Why do “pious” fight death the hardest?

It turns out that those defined as “religious” have a greater desire to prolong life when death seems imminent.  A study that examined 345 patients with terminal cancer found that a religious person was three times more likely to have intensive life-prolonging care than a non-religious person.

Here are a few observations from this study:

First, it is interesting how the study defines “religious.”  The study determined that those “who regularly used prayer or meditation for support” were considered religious.  Is this really an accurate definition of religious?  Many will pray when there seems to be no other option available even if they do not hold religious beliefs.  Also, meditation is used by religious and non-religious alike as a calming or relaxation technique.

Secondly, it turns out that those doing the study are against fighting death.  They point out that prolonging life can, in the end, make death more uncomfortable.  This is probably true at times, but is it always true?  Should a person or a family make a decision based upon what is often true or what is appropriate for their particular situation?

Lastly, it should be no surprise, at least for Christians, that they would fight death the hardest.  After all, a true biblical understanding of death tells us that it is not they way things are supposed to be.  God gave us life and we are meant to live.  It is only as a result of our sin that death entered this world.  We, along with all of creation, long for the day when the curse of sin and death will be removed and we, along with all of creation, will be renewed and given eternal life.

Life is a precious gift from God and it is to be cherished above all things.  It is only natural to attempt to extend it as long as possible.  Is there a time to say “enough?”  Yes.  But do not criticize those who desire to live.

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3 Responses to Why do “pious” fight death the hardest?

  1. jonyork1958 says:

    I want to see the rapture of the church! I know we’ll see it either way but … Woo hoo!!! From this side’s gotta be cool.

    For the believer crossing over is only to go through the valley of the shadow … you know … of death. It’s just a shadow.

    But someone put it this way, Born once – die twice. Born twice – die once.

    It’s a pity in the last Blog Post poll only shows 9% have made reservations.

  2. Shannon says:

    Well, Tim, as a fighter of cancer, you know I want to fight. I leave it to God ultimately. Having worried so much that cancer would be what takes me and then almost be taken in an instant by a cardiac arrest, was a big lesson. While it is human nature to worry about it, I am more at ease that the end will come when it comes and I don’t know the cause. God truly is in control. So instead I strive to have hope for today, right now. With this new challenge of a brain tumor which is just about unfathomable at the moment, I still know I will be more blessed and that God will allow me to minister to someone in their own trial…be it cancer or whatever.

    I pray God gives me years and years so I can grow old with Mike and see my children grow. But should that not happen, I hope they will be left with the legacy of hope that remains in God and His plan for all of us.

  3. Tim Farley says:


    Thank you your openness and personal insight. You touch on something that I did not even think of when I wrote this post. Our death is not only about us. It affects so many others. We must make our decisions based not only on self-interest, but having others in mind. God calls us not to be self-centered, but to love and serve others first. We should do this in life and in our death, which may mean we fight as long as we can because others need us to.

    I am encouraged by your fighting spirit and your refusal to lose hope. I know you trust that God has a plan for you and your cancer. We are praying for you. And we long to see you cancer-free.

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