A Not So Grim Reaper


Hemant Mehta, who posts the chart above, turns to an excerpt from sociologist Ryan T. Cragun’s new book, What You Don’t Know about Religion (but Should) to support his case that atheists die “better” than the religious:

A growing body of evidence seems to support the idea that the nonreligious have an easier time coping with death than do the religious, at least with their own mortality. Religious people appear to be more afraid of death than are nonreligious people. Nonreligious people are less likely to use aggressive means to extend their lives and exhibit less anxiety about dying than do religious people. That seems remarkably counterintuitive since the nonreligious are much less likely to believe in an afterlife, which is supposed to help people cope with death. But factor in that religious people are contemplating their eternal fate and it begins to make more sense. Even if they have done everything their religion says they are supposed to do, there is always a bit of uncertainty about where they might end up. As a result, religious people appear to have a greater fear of dying than do nonreligious people.

In a related video post, Mehta answers questions about what atheists believe happens when the fateful day comes:

Related Dish coverage of atheist funerals here.