Death in the University
by Dr Paul Hoole
(From my Facebook: Paul Hoole)
Death visited the University community late last week. One student was taken away all of a sudden (today was the funeral), without warning. Another student, I was told, is in critical condition at the hospital. How do we come to terms with death? One report says that on average every teenager thinks about death every 5 minutes. How do we see death and what happens after?
1. Steve Jobs. The renowned CEO of the Apple Company (and PIXAR) the late Steve Jobs in his speech to students at one of the top Universities, Stanford University, said that death helped him to make the important choices of life. Death takes away “all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure”. When he was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of about 49, which eventually led to his early death, he evidently realized that in the end he had nothing to lose in life, death will take away everything. It helped him evidently, to choose what is really important in life, knowing how short it is, to do what he really loves doing. To live every day as if it is his last day (from what I can trace, originally spoken by a Puritan Pastor of 17th century), and to make each day a day worth living (evidently from age 17). Steve Jobs like all of us, was confronted with “our helplessness in the face of death.”
2. Famous Oxford University Professor AJ Ayer, famous for his lifelong Atheism (teaching that there is no God, this life is all there is to live, after that the End), once in life went into what is known as brain death. But he came back alive. He said that in those moments that he was medically (clinically) dead, he saw things including some bright light after death, and he believed that he saw God, and that he will have to revise all that he had written as an Atheist. But his intellectual, atheistic friends became angry and wrote angry letters to him. So he finally backed away, and weakened his article by saying that he is still an Atheist, but that after that experience he believes that this life may not be the end of the story, there is something beyond this life, something unknown after death.
3. Another famous Reading Philosophy Professor Anthony Flew – who began his teaching career at Oxford and lectured in many other Universities- and Atheist (who wrote books read all over the world), in his honesty that he will go where facts of his research took him. He came to the conclusion that there is a God, there is more to life than what we see, touch and perceive with our senses. He claimed that his research showed that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, as reported in the Bible had quality and quantity of evidence, as no other miracle-claim. He believed that facts and evidence led him to change his views, and he wrote withdrawing his previous teachings and claims. He had come to believe in the existence of God (There Is A God), and that there is more to life than what an Atheist believes.
4. The picture with the four horses shows the red horse and its rider who represents death in a Bible book (he is one of the four evil riders of the white, red, black and pale horses). The red horse rider death alone is followed by another figure, who gathers in people that the red horse rider cuts down (into a place after death).
5. A graphic portrayal of hope is found in his most popular story book (The Lord of the Rings) by Oxford Professor JRR Tolkien. He speaks of life after death, of heaven as portrayed in the Bible, in the following terms: Gandalf says to Pippin (in the Lord of the Rings, in the heat of battle):
"The journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."
Prof. Hoole, Aug 2014 (firstname.lastname@example.org)