The anxiety about death and the meaning of immortality

The anxiety about death and the meaning of immortality

Paul Tillich in his book “The Courage to Be“ writes that “the  anxiety about death is met in two ways. The reality of death  is excluded from daily life to the highest possible degree. The dead are not allowed to show that they are dead; they are transformed into a mask of the living. The other and more important way of dealing with death is the belief in a continuation of life after death, called the immortality of the soul. This is not a Christian and hardly is it a Platonic doctrine. Christianity speaks of resurrection and eternal life, Platonism of a participation of the soul in the transtemporal sphere of essences. But the modern idea of immortality means a continuous participation in the productive process – ‘time and world without end.’*” Tillich stresses that “it is not the eternal rest of the individual in God but his un­limited contribution to the dynamics of the universe that gives him the courage to face death. In this kind of hope, God is almost unnecessary. He may be considered as the guarantee of immortality, but if not, the belief in immortality is not necessarily shaken.” According to this view,  that which is important is immortality, not God, unless the productive process itself becomes god.

* [in other words, a contribution and participation in an affluent indulgence of material objects and pleasures.]