On the trail of heaven

This is what the festival and the book title have in common

Two months from today, the first Diospi Suyana Youth Festival is scheduled to take place. Yesterday evening, the lights on the campsite “Camping 1” were switched on for the first time. There is room for at least 1200 young people on this site. Camping 2 and 3 will house another 800 people.

A major Christian event always commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the overcoming of death. In addition, there is a brand-new book by the US-American journalist Lee Strobel with the title “On the trail of heaven”.

On page 19, Strobel interviews apologist Dr. Clay Buttler Jones. ….Our conversation lasted a couple of hours. We delved into the topic of how much the fear of death shapes people and how the desire to attain immortality – whatever kind of immortality – ceaselessly drives many people.

“What prompted you to get involved with this issue?”, I asked.

“I fell into the hands of the book ‘A Brief History of Thought,’ written by Luc Ferry, a French philosopher and secular humanist,” Johns explained. “Ferry wrote, ‘The search for salvation without God is at the heart of every great philosophical model, and it is its essential and ultimate goal.’ This thought blew my mind. He claimed that the core concern of philosophy was to find a way to cope with death without God. I had to find out if other philosophers felt the same way.”

“And what did you find out?”

“That philosopia actually deals in large part with trying to overcome the fear of death. For example, Plato wrote that his teacher Socrates had said in the last hours before death, ‘Indeed…those who practice philosophy properly practice the art of dying.’ The philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote an essay entitled: ‘To philosophize is to learn to die, in which he said that all the wisdom of this world is ultimately aimed at taking away our fear of death. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said that if death did not exist, people would hardly bother with philosophy.

View over the site (Photo: Dr. Martina John). Picture above by dr. Benjamin Zeier
Lee Strobel “Tracking down the HImmel” Gerth Medien

Philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists and psychiatrists – they all deal with the question of how death affects our behavior,” he continued. “Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker’s book ‘The Denial of Death’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. Becker says, ‘the idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else: it is the origin of all human activity.’ His basic premise was that everyone is afraid of their own death and will try to do anything to compensate.”

“How did your friends react when they found out you were writing in book about death?”, I inquired. Jones grinned. “They said defensively, ‘I’m not afraid of death.'”

“Were they telling the truth with that?”

“At least they didn’t lie directly – because they don’t think about their own death. They just block him out.”

“Until they get chest pains,” I guessed. He pointed at me as if I had hit the jackpot. “Bingo,” he said. “Then suddenly the fear of death is right in front of them – and it won’t let go.”

Click to access the login or register cheese