Monday, 3 August 2009

God and stupidity

I read a story that made me despair today. A man in the USA allowed his 11 year old daughter, Madeline to die through lack of medical care. His reason? He wanted the Lord to save her. The stupidity of some people is beyond belief. His reason
"If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God"
Sadly, that's not how it works. I'd rather see scientists develop a cure for cancer than see a miraculous cure for a sick child. If God intended the holiest to survive, Darwinism would have sorted out the sinners long ago. By all means pray for miracles, but wait until all other more conventional means have been exhausted. It reminds me of a joke a Rabbi once told me on a long train journey.

A man falls off a boat into the sea. As he flounders, the boat turns around and throw him a line. He shouts "Oh Lord, Save Me". As he flounders, the boat turns around and throw him a line. He refuses to take it "The Lord will save me" he insists. Eventually the boat has to leave him. As he struggles He shouts "Oh Lord save me". At this a yatch turns up. They try and hook him with a boat hook "The lord will save me" he shouts. He pushes away the boat hook. Eventually the Yatch gives up. As he is just about to go under, he yells "Oh Lord Save Me". At this the coastguard turn up. They throw him a lifejacket, but he refuses to take it "The Lord will save me" he yells. At this he sinks under the water and disappears.

At the Pearly gates, he meets the Lord - He asks accusingly "Lord, why didn't you save me?" The Lord replied "I sent the boat back, I sent a Yatch and I sent the Coastguard". The man replied "Oh Lord, why didn't you tell me this?" God replies "Darwinism"


Don't Call Me Dave said...


It wasn’t that long ago in terms of human history that praying would have been the only option available.

Faced with a similar situation, most people would call the paramedics without a moments hesitation, but I find it hard to believe that this couple wanted their daughter to die

Did God give us the capacity to learn to heal ourselves, or is medicine a sin against His world order? I asked a Rabbi for his opinion. He replied:

The Torah allows using doctors to cure. But of course this does not mean we should not pray, just that we are not allowed to rely on miracles.

This couple must be very weird and no major halachic authority I have ever heard of would support their actions.

On the wider theological issue, there is a constant tension between freedom, human choice, and on the other side Divine override or intervention. In principle we accept the possibility of miracles and intervention, but of course we cannot rely on them, as the Holocaust sadly illustrates only too well.

Rog T said...

I suspect that they didn't realise the true seriousness of the situation, but I am of the opinion that when it comes to your childrens health (or other important medical issues) you must put their wellbeing first.

Sadly there are some religious groupings where this does not seem to be the case.

I was recently discussing the issue of the holocaust with a Jewish friend. He made an interesting comment that it has drifted onto "the cusp of human memory" as the survivors are getting old. At some point in the next few years, it will become like the biblical trials, something passed down via tradition rather than something which we can hear recollected by survivors.