But suppose that faith in a myth is destroyed and another mysticism be not set up in its place, what then? If a mother takes her child away from the fire, which it finds beautiful, and believes to be a nice toy, is it necessary for her to give it a kerosene lamp in its place? She destroys a pleasant delusion — a faith and a delightful hope and confidence — because she knows its danger and recognizes its false foundation. It is surely not necessary that she should give to the child another delusion equally dangerous and false. She gives it something she knows to be safe; something she understands will not burn; something which, though not so bright and attractive to the child at first, gives pleasure without pain, occupation without disaster. Is she cruel or only sensible?
Helen Gardener in Men, Women, and Gods (1885) answering the question: “What do you propose to give in place of this comforting faith? It makes people so happy. You take away all this blessing and you give no other in its place.”
Oregon is getting ready to end legal protection to parents who abandon modern medicine in favor of faith healing when treating their children’s illness. House Bill 2721 would eliminate faith healing as a legal defense for parents who rely only on faith healing or other spiritual practices to heal sick children.
The change in law can be understood as a direct response to the Oregon City church, The Followers of Christ. The church is notorious for allowing sick children to suffer and even die rather than seeking medical attention. The church preaches a religion based in faith-healing, a religion that rejects modern medicine in favor of prayer and the anointing of the sick with oil.
Church members have a lengthy history of children dying from lack of medical care. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office has estimated that in the past 30 years, more than 20 children of church members have died of preventable or curable conditions.
Thank the FSM! Faith is not an excuse for letting your children suffer and die.
Good for Oregon. Hope this becomes a trend.
This would be so great!
People have a right to their beliefs” is a terrible argument against atheist activism. Of course people have a right to believe whatever they like. But people don’t have a right to never have their beliefs questioned and criticized. We question and criticize all other kinds of ideas — why should religion be the exception?
On why morality does not come from religion.
There’s a million dollars under your bed! Yes really. Go look; I’ll wait.
Huh, that’s weird. Did you look really hard? Are you sure? Maybe you should try again, and look really, really hard this time.
Hmmm, did you look under the carpet? Well, you gotta look under the carpet. I know what I said; but under the carpet under the bed is still under the bed.
Nothing? You can’t just feel for lumps; it could be in large bills spread out in a thin layer. You’ve got to pull up the carpet. Hey, with a million dollars you can get a new carpet, right?
I don’t think you’re putting enough effort into this. You’re going to have to tear up the floor too. Of course I’m sure it’s there; It says so right here on this old treasure map. Can you prove the map’s a forgery? I didn’t think so.
Well of course you have to dig: it’s buried treasure, isn’t it? You always have to dig for buried treasure. Everybody knows that. Are you stupid or something?
Okay mister know-it-all, prove there’s no treasure. See, you can’t! It’s an irrational claim. You’d have to dig all the way to China. You do believe in China don’t you? Have you ever seen China? See, everybody believes in things they’ve never seen, so keep digging.
I had some of the dirt analyzed. There are minute traces of gold. You must be getting close. No, it can’t be natural; if gold just occurred naturally we’d all be rich, now wouldn’t we.
This guy I know took the dirt sample you sent me, calculated the trace amount of gold per cubic foot, then calculated the total volume of a column of dirt the size of your bed stretching all the way to the other side of the earth, then made some adjustments for increased gold density near the core, and viola! scientific proof that there’s a million dollars in gold under your bed! Isn’t that great?
You can’t stop now, you’re so close. What are you so mad about? Look at what great shape you got in from all that digging! Surely that’s worth a million dollars right there. I think you really believe that gold is there anyway. Why else would you have dug that hole? I think that you’re just afraid that if you keep digging you’ll find gold. Why do you hate money so much? Are you some sort of communist?
Okay, that’s it, me and some of my friends are going to come over and make you dig. I will not stay out of your bedroom! Your rights? What about my rights? It’s totally unfair for you to deny me the right to that gold just because you don’t believe it’s there. Or rather, claim to not believe it’s there: I think you’re really just lazy.
Why are you running around telling people there is no gold under your bed? That’s just more proof that deep down you really know it’s there. If you really didn’t believe there was any gold there it would never occur to you to mention it. After all, nobody runs around saying “There’s no Santa Claus buried under my bed.” You only have to deny the Gold because you know it’s true.
You agoldists are such hypocrites. You talk about tolerance and rights, then persecute those of us who just want to be left alone to make you dig under your bed. My congressman is going to hear about this.
Interesting thoughts from a retired bishop… He strikes me as someone who has come to see the detrimental effect of religion but still, strangely, believes in an afterlife and a god. As odd as that seems to me, these are the kinds of theists that I don’t have much quarrel with. So he happens to still be a bit delusional… at least he doesn’t believe that certain people are damned to hell or believe that his religion has the truth. What do you think? Christian turned Deist?
“During her lifetime Mother Teresa had become synonymous with saintliness. But in 1994, three years before her death, journalist Christopher Hitchens made this provocative film asking if her reputation was deserved.”
Worth watching. It is true that her PR is so good that people don’t know what she really was or what she stood for. In the past I have been admonished for calling her a horrible human being. But that’s what she was. A horrible human being.