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.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.