CBS News Poll Shows That, When It Comes to Death, Americans Love Their Delusions

A new CBS News poll on the topic of death shows that Americans are living in a fantasy-world when it comes to thinking about their own mortality.

In general, we believe in the afterlife (for which there’s no evidence), we believe we’re going to Heaven (because we’re all good people, every one of us), and we want to make sure we take up space when we die (because our post-mortal bodies have no use other than lying six feet under forever).

But here’s where it gets really weird:

That’s pathetic: Fewer than half of people with “No religion” say they don’t believe in heaven or hell. Fewer than half! And 36% of us believe in both?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?!

There is an explanation and it’s the same one that ruins all surveys like this: They lumped together atheists, agnostics, and the large number of people who believe in the supernatural but don’t use any religious labels.

The rest of the Nones are making us look bad.

But okay, maybe that’s just belief. What about a decision that have total control over: What should happen with our bodies after we die?

Once again, the Nones disappoint me:

Really?! I can understand why 67% of Nones might want to be cremated, but what purpose does burial serve to people who don’t believe in the supernatural? Why take up space? Why not donate your bodies to science? That option (“Something else”) only received 1% of the vote.

No one wants to think about death, I know, but we can at least be realistic about it. There’s no evidence for the afterlife. If you want to make a difference after you die, donating your body to a medical school will give you added life and educate students along the way. I can hardly think of a nobler thing to do.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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