No, God Didn’t Save Your Life

The two American Ebola victims who were flown back to Emory University hospital to be treated with an experimental serum for that disease have recovered. That’s very good news. Unfortunately, one of them — a doctor, no less — is saying that God cured him.

Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly have been cured of the Ebola virus and released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

Brantly, 33, called his recovery “a miraculous day.”

“I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and reunited with my family,” he said.

He also told a news conference at Emory Hospital that “God saved my life.”…

Brantly said that when Writebol left the hospital on Tuesday, she asked him to speak on her behalf to the public and express gratitude for prayers on her behalf.

“When she walked out of the room, all she could say was ‘To God be the glory,’” Brantly recalled. “Nancy and (her husband) David are now spending some much needed time together.”

How about “to the doctors be the glory”? How about giving the glory to the medical researchers who developed the serum, to the doctors and nurses who treated you, to the pilots who flew you out of Africa to Atlanta? God didn’t do any of those things. Hundreds of people have died of this disease in Africa in the last few months. Did they lack God or did they lack the state-of-the-art medical treatment you received?

They like to pretend that this kind of statement expresses humility, but it actually expresses the opposite. It means that God saw fit to save you specifically while saying “screw you” to all the other people who have died. It’s an insult to those dead people to say that God didn’t give a shit about them but loved you so much he had to intervene. And it’s an insult to the doctors and nurses and researchers whose actions actually did save your life.

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  • Michael Heath

    This form of avoidance, disrespect, and self-absorbed arrogance has long seemed self-evident to me as well. And yet here we are still continually observing such defective thinking.

  • garnetstar

    How about thanking your own damn charitable organization, who contacted the medicial researchers, paid for flying the serum to Africa, for a prviate plane to take you to Atlanta, and perhaps for some of your medical care there? Do they deserve a mention?

  • Chiroptera

    I would think that if God were involved, his cure would have consisted of being surrounded by a beam of light from heaven, and then he’d have walked across the Atlantic to get home.

  • blf

    There is also no evidence the experiment drug, ZMapp, helped — or hindered — the recovery. Ed’s just as misguided here as the patient.

  • Pieter B, FCD

    Actually, if you read his full statement, amidst the Jeezifyin’ you’d expect from a medical missionary, he is profuse in his thanks to the medical personnel, his charity, and all the researchers involved in his recovery. A lot of my friends who just went by the headlines have demonstrated excellent patellar reflexes to this story. At the end of his remarks he repeated his thanks, asked that people not forget the situation in Africa and pressure their governments to help.

    Again, before we slip out, I want to express my deep and sincere gratitude to Samaritan’s Purse, SIM, Emory and all of the people involved in my treatment and care. Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic. Please continue to pray for Liberia and the people of West Africa, and encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end. Thank you.

    And as blf has already noted, we haven’t a clue if the new serum did anything more than the prayers of the faithful to bring about his and nurse Writebol’s recovery. Good supportive care and hydration seem to be the key here.

  • busterggi

    So Jesus deliberately infected them then cured them – Jesus is afickle deity.

  • raven

    There is also no evidence the experiment drug, ZMapp, helped — or hindered — the recovery.

    Not quite so.

    ZMapp was tested in animals including primates and worked well. It’s a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. This class of biologicals has a long history of being effective drugs.

    That is as good as it gets without actually doing human clinical trials.

    And one of the hangups with drugs for viruses such as Ebola is doing human clinical trials. A large outbreak is unpredictable and you could wait for years.

    Or you could sit around in a catatonic trance and when an outbreak happens, find out you (plural) were asleep at the wheel. Which is what the entire world has done.

  • raven

    I’ve been following these New Emerging Disease outbreaks since the first swine flu in the late 1970’s.

    There is one about every 18 months. Only one got away and that was HIV/AIDS which is bad enough.

    1. With this latest Ebola epidemic, it’s obvious in retrospect that almost everyone was asleep at the wheel, Obama, NIH, CDC, WHO, and the African governments. The earlier you jump on them, the easier it is to stop them. The docs on the ground in Africa knew it early on, but no one paid them much attention.

    2. The US/world really needs to put a bit more money into drugs and vaccines for this type of disease. There has been nontrivial amounts, enough to get 2 vaccines and several drugs to the brink of human testing for Ebola itself.

    We now know we need more money and why.

    3. Ebola isn’t going to be a huge problem for the world considering, wrong characteristics for a virus. But there is the nagging fear that it could evolve into one. That is one reason why you need to stop them from replicating in humans.

  • Artor

    Oh, come now. We all know Gawd loves white Americans, and doesn’t give two fucks about filthy Africans. Of course Gawd saved him!

  • steve84

    The narcissism of believers knows no bounds. What a disgusting asshole.

  • raven

    He also told a news conference at Emory Hospital that “God saved my life.”…

    God also invented Ebola. Started this epidemic in a former war zone with tens of millions of very poor Africans. And has killed 1,000 people with thousands more to die.

    God loves Kent Brantly and hates millions more. Thanks god!!!

    Yeah, I find this obnoxious.

    To make it worse, Brantly got state of the art Hi Tech medical care that probably cost a million dollars or so total. The average African Ebola patient is lucky to get a drink of clean water and a cookie.

  • Marcus Ranum

    saying that God cured him.

    Who needs god when you have an immune system?

  • Shatterface

    If this was about some pastor who caught Ebola while campaigning against medical treatment rather than a doctor who caught Ebola while performing his duties I could understand the snarking at his comments.

    As it is, the smug ‘I may have done fuck all to save people from a horrible disease but at least I don’t believe in bullshit’ posts are getting embarrassing.

    Get a sense of perspective.

  • Olav

    I agree with Shatterface. That doctor is entitled to a bit of godbothering. If it were you or I, after having such a scare of being diagnosed with ebola and surviving it, we would not know what to say. He also did not so he thanked his favourite deity. Big deal, now let it go.

  • colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #12

    Oh, but “Professor” Michael Behe claims that the immune system was the product of design by the “intelligent designer” (aka god).

  • diesel213

    Sorry, but I’m actually rather bothered by those in the thread that are under the impression that what he states is not that big of a deal. It strikes me as the highly narcissistic that someone truly believes that god saved him or her, while letting others die. It bothers me when they thank god for sparing them during mass shootings, terrorist attacks, etc and it bothers me just as much here. You are in essence telling people that your life is more valuable than another’s. And if you believe that, then fine, but don’t attribute it to some deity in the sky. And Olav, sorry if “you” wouldn’t know what to say, but I know that I, and likely many others would.

  • Ichthyic


    he repeated his thanks,

    yes, he did:

    Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life

    some of us indeed read the entire thing, and still came to the same conclusion.

    your patronizing bullshit falls on ears already attuned to it.

  • Ichthyic
  • Ichthyic

    Get a sense of perspective.

    look at the link I just posted.

    it’s YOU who lacks the sense of perspective.

  • raven

    And Olav, sorry if “you” wouldn’t know what to say, but I know that I, and likely many others would.

    For sure. Dennett covered this after he almost died from an aortic aneurysm.

    It’s very simple. Thanks for modern medicine, including the Germ Theory of Disease. In times past, we didn’t know what caused diseases like Ebola. It was defensible to blame demons, angels, sin, or the gods.

    While our treatments for Ebola are pathetic, they aren’t useless. Good supportive care and good general health and nutritional status can make a big difference whether you survive or die. He also got a dose of a HI Tech Mab cocktail that may well work well. It does in primates. Thanks for those.

    Plus he was airlifted to a state of the art hospital in the USA aboard a private jet fitted out for isolation of sick people. Thank the Wright brothers and everyone who came after them. In times past, he would be lucky to ride in an ox cart.

    Miscellaneous thanks. Thanks for being an educated white guy with a US passport and lots of money behind him.

  • shay

    Did he actually use the word “cured?” “Cured” implies that they can attribute this to some specific medical process, as opposed to “recovered,” which between 20 and 40% of all Ebola patients do.

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