My wife, the devout Christian, has been laboring under the belief that I am seeking God, seeking Jesus, seeking the Biblical Truth, or some other things which have not happened and have little chance of succeeding in my life or world. Realize that Biblical “Truth” is different from real, proven, factual, scientific, empirical truth.
Recently she has let it slip that she is also (or now) hoping that if nothing else occurs, I will be involved in a deathbed conversion. This, as she envisions it, would be suddenly and completely coming to a belief that Christianity is right, that the various Christian denominations are all headed for God any way, and that conversion to Christianity even at the last minute or second, would be enough to guarantee a person going to heaven.
In her way of thinking and that of those around her, there seems to be evidence of this, if you buy the whole Christian thing, lock, stock and barrel.
Take the case of Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of the religious group Focus on the Family. He would be considered extreme right wing religious, even though he holds an MD. with a specialty in pediatrics in addition to the PhD. that he also holds in something else.
One rumor about him is the oft-believed “fact” that on the night before Ted Bundy was to be and was executed, Dr. Dobson met with him. In the parlance of the Christian evangelists of the time and with this involuntary deathbed conversation, Dr. Dobson “brought him to the Lord”. It was, according to those who should know, a true deathbed conversation of this serial killer.
I have several problems with this. First, Ted Bundy knowingly killed some 32 young women, with the possibility and suspicion of many more. Thus, if true, and if the Bible is to be believed, Ted Bundy is sitting up there in heaven right now with Jesus and his daddy, enjoying all the supposed benefits of the Christian afterlife. And that despite killing in cold blood 32 or more women. Not bad for an unrepentant serial killer.
But back to my deathbed conversion. Of course, I do not know if I will die over a few days of a prolonged illness or be hit by a bus, or fall off of a cliff while trying to take a photograph.
But let’s assume that I have a little time at the end, a few days or so of consciousness and cognitive thinking before that big black void. In this hypothetical case, I think that a deathbed conversation is completely possible.
If my wife is able to coax an active, All-American card-carrying theologically-trained minister or pastor to my bedside for a day or two, I think that I would have a pretty good chance of converting that guy or gal away from their unproven delusion and at least into agnosticism. Getting him or her to atheism might be a stretch.