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This is a FB status update from an old friend of mine. She and her husband moved to Haiti as Christian missionaries a few months ago.  

This is jeffery. He is five months old. His mother brought him to the clinic yesterday with a temp of 103.5 and a fungal infection on his head. He was lethargic and not eating well. After assessment, Tony felt like he needed to go to the hospital because we didn't have the meds he needed. We gave his mother a little money for a tap-tap to go to a hospital. She came back a while later and said the hospital was closed, and she was very worried about her baby. Tony gave him some Tylenol and created an infant dose suspension of the antibiotic that he needed. It was a long shot. Jeffrey took the medicine great. After that we prayed for him. Pastor Matheny led us in prayer for Jeffery and almost IMMEDIATELY - within 10 minutes, his fever was down from 103.5 to 100. There's no doubt God chose to move in this child's body. Jeffery is back today for a follow up visit, and he is laughing and eating again.
 Hallelujah for God's HEALING LOVE!!!

I haven't commented on this post, and probably won't because I don't want to hurt her feelings, but i would like to figure out what all of this is really about. She's not dumb, or slow, in any way, but when it comes to religious beliefs, she seems to short-circuit for some reason. What is  obvious to me, is that the fever-reducing qualities of tylenol began to work right about the time their praying session ended, but what i can't figure out is whether or not she truly believe what she wrote. I mean, if prayer heals, why would they waste time & effort with medicines? And if they don't believe in the healing power of prayer, why pretend to? I'm not religious & this stuff just sounds crazy to me, but I know "crazy" isn't the answer. I know there's more to it. Not knowing bothers me. What I really want to do is "witness" my atheism to her, in hopes of showing her "the light". After all, if I had some odd, uncharacteristic delusion, I would think my friends would point it out for my benefit. Religion though, is a very sticky subject. I don't think pointing this out to her would work or be of any benefit to our friendship.

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Comment Preferences

  •  All the dead people just didn't believe hard (9+ / 0-)

    enough, and this right here is the danger of Republican beliefs. If you're poor, it's because you didn't work hard enough (ever serve a lunch shift or be a cashier at xmas, yeah, definitely not hard working), if you get sick, they truly believe you don't get better because you don't have enough faith in Gods immense healing. It's why all these Televangelists are so wealthy.

  •  I'd leave it alone (12+ / 0-)

    After all, you wouldn't want your friend trying to dissuade you from your atheism, would you? Also, if she runs short of miracles someday, she'll need a friend. That might be you.

    There are plenty of things to question in this account, for sure, not the least of which is why bother with medical treatment of any sort if prayer alone would work. I'm just grateful for the sake of this kid that he got the medical attention he needed. Whether people want to ascribe other reasons for the miracle, well, that's their business.

    You might want to read C.S. Lewis' essay "On the Efficacy of Prayer" which raises some interesting ideas.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:55:36 PM PDT

    •  "On the Efficacy of Prayer" (0+ / 0-)

      If this Christian feels that she & the Pastor achieved a positive response to prayer, she ought to at least know about "Sister Grace" (on AM radio in the Monroe County area of Indiana)who did it in the 20th.century OVER THE TELEPHONE.
      "Just hold the phone up to the
      child's ear" ( Sister would council,)while I pray for the fever to come down".

      Just FYI for all with an interest.

  •  The Lord helps those... (6+ / 0-)

    ...who help themselves.


    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:57:18 PM PDT

  •  maybe she thinks GOD works through the meds? (8+ / 0-)

    like the meds are a godsend? possibility?

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:03:21 PM PDT

  •  Till the Conservatives Recruited Fundies in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, CherryTheTart

    late 60's to early 70's, faith healing was a huge part of evangelical services, revival meetings and radio/televangelism. I used to see and hear this on the radio constantly in the late 50's thru mid 60's.

    My hypothesis is the conservatives taught them stop being fishers of disprovable bullshit, and I will make thee fishers of highly marketable bullshit.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:08:18 PM PDT

  •  Why would you make fun of a friend like this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Says, worldlotus, CherryTheTart

    Seriously.  What's wrong with you?  Your friend sounds like a deeply good and caring individual, and you mock that?

    Seriously!  These people gave their hard earned time and money to someone in need, and you find room to belittle them?

    Faith or not, your friends are wonderful people, and you should feel like trash.

    Please do the right thing and delete this.  Do it for your friends, and (hopefully) the slight twinge of guilt you should be feeling.

    "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

    by FoodChillinMFr on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:16:44 PM PDT

    •  Why? Because she chooses to invoke the Sky Guy (4+ / 0-)

      when the least hypothesis is the antipyretic function of Tylenol, that's why.

      •  Let's leave religion out of it. Are these people (5+ / 0-)

        helping someone in need using their time and money to do so?

        Should we start making fun of heroes because of faith, skin color, clothing, status, because they smell, gender?

        Should we belittle those that are trying to make the world better?  Again, leave religion out of it.

        I think it's just wrong.

        We need more of these acts of kindness, more respect for good people, and less ridicule and finger pointing.

        "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

        by FoodChillinMFr on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:51:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But she brought religion into it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If some says 2+2=7 they need to be corrected. And that is of minor consequence compared to her delusions.

          There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

          by too many people on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 09:00:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If someone helps my family, my first thought isn't (5+ / 0-)

            to run to a blog belittle/correct their religious views.

            My first thought would be to thank them and show a little respect.  Maybe let it slide.  Be less critical.  Just be nice.

            "needs to be corrected"... that right there sounds like evangelism.  In the context of a good, possibly misguided, but a good human being helping another human being, I'd say you've not only made atheism a religion, but beyond 700 club crazy atheist evangelism with the intent to belittle.

            It's just, well, mean bordering on hateful.

            And here you have me defending evangelicals.  That's how wrong you are.

            "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

            by FoodChillinMFr on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 09:20:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  doing good is doing good (4+ / 0-)

        Why do you care so much why they do it?  Be happy that they are good people and leave it alone.

    •  I don't feel any guilt. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      too many people, skohayes

      A delusion is a delusion. helping ppl is helping ppl. 2 separate issues. I don't think having religious beliefs is a prerequisite for being helpful or caring for your fellow man. I don't get why you are so sensitive/offended by this. No one has been belittled.

      •  Leave religion out of it and follow me... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, emidesu

        You get in a car wreck in the boonies.

        An atheist tends to your wounds, and buys a cab to get you to the hospital.

        A christian walks up, points, and laughs at the atheist for thinking he can help without divine intervention.

        Would you or would you not think the hypothetical Christian was being a douche, especially after hearing that the atheist believed the Christian to be a friend?

        I left the religious aspect (whether prayer is helpful or not, and whether God exists or not) OUT of the equation on both of these posts.

        "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

        by FoodChillinMFr on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:59:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would say they are ignorant. (0+ / 0-)

          There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

          by too many people on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 09:01:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You carry too much hate in your heart. (0+ / 0-)

            Have you considered counseling?  The meds these days are getting better and help numerous people, including myself.

            Just throwing it out there.  You sound deeply depressed.

            "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

            by FoodChillinMFr on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 05:40:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, not depressed, just tired of people (0+ / 0-)

              politely accepting ignorance. Move along, nothing to see here besides the decline of our country.

              I am old enough to remember when ignorance and superstition we're rightly ridiculed. But now, hey, evolution is an optional belief, because you can't hurt their poor feelings. You think vaccines cause autism, contrary to voluminous data, go ahead and we can all suffer. Someone believes the world is 6000 y.o. and evolution is a myth, no worries, we don't need science. Global warming against your world view. No worries. Really, ths kind of faux openmindedness is dangerous to society and the planet.

              Those who know better, but keep their mouth shut out of politeness are as much the problem as the ignorant themselves. When my grandchildren have no planet left, because hey, don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, then I will be depressed, but fortunately I am probably too old or that to happen.

              Don't worry, be happy!

              There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

              by too many people on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 06:58:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I think what you just said to the diarist (6+ / 0-)

      is far more harsh than what the diarist said about his friend.  

      "You should feel like trash," said to somebody's (internet) face is dehumanizing and cruel.  "This sounds crazy," said elsewhere to other people in a plea for understanding is just being honest.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 08:17:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When your kid is sick and you are afraid (0+ / 0-)

      . . . you will try all the things that might work:

      sponge baths,

      The interesting thing is that they all work. The thing that does not work in this situation is YOU.  You suck.

      I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

      by CherryTheTart on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 04:53:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Compassion is a non-sectarian value. If we have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, mdmslle, quarkstomper

    compassion, we understand why some folks cling to an unsupportable belief, even as they practice realistic problem-solving.
    The fear of death, of nothing, is a powerful source of pain and anxiety. This is natural. It's instinctive.

    If you have children or other loved ones, the thought of their being taken by nothingness is more painful than thoughts of your own death.

    Culturally this has been dealt with over and over, but in our society, there is still a social force which promises eternal life.

    That promise may or may not be true, but the definition of the price of admission has changed. In fact, televangelism has largely substituted earthly wealth for eternal life. Christian fascism has constructed a political definition of faith.
    Essentially, though, I try to cut my family members who are either true Christians (by my definition) or "devout believers" because I know they are good people and are compelled to their views by love.
    I try to remember that even when they're obnoxious.
    I draw a line on politics. I don't cotton to a political definition of faith, or the mixing of politics and religion in an "us vs them" manner. I could write a slew of diaries as to the reason why.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:17:21 PM PDT

  •  I, for one, am happy that the little boy (5+ / 0-)

    got better.

    Look, I have a lot respect for atheists (I used to be one myself), much more so than I do for the average fundie.

    However, I see validity in both the spiritual/metaphysical world and the scientific. Probably a somewhat scientific explanation for the event in your friend's post is that the Tylenol being in suspension, it would be absorbed faster by the child's bloodstream and thereby show a quicker result in lowering the fever.

    On the other hand, I am a practitioner of various energy-healing modalities, stuff that some people on this site call woo-woo - so I don't post much about it. But I have seen remarkable shifts from the work with these modalities - similar to what your friend described. And prayer is a type of energy medicine.

    I say, use all of the tools at our disposal. And if going to throw in my two-cents worth about your friends post, I'd ask - why didn't they try the Tylenol suspension before sending the boy & his mother on a long, uncomfortable trip to the hospital?  Now that's showing a little too much faith in western medicine, imo.

    •  I agree. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, worldlotus, mdmslle, marykk

      The sciences of physiology, pharmacology, immunology, and all the others involved in the medical approach to treatment of illness are important, but other, non-traditional disciplines may be helpful as well. Our incomplete understanding of how the complimentary disciplines work does not invalidate the fact that they may be very helpful for some patients. I would never denigrate a patient's belief in the power of prayer, although I might decline to join the prayer itself; sometimes, it's all we have to offer.

      Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

      by OrdinaryIowan on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 10:24:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I always pray as a safety mechanism. (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, I know God isn't actually doing the helping when I take medicine, but have you seen the shit God does to people when he's pissed off at them?

    Here's a safety guide:
    step 1. feel dehydrated
    step 2. pray for water
    step 3. get a glass of water and drink it
    step 4. feel better
    step 5. thank God for making you feel better

    It's just safer that way.  Otherwise, you're bound to be turned to salt or be given AIDS or a hurricane or have some maniac with a god-powered +2 Donkey's jawbone-of-Philistine-slaying come after you.

    What's disturbing is that I recently learned that I also need to start blaming empty chairs too.  That adds a couple of extra steps.  I really wish someone would just put together a list of all the imaginary shit I'm supposed to believe in.

  •  I'm an atheist too, but I think not (6+ / 0-)

    responding is the right idea.  I think mutual non-interference is the way to go with people with whom one does not share religious beliefs, until and unless they start to witness at you, or start to try to force observance of their creed through the legislative process.  (At which point, oh, it's on.)

    Devout believers in an omnipotent deity tend to ascribe everything to his influence.  Your friend's comment doesn't follow logically, but then, neither does the idea that G*d takes a side in football games.  If anything, her take makes better sense than that does, if only because in her world a benevolent deity would want to save a baby's life, which in our terms is a good, whereas when any one football team wins, another loses.

    I do have issues with missionary work generally.  There is a huge imbalance of privilege and power involved when a First World blan (in Haiti's case) (of any race) comes and tries to persuade
    desperately poor people that their immortal (and possibly mortal) salvation depends on them accepting a given religion.  Also, in some cases, enormous entitlement and smugness. (There was that hideous case of American missionaries basically attempting to kidnap Haitian "orphans" who still had living parents out of Haiti after their disastrous earthquake a couple years ago.)  

    And Haiti, the "Republic of NGOs", is still wracked with poverty and saddled with government inaction/incompetence.  NGOs come and go, set up programs and then abandon them when donations run dry.  Haiti needs things only a government can provide, such as a sanitation system.  

    That said, it's likely your friends are doing some small good.

    If you're genuinely curious, the book Mountains Beyond Mountains provides insight both into Haiti and into why Haitians turn to religion and ritual rather than medicine: because they cannot afford medicine.  

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 08:33:26 PM PDT

  •  Does the action of Tylenol negate (5+ / 0-)

    the action of God?
    Personally I've found it very enriching to be able to view events through multiple explanatory systems. It's made me more flexible and tolerant.
    As someone mentioned, if you start witnessing to this person you are likely to at best incur the same behavior and at worst lose a friend.

    The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

    by emidesu on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 10:46:58 PM PDT

  •  I have this theory that the inventor of (5+ / 0-)

    Tylenol (or aspirin, or Aleve -- thank FSM, Ceiling Cat and all the gods for naproxen! -- or ibuprofen) is doing God's work by making people have fewer fevers and less pain.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 10:52:07 PM PDT

    •  That's kind of where I am (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, BlackSheep1

      what an amaziing universe (S)he is made, with this boundless catalog of flora and fauna which have properties which include some that can heal, or be refined and combined for that purpose.  

      And what an amazing creature man is, that he can explore and experiment, in order to discover them and put them in service to others.

      And what kindness these people have, to do that service. The difference is that their deity is interventionist, mine is not.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 04:53:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I took Naproxin when it first came out... (0+ / 0-)

      ... the pain in my knee promptly was relieved by the next day.
      Also, the next day I developed
      Then the quandary...Should I have thanked "G-D" for cleaning all the "Toxins" out of my gut; cursed the Doc who proscribed the Naproxin or tried to drum up a class action law suit against the Naproxin producing Pharmaceutical company?

      Vote below if U give a fig!

  •  I can't handle the stupid. (0+ / 0-)

    Religion is one thing.    Hallelujah for God's HEALING LOVE!!! is totally another.  

    She doesn't want to be saved from ignorance.  She wants to be saved from life, and she is working on that quite successfully.  

    My question is, how can you be her friend?   I have a very low opinion of man as a species, and I'm sure not going to give cherished friendship status to just anyone.  

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 04:28:47 AM PDT

    •  she is my friend b/c... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      b/c she is my friend. we grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, our families vacationed together, her little brother was my best friend in grade school & on top of that, she is generally a nice person who was enjoyable to be around. the fact that she wrote &/or believes it was god, not the medicine that healed the boy, doesnt effect our friendship. i like her, which is why i haven't talked directly to her about this.

  •  Amen! (0+ / 0-)

    I can never understand this.  Like my friend's father, who went into remission from cancer after chemotherapy.  "Thanks to God, it's a miracle."  Well, no, it was chemotherapy.  (He ended up dieing a few months later anyway -- did God decide he wasn't worthy of the miracle?)

    I don't want to be harsh, and I never argue or contradict under such circumstances, of course, but I just don't get this mindset.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 06:28:20 AM PDT

  •  I'm not really surprised. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A few years ago, a teenage boy at my husband's church hurt his arm.  Turned out it had been broken, although the family did not take the kid to the doctor.  Some months later, the arm was x-rayed and the pic showed, not unexpectedly, that the arm had healed, but imperfectly.  The family interpreted the healing as a sign of the hand of God on their son and even found it charming that God had left the arm less than perfect.  What astounded me was that they clearly had no idea that bodies heal themselves of injuries all the time.  Their God is apparently a very, very busy God.

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