I've always been fascinated by Christians who say they believe in heaven, then scramble in a panic when they get diagnosed with a mortal illness. If they really believed they'd be going to an eternal paradise where they'd be reunited with loved ones and meet god, wouldn't they embrace/welcome their impending death or even try to hasten it?
The thought of pain, may come into play with what you suggest. After death, I hear people say he/she is now with ‘so-in-so!’ ‘They are all together!’ Once I moved out of that way of thinking, about a ‘heaven with streets paved with gold,’ it seems so strange to hear someone say that people are ‘in heaven together!’ However, I do not remember ever believing that I would be in heaven with people that I knew. It was all about the ‘pearly gates and streets paved of gold!’
They all think they're going to a golden paradise but will do anything to avoid going for as long as possible. They have no idea what heaven is like so if you ask them to describe it, they'll just start throwing out a preposterous list of completely insane ideas.
I know. I asked. It was surreal.
Interesting thing about this is that my ex-husband's church has a different belief regarding death. They believed that after death, you are in a state similar to sleeping and in that state until you are resurrected. Depending on how faithful you are, that could be at the start of the millennium of peace or that could be later on with the rest of us heathens (their belief was also that all gets the chance to repent, believe, and accept but if we don't, we just get thrown into the lake of fire where we basically cease to be, not tortured for eternity as some other religions believed). Part of the reason for his beliefs was that he was terrified of the thought of just dying, this was far more comforting for him.
To be fair, the idea of death is not something I welcome and believing didn't really help that. Not believing, I still struggle with it and can't help but occasionally think of those who passed looking down on us. While I know that that can't be what is happening, it is something that I can't help but think because I do find that thought comforting.
I haven't done well with the subject of death since I was three/four years old and had an epic melt down because I had all these questions about it and couldn't get any answers that didn't scare me. I remember just totally freaking out about it and my older brother and sister trying to calm me down. My grandparents had both died in the year prior to this. In fact, this may have been right after my grandfather died. During that spring, I had also attended a Memorial Day service and had watched bits and pieces of one of those Easter movies. So, little three year old me had some massive weird ideas about death. I wouldn't eat chicken noodle soup for awhile because I thought that's what killed my grandfather. It's weird I still remember all of this some 35 years later but it was really a big thing for me at the time and I think shaped a lot of my fears about death. I've obviously gotten better about it as I've gotten older but it's not something I like thinking about though it's something I do have to think about because I have parents in their 70's.
I think about Christopher Hitchens a lot. You know, he was one of the 4 Horsemen of the New Age Atheist. I enjoyed his talks a lot. He died of cancer and died very bravely. I am sure he was probably scared of dying, but he didn't show it. I just want to die bravely and with dignity. I have seen people die bravely. It seems to me that dying a slow and painful death is sad. Many of us live our lives filled with joy and love, and then have to die a slow and painful death. If you live in America you may remember the TV show "House". The doctor always said "All dying is ugly". I think he was correct.