Is the bible just a way to cope with death?

I know this may seem like a dumb question (and probably is) but i had seen where someone responded to a theist stating along the lines of “its a book that you need as a means to cope with death”, when said theist said it is more than just a book, thoughts?

For context: all these negative comments was in response to a video (i stumbled across while mindlessly scrolling through youtube shorts) of some guys bible being kicked around, stolen by protestors and dropped in the nearest porta potty because said guy was there protesting against abortion.


Great question. Great context.


Great question. Roger Scruton, a philosopher, also said religion is a way to deal with fear of the unknown. However, Randal Rauser pointed out that there are many more reasons for faith…hope for ultimate justice, for example. It seems more than I know. Every time someone says they know the reason for faith, it seems to me to break down…perhaps not to an intentional straw man, but everyone has a different reason for it. Another writer observed that humans are necessarily abstract… In reasoning, we need an outside reference to help us put things in perspective. I, for one, can’t plumb the depths of faith. Thanks.

  • X: “The Bible is just a book that some people use to copy with death.”

  • Y: “The Bible is more than a book.”

  • So what’s so bad about coping?

  • Is there a law against coping?

  • Is it immoral to cope?

  • Is coping a sign of weakness?

  • If it is, is it always bad to be weak?

  • Why cope?

    • Stress leads to coping behavior.
      • What triggers stress?
        • Work-related stress
          • Being unhappy in your job
          • Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
          • Working long hours
          • Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process
          • Working under dangerous conditions
          • Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination
          • Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
          • Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn’t supportive
        • Life stress
          • The death of a loved one
          • Divorce
          • Loss of a job
          • Increase in financial obligations
          • Getting married
          • Moving to a new home
          • Chronic illness or injury
          • Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)
          • Taking care of an elderly or sick family member
          • Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one
          • Fear and uncertainty.
          • Attitudes and perceptions. How you view the world or a particular situation can determine whether it causes stress.
          • Unrealistic expectations.
          • Change. Any major life change can be stressful – even a happy events.
  • Common coping strategies:

    • Lower your expectations.
    • Ask others to help or assist you.
    • Take responsibility for the situation.
    • Engage in problem solving.
    • Maintain emotionally supportive relationships.
    • Maintain emotional composure or, alternatively, expressing distressing emotions.
    • Challenge previously held beliefs that are no longer adaptive.
    • Directly attempt to change the source of stress.
    • Distance yourself from the source of stress.
    • View the problem through a religious perspective.
  • One really great way to reduce stress is to attend an “abortion rights” rally and protest “abortion rights” with a Bible in your hand.


Nothing, no, no, no and no.
But that’s not the point. The point is, some atheists say that Christianity isn’t true, because it’s just a coping mechanism. How can it be true if people made it up to cope with death or injustice?

For legal reasons, I suggest you attach a “health hazard” disclaimer to this :laughing:


Anyone can assert anything. What is the argument Christianity is just a coping mechanism and nothing more? There is nothing to respond to if no evidence or data is presented. That we use our faith to deal with grief doesn’t suggest it isn’t true. Rather it demonstrates it’s utility and effectiveness.



For purposes of dispelling any illusion that my post to Trippy was filled with deep thought, I should have put this :smile: at its beginning and end. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so I’ll include it here.

  • First, note that Kevin tells us, in the second paragraph of his OP: "For context; all these negative comments was in response to a video I stumbled across while mindlessly scrolling through youtube shorts
  • That “context” inspired me to “scroll equally mindlessly” through a variety of responses to the events in the video that Kevin described.
    • Those events, again, involved a Bible-carrying, presumably Christian, “abortion rights” protestor getting his Bible (I’m guessing) taken from him physically and watching the Bible-thieves kick the Bible around before finally tossing it into a near-by Portable Toilet. That was “the context” in which the briefly summarized and reported verbal exchange between the Bible-thieves and the Christian protestor took place.
  • Secondly, my exceptionally sarcastic characterization of the protestor’s presence at an “abortion rights” rally–which you noted–as “a stress-reducing coping mechanism” was included in order to suggest that sometimes we humans go above and beyond the call of reason to do things that create stress, which seems a little silly, no?
  • Third, it occurred to me that the protestor’s experience probably led him to imagine that he had “taken a grand stand for Jesus” by going to “a lion’s den”–if you will–and getting in their faces. I can only hope the protestor went home, got on his knees. and thanked God that they didn’t beat the living daylights out of him.
  • Fourth, to your point, regarding the (presumably) “abortion rights” protestors’ claim that the Bible is "a Christian "coping tool for coping with death", I get really annoyed by that claim–although, in all fairness, the protestor provoked it.
    • A true story:
      • 30+ years ago, my wife’s child-free brother and sister-in-law went through a difficult period that eventually ended in a rancorous separation and divorce. In an attempt to exercise charitable Christian support, I called the sister-in-law and asked her if I could offer her name to a Prayer Circle that I knew of. Her response was: “I don’t need a crutch”, by which she meant that she viewed religion as “a crutch.” Duly dismissed, I wished her well, saying to myself: “If there was ever a person who needed a crutch, the in-law needed a wheel-chair.”
    • Ergo, my questions to which you responded.

P.S. @Trippy_Elixir , for kicks, I googled and found mention of this article: The Bible as coping tool: Its use and psychological functions in a sample of practicing Christians living with cancer

  • Abstract
    This study addresses the Bible as a coping tool in a sample of Swedish practising Christians living with cancer, gathered through a qualitative, in-depth interview study, on religious experiences and expressions that serve in the process of coping with a life situation changed by the disease. Through content analyses, and case studies combining tools from Pargament’s coping theory with, above all, role theory, it is shown that the Bible is a part of the coping process for approximately half of the informants. Furthermore, the Bible plays very different roles in the coping process, even for one single person. In the analyzed material, two different ways of using the Bible in the coping process occurs: Biblical passages as bearer of meaning for the informants, and the actual reading as such of the Bible. The former with two different functions in the coping process: (a) in the Biblical passages, see a direct appeal from God to the individual on a personal level and (b) a specific character in a Bible passage serves as an object of identification for the informant. In the coping process, the Bible provides coping tools for the identified coping methods meditative reading, role taking, and (re)interpretation of biblical passages (motivated by a religious tradition). As such, it mainly serves within the framework of the preserving comprehensive coping method. It is also shown that there are changes in the use of the Bible in connection with the changed life situation, as a result of the disease.

It’s not me making this argument so I don’t know.
My guess is that people are supposed to be scared of dying. And religion presumably deals well with this, hence the argument. I don’t think that you could have a data, as in a chart with statistics, as it’s very subjective and people have various reasons for belief other than just fear of death or injustice.

Yeah, me too, but what would be contre-argument to dispel it once and for all? It is one of the most popular arguments.

Short of pummeling the other to death, none. Imminent, impending death has a way of being the “once and for all”, for each of us.


It’s just a claim. But it in no way diminishes the reality of God and the fact that Christianity is an immensely satisfying and overarching worldview and Person to die for, especially for the Christian who has had some kind personal experience or even external objective evidence that God is in their life and that they will never deny.

May I cry?  


Is the bible just a way to cope with death?

No. This is demonstrably not the case. There are plenty of people like myself who have no issues with death or nonexistence and they find the Bible useful for a number of other things. This is certainly not one of the reasons I believe in any of this stuff.

Is the belief in life after death an important part of Christianity? Yes.
Do people use the Bible to cope with death? Definitely.

For me a fear of nonexistence is completely irrational. If that is true then why do so many people fear this? We are creatures that plan for the future and that can make the idea of no future disorienting to say the least. Doesn’t that mean Christianity is providing me a future to plan for? Yes. But we often make conditional plans for a future that may never happen. I do that a lot, in fact. I think there are many people who do. They think up possible futures and plan for them… even for fictional scenarios based on imagination or things we have read. For example… what would I do if I found myself in the traditional scenery of hell and am told that I have been judged? I ask myself questions like that and think about them. Thus it is easy to occupy that planning aspect of our nature even if you accept that nonexistence is the likely result of death.

yes! Indeed. I have a hard time accepting the idea of the ultimate victory of evil. The idea of personal nonexistence seems quite attractive to me, but for that. Our actions/choices having no consequences to ourselves is what disturbs me about this idea of escaping to nonexistence.

Indeed. And mine are not the usual ones. Perhaps one more that is not in this list, which I mention occasionally is that of identity – deciding who we are and what kind of person we choose to be.


The occasions of my parents’ homegoings both had significant and memorable instances of God’s providential timing and placing, including at least one worthy of a “Wow!”, my dad’s especially:

I live in Nebraska and my best friend lived in Chicago at the time, and my folks lived in Gaithersburg, MD, just north of D.C. So when I was back east for my dad’s memorial service (there wasn’t a funeral because both of my folks were whole-body donors to Georgetown U med school), and I don’t remember how I found out (it was almost three decades ago), but my best friend and his adult son, also a good friend, where in the D.C. metro area that very same week! So my best friend from Chicago and his son from Lincoln were at my dad’s evening service with us in Gaithersburg, and we had breakfast together the next morning with my mom in her apartment. Very cool. Certainly somewhat sad, but still cool, and as Christians, rejoicing.

I would say that just because something fulfills a human “need” doesn’t mean it’s not true. We get hungry and cope with it by eating food. That doesn’t mean that food is not real, or that we are foolishly using food as a “crutch” to deal with hunger. I think the question of whether or not God exists must be answered on a different basis than just whether it may be serving a function in someone’s life…

On a related note, theologians ask: if we are (only) the byproducts of a meaningless evolutionary process that has been based on death all along, why should humans have evolved a “fear of death” at all? If indeed they have such a fear. In other words, why should humans have a fear of the water they have been swimming in since time immemorial?


Exactly. Unbelievers use the evil in the world and the painful and awful deaths (not to mention lives) so many experience as a ‘reason’ to disbelieve in God. But everybody dies, so what’s the big deal?


Yes, I’ve heard that the “problem of evil” cuts both ways. The atheist has to wrestle with the question of why humans should care about labeling something as objectively “evil” at all, or why we fear death, if these things are just natural features of the environment and the mindless processes that created us, and organisms are just doing what organisms have always done.

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I would actually go the other way stating the bible is there to cope with life as it teaches us to be thankful for it.

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It’s evolutionary way of keeping us alive for as long as possible, or at least until we reproduce.
If we fear death, we are less likely to do something stupid that could get us killed. Also why we fear height, fire, dead bodies etc.

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do not buy into the propaganda of evolution being a meaningless process as its function clearly is to aid survival and the propagation of life. The only meaningless bit in evolution is the mind of those calling it meaningless.

Yes, but I don’t think that’s the meaning of “death” that skeptics are pointing to in their argument. They are referring to the existential concept of “ceasing to exist”. For example, sure, animals may have evolved a proximate fear of heights, and a fear of jumping into bonfires etc. for good reason. But why should humans have evolved an “ultimate”, existential (psychological) fear of the concept of ceasing to exist even post-reproduction, when that has been the fate of all organisms throughout time?

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