Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No true believers in hospice beds?

The oft-toted benefits (to society) of religious faith include greater happiness and charitable giving; the oft-toted primary benefit to the individual is the promise of life beyond the grave. Linked article reports that far from fearlessly facing the ends of their lives, terminal cancer patients who reported the highest importance of religious "coping" were more than twice as likely to request invasive, painful procedures such as resuscitation even when their doctors explained that the procedure was not likely to prolong their lives nor improve their quality of life.

(As far as I can tell the study doesn't disentangle the two most obvious hypotheses: "religious people have a greater fear of death" vs. "religious people suffer less under terminal conditions.")

1 comment:

Steve said...

It's a good point.

There could be some other conclusions as well.

Religious people believe there in an afterlife and judgement. Atheists don't.

Or what about the converse that those who most fear death are more likely to be religious?

Should the reality of death inform us about the importance of what is truth and what is worthwhile in our brief journey?

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."

"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."

—Ecclesiates 7:2,4