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Matters of Life and Death

Strhan, Anna (2016) Matters of Life and Death. In: Beyond the Divide: Religion and Atheism in Dialogue. Routledge, pp. 141-153. ISBN 978-1-138-89189-0. (doi:10.7312/columbia/9780231178280.003.0005) (KAR id:58413)


What is the significance of the concepts of ‘life’ and ‘death’ for different religious and non-religious groups? This chapter aims to draw out deeper understanding of practices of connection and separation between religious and non-religious groups through examining affinities between how different Christian and non-religious groups engage with notions of ‘life’ and ‘death’, drawing on qualitative sociological research. Although questions of life and death might appear perennial concerns for religion, I explore here the particular contemporary significance of ideas of ‘life’ and ‘death’ within the moral landscapes of different religious and non-religious groups. The chapter considers the significance of the idea of ‘life’ for an ‘open’ evangelical church, the Sunday Assembly, and the School of Life, and practices of reflecting on ‘death’ in Death Cafés, drawing this together with Georg Simmel’s writing on life and its interrelations with death. I conclude by suggesting that attending to modes of practical engagement with ideas of ‘life’ and ‘death’ across these different religious and non-religious groups, rather than focusing solely on the propositional content of beliefs about life and death, opens up opportunities for reflection on common existential grounds of experience, moving beyond assumptions that relations between these groups are necessarily antagonistic.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.7312/columbia/9780231178280.003.0005
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Anna Strhan
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2016 12:28 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2023 11:34 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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