The thesis of this article is that contemporary people are increasingly ousting death from
their consciousness and focussing instead on the complexities of life in a context of horizontal
transcendence. This replaces the Pauline notion that death is the fruit of sin and will be overcome
if its real cause, sin, is vanquished through the death and resurrection of Christ. The article shows
how religions, the state and civil society have abused human fear of death in the course of history.
It examines the way science has ‘biologised’ death and the impact this has on concepts such as
soul, the hereafter and identity. Reflection on the hereafter tends to make light of death. The article
deals with some philosophical models (especially those of Hegel and Heidegger) that incorporate
the negative (non-being, death) into life (the subject). I then outline a model incorporating death
into life at a horizontal transcendental level in order to make death plausible. The example cited
is Sölle’s work. The article concludes with a discussion of some theological implications of an
immanent approach to death.