This I Believe

John - Harvard, Massachusetts
Entered on November 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in death. The total, dark and absolute permanence of death. Most would say they believe in God, Allah or some other religious entity. I don’t. I believe in death.

Religion, “the opium of the masses”, provides safe passage and external life for those who believe. “Belief” is the ultimate panacea for the ultimate fear: death. If true believers were to believe in death rather than eternal life the world would be a very different place.

We would be spared the Sunday Sermon, where “God’s Representative” lifts his hungry gaze from the innocent to cast his will against the stupefied masses.

We would be spared the implausibility and mysticism of religion in its guises as fundamentalism and extremism.

We would be spared the blight of the suicide bomber. Salvation sought at the misery and destruction of others. Death sits patient and permanent: momentarily beyond bloodshed and chaos.

Religion and politics would cease their hypnotic dance. Gay marriage, abortion and scientific research would no longer provide distraction and cover to invasion, occupation and lies.

This I believe. The good, the righteous, the indignant, the evil, the ugly, the criminal, the fundamentalist, the extremist and the suicide bomber each have in common the certainty and absolute permanence of death. If only they knew.