Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Divinity (M.Div)

Department

School of Theology and Seminary

Abstract

Feelings of fear and failure are often ascribed to death and dying; hospice offers a new way forward. This paper considers fear of death from a personal and evolutionary psychological perspective, then branching into the ways fear of death and death anxiety are made manifest in the health care system. Within the health care system, in particular the biomedical model of health care, death is construed as the enemy, the ultimate mark of failure. In one sense, death is fundamentally unknown, and is therefore naturally fear-inducing. Simultaneously, death is also both singularly and universally knowable; it is the only thing that one can be certain will occur in every person’s life. Through exploring theological anthropology (questions of ‘what makes us human?’ and ‘how does human freedom relate to death?’) as well as Christology, a theology of hospice is constructed that is grounded in the sacredness of life and the importance of quality of life. At its core, hospice is about both acceptance of current reality and hope for what is yet to come, in this life and beyond.

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