Religion provides one particular wa
y for humans to deal with the awareness of death.
our society, Christianity solved the fear of death by giving people hope for the afterlife. Belief in
God, Jesus, and the existence of heaven for believers lend meaning to a world which has the
to be bleak, cruel, and full of anxiety. According to Becker, “Religion alone gives
hope, because it holds open the dimension of the unknown and the unknowable… and in doing
so, it relieves the absurdity of earthly life, all the impossible limitations a
nd frustrations of living
Perhaps the most comforting aspect of Christianity is that it assures
people that they are special and not simply animals destined for death. Rather, everyone has the
potential to belong to the kingdom of
God as long as he or she believes, and instead of having to
fear death, Christians can look forward to eternal life after death in a beautiful paradise.
Now society has shifted, however, and has begun to look to another source for assurance
of the unreali
ty of death: the accumulation of money and possessions. Rather than looking
forward to the afterlife as a way to combat fear of death, we attempt to fill our bank accounts
with enough money and our houses with enough objects to somehow make us immortal.
, Greenberg, and Pyszcynski state
, “God isn’t dead after all,” as Nietzsche believed, but
rather, “God has metamorphosized into money and materialism in contemporary society” (137).
Just as belief in Christianity assures someone that he or she is “spe
cial and therefore more than
just an animal fated to die and decay,” having a full bank account, a big house, and a nice car
assert that the possessor is impor
tant, powerful, and permanent (Solomon, Greenberg, and
Money is power.
to Becker, “All power is in essence power t