[Image of hell from abcnews.com]
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.