The Secularization of Death in a Technological Age
PDF (Italiano)

How to Cite

Tham, L.C., J. (2012). The Secularization of Death in a Technological Age. Studia Bioethica, 3(1-2). Retrieved from


The current debates on end of life find their meeting ground on two divergent visions on what it means to suffer and to die a “good” death. Religion has traditionally provided meanings to these questions of human life, suffering and death. However, with the advent of the Enlightenment, the influence of religion gradually diminished. In this process of secularization, the meaning of death underwent remarkable transformation. It shifted from a theological understanding of death which is seen as the necessary final encounter with the transcendent, requiring the patient careful and thoughtful preparation, to the modern vision of death as a dreaded unknown to be ignored or conquered, if not controlled or delayed so that it will be quick and painless. Modern technology gives the appearance that it can banish suffering once and for all, replacing the need for religious answers. However, technical solutions are ambiguous—they cannot fully address the enigma of suffering and death. In this quandary, theology enters the scene again by offering a new perspective on hope, mercy and charity to the perennial question that has plagued humanity.
PDF (Italiano)