Confronting mortality: faith and meaning across cultures

Steve Paulson, Allan Kellehear, Jeffrey J. Kripal, Lani Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite advances in technology and medicine, death itself remains an immutable certainty. Indeed, the acceptance and understanding of our mortality are among the enduring metaphysical challenges that have confronted human beings from the beginning of time. How have we sought to cope with the inevitability of our mortality? How do various cultural and social representations of mortality shape and influence the way in which we understand and approach death? To what extent do personal beliefs and convictions about the meaning of life or the notion of an afterlife affect how we perceive and experience the process of death and dying? Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge, moderated a discussion on death, dying, and what lies beyond that included psychologist Lani Leary, professor of philosophy and religion Jeffrey J. Kripal, and sociologist Allan Kellehear. The following is an edited transcript of the discussion that occurred February 5, 7:00–8:30 pm, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-74
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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