This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Religion as "comfort" to people in distress: fact or myth?

ccw95005's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by ccw95005

Of course some people receive comfort from their religion. Just because many of us here feel that a belief in any religion is ridiculous, we don't have to pretend that religion is 100% bad - that it offers no benefit to its followers. I think that religion, played in the background as believers go through their lives, makes it easier for some of them to get through the night. Of course it's those who are most frightened by death and by an impersonal universe who are susceptible to the solace of religion, because they need that reassurance to calm their fears.

What's interesting to me is to consider what must go through their minds as the end actually approaches and they know that their death is imminent. Belief in the possibility of heaven must offer some comfort, but at the same time they must wonder 1) if they've made the cut - if they had lived a good enough life to make it through the pearly gates, and 2) how real all that stuff about eternal life really is. No matter how many people assure them that heaven awaits, no matter how they try to reassure themselves, it must seem awfully dicey - this idea that your soul goes to heaven to be with God when you die.

That's why I suspect that atheists die with greater calm and dignity than the faithful. But I'm only guessing about that.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 06:51:13 UTC | #937139