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IT IS NOT DEATH WE FEAR

There have been a number of recent articles and reviews that suggest the reason people cling to religious faith is their fear of death, and that the primary role of religion is to promote belief in an afterlife, in immortality. The implication is that it is a braver, more realistic thing to accept, as Epicurus and Lucretius did, our mortality and the fact that we will not be around to mourn our nonbeing.

More honest observers, like the atheist poet Philip Larkin in his fine, chilling...

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About the Author

John Garvey is an Orthodox priest and columnist for Commonweal. His most recent book is Seeds of the Word: Orthodox Thinking on Other Religions.