“Remembrance of Death” Can Overcome “Death Obsession”


(First Things) – I was once approached by a member of the Hemlock Society after I had delivered a speech opposing assisted suicide. She asked me, "Mr. Smith, how do you envision your death?" I was a bit taken aback. Her whole approach seemed backwards to me. So, I replied, "Ma’am, I’m still trying to envision my life."

We in the West are often accused of having a “death-denying” culture. But I think the opposite is true. As my long-ago encounter with the Hemlock member illustrates, we are actually—and to an increasing degree—becoming a death-obsessed culture. Death obsession is corroding our society’s belief in the intrinsic value and inherent dignity of human life. CONTINUE