How would you comfort a dying atheist? - page 9

Also, do you think it is okay to respect the religious views of other family members , like praying, last rites... if they insist it be done?... Read More

  1. 5
    As an atheist, the most insulting thing you could do to me on my deathbed would be to perform last rites or some other ritual to appease my family members or your own sense of spiritual justice. I am extremely offended when people think that I am going to "convert" on my deathbed or if they told me "god will forgive you." I just don't understand how people cannot fathom that some of us just don't buy into religion.

    This may be difficult for some to understand but I find more comfort and solace in the fact that death is the end of my existance and a final resting place. I have never felt more at peace with myself when I came to my own understanding that this world is all their is, and that when it is my time to go, I will return to the earth and time will move forward just like it did before I was born. There is no special place for me to go, and I am just a single blip on time's radar. I am not afraid of death and non-existance. Sometimes I wonder and even think that as atheist, I am more comfortable with death then many theists. I am more afraid of pain or suffering or discomfort (such as gasping for breath), so comfort measures to make my passing as comfortable and as dignified as possible would be the best for me.
    BluegrassRN, Merlyn, skyegirl, and 2 others like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 3
    Sagremus, you bring up a good point about receiving comfort as a dying patient. Worse than comforting, these religious fanatics are torturing dying people. I wonder how these self-appointed ministers would feel if they were hospitalized, tethered to tubes and lines, unable to breathe easily--let alone speak in their own defense--and a member of another religion stood and subjected them to prayers, chants, lectures, smoldering incense, or condescending remarks about how pitiful they were and how sorry they felt that the poor patient was doomed to hell for not believing the 'right' doctrines?

    I'm a fully capable, healthy person, quite able to verbally defend myself. But, I can feel my blood pressure rising and my heart racing when confronted by political or religious zealots who tell me how wrong I am in my positions or beliefs. I can only imagine the anxiety and torture I'd feel if I were hospitalized and dying, and some nurse (or doctor, or tech) came in to 'save' me. Talk about torturing a patient!!! I'd rather have bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails than hear the gospel of another religion or why my politics are so wrong.
    BluegrassRN, skyegirl, and aprilmbou like this.
  3. 3
    While I wasn't terminal. I did find myself gravely ill in the hospital and in significant pain. At some point, when they were pumping me with tons of fluids (9L or something in a day), I was afraid I'd end up in shock and would die. I didn't. I did wonder how I would feel about being put on life support at that point, if things got worse (and there was a reasonable chance of recovery). But, at no point did the idea of a deity cross my mind. I did realize there wasn't anything for me to do in the situation, which helped me relax and not worry too much. I think I would have been confused if someone tried to offer me "spiritual" help, I really do forget that some people truly believe in supernatural stuff.

    But, for taking care of me while dying, I think the important things are making sure the immediate needs are met (pain, physically comfortable, breathing comfortably). I still don't have a living will made up, but, perhaps there would have been a time to discuss that stuff. (Mentally, I'm sure I was not that capable of making real decisions, but I'm sure at least my wishes could have been understood).

    After I die, I really don't care what people chose to do with my body. If my family (not sure why since they're mostly nonbelievers) decided to have "spiritual" stuff done postmortem, it really wound't affect me at all.
    BluegrassRN, skyegirl, and aprilmbou like this.
  4. 1
    Yeah...why would you treat a dying atheist ANY different than anyone else? Do you go in trying to convert a dying Muslim or respectfully let him/her go in their own way? Please God, give me an atheist nurse when I die!
    Patti_RN likes this.
  5. 0
    Had a ex tell me about a patient that was in her room crying. A pastor had just told her she was going to hell unless she repented now before it was too late. Obviously, this is a wrong thing to do but the last thing I want is for my nurse to spout religious junk because they want to feel better.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors