Thursday, March 27, 2008

Familiar Story

"The family that prays together stays together" -- I suppose so, unless one of them dies:

An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday. ... [A]n autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.
Science-based medicine, which successfully treats this condition for millions on a daily basis, is apparently a Satanic fraud to be rejected and denounced by obedient servants of god. So these parents did.

The certainty that god's will as reported in the Bible is the ultimate source authority, and the moral perversion that arises from that belief, are all too familiar. It sounds much like the Biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac only it leaves out the crucial scene from the fable in which god intervenes and saves the child.

Do these parents honestly believe they did the right thing? The story goes on: "the mother believes the girl could still be resurrected, the police chief said." The dead body of her daughter hasn't convinced her that she has made a profound mistake in moral judgment. She still expects god will feel her sincerity and send her daughter back to life.

Presumably they can now pray for that resurrection too. Nothing fails like prayer.

But the news isn't all bad: there are still three siblings on whose bodies the parents may sharpen their devotion and hone their faith.



Laura said...

They're definitely stupid, but are they good people doing a bad thing? I'm baffled. And how does the cop not take away the other kids???

Dale said...

Laura, I don't think they're necessarily stupid. I think they're addled by faith-based thinking. This is how religion poisons morals by substituting a counterfeit morality.

Do we suppose that the parents actually hated their own daughter, and have evoked god in bad faith? I don't think that's what happened. I think they have a perverted sense of values in which they a) love their children but b) believe that obeying god is the highest good, and in some Biblical passage they have decided to focus on, god has demanded that they use prayer to solve medical problems.

We see what happened when a) and b) came into conflict. They trusted god as the Bible said to, and the child died. And they still seem to think they should be parents, and the mother still seems to think god will answer her prayers about the dead daughter.

They think morality is a question of reading the Bible and gleaning god's purposes and priorities from it.

I say life and death and suffering matter more than the intentions and will and priorities of a god in an ancient book. They say otherwise. I can't read their minds, but I can only conclude they mean it by the example of having watched their own daughter wither and die. That's pretty strong evidence of sincerity. (It is NOT evidence that the beliefs sincerely held are true.)

Suffering/flourishing or obedience/disobedience? This is the fundamental question of right and wrong as it intersects with the question of Abrahamic religion.

Laura said...

I wonder why they'd choose to focus on that verse and not this one: "But when Jesus heard this, He said, 'It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.'" (Matthew 9:12)

It's really sad that this goes on in this day and age, and I see the hold religion has when even a tragedy of this magnitude doesn't make them realize they misunderstood the teachings.


Dale said...

Laura, It is heartbreaking. You're right.

If your daughter is wasting away before your eyes and the question you're engrossed in is which of two Bible quotes express god's innermost intentions most perfectly, well ... your daughter is doomed, either now or later. And your list of problems is long.