Ending Our Obsession with Death

Ending Our Obsession with Death January 20, 2018

In October of 2003, my husband and I headed to the movie theatre to see the re-make of the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I still cannot get the horrific images out of my mind, and have not seen a slasher film since. In fact, I highly discourage anyone from watching them. They do nothing but scare the wits out of us, as we peer into the dark minds of the writers. With so much going on in the world to really frighten us (if we let it), why add to it? There’s only one reason: We are obsessed with death. Look around you – planned parenthood spends its days and dollars defending the killing of unborn human beings. State after state wants to allow people to kill themselves with the help of licensed medical professionals who took an oath to save, not take, lives. The top selling video game of 2017 was Call of Duty – apparently it involves a lot of killing. And the horror film industry rakes in hundreds of millions annually.


Clearly, our society is obsessed with death. We simply do not believe in the sanctity of human life. We are entertained by killing. We throw people away (or support them being thrown away) if we perceive they are a burden. And have you noticed that when someone dies, people expect the loved ones to “get over it.” Even when it’s not said, it’s most certainly implied. Death doesn’t shock us or surprise us because we are so accustomed to it. Someone else killed by a drug overdose or suicide? Old hat. Who cares that the numbers keep going up? Their lives didn’t matter much anyway, right? News flash: They did. They all did. They all do. And this is why we must end our obsession with death. The question is, with it being so indoctrinated into our minds, how do we overcome this? It may seem impossible, but it’s not. It simply starts with each of us when we…

~Stop paying money to watch people die – or worse, kill them. All pretend, of course, but still harmful to our brains, hearts, and souls.

~Support those who are grieving due to a loved one’s death and be a part of the work to help end untimely deaths (such as those already mentioned.)

~Stand up against abortion. Give your time and/or resources to a crisis pregnancy center or organization that works on legislation to reduce and end abortion.

And these are just starters. In order to cultivate our appreciation for life, we need to change our culture. We must end end our obsession with death.

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  • Anthrotheist

    It seems to me that our cultural is obsessed with more than just death, it is obsessed first and foremost with competitive conflict. Nearly all of our stories are premised on interpersonal conflicts, and those stories very often result in interpersonal violence. That these violent conflicts result in death seems to me to be something of a logical conclusion: given the need to wrap up the conflict in a satisfyingly permanent manner in a time-frame allowed by a movie, TV show, or video game, the antagonist has to go away forever. Die.

    Taken outside the framework of fictional entertainment, our obsession with competitive conflict can be seen in our apparent love of sports (especially physically violent ones like football), reality TV shows that pit contestants against each other in brutal interpersonal feuds, and even our increasingly divisive political divides between parties and ideologies. As a society, we apparently hate cooperation and brand it as ‘socialism’ or the more extreme ‘communism’. When cooperation is combined with compassion, it becomes ‘bleeding-heart’ liberalism practiced by ‘snowflakes’ that are so weak that they need ‘safe spaces’. The opposite, apparently to me anyway, is the presumed superiority of the strong competitive individualist that creates jobs and thrives when incompetent government is weakened.

    I don’t think we are obsessed with death, I think we are obsessed with strength, competition, individualism, and a ruthless social-Darwinism that bleeds incessantly into our entertainment.

  • enchess

    You know, when I read the title I honestly thought this was going to be “Hey, fellow Christians, let’s stop obsessing over death. It weirds out the non-believers and makes them not want to hear our message.” Killing is so common in media not because we love death, but because we are addicted to drama. Death is the highest stakes one can add to a conflict, so naturally it makes more dramatic situations. The alternative isn’t really no-death, it’s no-drama. Not all entertainment has drama (puzzle video games, jigsaws, painting), but the entertainment without is certainly more niche.

  • ravitchn

    Fear of death is the only explanation for religion. Most people who say they believe in God really do not. It is impossible to believe in a God, unless you are so fearful of death that you must invent an afterlife with rewards and punishments and a way of avoiding punishments. It is actually generous to say to believers: you really don’t believe in God, you are not stupid enough for that! There must be some other reason — and there is, fear and fantasy.

  • Daniel G. Johnson

    You went to the movie.

    Did you also vote for Trump?

  • Chari McCauley

    So, where did the seed of “I” come from; and, is there no evolving from competative to cooperative?

  • sushisnake

    Wow. I really thought this article was going to be a request to stop focussing on the next life – the one after death- and start concentrating on this one, but no. It’s an attack on abortion.

  • ravitchn

    What does this weird question mean?

  • Newton Finn

    While fear of death plays a part, it seems to me that the explanation for religion has to do with something that includes death but is larger and more fundamental: the mystery of life itself. Here we find ourselves, in this immense and intricately-connected world, and we push forward with our individual lives without really understanding the context of it all, whether there is some meaning or purpose to our brief existence or none at all, whether we are part of some grand design or plan beyond our ability to comprehend or whether we are simply characters in “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Schweitzer, among others, said that this sensitivity to the mystery of existence, whether one intuits that life is a precious and inexplicable gift or merely takes it for granted as a given, lies at the bottom of the split between those who are spiritually inclined and those who are purely secular.

  • Chari McCauley

    The seed defines what it will be flower, fruit, gender, cat, dog; where did the seed of “I” emotional intelligence come from? Is there anyone else exactly like you?

  • MNb

    “There’s only one reason: We are obsessed with death.”
    Or perhaps obsessed with power and cruely.

    “With so much going on in the world to really frighten us (if we let it), why add to it?”
    Because fiction is easier to cope with than reality.

    “State after state wants to allow people to kill themselves with the help of licensed medical professionals who took an oath to save, not take, lives.”
    Or rather this is a genuine attempt to reduce suffering. Speaking for myself, I’m not obsessed with life either. However something going on in our real world that does frighten me and has done so since I became aware of it (I was only 9 or 10 years old) is the process of dying, which apparently can be very painful. But me going to sleep, not to awake next morning? I’m totally OK with it. It’s evidence for her own obsession with power and death that she doesn’t make that distinction, something Mark Twain already pointed out more than 100 years ago.

    “still harmful to our brains, hearts, and souls.”
    Sounds to me a call for censorship based on a personal preference.

    “be a part of the work to help end untimely deaths”
    And of course the author (or an ally or role model of her) are the one to decide which deaths are untimely. That’s confirmed by

    “works on legislation to reduce and end abortion”
    The legislation that works best to reach this goal is to legalize it, combined with open sex education and easily accessible contraceptives. In other words: the exact opposite of what power and death obsessed believers want.

    “we need to change our culture. We must end end our obsession with death.”
    And stop worrying about imaginary afterlife. We also must stop celebrating the crucifixion of a certain messias-claimant and everything around it. Those seven weeks is strong evidence which western culture is responsible for an eventual obsession with death.
    Indeed, I find TCM simply disgusting. I never made it past the first bloody scene. And action movies with a high body count I think simply boring.

  • MNb

    In other words: you assume a goal “defines what it will be” to suggest someone who sets this goal. And you do this by using ambiguous language. Seed doesn’t have the same meaning for flower, for gender, for cat nor for “I”. Obviously such a flawed question cannot but result in anything but flawed answers, so there is no point in trying.

  • Chari McCauley

    So, you don’t know. either.

    And, you are correct; the flower and I don’t eat the same food, but we both need it to keep living.

  • MNb

    I know that your question is a bad one and that suffices.
    Your fallacies (ie everything after “So …”) are yours, not mine.
    Thanks for not even trying to address what I wrote in my previous comment.

  • Chari McCauley

    Thanks for not even trying to address what I wrote in my previous comment.

    What other goal is there but to live healthy? Does mental health count?
    If life is totally unhappy, who wants to live like that forever, anyway?

  • MNb

    Why would I answer your questions if you don’t care to address anything I write?

  • Chari McCauley

    In other words: you assume a goal “defines what it will be” to suggest someone who sets this goal.

    That wasn’t you?