This dissertation is a study of how modern America talks about death. I examine these discussions in roughly three spheres (popular, professional, and personal) by analyzing the release and reception of the best-selling book on death and dying in the past fifty years, over seventy years of professional journal articles, and in-depth interviews with practicing healthcare chaplains. The concern with death as a social problem draws on broad theoretical and historical concerns, from the sociology of religion and secularization, to cultural sociology and the theory of professional systems. In addition, I employ and extend recent techniques for computational text analysis, from structural topic modeling to word vector representation, to better understand the role of language as a rich and meaningful source of sociological data. Ultimately, I demonstrate how the social structural changes in modern religiosity affect the availability and efficacy of cultural meanings as people look to their society for ways to understand humanity’s long-standing existential struggles.