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Relig 2M03 Complete Notes for Full Term - Death and Dying

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Sherry Smith

27062013 231000We learn how we are supposed to behave when death happens based on social and cultural values Are maintained through language religion customs symbols and media Our reactions are not biologically routed What they share is birth and death People in all cultures discuss death reluctantly Even though we may use the same words to describe death the meaning differ throughout culturesCellular Death The process that results when the heartbeat respiration and brain activity ceaseBrain Death By Harvard Medical School Brain death is the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brainDefinition of DeathProblematic to define deathThe act of dying the end of life the total and permanent cessation of all the vital function of an animal or plan Websters DictionaryCulturalreligious variationseg South PacificIn some cultures people are said to be dead after 40In Hindu culture there is the cycle of reincarnation In Christianity it is believed people just shed the body and their soul livesonSome cultures believe the dead and the alive coexist Name Avoidance believing you cant say the name of a decsed beliving their soul wil not leave the world VARIATION OF DEATHAcceptablegood deathNot dramaticExample of GoodBad Death Ellen Badones Study in Brittany FranceFor people there a good death was one which were expected so they could plan for it And a bad death was one like a heart attack where there is no forewarning Another study by Maria Catedras Study of the Vaqueiros in Spain nomadic caddle herders They distinguish amongst a good death bad death and tragic death A good death is fast without any suffering and is expected more readily by relatives eg heart attack A bad death involves a long painful dying process putting a heavy toll on the sufferer and the family eg dying of cancer Tragic death comes suddenly and targets young people such as car accident suicide Another form of death Social DeathSocial death occurs when a person who is physically alive is treated as though they are dead Eg Prisoners outcasts It is defined by how a person is treated by others The concept of social death it realizes when we dye in the eyes of the others they are seen as less of a person Sometimes physical social and biological death happens at the same time A memorial marks the social death after the biological death Sigmund FreudOur own death is indeed quite unimaginable In the unconscious everyone is convinced of his own immortality Thanatophia deathfear It is not death that people really feared because no one can imagine their own death People who fear death have unresolved childhood conflicts Bronislaw Malinowski He said religion was born out of conflict of human life Existence of attachment and concept of death is what gives us religious beliefs Of all sources of religion death is of greatest importantErnest Becker Wrote about fear of death and said fear of death is one of the most important inner drives in human beings He outlines two principle veiws of the fear of death1 The healthy minded argumentThe fear of death is socially constructed 2 Morbidly Minded ArgumentDriven by instincts of self instincts Suppressed through early child hoods This does not get rid of the fear of death but places it in the unconscious Death AnxietyArgues major motivates for all behaviorMultifaceted Construct Fear of death of oneself fear of death of others fear of dying of self and fear of the dying of others Manifests itself in various ways One of the most obvious ways is through avoidance this may be public or unconscious For example some peopleavoid going to funerals of visiting sick ones Not prevalent to same degree among culturesreligionsSome people are just afraid of how they will die how of death itself If one strongly believes in an afterlife the fear of death decreases significantlyThey found Hindus showed lowest death anxiety then Muslims and highest death anxiety was christensThere are several ways to deal with fear of deathLive life to the fullestHaving no regrets Death education
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