Quote of the Day: Dying As You Lived

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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.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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