culture of Death

"When you live long enough, a certain world-weariness sets in. You grow tired of a culture’s persistent pursuit of ways that lead to the destruction of life rather than it’s nurture. In fact of course, we have in America two very different cultures vying for supremacy– a culture of life and a culture of death. And death seems to be winning...The motto ‘do no harm’ seems to have been allowed to drop below the ‘make some money’ priority on the depth chart. And this of course is one of the endemic problems with ‘for profit’ private health care which above all else seeks to stay in business and make money. Even in the midst of a whole industry meant to promote life, somehow death becomes a part of the equation that is taken for granted with a shrug of a shoulder and a ‘well, you can’t save everyone’. And John Donne’s words are no longer listened to– “any man’s death diminishes me, for I am a part of mankind…As Jim Elliott once put it “he is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep (namely physical existence), to gain what he cannot lose (everlasting life). And so, ironically it precisely a strong and passionate belief in everlasting life that allows a person to loosen the death-grip he has on this physical life, and even be able to lay down that life on behalf of others. ‘Greater love has no one, than they lay down their lives for others’. Life is not too short when its everlasting, and when its everlasting, you realize that this life is not all there is.." from the article: America's Culture of Death

Book cover
The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture

The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture investigates the emergence and meaning of the cult of death. Over the last three decades, Halloween has grown to rival Christmas in its popularity. Dark tourism has emerged as a rapidly expanding industry. “Corpse chic” and “skull style” have entered mainstream fashion, while elements of gothic, horror, torture porn, and slasher movies have streamed into more conventional genres. Monsters have become pop culture heroes: vampires, zombies, and serial killers now appeal broadly to audiences of all ages. This book breaks new ground by viewing these phenomena as aspects of a single movement and documenting its development in contemporary Western culture... from the book review: The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture

We are Dust Yet We are Eternal

Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). Our hopeless and defeated culture fills us with dread that this life is all there is. We are told to live for now, because when our bodies stop, there is nothing more.

The wisdom of memento mori is a daily reminder that you and I will die. In Genesis 3:19, we are reminded, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

If we look at Romans 8 we are told our subjection to mortality occurred as an act of hope on God’s part. Instead of letting our sin become eternal, God planned for a natural end (death) until the time comes for the full renewal of all creation into a New Heaven and New Earth (Romans 8:21). So we must realize that the groans of death are also birth pangs, evoked by our longing for “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). We groan because we know there is more to come and we long for it.

Our God entered this death-filled world as a man. And the God-man died, and also paradoxically defeated death. Jesus voluntarily took the full force of all our dying into himself. He was sinless and among all men surely did not merit death. He embraced the cross and gathered death to himself until it killed him. But that was not the end, no he turned death into resurrection.

Paul wrote, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Jesus declared, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). But who could have imagined that Jesus would include death itself as an enemy to be loved? Jesus by dying made death not an event to be feared but a transition into eternity with Him.

You are an eternal being living out your eternity right now! Get right with God! Confess, repent and do not let what passes as entertainment in our culture make you part of our culture!

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