Introduction

Tom Flynn

In its October/November 2007 issue, Free Inquiry published a special section titled “Dealing with Dying." Nineteen articles, most of them personal accounts by FI subscribers, explored various aspects of death and dying from the viewpoints of loved ones, sufferers, and a few who had cheated death. Response to the feature was overwhelming; in a departure from FI’s usual policy, the entire section was posted online and expanded with seven additional articles for which there hadn’t been room in the print edition. (It’s still viewable here.)

More than a year ago, FI began soliciting reader essays for a follow-up feature, which is now presented in the following pages. (As with “Dealing with Dying," the entire text will be available online at secularhumanism.org.) For the current feature, we chose a broader focus, seeking uniquely nonreligious perspectives on serious or chronic illness, in addition to further reflections on death and dying. Some contributors to our 2007 feature reported feeling constrained by our preference for shorter essays, and so in this section a small number of contributors have been given the opportunity to express themselves at somewhat greater length.

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