Faith, Prayer and Humanity
CNN has an update on the story about the parents of a girl with diabetes who died because they decided to pray for her rather than send her to the doctor.
As always, PZ Myers has more on this tragic event.
I would point (maybe wag...) my finger at any believing Christian (I have Rhology, in particular, in mind) and ask them point blank whether they would take cold hard, fact-based, tested, secular, humanistic, agnostic science and medicine over the fantastical sky-fairy god of their very own religion when it comes to health and well-being of their children. If they say science and medicine, then I have to wonder just how much they really do believe in their magical sky daddy they call Jesus/God. If they say faith and prayer, then I have to wonder how much they really love their own children, since they could so easily be cured via human knowledge and ingenuity but are assigned certain death if faith and prayer is used.
Let us go back to the CNN article and look at a few statements of the Jesus-believing parents and friends. I really am curious as to just how out of the mainstream of Christian thought they really are:
Family and friends had urged Dale and Leilani Neumann to get help for their daughter, but the father considered the illness "a test of faith" and the mother never considered taking the girl to the doctor because she thought her daughter was under a "spiritual attack," the criminal complaint said.
Test of faith. Sounds reasonable enough from a Christian perspective. But we are presented with a tangible proof of just why it is not. A girl -- a young daughter -- needlessly died from an easily treatable and controllable disease simpy because the parents chose to trust God over trusting humans and human knowledge. Just look at what that faith in God got the girl; death. If this does not make you feel bad then I can only say that you are hollow and rotten inside. If you have faith in God them you have to side with the parents. That makes you a horrible person as well. If you trust in faith in God, but still would take your very own child to see a doctor, then you are admitting that faith in God is fantasy, and mere shadow in the light of reality. The whole "spiritual attack" is but icing on the cake. For if you are Christian, then you have to accept evil forces at work. And denying faith or prayer in lieu of human ingenuity and humanistic healing, then you have to deny the whole dark side of your belief. And in doing so, then you cannot accept Jesus, for his act was one of fighting an evil force, and not one of making an empty gesture in the face of only one being -- God (no devil).
According to court documents, Leilani Neumann said in a written statement to police that she never considered taking the girl, who was being home-schooled, to a doctor.
"We just thought it was a spiritual attack and we prayed for her. My husband Dale was crying and mentioned taking Kara to the doctor and I said, 'The Lord's going to heal her,' and we continued to pray," she wrote.
So how did all that praying work out? One dead little girl. Look at it this way: With medical help and friends and family praying, many children are healed and live. With praying alone, all children die. What is the random variable there? Medicine and science. Those things create healing. Prayer never does.
I wish the moral to this story was that faith and prayer are useless and superstitious wastes of effort and only through human knowledge and ingenuity can people live better lives. But you and I know that this will not be the real case. For all Christians will simply say that there was not enough faith or prayer present, or that it "was not God's plan" or some other fantastical baloney. They will never get it. They will never see that religion harms, it never helps. Especially in cases where simple human intervention and reality-based knowledge would help.
I do this, I write and I stomp my feet, because if I can get get even a few Christians to realize the absurdity of their beliefs (even if they are liberal Christians) and reject that, and accept real-world and truthful knowledge, then so many of our little tragedies (like this one) could be avoided. For accepting personal responsibility for ones own actions makes those actions much more personal, over attributing them to some magical sky fairy and absolving oneself of all personal responsibility. That is why atheistic morality is now and always will be far superior to any religious-based morality; because it is solely and uniquely based in the personally responsible category. No atheist can claim they did what they did because some sky daddy wrote it down in some musty old book.