I am ambivalent about death, not particularly pro-it, but knowing that it's the price we pay for life, I'm OK with it. I am not terribly fussed about what happens afterwards. Were it the end, I'm inclined to say, "So what? I have enjoyed the incredible privilege of awareness and sentience in a largely insentient cosmos*, and it all has to end someday, and today'll do!" " If it doesn't end? There is a possibility that awareness continues, and that would be nice. Incomprehensible, right now, but nice.
Many descriptions of the hereafter are a little scary, a reckoning, followed by consignment to a destination of eternal pleasure or eternal suffering. I kind of like the thought that really nasty people don't get away with it, until I remember my really nasty side, and am more inclined to vote for mercy over judgement. My ultimate take is to say that God is more loving than I can imagine, certainly more loving than I am, and I wouldn't throw even my worst enemy into a lake of fire, so I have my doubts about God's willingness to do so, but that's his bag, not mine.
I'm not afraid of death. This is going to sound weird, but it's the truth:I am more taken up by curiosity than fear. I remember the other-wordly sense of awe as I sat with my dying father. He and I were in a different place, together, a sacred space that can't be described or explained, We were experiencing together the ultimate rite of passage, it was very, very special. Recalling it, I imagine myself dying, thinking, "My this is interesting, I wish I could tell (onlookers) how oddly normal this feels ..."
I could go on, but I'd rather get back to Stephen Hawking. He was an atheist, and I tell you, I don't blame him. The limited, petty, vindictive, so very awful Persona that is a popular version of "God" really isn't worth believing in. The followers of this "God" have nothing to offer mankind. Belief in This offers no hope to the world, That, isn't good news.
I'm prompted to put my own eternal destination at risk today, because the death of Stephen Hawking brought out the absolute worst in the triumphalist Christians who happily consign everyone who doesn't believe in their horrible God, to hell. I have read their poison, and am sickened by it.
I am confident Stephen Hawking, who could comprehend the deepest secrets of the cosmos in ways that I can't begin to understand, or imagine, knew more about the workings of the God-mystery than the peddlers of hell-fire and damnation.
I don't believe in their God either,.
* Unless, Sentience FILLS the cosmos and IS God! I hear this, and wonder. "Christ is IN ALL and is ALL," is a foundational Christian belief.