Quote of the Day: Dying As You Lived

| Mon Aug. 16, 2010 10:40 AM EDT

From Keith Humphreys, riffing on the question of whether notorious atheist Christopher Hitchens, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, is likely to have an end-of-life religious conversion:

For about eight years, I was a hospice volunteer, and had the honor to attend many people throughout their dying process. One of the most reliable rules was that people died as they had lived. Happy people were happy at the end, crabby people were crabby, anxious people were anxious. The story of human personality development is largely one of continuity. Temperamental differences measured within an hour of birth predict temperament 20 years later, and people who win million dollar lotto prizes tend, within a year, to return to being precisely as happy or unhappy as they were before their big win....The best bet therefore for an atheist is that s/he will die an atheist, just as Baptists, Hindus, Jews and Mormons tend to face death with the same religious views they have always had.

I would ask you how you feel about this passage, but I figure your reaction probably depends on your temperament and is therefore preordained. But what the hell. Go ahead and tell us anyway.