Another crime for which faith is culpable

In Magnolia, Texas a five year-old child is in critical condition because his mother slit his throat.

Daphne Spurlock was arrested Saturday after police found her son on the floor of their home, covered in blood.

Investigators say Spurlock stomped on her son’s chest first. When that didn’t get rid of the “demons,” she cut his throat with a large kitchen knife, according to police.

Beneath the immediate condemnation, there are some facts that will go missed in this story.  This mother was trying to save her son.  She loved her son and was trying to help.  The problem was not malicious intent, it was the belief in demons.  Thus is the corrupting power of bad ideas – they can make love and care irrelevant.

Other believers will say this woman was crazy, implying that she wasn’t a normal believer.  I find that odd.

“Even if you believe in that sort of thing, how can a 5-year-old be possessed or have something like that? It’s inconceivable in my mind,” said Greg Riley, a Magnolia resident.

How can a man rise from the dead?  How can a man walk on water?  Plenty of people who find those things as believable as headaches will say this woman must’ve been out of her mind for believing in demons.

And god may be righteous in ordering Jephtha or Abraham to kill their children, but this woman is just batty.

The crime of dedicated unreason resides on the shoulders of every faithful person whether moderate or fundamentalist.  Irrationality is the problem, and 0ther believers are not rescued by condemning this woman for not being irrational like them.  Other beliefs about god are no more likely to be true than this woman’s belief in demons, and it’s high time that believers are confronted directly with how worrisome it is to endorse any brand of dedicated unreason (i.e. faith).

There are consequences when populations feel comfortable believing absurd things.  The crime of religion is telling people that abandoning reason is acceptable, even necessary if you want to avoid the fires of hell.  This is a crime for which religion should be held accountable.

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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.


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