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Topic: Preparing for Death

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Subject: Preparing for Death
Date Posted: 11/12/2010 7:53 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2010
Posts: 8,728
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This article came across my computer this mornng and thought I would share.  As an atheist, I found it very interesting.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148825/why_atheists_are_better_prepared_for_death_than_believers?page=1

Date Posted: 1/23/2011 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2011
Posts: 7
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Interesting perhaps, but not exactly the most concise or sensible article I've ever read. I don't get why this author assumes that all religious people "frantically" try to postpone death. Why does trying to live longer instantly suggest a person is not prepared to death? I know some atheists that depend on medical attention for life way more than religious people.

Atheists believe they just die and nothing happens afterwards. Religious people have hope that there is something to look forward to after death...that death is not the end. If you ask me, I'd say that when compared to nothing, the religious view is the better option.

It really isn't fair to say that either party is "better prepared for death". How can one possible prepare for death? Death is sad and we don't want it. People put a lot of stock in life, so there's not one, atheist or religious, who can honestly say they are happy to give it up.

To put it plainly, however, Believers have way more to gain by dying than atheists. You may not believe it, but whether you do or not, when you die, you WILL meet God. So better to be prepared for that than going through life trying to deny it.

Date Posted: 1/25/2011 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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Please do not preach on this forum. I do not bomb the Christian fiction forum, etc, with inflamitory language and I would appreciate it if you would extend the same courtesy in this form. Thank you.

Date Posted: 1/25/2011 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2011
Posts: 7
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Who's preaching? I'm sorry, but I was very gentle about what I said, and I most certainly did not use any inflamitory language!

Also, you may not have, but there is a good amount of "religion bashing" by "non-religious" people in the Religion and Spirituality board. Umm...why isn't that a problem? Atheists are allowed to diss religious people, but not vice versa?? That's not very fair. If you can give it, you should certainly be able to take it. Regardless of what your beliefs are, you need to be strong enough in them to withstand being challenged and questioned. If you aren't, then you shouldn't post things on public forums.

The rules say to be courteous and respectful. I read the article and had some interesting thoughts on it, so I posted them....very kindly and gently. I'm sorry if you read it otherwise.

I do not tell you not to spread your beliefs on other forums, I would appreciate the same kindness from you. Thank you. :)

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,596
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Hi Anita!

To put it plainly, however, Believers have way more to gain by dying than atheists. You may not believe it, but whether you do or not, when you die, you WILL meet God. So better to be prepared for that than going through life trying to deny it.

This sounds a bit preachy to me.

Atheists believe they just die and nothing happens afterwards. Religious people have hope that there is something to look forward to after death...that death is not the end. If you ask me, I'd say that when compared to nothing, the religious view is the better option.

If you ask me, I'd say that reality is the better option. True, we don't know for sure that there is no afterlife, but we also don't know that there is one, and we'll never know. I choose what to believe based on what will help to make life on this earth better. Disbelief in an afterlife concentrates the attention on making this life as full as it can possibly be.

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,063
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I think some religious people spend alot of there lives doing things that in there belief system make it more likely that they will go to Heaven . I live my life like its all I have because I don.t believe in Heaven or Hell I guess if you balance it out the heaven angle is okay but I have seen many people worry so much about where they will go after they die,that they forget to live. I have no fear of Death its self   just fear  how  and when I will die.

Date Posted: 2/5/2011 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 12
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I went to the article that the Alternet article linked and I think the author missed or neglected an important point,

It is not entirely clear why terminally ill patients who report relying more on their religion would choose more life-prolonging medical interventions.

But researchers say these patients may be less likely to believe their doctors when they are told there is no hope.

"There may be a sense that it is really not in the hands of the doctors to decide when to give up," study researcher Holly G. Prigerson, PhD, of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute tells WebMD. "Refusing some of these very aggressive medical interventions may be seen as giving up on the possibility that God might intervene."

So, the authors premise that the believer is showing signs of not "being ready" might be overlooking the fact that some believers may feel they are not to give up on the possiblity that God may answer requests for their recovery. 

On the other side of this coin, and in line with the author's premise, my wife works in Hospice and there are plenty of religious believers who experience terminal agitation as their condition declines. Not everyone with faith is necessarily the picture of calm assurance as they face their imminent departure. 

Painting with such broad brushstokes as the article did, I can't help but think that many believers would be put off by the general tone, even though it wasn't really written for them.

As a former Christian, I can understand the attraction to having a hope for beyond the grave, but  out of honesty with myself, I can't buy into it any longer.  Evidence and rationality are more important to me than the comforts afforded by faith.



Last Edited on: 2/5/11 1:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/6/2011 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,596
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I know some atheists that depend on medical attention for life way more than religious people.

Hannah, what does this mean? A diabetic, or someone who's had a stroke, or is living with cerebral palsy, may need a significant level of medical attention on a regular basis which enables them to approximate a normal life pretty well. This is not at all comparable to a terminally ill individual undergoing aggressive medical interventions that, in truth, offer little hope but much suffering.