Hello once again. I'm sure plenty of you remember me for my views on supporting the troops vs supporting their mission.
Well, I'm bored so I thought I'd start up another discussion on a topic that interests me: Religion. Specifically, when religion goes too far. I'm Agnostic, and for those of you who don't know what Agnostic is, it's a completely neutral stance that combines the logic of atheism with reasonable doubt... basically, we believe that spiritual things like God and religion can neither be proven nor disproven, and it is thus beyond human comprehension to be able to grasp the ultimate truth about God (if God is what you'd like to call it).
As an Agnostic I'm very open to all religious perspectives. Agnostics don't dismiss religion as pure nonsense the way Atheists do. We accept the possibility of God, but deny that any religion can possibly be correct because, if there is indeed a God, he/she/it is beyond our capacity to understand, explain, or follow. But there are times when religion just goes to far. I'm sure that statement makes many people think of Islamic extremism, since that particular example is in the forefront of the world's view right now. But really, it's every religion. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition... many great atrocities have been committed in the names of many different religions. A favorite quote of mine is the question: "Why is there enough religion to incite war, but not enough to instill tolerance?"
All out religious war is all but extinct nowadays, even among Islam believe it or not. As active as the extremists are in waging "Jihad" they are by far the minority. Most any true Muslim will tell you that Jihad isn't even a violent concept. There is the "greater Jihad" which is the struggle within oneself to be pure and good in life, just as christians strive to live without sin as much as possible. And then there is the "lesser Jihad" which encourages violence only in the name of defending Islam against those who would seek to destroy it... "Infidels". Extremists take that to mean that Allah wants them to kill anyone who is not a Muslim. Most Muslims will tell you that kind of interpretation is primitive and foolish.
But I digress, I didn't truly want to discuss the major examples like religion-inspired war. What made me want to blog about this was a story I read about a young Jehovah's Witness boy with cancer. Deadly cancer, but cancer that could easily be treated. Doctors were very confident, like 90% certain, that they could save his life. But what did he do? He refused treatment, saying that his life was "in God's hands" and that he would "live or die according to His will."
Again, I'm not a true believer myself, but I see things like that and I wish I could go find this kid and slap him around until he pulls his head out of his ass. I want to strangle him and scream, "Who do you think sent you doctors who have the power to heal you?!? GOD DID, DUMBASS!!"
Seriously, even from a religious perspective it's easy to see how stupid you'd have to be to refuse treatment out of faith in God. Putting aside my agnosticism and speaking from a religious point of view, I can very easily say that anything humans are capable of, they are capable of by the grace of God. God gives us our intelligence. Everything we have, everything we're capable of, it's all because of Him. Modern Medicine itself IS one of God's miracles, made manifest by the hands of His children.
That there were doctors there who could save his life WAS A MIRACLE, but it just wasn't magical enough for him. He wanted a shaft of light to pierce the heavens and shine down upon him, while blonde-haired angels with pure white wings and alabaster skin fluttered down from on high to lay their hands upon him and sing angelic hymns, and then bam, his sickness just mysteriously disappears and doctors are baffled. He didn't want a miracle, he wanted a fuckin magic trick. Well guess what folks: He died. No fuckin shit, huh kid? Guess you should have given the whole blind faith thing a rest long enough to see the miracle sitting right in front of your face.
It reminds me of the joke the little boy told to Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happiness. "A man was drowning in the ocean and a boat came along and asked if he needed help, and he said, "No thank you. God will save me," so the boat left. Time passed, and after a while another boat came along and asked him if he needed help, and he said, "No thank you. God will save me," so the boat left. Then the man drowned. As he stood before God he asked, "God, why didn't you save me?" and God replied, "I sent you two boats, dumbass!"
This is what you get when faith happens to stupid people.
*UPDATE: Ironically, immediately after writing this I saw another story on the news about a boy in Oregon who refused medical treatment out of faith in God, and died of complications resulting from a urinary tract infection. A URINARY TRACT INFECTION. That's not even CLOSE to being lethal, a simple CATHETER would have saved this kid's life, and now he's dead because he wouldn't accept the miracle of healing from anyone but Jesus Christ himself. "God works in mysterious ways" just isn't good enough for these people, they want God to work on them directly, face to face, and not through mere mortal doctors. Seriously, religions should start turning away anyone with an IQ under 90. "Sorry, sir, but it's for your own protection... religion can be a very dangerous and unhealthy thing in the hands of a total fucking incompetent like yourself."