Pets More Comforting Than Priests

A new study on “innovative bereavement care service at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital” was recently conducted by Trinity College, Dublin.

The results:

The survey found that a third of people mourning a loved one turned to their family, with a quarter relying friends and one in five getting support from children.

Lower down the list, pets ranked ahead of priests and spiritual advisers, books, films and professionals.

So when things are in doubt, the priests get shafted.

I wonder why that is…

Do they talk too much (compared to silent pets)? Do they say the wrong things? Do religious people simply not rely on them as much as they say they do publicly?

(Thanks to Joe for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    A pet will never lie to you. Lies are all a priest has to offer.

  • Jimbo-B

    Let’s not forget that pets don’t molest children…

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    Hey, I’ve often said that my cats are excellent therapists!

    A friend of mine, the Reverend Jim Stout, is a Presbyterian minister who suffers from bipolar disorder. And he’s amazed at how other ministers just don’t get that they are dealing with a serious disease. They pull out their Bibles and say “OK, let’s pray.” I have met very few people who felt that this kind of ministry did them any good. You want someone to key in on how you are feeling, remind you that you are still part of the human race. You don’t want to hear “pray and it will all go away”. You want to hear “yeah, it hurts, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Sure you question God. Sure you may decide to avoid anything Godlike. And that’s all understandable. Let’s just proceed from the pain and see how far we go. My job here is to help you survive this.”

    Do priests rank above or below psychiatrists? I definitely choose psychiatrists over them.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Pets ground you. Priests sky-hook you.

  • http://godlesswasatch.blogspot.com John Moeller

    My personal opinion is that priests/ministers/pastors/whatever always pull out the God’s Plan line. It’s just not comforting. It’s insulting. Maybe it was comforting at one point in time, but today we have plans. We want to spend time with the person that we lost. We planned to have that weekly cup of coffee, or go on vacation, or play a game with the person. And now we can’t. And it’s supposed to be because of God’s messed-up plan? Please.

    Like Joel Sax said, they’re supposed to be saying, “I’m here to help you get through this,” not recycle the same old unhelpful lines.

  • Kate

    Pets > priests, ministers, family, friends, spouses, lovers, no one.

    Pets listen.

    I tell my horse my deepest secrets. He didn’t cost me a penny (in initial cost…his monthly “therapy charge” in care/food is high) but he’s priceless.

  • http://informationparadox.blogspot.com/ BGH

    No kidding… pets are much easier to rely on than spiritual ‘counselors’.

    I wrote a piece about it the yesterday asking, “Is Religion ‘Needed’ For Anything?”.

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    John: Yeah. It is. Smart ministers don’t do that, but they are in the decided minority.

  • Darryl

    It’s amazing that so many hold onto their faith after the agonizing and pointless loss of someone dear. If there’s anything that religion is supposed to do it’s to comfort people about death, but the only comfort to be had is measured in the faith of the bereaved. I’ve yet to hear someone testify that God has comforted them in such a time in spite of their anger at him. They simply do what anyone must, they endure the loss over time. Ministers can do no more than any sympathetic family member or friend. It is cold comfort to hear a minister say that God has a plan, or that one day we will understand why. If someone can carry on with such paltry comfort and not lose their faith, they would likely have carried on without it.

  • http://www.eloquentatheist.com Michael

    I had major cancer surgery a few years ago, which exacerbated my multiple sclerosis, and let me tell you, I was an absolute mess for four months afterward, especially if you count the staph infection that the hospital missed. For almost every minute of that time, Tucker, our Springer Spaniel, never left my side. He didn’t give advice. He didn’t tell me what to do. He just stayed with me and beamed love and concern at me. He didn’t want anything in return. He just wanted to stay with me while I was hurting.

    Find me a priest with those qualities and we’ll talk.

    I would not give you a nickel for the curative qualities of religions or their representatives. But I would go to the ends of the Earth for my weird dawg Tucker.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Part of the priest’s (or pastor’s) “job” is to spend time with people who are “near the end” (especially if they have money) to gently plant the idea that it would be nice to leave the church an endowment. Pets, of course, have no ulterior motive except love…except for maybe body heat or their next meal ;)

    Of course priests and pastors can also be truly genuine and empathetic, but they are also employees of the church and have certain duties and responsibilities.

  • http://www.acosmopolitan.blogspot.com Anatoly

    Well, as a person who suffered a passing of a loved one during his lifetime, I can say that when you’re mourning you want somebody who listens to you not the other way around. Priests, at least the few I’ve met, have a habit of talking instead of actually listening.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    When my mother died two years ago, the pastor who came to the house might have been the biggest ass I’ve ever met. He did the standard line of she is in a better place/isn’t feeling anymore pain etc. and then went into how he couldn’t do the service because he was leaving for Colorado the next day to go skiing. With a big smile on his face he kept talking about how much he loved Colorado. Not sure how/if it helped my dad, but it got me to the anger phase of greif pretty quick.

    Instead of punching him like I wanted, I walked into the other room and cried while petting my parents cat. The kicker is that when I got home late that night I found our cat dead on the stairs. Glad we also had a loving Aussie Shep to help us deal with both losses.

  • Mriana

    I have three furry feline daughters. :D They are my babies.

    Find me a priest with those qualities and we’ll talk.

    I can’t even find a man with those qualities you mentioned. :lol:

    Besides, I have yet to see a priest visit anyone but the old in the hospital. My sons each had a turn in the hospital (different years) and were there almost a month. They said they wanted someone from the church to visit. I told the priests (there were 3- 1 male 2 female), they said they would drop in, and the whole month (or almost a month) they were there none of the priest visited them. When I was there for a week after giving birth, no one even said “hi” or even congrats. One thing I’ve learned, you’re on your own if you get sick or have a new baby- with some complications that keep you there for a bit. Oh but if you are old and dying, those priest will be there and give you last rites if you desire. :roll:

    Now when my mother had breast cancer surgery 6 years ago (stage 3), her minister was there constantly and it was constant “God’s gonna do this.” “God’s gonna do that.” Excuse me, but no, the drs are going to do this and that. They cut off my mother’s breast and treated her. Eventually she was cancer free. Regardless, they gave absolutely no credit to the drs. :roll: I have news for them: If it weren’t for the drs, my mother would be dead right now. Of course, they’d say that is God’s will. I don’t THINK so! Now that we have the scientific knowledge on how to treat breast cancer, more women survive it, esp if caught early enough. So, it was human knowledge that helped my mother.

    Either extreme is rediculous and worthless in my opinion. I could tolerate a happy medium, esp if they gave the drs credit.

    However, when it comes to my girls they are always there to comfort me, without preaching or telling me what to do or anything like that, regardless if it is just a momentary and passing frustration. :)

  • Vincent

    George Washington famously refused to have a priest or minister called to his deathbed.
    I don’t think he called for the cat though.

  • http://meritboundalley.wordpress.com Joe M

    “Jimbo-B said,

    November 26, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Let’s not forget that pets don’t molest children…”

    Jimbo, if there’s one thing the Interwebs have taught me, it is that your statement is provably false.

  • Mriana

    I don’t think so. I have never heard of a story that pets molest children and if they do bite or attack, it is because the human provoked them. Pets don’t usually attack unless provoked or abused. I have had a lifetime with animals and if anyone should be wary of anyone, it’s the pets. I’ve seen too many abused and neglected, and then they are misunderstood. :roll:

  • http://meritboundalley.wordpress.com Joe M

    Darn, a perfectly acceptable Internet porn joke just ruined.

    Thanks, Mriana ;-)

  • Mriana

    It was a joke? :oops: I didn’t know. :( Sorry.

  • http://meritboundalley.wordpress.com Joe M

    That’s okay, M. My wife always tells me I’m not funny, so it’s helpful to have a third party confirm it :)

  • Mriana

    *Mriana waves to Joe’s wife* Hi Joe M’s wife. Glad to hear the wife agrees and she’s not about to kick my butt for not laughing at her husband’s “joke”. ;)