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The Table Video

Stanley Hauerwas

Facing Death: Cultural Denial and Christian Preparation

Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School
February 7, 2017

“Christianity is ongoing training in dying early,” says Stanley Hauerwas. “and every politic, one way or the other, is a politic that deals with death.” In a culture that fears, avoids, and tries to manage death, the Christian perspective is unique.


What can be said about our obsession with safety?

Well, what can be said is we’re human beings, and we fear death and we don’t wanna die.

Are we just managing our anxiety around death, then?

A lot, yeah. I think a lot, we do. I mean, we are a society that rarely acknowledges death before it happens. And I mean, I was raised in the culture of open casket funerals in which you went by a casket and said, don’t they look good? [laughs] It’s like they’re not dead. [laughs] So even within the funeral practice itself, there’s a kind of denial. Christianity is ongoing training in dying early, and that every politic, one way or the other, is a politic that deals with death.

[Man With Glasses] Yeah.