Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't let me die, I don't wanta go to heaven!

[Image of hell from]

One of the things that Christian believers tend to throw in the face of non-believers is their hope for heaven. Life is senseless, believers say, unless you believe in a place where the good will be rewarded and the bad punished.

That isn't what "Christian" believers really believe, of course, because they are convinced they're going to heaven by virtue of their "faith" in the notion that some ancient Jewish guy died on a cross as a sacrifice for their sins. So, ultimately, their salvation doesn't have anything to do with whether one is a good or a bad person.

You would think that, based on their "saved by faith" doctrine, and their trust in the goodness of their god, Christian believers would look forward to departing this life and entering eternal life where they will sit at the throne of their maker.

Not so, according to a new study reported by BuzzFlash. This study, to be published by the AMA today, "looked at the correlation between intense religious beliefs and coping methods. Researchers followed 345 patients diagnosed with terminal cancer until their deaths."

Patients with intense religious beliefs wanted to die and go to heaven. Right?

Nope! "The study found that patients who described themselves as very religious were significantly more likely than non-religious to try to prolong their lives through the aggressive use of external devices such as ventilators. Religious participants were less likely to prepare for impending death by signing do not resuscitate orders, living wills or power of attorney agreements. Even when adjusting for a host of other factors, the study reported that 'religious coping remained a significant predictor of receiving intensive life-prolonging care near death.'"

Actually, from my experience with "true" believers, none of this surprises me at all. True believers cling to absolutism and dogmatism because they are insecure and unsure. Thus, their religious faith is an attempt to claw their way into heaven, but in Christianist circles, you can never be sure that you've got enough faith or have lived a faithful enough life.

There is always that truly frightening question that lurks in the back of their brains: "Am I really saved, or will I spend eternity in hell?"

When push comes to shove, therefore, Christianists would much rather stay alive right here on earth than depart for a realm which, in spite of their protestations to the contrary, is unknown and uncertain.

Read the entire BuzzFlash article here.


Jim said...

Interesting post, and one the correlates with something I had read about in the past.

Xianity is such a fraud, and generally, the most dogmatic of believers, as you write, are really insecure, weak individuals.

As someone who once embraced a fundamentalist theology, I've spent much of the past 20 years trying to understand why I ever chose that faulty path.

While Xians occasionally irritate me, and even piss me off with their easy-believism, and shallow theology, the people that I have the least patience with, as a post-xian, are the leaders/pastors, who manipulate the weakness of their followers and run them through a variety of hoops. Fear is a great mechanism by which to control people, don't you know.

Jacob said...

Thanks for the comment, Jim! Hope all is well and your writing is creative and prolific!

Bob Poris said...

Interesting observations. Most of my secular friends do have living wills, health surrogates and do not resuscitate clauses. I never ask my religious friends and they stay out of the conversations usually. One would think Heaven was to be sought after as long as you knew that God had accepted your professions of faith in an afterlife. Of course, if one is not sure, the bet might be off or at least risky. Some religions, the Jewish faith is one, demands good works throughout life, to be weighed against bad deeds or behavior after death, on Judgment Day. The good had better outweigh the bad or else. Many good deeds are required, charity is one, and no extra credit is offered. They are called Mitzvahs and are required. That is why, I am told, Jewish charities always are amongst the highest in any land. Jews are obligated to help those less fortunate than they regardless of how poor they are. It is interesting to note, that Islam also requires charity or help to others. I wonder why some Christian faiths merely require acceptance of Jesus rather than deeds. One can actually accept Jesus on one’s deathbed and be absolved of sins. I guess Hitler could be in Heaven along with many of his friends, as long as they said the right words and seemed sincere and received whatever rites were appropriate. I would not want to share Heaven with some.

Oh well, observances are not always logical.

opinions powered by