I saw the story of Mike Celizic on Pharyngula and went on to read the article linked there.
It impressed on me more that we are agents of conscious choice, and that if there is one thing that the religious attempt to strip away, it is the right to choose what we will do with our own lives. Mike’s choice to forego treatment is a powerful, affirming decision by the one person with a claim on his life: himself.
A more choice-centered world would not necessarily be any less contentious, but the struggles over morality and law will have shifted for the better. We will be arguing as a society about how to mitigate or avoid the abuses that COULD be made in a world where choice is ceded to each person, rather than fighting over assertions that individuals don’t have the right to make such choices as abortion, euthanasia, using birth control, etc.
More thinking and clarification to come, but my recent work on links between belief and action make it very clear that the one thing we do have is the ability to make choices. That ability should be fostered and sharpened, not restricted by superstition.