Christianity and Creatureliness: Becker, Percy, and John Paul II on a Right Understanding of Death and Sufferring
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The denial of death and the desire to abolish suffering both empty a person of humanity; Christianity reconciles these issues while keeping creatureliness intact. For Ernest Becker, the denial of death results from the paradoxical condition in which man possesses the gift of mind and the constraint of body. Though haunted with the prospect of death, man has in Christianity the hope in choosing a life of truth rather than denial. Walker Percy demonstrates that the search to abolish suffering involves purging man of his consciousness of death and it is this very notion that has led to the “century of death.” Pope John Paul II argues that in the absence of a religious outlook, there is no positive understanding of the mystery of suffering. Without such an outlook, death awareness and suffering serve no purpose.