A person has religious faith that they are going to heaven when they die while they are a short time away from death. You are a outspoken atheist against religion and the person starts telling you about their faith in heaven and asking if you believe they will go to heaven. Would you lie about your belief in order to comfort that person or would you debate that person that heaven doesn't exist minutes before death?
I wouldn't debate it. What I would say is "you believe in an afterlife - and that's all that matters"
Flip it...If an atheist friend on their deathbed asked if you shared their nonbelief would you comfort or debate/witness?
I personally think it is natural in the final moments of life for one to be mindful of their beliefs/nonbeliefs. As a christian, I would have been praying for them in my heart. As a human being, I could not contribute to great emotional distress on a dying person by assaulting their core values.
The scenario seems very contrived. Why would someone on their deathbed ask that question?
Possibly to get more reassurance and comfort in faith they are going to a better place? thanks
Not a believer, huh?
Even believers have doubts as to whether or not their worthy of going to Heaven. (some faiths believe Everyone goes to Heaven eventually)
If they asked me if I believe they would be going to heaven and I didn't believe there to be a heaven, then I would tell them that they would not like my answer and not to ask me that question.
If I had to elaborate more than I would tell them the truth.
What would it achieve by telling them what your opinion was? I wonder if sending a believer to their death space in a state of confusion or anxiousness would achieve anything virtuous - to you or to them?
If they know you are already an outspoken atheist why would they ask such a stupid question? Lets see if I can spell
It's not whether or not it's opinion. The OP asked for a person's individual belief. Since, I am of the understanding that there is NO god, then that would be incorporated into what I say to them. Hence, why I stated what I said in my post. Sorry, if you happen to miss part of the post and only read what you wanted.
Well, that is where you and I differ. I'm not willingly going to lie to them, or subject my own integrity, just so they can feel better about themselves. Apparently, you have no problem with lying, which is something I will remember in your future posts as well in your writing online.
Well, so much for the gift of compassion. So much for the small sacrifice of easing the pain of another with whom you may not agree, when doing so costs nothing when the final scales are balanced. I'm kind of surprised at your comment, Cagsil. Or are you just arguing for the sake of arguing?
I think he could be truthful and still compassionate.
And how would that be ?
And why someone would be so arrogant as to think he has the truth ? How can he be so sure, and why shattered the hope of someone dying ?
How would that be compassionate ?
I have my doubts compassion can be mustered by all.
My Dad was in a coma when he passed. I do not know if he believed or not, but I held his hand until I was assured he was gone. Had he been alert I am certain I would not have caused him distress in those final moments. Anyone who can confidently claim they would be willing to argue in that moment, lacks not only compassion, but also personal integrity and love for a fellow human being. Nothing sacred takes new meaning.
My presence there is compassion. Or did you miss the point of the OP?
The OP does not say if someone else is in the room when the question is asked. It is best to be honest. Honesty within me to be true to myself, before I can be honest with others.
And, what was your point of pointing out my post? So, you can argue as well? Think about it.
But is it a matter of lying, or being diplomatic in the way you express your beliefs? As Rochelle said, truthful and yet compassionate.
Perhaps when you really are in the situation of a person lying in front of you about to take their last breath, you may change your reasonings. Or not.
I would be truthful. If asked that question by someone at that point in time. I would ask them if they really wanted to hear my answer. Because, if I am by their bed side at the time of their death, then we must have had some strong relationship and they would know what I was going to say. So, I guess the question is moot then. I would not lie to them and tell them something I didn't think was true, especially when I am of the understanding there to be no such place.
The question is certainly moot. I know for myself, and I'm not you, that if I had strong beliefs one way or the other, they would be rendered irrelevant in such a situation. I'm hoping that my human ability to comfort would be the most important thing and placing a person in the space of doubt wouldn't be helping the dying person. I would always have my truth, but it is mine, it's an individual stance. Interesting though to be pondering on a possible future experience.
Unfortunately, you are avoiding the question. You are on here banter with me about it, when actually, you are trying to justify the act of lying. And, yes you are lying to them, if that is NOT what you believe.
Doubt? You are kidding right? Doubt is what made them ask the question to begin with, which means that they DID NOT have faith. They only held on to hope and nothing more. My words would change nothing.
Yeah, I can see that and that is why you see things like you do. I'll leave it at that. I'm done.
I'm sensing some tension here Cags! Of course your words would change nothing, which is a really good reason to shut up about what your beliefs are. You don't have to lie, you would perhaps do well to not engage the conversation in the first place. It's obviously irrelevant at the moment of someone elses death what you believe in, it's your belief.
He originally stated that he would not bring up the subject unless asked directly.
Because of all this pathetic bantering back and forth. You could have just left what I said alone. What you had to say didn't matter. You just wanted to try and make an example of someone, and you picked the wrong person, as usual.
You jumped before looking.
Am I going to deny the person an answer to their question? No. If they ask it, there was a reason. Being quiet or remaining quiet or changing the subject is rude.
How about, "I personally don't think there's such a thing as Heaven, but if it exists, I hope you go there?"
Otherwise, I think it's rich for an atheist to request that someone not ask questions.
Life as it is, is in our minds. So I think anyone about dying will be going where their beliefs lead them. At least for a few seconds.
yeah, especially if it was the other way around
Why would a Believer ask an athiest if they (the Believer) are going to heaven?
I would be honest with them. There is no god or heaven. And if there was - I would certainly not be qualified to tell them whether they are going to heaven or not.
You think lies comfort people?
And I will turn that back on you sooner:
A person has religious faith that they are going to heaven when they die and unbelievers will burn in hell for all eternity while an atheist is a short time away from death.
You are a outspoken evangelist against non-belief and the person starts telling you about their lack of faith in heaven and asking if you believe they will really burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for not believing the Kristians. Would you lie about your belief in order to comfort that person or would you debate that person that hell does exist and they will burn, minutes before death?
these things don't matter when you die. what matters are the people you care about, the things you fought for...faith takes a side step.
Yes, sometimes, but there are different levels of lying. A person can lie to get ahead for themselves or a person can lie out of empathy to comfort another. Agreements comfort people, disagreements stress people out, so if I was lying to agree with a dying person, I think it would comfort them to lie and agree rather than having a debate about my personal beliefs before they die. thanks
So - you would lie to comfort them? How about years before their death? No comfort for them? The imminent death makes it OK to lie? For the last 10 years you have been shouting that they will burn in hell, now you relent and say "I didn't mean it"?
If I were on my death bed, I think I would want comfort. Like the comfort my mother gave me when I was hurting. Her words were something like, "It's OK, things will be better in the morning." Well, maybe that was a lie on her part, but it brought comfort to a child, because I trusted her. When you are on the death bed, you are a child.
Well - that is how religion spreads. The lie that comforts. Then they recover and attack homosexuals as an abomination against the Lord.
Personally - I would not be asking a well known evangelist who has been saying for years that I will burn in hell to tell me I will not.
Lucky you were never told "It will be OK" while you had leukemia. Or is that an acceptable lie also? And who really benefits? The liar or the recipient?
A simple "I don't know " will usually suffice.
Religion and evangelism and homosexuals have nothing to do with what I said.
But that's nice that you bring all that up. Someone's ears should be paying attention.
There is nothing good that comes out of a young child hearing from a parent, "I don't know" when the child is afraid. The parent's job is to assure the child that whatever the boog-aboo is, it will be taken care of.
I don't know what kind of parents you had, but mine put my mind at ease when life was painful...they gave me comfort to face a new day and a belief that a new day could happen.
As I said before, when on the death bed, it's wanting to be comforted. You and others may disagree, but I know I want to be assured, as I was when a child. I don't want any debate.
Yes - I get it. Not sure what this child has to do with anything - where did this child come from exactly? Nothing to do with the question at hand - any more than homosexuals do.
You think an adult is not capable of discerning a lie - because they are on their death bed?
I made my case for the "child" in my previous posts. What are you missing here?
I don't think an adult cares a hoot for discerning a lie on the death bed. I think the adult want a peaceful passage, and if another human interferes with that, that's wrong.
When my children were young I wouldn't lie to them about what I didn't know would be OK, because I figured, if things didn't turn out OK I'd lose credibility in their eyes when it came to the big things in life.
If there was something like a grandparent close to death and having surgery, I'd say something like, "Well, we're all worried; but people have surgery all the time and things can work out well. It's very serious, but so-and-so has good doctors and is a strong person. I figured they needed to be aware of not-so-OK situation and be ready for the worst, while I also needed to do my best to help them feel as reassured as possible (within the context of what I knew to be the truth).
Another (and different) aspect to the dying-person scenario, though, is that dying people are adults. When I'm on my deathbed I don't want anyone else putting themselves in a parental role, as if I'm a child "just because I'm dying". I want to be the "star" my own death show, and I don't think I'll want too many people in that audience either. I don't want or need other people's comfort in my difficult times now, and I don't think I'm going to want or need it when I'm on my way out. I suppose I'd put up with having a close person or two in the area, only because I may think it will make them feel better. If anyone were to start "giving me trouble" about religious beliefs I'd let my last words to them be, "Get out! You're filling my last hours with stuff I don't want in them at this time when I'm the one who has the right to decide what I want in my last hours on Earth."
If I'm not fit to talk I hope I have a doctor, family member, or friend who'll kick the jerk out.
And there's the key...you want what you want, and you sure as hell don't want someone else debating that, whether it's by way of comfort or an intellectual argument.
I wonder if last words on a death bed ought to be a part of a living will.
There are ways to comfort people without lying. I'm specifically not allowed to tell anyone "everything will be all right" or any words to that effect. I can say, "I'll do everything I can for you," because that is true.
If someone asks me about religion, I'm not lying when I say, "This is what I believe."
Well - you are the exception then. You do not say "there is a hell" you say "I believe there is a hell".
Good for you - I am glad you can be honest and say you don't know. Unusual for a believer.
But let's not confuse belief with vague, unsubstantiated hunches. I also believe that, based on sensations, observations, and memories I interpret as evidence, I am sitting in a chair at the moment I'm typing this post. It is my opinion that, while believing is not always knowing, all knowing is believing- it being illogical to know something, yet not believe it.
But I digress. I have always entertained the idea that God might not exist, but I've found acting as if God exists and requires us to behave better than we might require of ourselves beneficial.
You are as much a believer in the nonexistence of God as I am that God exists, maybe even more so. The difference is that you come across as much more likely to state your belief as incontrovertible fact and that everything else is a lie rather than admit that you might not really know.
Aww - so you don't know anything at all and all that guff about me not being able to develop morals when you can because you get them from a higher power was nonsense. Thanks for admitting that.
But - I am glad you think you behave as if god exists. Oddly - I don't see that as being any different to the way I behave. Do you?
there is a huge difference between knowledge based on certainty and knowledge based on a belief. A belief puts a period at the end of a question.
Yes, I would swallow my pride. If you are dying, it's not about me and my beliefs, it's about you and your beliefs in your final days. If I told you that you were going to hell for 10 years before your death, I would apologize and say it doesn't matter what I said in the past as long as you are happy in your final days. thanks
I see. So why not stop saying it for the last ten years instead?
You think that is OK? To behave a certain way for X number of years - espousing a certain point of view - and then relent and say you were lying all those years?
Why not retract it now instead?
What has pride got to do with it?
I haven't been telling you or anyone else they are going to hell for the past ten years, but if I was, I would stop immediately, great idea. I don't agree with lying or witholding my belief of the truth all the time, only when compassion and empathy are more important. Many people sacrifice lives for others, why wouldn't they sacrifice telling the truth for others also if it benefited them? On the death bed, lying would actually likely benefit both, the dying one would have comfort, the lying one could also have comfort that they made the person feel at ease before death. People live their lives with certain beliefs for the majority of their lives, are you saying it's too late for a person to learn and change?
Pride has everything to do with it, disagreeing pride could keep a person true to their word getting in a stressful argument with a dying person rather than comforting them. If that person were to swallow their pride, they wouldn't argue with the dying person even if they disagree with them.
Of sorry - I thought this was hypothetical. My mistake.
You have been telling them for the last ten years in my hypothetical. But yes - this is the lie. Not sure I would think that anyone that knows me would swallow the "Yeah - sure - you will go to heaven and see your childhood dog."
I answer your questions and you start calling me names because you jump to conclusions of the thread and other things. This is pride. thanks
You changed the comment on me. The question is a hypothetical, so there is no right or wrong answer. If you knew a person for 10 years and debated belief previously, it would change the hypothetical because thats not what I put in the opening question. In this case, I think I would tell the truth and throw in a "yeah, you could be right" and "I could be wrong". I would keep the disagreeing belief to a minimum. thanks
I did not change the comment on you. I asked you a hypothetical question in return after answering yours.
Does that mean you apologize for accusing me of calling you names?
Who is sooner than later and "Clearly a contrived question".
Contrived in what way? Aren't all questions contrived to find answers?
I apologize that I offended you into calling me names. thanks
Contrived in that this is a very unlikely hypothetical:
"You are a outspoken atheist against religion"
"asking if you believe they will go to heaven"
Contrived. Biased. Guaranteed to cause an argument. You know - religious.
Ooooo - wonderful apology. Bet you am a Kristian - .
Please quote me calling you names, TruthDebater.
Actually, I don't recall any arguments between atheists and religionists on this thread until you came along, the comments have been mainly on topic with the question. Is any question that causes someone to get offended or argue a religious question? Perhaps I asked because anyone can relate to an atheist and religionist. "Sooner and Later" is someones name, not my name. Sorry I offended you, should I lie next time? Thanks
Wonderful apology. I don't recall mentioning religionists.
You do not need to apologies for offending me. You need to apologize for lying and saying I called you names, because I did not.
My response was perfectly on topic. I told you I would not lie and found the question contrived to cause conflict.
Then I turned the question on you with my own hypothetical - then we had a clash. Did we not?
Oh - semantics. By names you didn ot mean swear words or offensive words? Just names like "TruthDebater" or "Sooner than later" I see - well - in that case- I did indeed call you names TruthDebater. I am sure you are not Sooner than later. You sound completely different.
I thought you meant I had called you names. My mistake. I sincerely apologize for thinking you meant insults when you said I called you names. Utterly my mistake.
Lie all you like. we have already established that you will lie to "comfort" some one.
But only on their death bed apparently................
I don't remember getting upset when you asked a different question, I remember answering all of your questions, then you calling me "Sooner/Later" which you deleted. This is the second time you have made a reference to the Sooner name, i'm not sure whether you deleted the first one or not. We are not clashing, we are conversating. How was your day? thanks
I asked how your day was and you didn't answer me. No, I don't think the argument or debate is clashing when a logical mind is kept, only when one simply wants to one up the other to boost the pride.
You are right above, if it takes lying to comfort a person about to die, call me a liar. Do you call others liars that have lied once before? Why not, if they lie once, this means they are always dishonest by your logic, correct? thanks
Aww - and you were the one bought up lying. Semantics - we can call it a white lie if you want. A lie for what you think is some one's own good. Lets call it a "fib" instead shall we? There - see - I can comfort you also. I will even go with fibbing is not really lying. Feel better now? I bet you do.
Still cannot apologize huh? No pride here. None at all.
Yes because lying can be good if we sacrifice our personal belief to make others feel better in a circumstance like death. Thank you for the comfort, why not disagree since you would disagree with a dying person? What do I owe you an apology on, I thought I already apologized. thanks
No. You think lying can be good. You also think it will give some one comfort because they will not be able to discern that it is a lie. I disagree. I think this invariably turns into a dogmatic religion. Far as I can tell - most of the people saying there is a heaven and hell do not actually believe. Otherwise they would be really, really nice people instead of behaving just as badly as anyone else.
Yes - you apologized for offending me into calling you names, TruthDebater. Thanks for that. Very sincere.
Keen to know how you know that lying to people gives them comfort. You already said you would not do so if you had been preaching a hell for the last ten years.
So - it depends really - doesn't it?
Me? I would not lie. Any more than I would pretend to some one that their illness was not severe or it doesn't matter that they have AIDS and it will all be OK. I am not going to argue with them though - I will be honest and say I don't know, but I don't think so. There are other ways to comfort people than agreeing to whatever they want you to say.
And I think your personal decision to lie is more about making yourself feel like you have done something when there is nothing you can do rather than offering some one comfort. Presumably a random stranger seeing as they do not know you are "a outspoken atheist against religion."
Like praying does. It gives people the false sense of having done something when they have done nothing at all. Then they can feel proud of themselves when they have nothing to be proud of and continue telling themselves there is nothing more they could have done and they really tried hard.
Now this apparently is not what some people want, because Sally's Trove called me out for saying I would be honest - and I think this is the problem with religion and a belief in heaven/hell - it encourages people to accept garbage instead of reality and allows them to be manipulated. And she thinks she knows what this hypothetical dying person would want.
Well, yes I do think what this hypothetical dying person would want, and that might be false pride on my part. But it's the best I know. I know that I'd want to be comforted in my last moments, not argued with. And so I may project that aspect of myself onto the dying friend. But it's the best I have to give.
I'd like to think that if my dying friend would want a debate, I could be there for that, and then what a huge struggle for me that would be to give this final gift.
Lying can be good if based on the last meal. Serve them whatever makes them feel the best in their last moments. I don't think it would turn into a religion of lying simply because you show empathy to or bite your tongue to please a dying person that you disagree with.
It does depend on the hypothetical, one thing doesn't solve everything.
Your part about making yourself look good by lying to the dying person I think is partly false, but partly true. When lying, there would still be thoughts that you maybe should have told the truth, but I think the thoughts that you pleased the person would overshadow them.
There are ways to comfort people rather than agreeing with them, but agreeing with them goes a long way toward the comforting.
I think praying is more about comfort and hope for the future rather than for self gratification.
I can't speak for Sally, I can only speak for me. I think if a person gets comfort in their dying days of believeing they will go to a heaven, reinforce their belief to make them feel comfortable. If they thought they were going to be a jolly leprechaun and it made them feel good and comfortable before dying, I would offer in helping them look for gold. I said previously there are no right or wrong answers, I can't call someone immoral for not lying. thanks
You've been silent for most of this back and forth. You were the one who asked the question. And here you speak your opinion. I admire your ability to hold onto your words until the rest of this community had their say. You surely did ask a question that draws gunfire. Your question asked about empathy and compassion, although those aspects of the question were masked. Interesting how this forum ran with it all.
Hello Sally, thank you. I think it's amazing how a single question can make someone question their own truth and moral character. I really didn't have that as a previous motive, I asked the question on impulse simply to see the variety of thoughts and answers. Thanks
A single question can do just that. You touched a nerve. And the nerves fired. I think some participated from the nerve, and some participated from the need to be just plain argumentative...but that's a nerve, too.
If you should be looking at some point to write a passage in an upcoming book about self-examination when confronting the request of someone near death, then you have plenty of material. What a great way to get it...here in the HubPages forums.
You'll have to let us know when the book is published.
I might have got it wrong. I'm not infallible. Good luck and promise to contact me if you get to heaven.
I am full of quotes today so I'll keep it up.
Voltaire is on his deathbed. The priest begins to give last rights and asks Voltaire, "Do you renounce the devil and all his works." To which Voltaire replies, "Now is not the time to make enemies."
I think it was Voltaire. Anyway, it sure is funny.
I never try and change anyone's religious beliefs. Like Precious says, if the dying person believes, that is all that matters at that moment.
I think that is very respectable thanks. What is the difference between some trying to change others faith of a heaven on here? How can it be certain those people aren't on their death beds? thanks
Now that is an interesting question.
I'm pretty likely to die with my hand on a keyboard.
Well, when you are on your death keyboard, I'll be happy to keep you company. We'll chat about whatever you want to.
I'll even put in some smileys. Or frownies. Whatever you need.
Rochelle, and making people reading what you've written smile. You do have a way with words (and particularly, forum posts).
I do look for things to smile about-- and usually don't have to look too far.
I know this is a serious discussion, but If I am dying at my keyboard, please try to make me smile. Send an e-mail.
And, Yes, I have been at the bedside of a dying loved one. It is a deep sadness, but also a difficult realization to know that they would not wish you to be so sad.
I would tell them their faith is wrong, just for the humor....I mean sure they're gonna die. But they might feel a bit of relief before they kick the bucket. That's just me.
I wouldnt bcoz its not going to matter to him nor to this world. He is going to leave this world in an hour or two & theres no point of hurting him. Besides, he is going to know the truth in few moments anyway...
If a person is on his/her deathbed, I would comfort him/her no matter my stance on the position.
That's because you're a normal person who is capable of putting the needs of the other person ahead of your own "need-for-whatever", and respecting the momentous nature of a person's death as something that belongs to him and not you.
A priest advised Voltaire on his death bed to renounce the devil. Replied Voltaire, "This is no time to make new enemies."
A dying person's beliefs are set and if they ask a question concerning the afterlife, they're probably just looking for confirmation that they're right. I'd say give them that assurance.
whatever anyone believes, those moments are sacred in themselves.
words should be few. comfort, love...
..I'd be a pretty selfish person if I were to even have any inkling to discuss my views at such an intimate time...'it's not about me'.
I would not discuss religion with a dying person unless they asked me to.
If they asked me, I would tell them the truth just like in any other situation. If they were in doubt about their faith and wanted re assurance I would not be the one to give it.
I would not discuss it. What another person believes regarding religion, whether dying or not, is not up to me to argue with them about it.
For cryin' out loud, hold the person's hand, look into their eyes, and make a human connection that isn't based on who is right or who is wrong or who has some kind of egotistic sense of righteousness. When I go to meet my maker, I'd just like to have a hand to hold. If there isn't one there, I'll hold my own. But I would like to have a connection, in the last beat of my heart, with someone whose heart beats just like mine.
Would that be like obtuse and absurd at the same time?
It's "obsurd" and "abtuse", but I've realized it seems to have given some people (me, anyway) the chance to be blunt about people pushing whatever believe/non-belief they have in a "safe" way (maybe because how absurd, hypothetical, and isolated a situation the one in question is).
That would be "absurd", and I agree.
TruthDebator, if you want to debate truth, maybe you can find something plausible instead of something absurd.
What possible good would arguing religion with a dying person do?
If you're a diehard atheist and simply can't bring yourself to suck it up for the sake of the dying person, at least keep your mouth shut. Or better yet, offer to call in their preferred spiritual adviser.
I'm pretty sure that if I was at someone's death bed they'd know me well enough to know my feelings about religion and know better than to ask.
why would it matter? They're dying. If a split second could change a persons life, than that is a lot of wasted seconds. Their 'faith' is what is holding them back. Having 'faith' is a totally different story. -just my thoughts, James.
edit: if you had x number of years to tell them before that moment and didn't who is at fault, them or you...
I certainly think upon death, they have other things to worry about than what you think of their faith. Yeah, I would just let them die and tell them that I appreciate our time together.
Can I just say, the nerve to even tell somebody that their faith is wrong. Why do people like shoving their opinions on others.
After reading the original post here, I truly don't think there is a right or wrong answer here to this question. As many of us share and have different beliefs. Even though I don't agree with Cagsil completely on this topic, but I can see where he's coming from on this. Thus, I respect his opinion on this issue, and I don't see anything that might be construed as offensive about it. Like I said before, there is no right or wrong answer on how to handle this situation. Plus, as Cagsil alluded to, you wouldn't be there beside that person's death bed if they didn't know you very well, unless you want to count doctors and nurses.
Having said all that though for me personally, I would lie to the person and just humor them as they're not long for this world anyway. although I do believe there's a god. However, just for the sake of argument on this forum, and assuming that i was an atheist, then I would lie to the person and tell them that there is a god. this way when they die, they won't die being scared. However, that's just me. You all can condemn me here if you want, but that's just me. besides it's like christian bale once said in "The Dark Knight":
"Sometimes the truth isn't good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. They deserve to have their faith rewarded."
Anyway, that's just my opinion anyway. As i for one wouldn't have the heart to tell someone that's dying their religion is based on a lie. besides, they'll find out anyway when they die. why ruin what little time they have left in this world?
I don't think you should lie to make yourself feel better.
The truth IS good enough.
Besides, in the afterlife they will remember the last thing you said to them was a lie.
yeah, but if there's no god or heaven, then what would it matter anyway? however, what do you mean about lying to them for my own benefit? i wasn't thinking of it that way at all. the way i see it, the person is going to die and find out the truth anyway, so why should I ruin what little happiness this person has left? would you rather i told them something along the lines of, "it sucks to be you buddy as there's no heaven nor god, so hope you die happy." does that work better for you? please tell me. lol.
look, as i said before there is no right or wrong answer to this question, as I think any type of answer you could give whether to be honest or compassionate, there is no wrong answer. as you could just as easily debate any answer. if you said you'd rather be honest and tell them there is no god, then people can argue with you saying that your being cruel and mean. if you say that you would lie to comfort the person before they die, they could say exactly what you just said to me. you get the picture? ANY TYPE of answer you could give about what you would do could be perceived as negative or positive, depending on how you want to look at it.
its kind of like euphanasia. sure, you can say it's murder to have someone put to sleep if they're dying of some uncureable disease. or you can argue that it's more cruel to selfishly keep him alive in unspeakable pain for your own selfish need to not want to see him die. Like I said, there is no right or wrong answer here. just like this forum question.
eta: plus if i was an atheist lying to this person to comfort him/her by saying there is a god. then what would it matter anyway, as i'd be going to hell for being an atheist to begin with if there is a god. lol.
I don't think Cagsil's beliefs are irrelevant. I appreciate his truthfullness and integrity.
If I were dying over my keyboard and he told me that there is no God, but he thought some of my hubs were funny and I was a pretty good writer, I would know he is being totally forthright.
I would think he was mistaken about God-- and he might be mistaken about my hubs, but at least I would know he was being straight with me about what he really believes. MY hubs are IMMortal!
Jesus is the epitome of compassion. Did He tell white lies to make someone feel better?
I like that, who are we to tell someone their belief is wrong?
A person that truly has faith in God and that his reward is in heaven can no be dissuaded by anyone. Besides an atheist does not believe in anything, so what truth could they offer a dying man?
Coward that I am, I think I would be evasive. I would give a big hug and change the subject. I had a brother who died of a rare form of cancer. His religious beliefs were totally different from mine. Had I been at his death bed, I can believe he would have tried to "convert" me to his faith, and so I can understand the question originally posed. I would not, could not, lie to him, but I also could not tell him he was wrong. All I would be able to do is to assure him of my love.
Here is a twist
What would you do in this situation:
I'm an atheist (obviously). Not long after my daughter passed away, an old friend (now EX-friend) told me, with every bit of compassion, that she would care for my little girl for me in heaven, forever and ever amen & what-not.
Then she said, "I won't even tell her why you're not in heaven with us. She doesn't need to know you are in hell. I will try to teach her that you are a good person anyway."
Normally this wouldn't make me blink an eye, but this was a person who knows my beliefs, and she hit me with this song and dance knowing that I was still very much grieving.
(BTW- I would not lie - I've been in this exact situation, where a dying person asked me this question. I did do a little dodge: I asked the person what she thought about it. It worked out good - it gave her a chance to talk it through.)
I would not answer them with what I may believe, but would say to this person, I know god is in your heart, and the time has come for you to be in his arms for eternity.
To wyanjam -- I cannot believe the cruelty! Isn't the Golden Rule "Do unto others as they would do unto you"?
Not exactly-- It's "as you would have them do unto you." I like people to tell me the truth, personally.
I would simply try to comfort them by saying that one's faith or beliefs is a personal journey and that no two journeys are the same. I would look them square in the eyes and tell them to hold firm in whatever they chose to believe for that is THEIR truth and I would be nearby as they made those final steps of their journey.
I believe that to argue a dying person's spirituality with them on their death bed is unconscionable. But my belief system also considers proselytizing to be sinful.
There's being outspoken, and there's being an atheist (or whatever kind of believer, doubter, or non-believer someone is). Being outspoken doesn't necessarily mean someone can't ever button his lip when it's appropriate. Being an atheist doesn't necessarily mean being cruel, either.
I pretty much think it would be a rare person who'd get into that kind of thing when someone was on his deathbed.
Jewels had a good point about how people are going to believe what they believe, no matter who says what; so in a way, the deathbed matter would more be a matter of how imprudent and inappropriate it would be to get into a debate about anything with a person on his deathbed. Besides, if whether someone thinks it's "lights out" when we die or thinks they're heading to another life, most people have already made some peace with the inevitable as they see it. Most people who are truly on their deathbed aren't about to be debating anything anyway - so there's that too.
Yeah, because that's just the kind of spiteful person I am and if they asked for some morphine, I say shut it!!!!!!! and I'll just add a LOL!
I agree...I would tell them the moon was made of cheese if that would help ease their passing. Their welfare should be more important then morality at that particular time.
Saying..."Well, I don't want to lie to you so the answer is no, there isn't life after death...to bad you went all your life believing that; Now...I've told you the truth, (Even though this may not be the truth, only what I believe,) you're worm-dirt.
Seem's cruel. Compassion shouldn't be restricted to religious people.
It doesn't seem cruel, it is cruel.
And it's got nothing to do with religious people. It's got everything to do with arrogance and pride, which are things that arrogant and prideful people don't know how to cast aside in the face of another's need.
It isn't even just cruel and arrogant (and the rest). It isn't even reasonable thinking.
I mean, suppose "Fred" is on his way out in a matter of hours; and suppose I'm an atheist and he isn't. If Fred is right, he'll discover he was right and I was wrong - so the last things I said to Fred would have been wasted, empty, untrue, words.
If Fred is the atheist and I'm not one who isn't, and if I harp on how Fred had better shape up and get ready for his after-life and whatever else I think there is; if Fred is right and I'm wrong that would mean the last human interaction Fred on in his life was my harping on what would turn out to be wrong (before it was "lights out" for Fred forever).
The only other scenario might be that Fred is the atheist, and I'm the believer. I harp at the end of Fred's Earthly life, make him feel aggravated or otherwise rotten about what's going on in last hours on Earth, and it turns out Fred discovers he was wrong, and he's actually "meeting his maker". Even if that were the case, what goes on beyond a person and his "maker" is his own, personal, business. I don't think it would make whit of difference to Fred's "maker" that Fred had someone who tried to make him "see the light". In the meantime, Fred could look back/down on his last minutes on Earth (when he had some shred of mental peace before dealing with whatever he would later face) and think, "That rotten person took away my last moments of peace before I came to this afterlife." I don't think any "maker" wants anyone appointing themselves "savior" of their fellow man. In fact, I have a feeling if any human beings appoint themselves "savior" of others there's a good chance they're the ones in for a shock if there's an after-life.
Well - lets see what the OP was attempting to do with this question:
Clearly a contrived question. As I said - I would be honest and not offer false comfort. What possible difference could that make? Their last few minutes based on what an atheist said? I think not.
It is kinda like giving a death row inmate their meal of choice before death. A sign of respect to put that person in some state of comfort considering it's their last day/days, no matter whether you disagree with them or not, you still give them the meal of their choice.
My understanding was the person dying was a religious person and the one comforting an atheist...In this situation, If you love this person, why not tell them what they're begging to hear?
Screw the moral implications at that instants...face the lie later if you must, don't face the look in your loved one's eyes as you tell him he's a fool.
I would listen to them but I do not try to change another person's belief. They believe what they believe and I believed what I believe.
What if the person thought they were going to burn in hell for living a bad life and they were highly stressed, would you try to tell them different? thanks
The person who is dying only want reassurance. If I were and unbeleiver, I would just say I don't know. Because that would be the truth. Noone who is atheist knows for sure. So just responding honestly by saying I don't know would be the best answer.
The person who dies whether good or bad, has all the deeds recorded in his/her soul. The heaven or hell is just an inbetween feeling to the departed soul. If the soul has more negatives recorded in it during its life time, it feels uneasiness and torture until it enters or takes birth in the next body. That is hell. Thinking about heaven is nothing but thinking positive. So, without hesitation give assurance to him that he will be taken to heaven.
The ultimate goal of all living or non-living things is liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Indians call it as moksha. Whatever matter, living or non-living thing that exists on earth is still not free from this cycle of birth and death. Only the good deeds and positive thinking during its lifetime as human being can take it to moksha. This moksha is attained by selfless thinking and helping to survive. The person may belong to any country, any religion, any race. But he must be an ideal person, ready to help or sacrifice for the sake of the people and animals in this mortal world.
When earth gets destroyed, everything is destroyed. But they take birth again, once the footprints of life starts back on earth. Every thing takes birth again and again until they get liberated. They are all in different forms because the proportions of air, water, fire, earth, and space(or ether) are different in them.
Someone on their deathbed? I'd tell em whatever they wanted to hear, and whatever I knew would bring them comfort. Its not my personal beliefs that are important at such a time, its their comfort and peace of mind. Heck, I'd tell em that they looked beautiful in their new yellow prom dress and that johnny is gona flip when he sees em, if thats the direction they were going in their mind. Having worked with the sick and dying for many years, I know that the act of dying is no picnic...no, not at all. So why not make it as easy as possible for em? Yeah..I am a self important SOB, but not so much so that I cant later deal with a momentary lapse of honesty on my part when Im talking to a dying man (or woman).
their faith is their faith, sometimes i point out the difference between faith and organised religion. Religion is the structure, faith is the link or connection to what you think god or your creator maybe. Or thats how I define it at times.
I would say this, "Please share with me all that you'd like to pass along to me as I want to hear all about your thoughts"
They no doubt would talk and if not I'd ask them to tell me about their fondest memory. It would be my desire to have them leave in the most positive state of mind possible. Good energy!
It is none of my business what anyone believes nor none of my business what others opinions are. It's simple for me to stay out of something I know nothing of. I know nothing of being on my death bed and therefore just listen.
Imagine what I might hear and take away from such an experience I certainly would not allow my mindless babble to interfere with that.
I have sat at bed side with numbers of dieing loved ones.
I truly beleive that they knew everything was coming to the end for them. If they ask me a question I know that they deserve "THE truth" as to what I thought, or they would not have asked. We do not know what their thinking was at the time that they asked. SO ,,, give them the truth as delicately as possible. I say this for your benefit and not for theirs.
You do not want to feel guilty later for being inconsiderate. But if they ask ?
Did they want an honest answer ?
Don't be self minded; take all of the above into consideration. And be nice.
That is what I think !
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