Apart from the fact I disagree with the sentiments expressed as Stephen Fry tells people what they should think about death, the whole thing comes across as pompous and patronising.
What is the ‘should’ about Tonto? And who are you to tell anyone else what they should think about anything, let alone death? There is an arrogance to atheists that I can only believe is sourced in deep and abiding fear and a belief that anyone who disagrees with them is less intelligent.
The overwhelming evidence throughout the centuries that mind and personality can function beyond the material is, applying Occam’s Razor, more likely to be because mind functions through the material body but can do so without the material body, as opposed to it being some enormously complicated, convoluted, meaningless ‘function’ of the brain.
Research into NDE’s, increasing in recent years, demonstrates that people can be conscious when their material body is clinically dead and the simplest answer to the Why is because we are not our material bodies and they are merely vehicles necessary for this material world.
And while human beings may be many things, they tend to be, in the main reasonably practical and sensible and the fact that stories and beliefs regarding this life being merely part of a life beyond the material exist in all cultures, societies, belief systems and have done so since the beginning of recorded history, suggests that it endures for a reason – it has substance.
Another factor is that Nature may be prolific but Nature is not wasteful and everything which happens does so for a reason. The simple reality is that consciousness as we know it as humans serves no evolutionary purpose – ants get by just fine without much at all as we define it and many people live long and productive lives with little time spent in conscious self-awareness. So, why do we have it? The simplest answer is that we have it because it allows us to be part of a co-creative process in this material world with some sort of organising, intelligent entity which manifests this world, and it is the one thing we can take with us beyond the material body, as NDE’s so clearly demonstrate.
Logic and common sense also suggest that beliefs of any kind need serve only one purpose, i.e. that they create for the individual a greater capacity for a fulfilling life. If it works for you to believe there is nothing but seven score years and ten and then you disappear in a mouldering heap without point or purpose, great.
If it works for you to believe that this material existence is just one part of a long and interesting life as a spiritual being, great.
If it works for you to believe neither and to remain unsure, also great.
Because the simple reality is this, that if there is nothing then you will know nothing about it and so it is irrelevant. If there is something it will also be irrelevant because most religious teachings on God and the afterlife are just so infantile and silly that they will not be true. So it won’t matter a toss what you believe.
If you step out of your material body and say:’Shit, I was wrong. I am still here and there is a life beyond material death,’ you will be greeted with laughter and compassion and it won’t matter a toss if you have lived your life in a fulfilling way believing that it was material meaningless.
The only thing which does matter is that whatever position you choose that works for you is no more than your opinion and you have no possible way of knowing that you are right and no right to tell others they are wrong.
What should we think about Death? Any damn thing we like!