This is a question I haven't heard asked by atheists or addressed by Christians before.
If you (as a Christian) REALLY believe you get to go to heaven when you die, why aren't you always hoping to die?
Why would you ever want life saving medical treatment (other than pain management)?
Why would you ever want to save or be saved from dying?
If it weren't a sin, wouldn't every Christian immediately commit suicide?
Why are you upset when someone is murdered or dies young?
Wouldn't the greatest Christian martyr be someone who murders whole churches at a time so they can all go to heaven early, even though the sin condemns him to hell?
Isn't it actually great news--the best possible news--when a Christian dies?
Think of it like your girlfriend being promoted to a big new job in Hawaii (or whatever you think would be a great place to live & work). Sure, you're a little sad because you won't see her for a while. BUT you know that you are also about to land a really great job in Hawaii and she's there waiting for you. So mostly you are really happy for her and you are really excited to get there yourself.
How come none of this actually describes how anybody thinks about death?
For me it's because I don't believe there is a heaven and this life is the best and only one we get.
But shouldn't Christians think about it this way? Why don't they?
Well, Doone explained the suicide answer (which wasn't your question since you acknowledged already that suicide is a sin) but for the actual questions, I'd suppose that it's because on a very deep level, no one actually believes all that fairy tale crap. Natural selection has programmed us to stay alive and procreate. As our minds advance past that of mere animal, we become aware that it is ok to die if you are in horrible pain that is recognized as being terminal (lesser species don't have the medical knowledge to verify this, and thus struggle to survive horrible injury or disease) and that it's ok not to procreate, as the human population is not in any chance of extinction and that our specific genes are a small drop in the pool. Some even argue that our species SHOULD face extinction, voluntarily or otherwise for the good of the greater ecosystem.
Nature over nurture or instinct over brainwashing.. whatever you want to call it, the very fact that such hypocrisy exists is further proof of evolution. :)
"I'd suppose that it's because on a very deep level, no one actually believes all that fairy tale crap."
That is precisely my conclusion when I dealt with this very question!
However, I would point out that our minds, no matter what amazing things they will accomplish, will always be that of a mere animal. Yeah, I know, I'm being a pedant. But I think it is an important distinction to make in light of the theistic conceit of a divine favoritism of "man". But now I digress with my pedantry. Forgive my ramblings.
I think that the phrase "No one wants to die." is really too much of a generalisation here. It is in our genes to survive, it is this that stops our species from simply been done with it all simply out of the sheer horror of life.
There will always be exceptions to this rule, it is this exception especially that shows the power of the human will. No other animal, as far as we know, as the power of will to override its survival instinct but we humans, in periods of depression and despair can do this.
Probably because, deep down, no matter how much they believe, they know that they cannot know for certain. Death is the great unknown, the final mystery, as it were.
Hmm. Suicide is an unforgivable sun, because it can't be confessed to or repented of. But what if one took poison, one for which there is no cure (Angel of Death mushrooms, for example), and then went to confession and repented (sincerely, even!) for the action. Would you get forgiven? I wonder how they would answer that.
Hehe.. in the Constantine comics, that's how they get John.. he kills himself and is legally dead for like nine minutes, but is revived! He hunts demons as a way of trying to get back in the good graces of God!
~ I loves that film..~
In the comics, the Constantines have a long family history of tinkering with the occult. John is just, well, clever enough to dance along the line and (usually) not fall over it.
In the comics, when John found out that he was dying of lung cancer, he pulled off a diabolically clever trick. At the time, Hell was run by a triumvirate: Beelzebub, Lucifer, and Azazel. he sold his soul to each of them, secretly, and then slit his wrists. When all three showed up to claim his soul, he revealed what he had done, and they were forced to heal him, lest a war in hell begin over the claim to his soul. Tricky bastard, Constantine.
I've often wondered the same question. About three years ago an acquaintance of mine was diagnosed with cancer. His father was a pastor at a local church. His parents got him every kind of treatment they could even though his survival rate was very low. All they accomplished was keeping him alive and in severe pain about a year longer than he should have been. It was very sad, but it confused me that his parents wanted to keep him alive for as long as possible even though he was in pain when they believed that he would go to heaven when he died. I think that deep down Christians don't believe in heaven, they want to but they don't.