According to this article on the BBC, those who are the most religious are three times more likely to receive intensive life-prolonging care, and are much more likely to die in a hospital rather than at home with their loved ones.
I know the Atheist community likes to point to studies like this and ask, "What are you afraid of?" It seems logical that those who believe in an afterlife would be less likely to fear death than those who don't. So Atheists are fond of implying that the faithful, by fearing death, show that their faith really isn't that strong.
I don't buy this argument. I don't think a fear of death should be held against anyone, whether religious, agnostic or Atheist.
In fact, it could easily be just the opposite: Those who don't fear death in the first place are far more likely to become Atheists. It could (for example) be that our desire to live, and our consequent fear of death, is more of an inborn trait, or something that we acquire as children as loved ones die. Who knows? And those who, for whatever reason, happen to fear death the most, would naturally have the hardest time accepting the Atheist's understanding of the world.
Death is a sad thing, no matter what you believe. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in the movie Unforgiven, when you die, you lose everything you ever had, and everything you'll ever be. Your friends and family lose your love, your wisdom, and your friendship. Your coworkers lose your skill and knowledge. There is nothing good about death, except that from an evolutionary point of view, it makes room for the next generation.
I suspect that the truth about why religious people fight death so hard has very little to do with any lack of conviction in their faith. If anything, I believe it's the other way around, that their faith is (in part) inspired by their fear of death.
It takes a certain degree of calm and fortitude to be an Atheist. It's hard to accept that when you die, you're dead and gone. The desire for immortality — life here on this Earth with our friends and loved ones, not some abstract second existence — is strong in all of us, even if some of us don't believe it will come true.