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Why should we save people?

  1. Dec 29, 2006 #1
    Hello everybody,
    Many of the religions belive that when a person dies, he / she has actually reached a level of superiority,

    If so why should the doctors save people? why don't they let it to the patients fortune? or why don't we kill each other?

    Well this question no doubt sounds horrible but the reason to ask is;
    One of my mom's patients had died during pregnancy due to stipseny (Blood infection) & she was quite depressed so as we were trying to make her forget it and return to normal we started saying things like she's in heaven etc. So she asked the question above, If I was going to say say the following 3 replies which are very much correct she would even get more deppresed...

    What can be a type of satisfying answer???

    I'll be thankfull for the answer
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2006 #2

    Doc Al

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    You are pointing out one of the very real problems the world would face if people take their religion seriously.
  4. Dec 29, 2006 #3
    You mean like blowing themselves up to get to heaven? I think you can remove "would face if" and replace it with "do face when". Extremists at anything are a little frightening. :confused:
  5. Dec 29, 2006 #4
    Your question seems to be based on the premise that a hopeful view of heaven would logically lead a person to sit passively by and let injuries go untreated or nature run its course. Obviously, this is an incorrect premise, evidenced by the fact that hundreds of thousands of doctors PRACTICE their religion daily in the care they give their patients. In the same way religious based hospices tend the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their clients as those same clients "leave it to fortune" and let nature run its course. Clearly, the reality is that religion (regardless of its optimistic view of the afterlife) serves more as the MOTIVE for humanitarian service of others than an argument against it.

    This is true because, while the practitioners of most religions DO hope for an afterlife of peace, joy, lack of suffering, etc., they are ALSO taught to show compassion, love, kindness, mercy, etc. toward others. Thus, religions generally teach both the hope of the future, which causes the believer to look forward to death, AND peace, mercy, etc. which causes the believer to look around for opportunities to serve others in life. Additionally, the two ideas are woven together in such a way that the conundrum you're suggesting in your post almost never occures. (i.e., doctors rarely sit idle as their patients die because they think the patient will just go to heaven anyway.)

    You also ask, "why don't we kill each other?" Simply look around you. Killing each other is a worldwide, equal opportunity pastime! True, the killing is often committed by "religious" people in the name of their gods. Yet it is just as often committed by moderately religious or even non-religious people for more mundane reasons; greed, passion, revenge, opportunity, money, hatred, etc. In addition, the point should be made that a vast number of those who kill in the name of religion are, in fact, killing for mundane reasons, yet justify their actions with religious rhetoric. They are, in fact, aware of their true motives, but are hiding behind or "using" religion as an excuse because they feel it somehow suits their needs at the moment.

    Personally, I view those situations where 'religious' people kill others in the name of their god, or where 'religious' people kill others to speed them on their way to heaven or hell, as 'rationalizations' and 'mental gymnastics' rather than proper rationale or logic. When I hear of people chanting, "God hates fags!" at funerals, or "Jesus loves the little children" as they vandalize or distroy abortion clinics, or shout "Allah Akbar" (God is great) as they detonate their themselves in crowded markets, I cannot help but think that the basic and mundane "human" condition of hatred plays a larger role in their actions than does the teachings of their religion.
  6. Jan 7, 2007 #5

    Another God

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    I have considered this problem many times myself. I am confident I know why it doesn't happen in reality, but the explanation provided for it is far from satisfying.

    As far as my understanding goes, for christians, the basis for helping keep people alive and not killing people, is because God gave you life and it is sacred and a gift etc etc, and it is therefore to be revered. And so we should fight for it. We are rewarded after life, but it is life itself which is Gods glody... or something. I'm not christian, so I am trying to piece the concepts together from what I know.

    A better answer involves accepting that Heaven is not real, and God is man made, but thats another issue.
  7. Jan 7, 2007 #6
    And that in telling her that, you void telling her that she went to heaven in the first place.

  8. Jan 8, 2007 #7

    Another God

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    Which is why you should avoid that problem to begin with :)

    Irrational 'makes you feel good' claims are harder to uphold than the truth, and hence easily crash down into 'lies make you feel REALLY bad'
  9. Jan 8, 2007 #8
    I dont know what to tell you there, I dont really believe in christianity because we dont know anything about god and all that. We are pretty stupid when it comes to knowing where we came from and where were going.
  10. Jan 9, 2007 #9


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    People are more than welcome to kill themselves, but religions usually set up an enemy, and the enemy are usually bad and deserve punishment, and punishing the enemy is really good.

    Even modern Christianity has this element with homosexuals and abortion.

    Religion forces one to take sides on the issue of meaning, and leads one to force that choice on others.
  11. Jan 9, 2007 #10

    The key word is 'belief'. We do not know whether death is blissful or painful. So if one is having a good life here on Earth, why take the risk that death is painful. If one is having a painful life on Earth, well then, they may think 'death must be better than this', so they may take the risk and commit suicide. I know that is a simplistic arguement, but I really don't see the need for a more complex alternative. Personally, I find most aspect of life blissful and those that are painful just serve as contrast to make a following blissful experience just that more blissful by comparison. You know, like the archetypal Ying-Yang principle.
  12. Jan 10, 2007 #11
    Verty, there are a few problems here. Christians are not moved to set up an enemy when they commit their lives to follow Jesus Christ. They become convicted that God has revealed himself to us in the Bible. They confess that they are sinful and need forgiveness from God. They sincerely repent and humbly accept the forgiveness offered through Jesus' death on their behalf, and ask that God will help them by his spirit to live as they ought. This involves saying no to the old ways (selfishness), and living to serve God and all people.

    It has nothing to do with setting up enemies. You seem to be confusing this with the fact that the God of the Bible declares certain things to be objectively good and other things objectively bad. Relativists (I am yet to meet a consistent one) have a problem with the idea of objective truth, and hence also of an objective standard. Ironically, the Relativist breaks his/her own rules by making universal claims, such as that there is no objective truth. And even the most staunch Atheist appeals to the commonly accepted notion of 'ought', which Atheism rejects. When it comes down to it, nobody can live consistently with the idea that there are no objective standards.

    It is not extraordinary that, given any standard, there will be some on one side of it, and some on the other side. Christians do not set up an enemy in those who fail to live up to the Bible's standards -- after all, to be a Christian is to recognise that no-one has lived up to that standard completely. Nor does the the Christian set up an enemy in those who openly reject Biblical teaching (e.g. advocates of Pro-choice). The Christian's ethical position on abortion is no more "adversarial" or "arrogant" than the view that opposes it; each view makes just as strong a claim to an objective standard as the other. For the claim that Abortion is permissible in certain situations prompts the response Is it? On what basis?. Neither position can be proved or disproved. Curiously, the Pro-choice position acknowledges the Biblical idea of the sanctity of human life, but rests precariously on the assumption that foetuses aren't yet human. The practice of partial birth abortions is arguably farscical. Arguments for or against Abortion (as a "right"), can have nothing to do with the unfortunate circumstance of a woman being raped, or the couple who are careless enough to not use protection when they are seeking to avoid pregnancy -- these are not reasons for a "right" to terminate a pregnancy. For the appeal to a "right" is a claim about things that are much bigger than those issues.

    On the issue of abortion, or any other ethical issue at all, it is interesting to consider what follows logically from all dogma being of human origin. What is the essence of "Good"? Is it whatever is most commonly accepted? most helpful to society? most necessary for the the survival of humanity? And what are the reasons for adopting it? (It is argued that human instinct is the common denominator and the reason to think our lives are worthwhile. But which instinct? The instinct to help someone who is vulnerable in the path of moving traffic, or the instinct to stay off the road for self preservation? There are many instincts, many of which would contradict each other at different times. What is the grounds to appeal to one instinct over any other? In its rationale, Utilitarianism boils down to arbitrary nonsense. It is also a recipe for the misuse of power: in practice, Utilitarianism has always led to brutal oppression at the hands of a ruthless dictatorship.)

    Verty, as for religion forcing people to take sides on the issue of meaning -- what on Earth is that about? Are you simply referring to what happens when you take a human, add an elementary worldview, allow the human various sense experiences, wait for interpretation and inference to occur, and see if this gives birth to a thought? This is what we all do, and quite naturally too, I assure you!

    And what of "[forcing] that choice on others"? Take, for example, the Christian view that God created everything, and brought humans into being for relationship with him. Am I forcing you to take sides on the issue of the meaning of our existence? I don't feel like I'm forcing you to do anything! Asking that question is what thinking people have always done. Maybe what you mean is that some "religious" people have tried to impress their views upon you with undue force. And perhaps that is the case. What is not the case, however, is that Christianity strips people of their liberty. On the contrary, Christianity is the very root of modern freedom in the Western world, and provides the best case I know for arguing the value of personal choice. In any social group, there are people who are an embarrassment to their cause. What stands out about Christianity over the centuries is the number of positive examples of committed Christians, and the impact they have had for the good of people all over the world. Christians have always pioneered for just causes at the cost of personal hardship and, often, their lives.

    It does not do your argument any service to make blatantly false, over-generalised, unthinking remarks. I am happy for you to respond to anything I've said if you are interested in sensible discussion.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  13. Jan 10, 2007 #12


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    I only wished to make my opinion known, not to enter a discussion.
  14. Jan 10, 2007 #13
    You are correct sir. But don't try to convince religious people of this because they will quote you some righteous verse that they do not follow but will pretend to follow. All religions are flawed, especially the older ones because their central tenets and beliefs are rooted in the past and have been set in stone for 1000s of years, while the evolution of the human mind and sciences have grown ever since. Why do people need a religion to tell them what is right and what is wrong? Have they no minds of their own? Apparently.
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