Unfortunately it’s children that are usually the victims of “faith healing.” That’s not natural selection, it’s child abuse, and it’s legally protected as a religious exemption to medical care in most states.
Let me repeat that: There are religious exemptions to laws that prevent abuse and neglect of dependent persons.
CHILD, Inc (website here), founded by Rita Swan, has been working on removing religious exemptions for 30 years. This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics has finally called for a repeal of the exemptions. The National Association of Medical Examiners, the National District Attorneys Association, Prevent Child Abuse America and the American Medical Association have all publicly called for a repeal as well. There are only a few states that have done so.
I get that Ricky Gervais makes a living being borderline offensive and I understand why people are reblogging this and laughing. But children dying painful and often drawn-out deaths from completely curable illnesses isn’t funny. And supporting “prayer healing,” even as a joke, just creates more child victims. ~JJ
What JJ said.
The conflation of faith as “unevidenced belief” with faith as “justified confidence” is simply a word trick used to buttress religion. In fact, you’ll never hear a scientist saying, “I have faith in evolution” or “I have faith in electrons.” Not only is such language alien to us, but we know full well how those words can be misused in the name of religion.
What about the public and other scientists’ respect for authority? Isn’t that a kind of faith? Not really. When Richard Dawkins talks or writes about evolution, or Lisa Randall about physics, scientists in other fields—and the public—have confidence that they’re right. But that, too, is based on the doubt and criticism inherent in science (but not religion): the understanding that their expertise has been continuously vetted by other biologists or physicists. In contrast, a priest’s claims about God are no more demonstrable than anyone else’s. We know no more now about the divine than we did 1,000 years ago.
This should be obvious, but it seems there’s still plenty of education to be done.
We deal in a curious and laughable confusion of notions concerning God. We divide Him in two, bring half of Him down to an obscure and infinitesimal corner of the world to confer salvation upon a little colony of Jews — and only Jews, no one else — and leave the other half of Him throned in heaven and looking down and eagerly and anxiously watching for results. We reverently study the history of the earthly half, and deduce from it the conviction that the earthly half has reformed, is equipped with morals and virtues, and in no way resembles the abandoned, malignant half that abides upon the throne. We conceive that the earthly half is just, merciful, charitable, benevolent, forgiving, and full of sympathy for the sufferings of mankind and anxious to remove them.
Apparently we deduce this character not by examining facts, but by diligently declining to search them, measure them, and weigh them. The earthly half requires us to be merciful, and sets us an example by inventing a lake of fire and brimstone in which all of us who fail to recognize and worship Him as God are to be burned through all eternity. And not only we, who are offered these terms, are to be thus burned if we neglect them, but also the earlier billions of human beings are to suffer this awful fate, although they all lived and died without ever having heard of Him or the terms at all. This exhibition of mercifulness may be called gorgeous. We have nothing approaching it among human savages, nor among the wild beasts of the jungle.
Michele Bachmann’s Bible is actually just Revelation, Golden Calf & 2 lines of Leviticus duct-taped to a Left Behind book.