Wednesday, September 6, 2017

There Are No Atheists in Foxholes

There are no theists in foxholes is a saying used to argue that during extreme stress or fear all people will believe in or wish for or hope for a higher power, and as such, there are no real atheists.

Well I beg to differ.

We must realize that sayings of this sort are actually designed by believers to strengthen the believers' stance rather than to truly suggest anything about nonbelievers. It is meant to suggest that there are actually no atheists for nonbelievers would finally accept the deity of choice during times of extreme trauma or stress. While I, on the other hand, find the whole idea truly repugnant. To suggest that a rational being would suddenly embrace religious dogma while under stress is such nonsense. 

This week I am sitting at the death bed of my mother who is dying of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, leukemia, and COPD. It is absolutely horrible.

Mom has so many friends who love her and who have been here visiting all week. Everyone is praying all over the place and Mom keeps saying how the medical interventions are Gifts from God. Today one woman told Mom All in God's time, Vonnie, for he is our strength.

Sometimes I want to just vomit at the empty platitudes. Usually I'm glad that someone is willing to say stuff like that to Mom because I can't bring myself to do it. Sometimes I close my eyes and roll them waaaay back in my head.
But mostly I'm just too exhausted to have any response whatsoever.

Mom does feel comforted when people say this and I'm certain that many people are, in fact, praying for her, raising her up, sending her love and light... I don't know, I'm really too tired to process all of this. Only to say this, not for one single second would I ever take comfort in the religions of the world. Not for a single moment have I thought that, perhaps, there is a higher power watching all of this. And no way do I think that there is a purpose here.

This is progressing SOOOO quickly.
Today Mom can't stand up or breathe.
This is Mom just TWO DAYS ago
Life has its path. All of us come to this life with our many millions of different journeys and every single one of us leaves this life in the same way. Through death.

It is normal.
It is natural.
And I truly hope that, when my time comes I will remember this time with Mom and find myself approaching my own death with dignity.


I have to give a tremendous THANK YOU to the wonderful people at Hospice: Heartland Hospice here in Belleville Illinois, St. Clair County. The people there have been wonderful.

Tell me about your foxholes.


  1. (((HUGS))) again. I hear you as I've been feeling the same way about the various prayers that have been coming up for those affected by Harvey, Irma, and the various fires. One post I read even mentioned how this has all been caused because god has been taken out of everything. I didn't respond to it but oh did I want to. And I vented about the whole "prayers for..." in my freethinker's group.

    I will admit, at times I did try to cling to religion when things went to heck. Ultimately though, it has been much easier for me to accept the bad things that happen in life NOT believing in a god. Believing in a god just made going through those hard times harder because then I would ask, "what did I do to deserve this?" But knowing that no god exist is easier for me to accept those things happening. It's not perfect acceptance but it is easier for me than it was when I did kind of believe.

  2. Sorry to hear about your mother....I can empathize with you and with her condition, my husband of 20 years died in Aug/1998 as a result of COPD and finally Lung CA that "officially" took his life. Not being able to very frightening. Hospice is wonderful, I had them for my husband. Love and Hugs, a new friend

    1. Oh Sharon, COPD is a stealer of breathe.

      It was truly awful to watch. <3


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