Why is Death So Terrifying? Insights from Science, Religion, and Philosophy

Noer Huda By Noer Huda
6 Min Read
Mengapa Kematian Sangat Mengerikan? Ini Jawaban dari Sains, Agama, dan Filsafat
Mengapa Kematian Sangat Mengerikan? Ini Jawaban dari Sains, Agama, dan Filsafat

jlk – Death is an inevitable event experienced by all living beings, including humans. However, not everyone is prepared to face death. Many feel afraid, anxious, sad, or even angry when confronted with death, whether it’s their own or someone else’s.

Why is death considered so frightening? What actually happens after death? How can we cope with the fear of death? This article seeks to answer these questions from the perspectives of science, religion, and philosophy.

Death from a Scientific Perspective

From a scientific standpoint, death is the permanent and irreversible cessation of all biological functions that support life. Some base the definition of death on the cessation of brain activity.

After death, the deceased body undergoes the process of decomposition, where it undergoes decay and breakdown by microorganisms and environmental factors.

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Death is frightening because science has yet to definitively explain what happens to one’s consciousness, memories, and identity after death. Will they vanish, transition, or persist in another form? Is there life after death? Is reincarnation or resurrection real? Science has not provided satisfactory answers to such questions.

Furthermore, death is also terrifying because science has revealed some extremely gruesome and torturous ways of dying, such as drowning, burning, flaying, being buried alive, or being struck by a particle accelerator. Death in such manners can cause excruciating pain, panic, trauma, and unimaginable suffering for the victims.

Death from a Religious Perspective

From a religious perspective, death is seen as a transition from the temporal world to the eternal realm, from the temporary world to the everlasting one, and from the world of trial to the world of recompense.

Death is not the end of everything but the beginning of a new and more significant life. Death is the gateway to the Barzakh realm, the realm between the world and the Hereafter, where souls await the Day of Judgment. In the Barzakh realm, souls will receive rewards or punishments according to their deeds in the world.

Death is frightening because religion teaches that there is Hell, a place of horrendous and eternal torment for those who are unbelievers, disobedient, and sinful.

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Hell is described as a place of blazing fire, boiling water, thorny food, pus-like drinks, iron chains, and endless torment. There, people will experience torment multiplied many times over from the torment of the world, with no hope of escape.

However, death can also be a source of joy because religion teaches about Paradise, a place of exquisite and eternal bliss for those who are faithful, obedient, and righteous.

Paradise is described as gardens with flowing rivers, delicious fruits, sweet drinks, magnificent palaces, and unparalleled pleasures. In Paradise, people will experience happiness multiplied many times over from the happiness of the world, with no fear of leaving Paradise.

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Death from a Philosophical Perspective

From a philosophical standpoint, death is viewed as a phenomenon that raises various questions, thoughts, and speculations about the nature, meaning, and purpose of human life.

Death is a mystery that cannot be fully understood by human reason, as it transcends the limits of empirical and rational experience. Death is a challenge that tests the courage, wisdom, and moral integrity of humanity.

Death is frightening because philosophy indicates that humans have an awareness of death, the ability to realize that they will die someday, and that death is something inevitable, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. The awareness of death can trigger various psychological reactions, such as anxiety, depression, denial, regret, or rebellion.

However, death can also be inspirational because philosophy offers various ways to confront it, such as accepting death as part of nature, considering it as liberation from suffering, hoping for it as the beginning of a better life, or using it as motivation to live more meaningfully, devotedly, and happily.


Death is a reality that will be experienced by all living beings, including humans. However, death is also a complex and multidimensional phenomenon that can be understood from various perspectives, such as science, religion, and philosophy.

Death can evoke feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, or anger, but it can also bring happiness, relief, hope, or inspiration. Although death is unavoidable, we can face it with wisdom, courage, and tranquility. Death may mark the end of life in this world, but it also heralds the beginning of another life. Death is a mystery, a challenge, and a source of inspiration for humanity.

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