Saturday, August 24, 2013

Take two prayers, and call me when you have full blown AIDS.

I get a lot of inspiration for my blog articles from the Huffington Post Religion Section, and the comments left by the devout.  It’s a veritable font of religious idiocy that keeps  me informed of the latest spiritually inspired craziness.
Yesterday there was this doozie: 

Pentecostal Minister Convinces HIV Patient to Refuse Medicine Leading to His Death Bed
This article prompted lots of comments. One of my favorites was from a Xtian who posted the oft repeated hackneyed internet parable about the drowning man who prayed for god to save him - refusing all human aid - only to drown. When he reaches heaven he asks god why he didn’t save him, and god replies “I sent the Coast Guard, a Life Guard and a Helicopter…what more did you want?”  The story was much longer of course.

The point being that god thing provided man with all medical knowledge and technology we have, thus failing to partake of it is man’s folly. Naturally it generated baaas approval from the religiously wooly. 

I asked for, and am still awaiting, the parable that explains why god infects and kills millions of children with the HIV virus he created. I won’t hold my breath.   But I digress…

Back to the article.  In reality the Pentecostal minister’s advice is totally in keeping with the basic premises of religion: delusion and false hope.

After all, only with religion do people refuse their critically ill child medical aid that could save his life in favor of "prayer healing," which invariably allows him to die. Only in religion is the fabled mass extinction of the planet's inhabitants, human and animal, acceptable behavior; the genocide of tribes by Hebrews good and necessary; the handling of deadly snakes reasoned; and instilling in children the fear of some eternal torture chamber for simple lack of belief reasoned.  Nothing like that kind of bizarre thinking exists outside of the "spiritual" world.

But there is a kernel of logic behind the minister's advice. If prayers are always answered and one dies by substituting prayer for medical treatment it was god’s will.  The shaman would no doubt justify it by proffering god answered his prayer with “No!”, and thus he would have expired from the disease even with medical treatment. With god, any crazy thinking is sound.  

Why should any of us be surprised that a religious fanatic shaman councils a fellow religious fanatic to ostensibly commit suicide by faith? I’m only surprised it was news worthy enough for publication. 


paul said...

The imagined power of prayer isn't restricted only to those who refuse help from "the helicopter." Recently, the wife of a good friend of ours was successfully treated for pancreatic cancer, and eventually--following weeks of hospitalization, expert surgery, and an extensive range of therapies--she was declared cancer free, and able to resume her normal life. Sadly, her husband, a self-declared "man of faith" gave all of the credit for the outcome to his god and the prayers of his family and friends--not a word of appreciation for the dozens of medical professionals who were actually responsible for her treatment and recovery.

Anonymous said...

I am often surprised that we don't have more theists dying left and right from fatal diseases. I mean, think about it. Why would anyone who truly believes, accept anything other than prayer? If I really thought that Jebus was waiting for me in heaven, why wouldn't I want to go? Why would I even bother trying to get my cancer cured? I would be on the fast track to paradise! It wouldn't be suicide if I died praying to god would it? Nope. It would be doing exactly what Jesus said I should do in the gospels. I often wonder about the true faith of the faithful.

longhorn believer said...

Anon, I have wondered that same thing. I had an uncle who was a Pentecostal preacher (a bishop of his particular sect) who died recently. I went to his funeral. It took them over two hours to talk about what a saint, prophet, holy man etc this guy was, and on and on about how he was in heaven. But I had watched for two decades while this man traveled from Louisiana to Houston to get the best medical care available for his heart disease, a disease he inherited from his father (my grandfather) who was also a Pentecostal preacher who died of heart disease. He had two heart surgeries, and a pace maker, and made dozens of trips across state lines to keep himself alive. And he was a true believer. By that I mean, he really practiced what he preached, except for that one extra marital affair in a 40 year long marriage, he was very devout and was firmly convinced he was going to sit at the right hand of God, and so were all his kids who were following in his foot steps. So why didn't he just quit driving all that way and go see Jesus as soon as he could? Why prolong going to this wonderful place especially if everyone you love is going there too, and your parents are supposedly already there?

There was also a really strange twist at his funeral which further illustrates my point. There was one preacher there who started talking about raising my uncle from the dead. I kid you not! If my cousin had not put an immediate stop to that, I was ready to head for the state line as fast as my car could drive. I had had enough with all the other bullshit as it was. Now, why, if he is a saint in heaven are you going to try and bring him back from the dead? Probably because they know deep down that dead means dead.

longhorn believer said...

Hump, I also wanted to share this other piece of "intelligence" from an optometrist I know who is very religious. And no, she's not my eye doctor. She's trying to sell this new weight loss program to supplement her income, and this was part of her testimonial:

"I know God has called me to help people. As a docttor I help peolpe see better all the time, but I see this as a way of helping people stay/ or get heathy to protect their eyes and health for the future."

WTF? Why doesn't God keep people from having bad vision in the first place? And you do know that you're using technology developed by science to do your job, right? I'm sure the answer is that God gave us the intelligence to solve these health problems. But that doesn't explain why the health problems exist in the first place, and why there is nothing in the Bible about the scientific method or anything else that is useful or helped bring about modern medicine. Well, apparently that is lost on this "doctor". What kind of mental gymnastics does she do to ignore these facts? Maybe I will get up the nerve to ask her.

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks all.

Yeah, I often doubt the sincerity of religio-nuts who will gladly accept even experimental cures to stay alive...when prayer should be all they need according to scripture. You'd think they'd be in a hurry to meet Jebus, thus a win win either way.

I think they are playing both sides of the coin, and are not fully convinced their prayers alone would do the job or that life after death is genuine. This is the effect of modernity seeping into their lives...a touch of reality acceptance as our culture moves away from total religio-think and genuine thinking takes over. Evolution at work I suppose.

They mask their rejection of the supernatural and favoring science by using "god gave the medical knowledge to us to use" as a justification. Only those who put their faith in prayer alone are true believers. I have no problem with their allowing themselves to die from prayer's the children who are most often the victims.

Longhorn: there are all kinds of defects in the "design" of humans. Ankles and knees that get blow out so easily; the fact our air intake system relies on our food intake orifice which causes tens of thousands of choking deaths each year; the blind spot in the center of the eye...others.
There can only be one possible explanation for suck screwed up designs: god thing sucks as a designer, and is an incompetent boob.

longhorn believer said...

or there is no god thing, and we are the flawed result of long evolutionary processes.

Dromedary Hump said...

Heheh..., yes, or that.

paul said...

Random mutation...
Natural selection.

Nothing "designed" or "supernatural" is involved.

Dromedary Hump said...


Of course.

Now we just need to explain it to the millions of Creationists.

Anonymous said...

I think next time I hear prayer saved someone, I'm going to accuse the pray-er of dereliction of duty for not praying enough for all the children who die worldwide before age 1.

Dromedary Hump said...

They'll tell you they DID pray for them, and the prayers were answered, but that God's answer was "No!" because those childrens early deaths are part of "his plan."

The eternal escape clause. You see, when playing with make believe there are no rules of constraint.