If Heaven is so great why are so many Christians reluctant to go there?

Spend any amount of time talking with a True Believer™ about their religious outlook and eventually they’ll get around to raving about how awesome Heaven will be. Each one will have a slightly different viewpoint on what exactly Heaven will be like, but they all agree it’s the best thing you could ever hope to experience and they simply can’t wait to get there. You’d think, given all the excitement they express over it, that this would mean they’d be less likely to seek out aggressive medical care at the end of their lives. Surely with such a great thing waiting for them on the other side they’d be more than happy to die sooner rather than later, but as it turns out that’s often not the case at all.

The Boston Globe reports on a study done at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and five other sites in which Boston researchers found that the more religious the terminal patients were the more likely they’d be to demand everything be done to keep them alive as long as possible:

The patients who leaned the most heavily on their faith were nearly three times more likely to choose and receive more aggressive care near death, such as ventilators or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They were less likely to have advanced care planning in place, such as do-not-resuscitate orders, living wills, and healthcare proxies.

“These results suggest that relying upon religion to cope with terminal cancer may contribute to receiving aggressive medical care near death,” the authors write in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. “Because aggressive end-of-life cancer care has been associated with poor quality of death . . . intensive end-of-life care might represent a negative outcome for religious copers.”

Cancer is a particularly painful way to die. It’s been the cause of death for a good number of my relatives so I’ve seen what it’s like. There’s a good chance it’ll be how I end up passing away if I don’t get hit by a bus. In short, it’s hard to imagine how anyone who is dieing from cancer, and who expects something as wonderful as Heaven is supposed to be to be waiting for them once they kick the bucket, could possibly want to draw out the experience.

The best I can come up with is that they’re worried they haven’t earned access to Heaven yet. Either through some action or inaction that they always meant to get around to or perhaps there’s some sin they’re not completely sure God will forgive them for or maybe it’s simple insecurity. It does seem odd, though, that the people most certain that Heaven does exist and that they’ve made the proper choice of which religion to believe in would be so reluctant to put that faith to the ultimate test. I claim no certainty that there isn’t God(s) or an afterlife, I don’t believe either proposition to be true, but I wouldn’t claim to be absolutely certain about it as some TB’s would about their beliefs that there are. I believe death brings only non-existence, which some people consider a fate worse than Hell. Yet I can assure you that if I were to develop terminal cancer I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of time and money trying to live as long as possible.

The Boston study confirms something I’ve long suspected about many True Believers™. That a good number of them have a very strong fear of death in spite of what they believe it’ll bring to them and in contradiction to what they claim. It’s certainly an interesting enigma.

SEB Mailbag: Calling you out in a highly profane way edition.

Got this one this morning, but was unable to post it then due to the aforementioned traffic issues:

From: Greg Garcia
Subject: Hi Les

So you don’t believe in Jesus…


Do you want to follow a crazy man for just a short amount of time. Or are you just one of those lazy people who simply want to take as much as they can from the seemingly stupid people around themselves.

I took the time to become Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Gamma Sigma so I am “know?!?” fuck’in Idiot unless you see that ID I OT has something to say about intelligent design and the Old Testament.

I am calling you out not for Jesus but AS.

Are you Fuck’in up for it my friend – oh an by that I don’t mean you are fucking up.
I just think you have not been given the chance with all the bullshit out there to see something written in stone as promised.

BTW you aren’t one of those assholes who’s done mean and nasty shit to other people. Now I know we all have our moments we wish we could take back … I’M not talking about that.

The ball is in Your court I’ll give you stuff you can take to the bank.
The bank may tell you to fuck off … it a metaphor … what do you want a picture!!!

Don’t be a pussy … write me back.

Not quite the language you would expect from … well me.
Have a blessed DAY!

I’ve not written back yet. Don’t know if I’ll bother when I could be playing WoW or CoD. I do like the fact that he’s trying to speak to me in a language I understand, though. That’s a nice touch though I don’t know if Jesus would approve.

That Jesus guy is everywhere!

This is a compilation of various news reports on Jesus and/or his mom showing up in random objects:

Couple of things struck me as I watched this. First is the fact that it doesn’t take much for a True Believer™ to declare something as being a miracle. Finding a rock that vaguely resembles Jesus is enough to qualify. Second is how many of these video clips are from news stations in the south. Now that could possibly be due to the person putting it together only having access to clips from the south, but given the higher level of religiosity in the south it’s easy to assume that it’s entirely representative of what they’re focused on down there.

Nutcases think Obama is either Hitler or the Antichrist.

You really can’t out-crazy the True Believers™ because they’re not living in the same reality you are. You can get a certain amount of amusement out of pitting them against one another though, as shown in this segment from The Daily Show:

I can’t tell you the number of face palms I did while watching that segment. The fact that Jason Jones didn’t even have to pretend to be taking them seriously in order for them to spout their insanity says a lot. The fact that CNN and Faux News gave these idiots airtime is frightening.

Found over at Boulder Dude’s blog.

Iraqi woman orders the rapes of 80 women to make them into suicide bombers.

Here is what unwaivering belief in a paradise in the afterlife can lead someone to do:

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women’‘, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,’’ he said.

Got that? This Muslim woman is so convinced that Allah is real instead of just a figment of her imagination that she ordered 80 of her fellow women to be raped specifically so they would be vulnerable to being pressured into becoming suicide bombers. She not only was convinced that suicide bombing was justified by her religion, but she felt justified in having her fellow Muslim women raped to further the cause she believed in. She is so convinced of the rightness of what she’s done in the name of Allah that she’s confessed to the crimes on video. She sees nothing wrong with it. It was a necessary thing to do because women are less likely to be searched at checkpoints making them more likely to get through with explosives under their robes.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could consider this even remotely conscionable, yet here’s someone who’s convinced it was perfectly reasonable because she believes in an invisible sky fairy who will reward the women in the afterlife even if their sacrifice was coerced through rape and manipulation. What’s a little rape and exploitation when Allah will reward them for eternity once they blow themselves up? Only a True Believer™ could think like that.

Church gives away free gasoline to “show God’s unconditional love.”

A North Carolina church decided to do unto others by giving away some free gas:

Manna Church in Fayetteville gave away $10,000 in gas—paying $1 a gallon of gas, up to $10 for drivers, no questions asked. The giveaway began at 11 a.m. and ended at 12:40 p.m.
NBC17 reporter Frank Graff said the line of cars, a rough estimate of about 200, wrapped around the gas station out onto the road starting at 10 a.m. Employees of the Kangaroo gas handed out bottles of water to drivers, said Graff.

The gas station went through 4,500 gallons of gas.

The church said the idea behind the gas giveaway is to show God’s love and to prove “that God’s love is unconditional, no questions asked.”

That’s cool and all, but unless God personally paid for the gas or, at the very least, was there working the pumps then it’s hard to imagine how this demonstrates God’s unconditional love. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very cool these folks gave away some free gas, but all that really says is that these folks are very generous.

Though if believing that this is what their God wants them to do gets them to do this more often then, by all means, continue to be a believer. If nothing else it keeps them busy and gives folks a little extra gas.

Thousands of idiots believe this Preacher can heal them and raise the dead.

Continuing on the topic of delusional True Believers™ brings us to this news item about a Canadian faith healer by the name of Todd Bentley who’s apparently enjoying quite a bit of popularity in Florida. He claims God has given him the power to heal the sick and raise the dead and the overly credulous are showing up in the thousands:

When Bentley performs healings, often wearing jeans and a T-shirt, aides bring the sick up both sides of an elaborate stage. The preacher’s assistants tell the audience each person’s condition and how far they came to be cured: from Europe, the West Coast, up to the Northeast and beyond.

Like a psychic, he will proclaim someone in the crowd has a particular kind of tumor, growth or affliction.

“Someone’s getting a new spinal cord tonight!” Bentley yelled in one service.

Apparently God will hand out a new spine, but so far there’s no reports of miraculous amputee limb regenerations. Which, honestly, would be very convincing indeed if it were to happen.

Instead what we get is a sideshow with a man who apparently can do anything to his followers and get away with it:

Critics circulate a YouTube video from Lakeland of him kneeing a supposed terminal stomach cancer patient in the abdomen, saying God told him to. In another clip, Bentley explains how he kicked an elderly lady in the face, choked a man, banged a crippled woman’s legs on a platform, “leg-dropped” a pastor and hit a man so hard it dislodged a tooth.

The criticism has grown so acute that Bentley addressed it directly on stage earlier this month. He said he has used those extreme methods only about 20 times in 10 years of preaching, and those cases were taken out of context. Each person was healed, not hurt, Bentley insisted.

“People just can’t understand why God would tell me something like, ‘Kick that woman in the face,’ who was not injured and hundreds were healed,” Bentley said. “Or the incident where I did hit a guy so hard one time that he did hit the ground and his tooth popped out.

“But what people don’t know is that he was a dentist. There’s a whole miracle that took place in his body. He was healed of cancer and he became a (ministry donor) after the incident of knocking his tooth out, because he knew it was God. And he said, ‘I never felt a thing.”’

You know you’re deep in the crazy when you get your tooth knocked out and think it somehow healed you of cancer. Maybe if it was tooth cancer and was confined to that one tooth I suppose, but otherwise you probably need your head examined. Though if getting your tooth knocked out didn’t knock some sense into you then psychiatry probably won’t do much for you either.

Bentley makes a lot of big claims and says he has victims believers whose cures have been medically verified. Needless to say such proof is hard to actually track down:

The claims of healing range from disappeared tumors to a man who says he can now see out of a glass eye. In more than 20 cases, Bentley says, his revival has even literally resurrected the dead. Such claims have been made by revivalists in the past, but they are not common and some Pentecostals reject them.

Expecting critics, Bentley’s ministry distributed a list of 15 people it said were cured, and vetted by his ministry, with all but three of their stories “medically verified.”

Yet two phone numbers given out by the ministry were wrong, six people did not return telephone messages and only two of the remainder, when reached by The Associated Press, said they had medical records as proof of their miracle cure. However, one woman would not make her physician available to confirm the findings, and the other’s doctor did not return calls despite the patient’s authorization.

Wow, 15 people with 12 supposed verifications out of how many thousands of fools that show up to his revivals? Even if he was actually healing people that’s not much of a success rate.

Not that that’ll stop the True Believers™ from flocking to his tent and throwing money at him in hopes of curing what ails them. Just a shame they don’t realize their real problem lies between their ears.

Piss poor Jesus image in slab of granite gets the TBs all excited.

Jesus’ self-portraits have been going downhill for awhile now, but this is just sad. I mean just look at the pathetic excuse for art he’s trying to pass off:

DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ―  Workers at a marble company in Dallas say they have a slab of natural granite that has the image of Jesus in it.

[…] Those who look at the 6×10 foot slab say they can see the head and arms of Jesus, along with either a belt, sword or glowing book.

The company has pulled the slab from its inventory and put it on display.

[…] The company owners say they feel blessed to have the piece and hope to sell it and donate the proceeds to a struggling church in Madill, Oklahoma.

It looks to me like Jesus is trying for the “Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite” look. One of the worst pareidolias of the year. But at least they’re going to donate the money they get from selling this thing. Too bad it’s going to a church and not something useful like curing cancer.

Once again prayer fails to save a young man’s life.

16-year-old Neil Beagley died of heart failure thanks to an untreated urinary tract blockage:

He probably had a congenital condition that constricted his urinary tract where the bladder empties into the urethra, and the condition of his organs indicates that he had multiple blockages during his life, said Dr. Clifford Nelson, deputy state medical examiner for Clackamas County.

“You just build up so much urea in your bloodstream that it begins to poison your organs, and the heart is particularly susceptible,” Nelson said.

Nelson said a catheter would have saved the boy’s life. If the condition had been dealt with earlier, a urologist could easily have removed the blockage and avoided the kidney damage that came with the repeated illnesses, Nelson said.

In short, the kid died because he couldn’t piss and reports have it he refused medical treatment in favor of prayer. It probably won’t be prosecuted as a crime because in Oregon the law allows anyone 14 years or older to refuse medical treatment. The same can’t be said of the boy’s cousin, though, who has also fallen victim to people who think prayer actually does something:

In March, the boy’s 15-month-old cousin Ava Worthington died at home from bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection.

Her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, also belong to the church. They have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminal mistreatment, and their defense attorneys have indicated that they will use a religious freedom defense.

I find it odd that so many True Believers™ will protest abortion because every life is sacred, but apparently not sacred enough for some to seek simple medical treatment for their kids. Abortion is murder, but not getting your kid a catheter is just God’s way of saying his time has come.

Man stomps his toddler son to death to “get the demons out.”

Police ID father killed as he beat son to death ‘to get demons out’ – USATODAY.com

The California man killed by police as he calmly beat his 2-year-old son to death Saturday night told motorists who tried to intervene that he had “to get the demons out” of the boy because he was “trash,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Sergio Casian Aguilar, 27, from Turlock (“The City of God”), was shot to death by a Modesto police officer as he punched and stomped his son on a country road in Stanislaus County. The child, who has not been identified, was beaten beyond recognition.

Police don’t know what prompted the killing. Toxicology reports from Aguilar’s autopsy won’t be available for several weeks. He had no criminal record, the sheriff’s department said.

Aguilar continued to beat his son as the police officer arrived in a helicopter and ordered him at gunpoint to stop. Aguilar was killed with a single shot.

“He wasn’t acting like a crazy person, running around or screaming,” said witness Lisa Mota. “He said, ‘I’ve just got to get the demons out of him.’ He was very calm.’ “

It’s possible this guy was just nuts and that’s that, but it sounds like a religious fueled delusion to me. Either way it amazes me what people can do to their own children.