Here is a lovely little bit of spin from The Guardian:
“Doctors who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to take decisions that might shorten the life of somebody who is terminally ill as doctors who are deeply religious – and doctors with strong religious convictions are less likely even to discuss such decisions with the patient, according to Professor Clive Seale, from the centre for health sciences at Barts and the London school of medicine and dentistry.”
The Guardian has taken a study that puts religious doctors in a bad light, and twisted it to make atheist doctors look like they’re going to kill you. The not so subtle message they’re trying to send is “Atheists don’t care about human life because they are less moral than religious doctors, and thus they have fewer qualms about killing you.” What the original study highlighted was the fact that religious doctors are more likely to try and prolong a person’s suffering, regardless of the patient’s wishes. “doctors with strong religious convictions are less likely even to discuss such decisions with the patient…”, whereas an atheist doctor is twice as likely to be open an honest with the patient while understanding that at some point you’re not prolonging life as much as you’re prolonging dying. Way to go Guardian, way to go….
Personally, I’d refuse to see a doctor who held strong religious convictions. I don’t want somebody who thinks their patients will go to heaven if they mess up. More importantly I want a doctor who makes judgments based on the evidence presented to him, not on faith. I also don’t want a doctor deceiving me on all the possible treatment options because they happen to have religious convictions against some of them. I think it’s really ironic that religious doctors would fight so hard to prolong a person’s death. What are they afraid of? According to them the person will be going to a place of eternal happiness. Why delay them? (The fact is, death really scares religious people. That’s why they’ve invented this comforting delusion that when they die, they don’t really die.) The whole thing really makes me wonder about how they value life. It seems to me they value life in the sense that life is anything “alive”, and I use alive very loosely.
A perfect example is the Terri Schiavo case.
Back in 1990 Terri collapsed in her home from cardiac arrest and suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. Doctors examined her and declared her a vegetable. They tried for two years to bring her back, despite her vegetable status, but nothing worked. He grieving husband finally had to make the decision to pull the plug and let his wife go. Terri’s parents, however, didn’t want to let go. They prolonged the battle another 13 years. When a Florida judge finally said enough is enough, and ordered the plug pulled, the pro-“life” movement swung into action along with the rest of conservative America.
Thankfully the pro-“life” side lost and Terri was let go; the 15 year long nightmare ended. After Terri’s death doctors preformed an autopsy and confirmed that Terri had been a vegetable all along. There is a big difference between being “alive” and “living”. An unconscious organism is technically alive, yes, but it is not living. To the pro-“lifers”, the bar for living is set so low, that anything alive needs to be protected. If they want to keep comatose people going and prevent women from aborting a mass of cells in her womb, then by their standards they should decry the use of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer. They should see farmers harvesting their crops as genocidal maniacs. Seriously, if we’re going to set the bar for “life” this low, you might as well be consistent.