G'day odin1,

Ah, the old "there are no atheists in a foxhole approach". Sorry to burst your bubble but I know of a great many people who became atheists as a result of being in a foxhole. The brutality of war often causes people to lose faith rather than to gain it, in my experience. I have lived a rather full life. That included being in the Army, the Navy and two different Police Forces.

I would suggest that your reasoning for being religious is seriously warped. No personal offence meant by this by the way. You simply are suggesting that why take the risk? A truly compassionate greater being would not care whether you believed in Him/Her, only that you were a good person and a really compassionate greater being would forgive those that were not even good people on the basis that the cards may have been stacked terribly against them, or through some quirck of nature they have too many dopomine recepters in their brain and prone to become addicts and not be able to escape from the addiction or whatever.

And if you are basing the worth of being religious on escaping endless nothingness then just what God should you choose? Each tend to be mutually exclusive. I rather like the appalllingly immoral sidekick in the Mummy movie where he, faced with a demigod, gets out a huge array of religious artifacts and says the appropriate prayer for each religion to them. In your world, hey presto, if he managed to prey to the right one and then was killed he would be saved. Of course, his repentance may not have been sincere and he might have to face the wrath of God for such insincerity. Funnily enough he does pray to the "right" God, by offering a Hebrew prayer and the Mummy spares his life. So at least in the movies it actually works!

You ask are their really any atheist on the death bed? I can speak only for myself and answer yes, they most certainly are. I've "died" twice and lost consciousness believing that I would not survive a couple of other times. I can clearly remember my thoughts just prior to unconsciousness and in none of these incidents did I repent, prey to any God, or do anything that would suggest that I might not be an atheist after all.

Now, you'd have to know my rather complicated medical history to understand that someone could even reach the stage where this sort of thing could happen to them and more than once, and perhaps by now you believe I'm making things up to score points.

I'm not by the way but you will have to take that on faith, because I am just not going to offer proof on a public forum such as this.

Here I am at 3.30am typing on this post deciding whether I should call an ambulance. I have a raging infection that has dramatically increased in the last several hours and now have chills and fevers. I tried a long time ago, when I was terribly depressed, suffering from unremitting pain and had just been accussed of being a drug addict and malinger and refused treatment at a major hospital, to commit suicide. As it turned out my condition was so bad I had no resources to do it aside from rolling into the path of a car. I considered this for a moment and then rejected it because the last thing I wanted was someone else to carry the quilt of killing someone, whether it was their fault or not. I had seen just how destructive such situations could be and was not prepared to cause such harm.

I thought I was doing the right thing, protecting my family from endless debts and pain upon pain. It is not just those that suffer a serious disability that feel pain. The pain and anguish this can cause to their family can actually be worse. The next day it was found out that a procedure had been stuffed up by a doctor destroying a number of spinal nerves and causing very high pain levels and over three weeks the pain at least was dialed back. My pyschiatrist saw me the next day and abused hell out of me. He did this for almost four hours. He really laid into me about how selfish I was and how much damage I would have done. He went into enormous detail of just how much damage a daughter suffers from a suiciding Dad when they are of the age of my youngest daughter, of the therapy they often need even when they are 50, and of the harm that a wife suffers and the very high potential for a second suicide because of guilt or the inability to ever relate to others again.

So suicide has never been an option for me after that, no matter how bad my condition gets or what setbacks occur. I'm not sure I have the strength to go on if my wife could no longer cope but otherwise I have kept my promise to my doctor.

But dying from my condition. That is completely different. If I go to the hospital right now they will probably save me from dying but not improve the infection I have by much at all or the underlying cause. What they will do is just make it harder for my wife to cope. The condition is likely to cause amputation in the near future and I've had enough operations to last several lifetimes. So while the fever worsens I'm writing this post rather than calling an ambulance. I personally believe this completely proves my point. I haven't for a moment thought that I should repent and prey to anyone.

Since we were served with eviction last week and only have electricity because we have a "no disconnection" order on our property, it is rather hard for me to see how our plight is going to improve any time soon.

But my family's certainly might. The current infection is due to very clear medical negligence. Legal experts have already been retained. My wife has a reasonably wealthy mother who would have no trouble providing housing for her. She wouldn't for me as well but she never did like me much and thinks I'm a lousy provider. She's actually quite right with that assessment. So sometimes doing nothing isn't a bad thing.

Because I worry so much about my wife, I'll probably call the ambulance eventually. I don't want to. But sometimes you have to do what you would rather not. Score another point for an atheist choosing to be good for no better reason than to limit harm to others.

Whether this post stays here or I remove it, I'll see. This is a painful post written while rational thought is perhaps not working very well.

It will certainly be the last post I make to this thread. I've said what I wanted to say and made the point that I believe in, mostly in my first post. There are a couple of people who know my actual identity on this site. DO NOT abuse that knowledge please.

Have faith. Do good. Be Happy.


Richard

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Sane=fits in. Unreasonable=world needs to fit to him. All Progress requires unreasonableness