Last minute conversion while a patient is dying is not an uncommon phenomenon.
Ask anyone who has worked in a hospital before, they will tell you this. Sometimes when a person is very ill, there will be certain religious workers (not from the dying man’s faith) coming to visit him , comforting him and perhaps even praying for him . Sometimes the dying person is asked to pray together with them. Often this is done when the dying man’s relatives are not around.
SO when the person dies, a dispute can sometimes occur. Those workers will come forward and claim that the dead man has embraced their faith at the last minute, and very often it is their words against the relatives words.
When a person is very ill, he might not be in the right frame of mind to decide whether he should stick to the faith that he has believed all his life, or changed to the faith that those preachers are preaching. Very often he would allow these people to pray for him out of courtesy , out of apprehension of death or, simply, he is so ill he does not know what is really going on around him.
It is really inconceivable to think that a person will abandon something that he has believed all his life all of a sudden and embraced the new religion. It is also inconceivable that he can understand and believe in something within such a short time.
When there is a dispute arising out of this, the people that suffer most will be the spouse and the family. Just look at the photograph of Gan’s widow that I posted yesterday. All religions profess compassion. No religion would want to cause such great sufferings and sadness to the family . It is only the action of the overzealous followers of religions, who may just follow the form but not the true spirits of their religious teachings, that is causing so much of sufferings and bitterness. God would not condone this. God would not want a family to be separated, either in life or in death.
A reader who is also a fellow blogger under the name of “A True Malaysian” said it all.
I feel miserable with this kind of thing happening. When a husband passed away, irrespective of what his religion or belief, his body should rightfully goes to the custody of his wife / family. This is only fair.
What kind of funeral rite to be performed over the body should be decided by his wife / family, definitely not by third party.
By all means pray for the dying person. By all means do all the good deeds to help him. But if ever he wishes to be converted in his death bed, please let the family know in advance.
It would be better to try to convert someone when they are healthy and kicking, so that they are in the right frame of mind to decide whether there is anything in the new faith for them to abandon their old faith and convert.
To convert someone just for the sake of converting or for the sake of statistics is not what God wishes. If you wish to convert someone, you must make sure that he really understands and fully believes in the teachings of that particular faith. Otherwise, you may keep his body there, but his heart will be somewhere else. This is not what religion is about.
The world will be a much better place if only we remember a simple teaching from Confucius: Do not do onto others what you do not want others to do onto you.