Holy Week – Tuesday

An article in The Economist from March 21-27 reports that religious people are more afraid of death than their non-religious counterparts.

HOW do a person’s religious beliefs influence his attitude to terminal illness? The answer is surprising. You might expect the religious to accept death as God’s will and, while not hurrying towards it, not to seek to prolong their lives using heroic and often traumatic medical procedures. Atheists, by contrast, have nothing to look forward to after death, so they might be expected to cling to life.

In fact, it is the other way round—at least according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Andrea Phelps and her colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

On this Tuesday of Holy Week , let us consider that we are fast approaching observance of the day that Jesus

… being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

If our faith, our following of Jesus, our membership in the Body of Christ does not move us toward fearlessness of death, then of what value is it?

2 thoughts on “Holy Week – Tuesday

  1. While fear of death is a possible interpretation of the data, is it the only one? Could it be that those folks are having such a joy filled life with their families, or that they perceive themselves to still have work to do?

    Surely you are correct, however, that Christian faith ought to lead to less fear of death. Most of the dying people I’m around seem content and ready to go.

  2. It’s been my observation, generally. My partner’s grandfather, for instance, hard-core, far-right Christian, spent his last weeks in terror that he might be going to spend eternity in hell (I think he had a skeleton or two in his closet, but then that’s not uncommon, is it?). Atheists/naturalists I know are more like: “Yep. This is what happens next. Back to dust. Been a fun ride….”

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