More People Die Of Irrationality

News like this gets less shocking over time. It’s rather unfortunate that it doesn’t seem to get less depressing.

At least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.

Seeing adults die by trusting prayer, or seeing children die due to their prayerfully neglectful parents, is simply old hat by now.

“We see patients quite often who will come having expressed the belief that if they pray frequently enough, their HIV will somehow be cured,” she added.

“We have seen people who choose not to take the tablets at all so sometimes die.”

And why not? If god will really answer prayers if you believe strongly enough, and you believe strongly enough to ditch the medicine keeping you alive, then that behavior makes sense. But there is no god that answers prayers. There are scientists that answer prayers to the best of their abilities. There are charitable human beings that answer prayers to the extent they can give of their time or money. But no gods.

And oh, the excuses from the religious! Of course we don’t only pray, we pray and we go to the doctor. Or we’ll get the good ol’ “sickness is god telling us to go to the doctor” schtick.

Going to the doctor alone works, and it works for believer and non-believer alike. When put to the test, prayer alone does not work and has never worked. You don’t get to combine the two and let prayer leech credit off medicine. And god giving you AIDS as a hint to go to the doctor is like setting someone on fire to nudge them into taking a shower.

“But JT, their brand of irrationality is not my brand of irrationality. I don’t like their brand of irrationality!” I don’t give a damn that it’s not your brand of irrationality. The problem is that it’s irrational. Stop being irrational and pretending like it’s acceptable or good: it’s neither.

  • Glodson

    This is why I end up feeling bad for these people. I notice that it always seems to be the masses, not the leaders. It isn’t a matter of fate, it is because the ones on the top probably use all the medicine they can get their grubby hands on. They lead their believers with lies and rhetoric. And the believers buy into completely.

    And when a few die, does anything happen to the ones saying “pray will keep you alive?” No. Not that I’ve seen, at least. Fuck, some of these leaders turn into real monsters by suggesting the dead weren’t faithful enough. And people still buy into that shit.

    I’ll say this though: if they want their irrational beliefs, I cannot stop them. Pray, talk to god, do whatever you want. But go to the motherfucking hospital and listen to your doctor too. I would rather have a person alive with a flawed outlook on life rather than a person dead with a flawed outlook on life. Maybe, with some luck and persistence, that outlook can be cured.

    And maybe we should be allowed to punch people in the face that advice prayer over medicine. I would like face punching to be allowed in the cases of alternative medicine as well. It is too easy for some to be duped by these snake-oil salesmen. They prey on people being gullible, and people being desperate. They are all vile.

  • matt

    one would hope the minister could be brought up on murder charges

  • Tara

    The cartoon you included in the post I think sums up the whole story nicely…

    “Going to the doctor alone works, and it works for believer and non-believer alike. When put to the test, prayer alone does not work and has never worked. You don’t get to combine the two and let prayer leech credit off medicine.”

    I wish to like this one section over and over again.

  • Art Vandelay

    Exactly. The moderates don’t get to condemn these people for being irrational. If you commonly promote the idea that paraying to God can cure diseases, you’re part of the problem. The only downfall of the people who eschew medicine are that they have more faith than you. I thought faith was a good thing?

  • austinatheist

    I do feel sorry for the adults, but children dying because available medical care was purposfully withheld makes me angry, and is yet another example of religion being detrimental.

    This reminds me of Mother Theresa, who witheld care from the thousands she was thought to be helping, and told them they were blessed with Christ-like suffering. Then when she became ill herself, she traveled to the best world-class care available, money being no object. The money donated to her charity went straight into the Vatican coffers. Not only did she not provide treatment, they made things worse in most cases and didn’t even make the people comfortable or offer pain relievers. Just horrific. And most of the world still holds her up as an example of the very best kind of person. On top of all this, she admitted in letters she didn’t even believe in god for the last 40 years of her life! It’s enough to make you RAGE!

    Oh, and don’t forget that recent video of Becky Fischer, that JesusCamp woman, traveling to Singapore to teach gullible children they can raise the dead with prayer! It’s sickening how much misery one person can spread. We have to try to help counteract this.

  • Jim Baerg

    BTW that comic is from
    http://cectic.com/014.html

    Give credit where credit is due.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Going to the doctor alone works, and it works for believer and non-believer alike. When put to the test, prayer alone does not work and has never worked. You don’t get to combine the two and let prayer leech credit off medicine. And god giving you AIDS as a hint to go to the doctor is like setting someone on fire to nudge them into taking a shower.

    This! Somehow, modern medicine saved my life when I was too young to even know about religion or God.

    There are people who say that prayer is meant to give comfort, but it seems like when someone is cured of an illness, people thank God anyway.


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