Friday, July 29, 2011

Just because you don't agree doesn't mean I'm wrong: it might mean you're wrong and you're defensive

God is a creation of HUMANS
Earlier this week, a long-time friend posted pleas for prayer for her brother, who, as a result of a genetic issue, is prone to all sorts of stuff cropping up. He's 52 this year, which is amazing in itself given his syndrome - Down Syndrome: generally, people who have DS don't live to be middle-aged.

Over his relatively long life, he has always had teams of expert medical professionals caring for him and, again given his age, they've done an amazing job. He is very healthy, generally, funny as hell, smart and a really pleasant guy with a crazy memory for names and faces.

My friend has cared for her brother most of her life and particularly now, as her parents are both deceased - her mother within the last 18 months. She also has three adopted children who each have profound disabilities; one, a young adult, is severely disabled due to their birth-mother's alcohol abuse (Even knowing what I know about FAS and FASD, I am amazed at the extent of this person's disabilities; she is blind and has profound CP); another who is profoundly damaged due to having been shaken as an infant and who will be three months old for the rest of their life; and a third who also has Down Syndrome.

Suffice to say, my friend, who is an excellent caregiver and endlessly compassionate mum, has had a lifetime of involvement with medical professionals who are integral to the well-being of her children.

Although I appreciate that prayer - calls for it - seems to make people feel better in some situations, in this case, I thought it offensive; such calls imply that the professionals who have always provided excellent care for the children in this family cannot function - and their education, skill and experience cannot be activated - without entreaties to the invisible man, who, if one is willing to make the next logical (in terms of religion) step, is responsible for these children's afflictions in the first place.

I'm terrible at biting my tongue and, as my friend's message was in public on FaceBook, I replied that perhaps taking action and relying on proven medical people was much more beneficial than sitting around talking into the air (ok, I say 'prayer.' But I meant "talking into the air.")

The distinction I make in this case is this: my friend, who said her "God is greater than any doctor," implied that the more-than 50 years of medical support her family has had depends entirely on entreaties to this invisible, malignant spectre, who, one might easily assume, lies waiting to visit horrendous afflictions on the beings it is alleged to have created and can only be stopped by these beings constantly supplicating it. Such a presumption is disgusting and insulting to those who, regardless of entreaties, care for the wounded and afflicted.

She countered by saying "Respect my beliefs and I'll respect yours," which is stupid on all counts: does she believe in her proven medical team - a team that has proven its worth for ages - or does she really believe that unless she rounds up the troops and has them speak into the air, those medical professionals will not have access to their experience and skill?

She didn't answer my counter - that I don't have 'beliefs' but I do have confidence in doctors generally - and that she should specifically, given her family's history. I also asked her to define my 'beliefs' for me, which she didn't: she just removed all my comments.

I appreciate that some people are very, very uneducated and have never had any involvement with doctors on the level my friend has; in those cases, I appreciate their belief that prayer works on some level. But for my friend to so reduce the skill of the support team she has and make that skill dependent on the whims of an invisible man - it was simply offensive. That she deleted my comments indicates she was in a corner: either she had to respond and deny her belief in prayer or disengage. Either way, face was lost.

Prayer is a waste of time. Period. There is no evidence at all of an invisible spectre and equally none for the idea that talking out loud into the air is anything but just that.

When intelligent people who should know better and who owe a huge debt of respect to a group of doctors that has literally kept their children and sibling alive all these years, devolve to talking into the air, it is offensive.

One of my favourite myth-busting websites is God Is Imaginary. It puts forth 50 proofs that 'god' is a creation of humans (all gods, for the record) and not t'other way round.

The first two sections of the site deal with and explode the myth of prayer with research and refutations of the inane apologetics of the religious, who, it seems, would rather make up all sorts of defences for their perfect being than simply say "this is utter crap" and get on with their lives.

In respect to people removing 'offensive' comments, it is a sure admission that one knows they're wrong and they're in a corner. Removing comments (particularly those that request evidence for claims) serves nothing more that as a confirmation that, no matter how much they protest, rail, scream and carry on, the religious know that what they say the believe is baseless, stupid bullshit.