Religious Cling to Life – at our expense

icuReligious people are more likely to seek aggressive, life-prolonging care in the week before they die — according to research published in JAMA March 18th.  My take:  Religious people, more than non-believers, use their religion to bolster their fear of death but when death is coming and it is obviously not protecting them, they go for other extra-ordinary means more readily.  They may still believe in an afterlife (though weaker than they imagine), but they discover that a large part of their belief motivation was hoping for insurance to avoid suffering (death being the worse they fear).  Thus they switch from their god offering help (when he is not coming through) to their doctor.  They will pray, of course, but when that doesn’t work (and it won’t), they justify jumping to the doctor by saying, “God put the doctor here for us.”  But when the doctor fails, I have seen very confused Christians.  I work in medicine and have spent much time in ICUs.

Tom Rees, here in Epiphenom, writes a nice clear-headed essay on why religious people allow extra-efforts at the end of life.  The sad thing, as with their religious faith, is that their hope in the doctor’s saving ability is usually a false hope leading to undesired outcomes for everyone.  Seeing clearly and bravely often is a far better road than wrong-headed superstition hopes.  Mind you, I know Christians that don’t hope for their god to treat them differently than others, but this other scenario I see often.

triangle_end_tiny

Pic credit: mkbmemorial

About these ads

Leave a comment

Filed under Health

Please share your opinions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s