Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Back when I attended Vacation Bible Camp (and won the Color War “homiletics” competition for my team three summers in a row) we used to think of “miracles” as things like “Sea Mysteriously Parts” and “Convicted Criminal Rises From Dead to Seek Revenge” and “Bread and Wine Magically Changes into Flesh and Blood Without Violating Cannibalism Taboos.”

But kids these days have debased the Queen’s English in a number of ways, like using nonsense words ending in “-izzle” and flambosting made-up terms like “hyphy” and abandoning all sorts of useful urination-related euphemisms, including “see a man about a horse,” “drain the lizard,” “squirt the dirt,” and “syphon the python.”

This same linguistic debauchery has happened to “miracle,” I fear. Nowadays it’s a “miracle” when the US Ice Hockey team beats the pants off of some commies. It’s a “miracle” when Mike (of + the Mechanics) gets his girlfriend back.

And, according to Randal Rauser, it’s a “miracle” when his friend dies of cancer:

The day that Paula died is, in the eyes of the world, a day for mourning and defeat. How different is the Christian story. Paula’s death was a miracle.

What an unorthodox sales pitch for Rauser’s god! While most people would regard Paula’s death as the natural (and sad) consequence of our current inability to cure cancer, Rauser shows us how to repurpose even the most horrific events into arguments for his theology. Although he was apparently too busy not mourning and not feeling “defeat” to give an example of an appropriate prayer for this situation, I have taken the liberty of helping him out:

Creator of the Universe, Puller of The Big Plug In the Sky, Great Eucharistic Euthanasiast, Exalted Cosmic Kevorkian, Divine Mercy Killer, You Who Put Us Out of the Misery That (In Your Infinite Wisdom) You Have Bestowed Upon Us, Murderous Imaginary Nut, Blessed be You! Way to kill!

And I’ll try to use this new, expansive definition of “miracle” next time something horrible happens to one of my loved ones. (“Remember that necrotizing fasciitis my cousin got? They amputated his arm! It’s a miracle!”)


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I have little patience for promoters of secular causes who resort to religious appeals. I’m happy that you’re collecting pledges to stop breast cancer, but I don’t need a speech about how Jesus would have cured the Cancer-Sufferer if only the cave-people of his era had known what cancer was. It’s fine if you want to Save the Whales, but don’t use the Book of Jonah to convince me it’s an important cause. It’s great that you’re feeding the hungry, but do it because you want to help the hungry, not because Mohammed had a seizure 1200 years ago and hallucinated that some sky-man commanded it.

Avital Binshtock’s HuffPo piece on “Greening Your Spiritual Life” is a prime example of this kind of dreck:

Christians and Jews can refer, among other passages, to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Buddhist Sutta Nipata instructs: “Within yourself let grow a boundless love for all creatures.” Hindus reading the Dakshinamurti Upanishad pray: “Let there be peace in my environment.” Muslims are instructed by the Qur’an (2:60): “Do not commit abuse on the earth.” The Wiccan Rede says, “Heed the flower, bush, and tree.” Atheists, many of whom revere Darwin’s writings, hold that humans should refrain from destroying the earth of their own accord.

Wait, what? “Revere Darwin’s writings?”

I’m sorry, I thought it said that atheists “revere Darwin’s writings.” What’s that? It does say that?

Just so we are clear, atheists do not “revere Darwin’s writings.” Most atheists have never even read Darwin’s writings. You could pull out a copy of On the Origin of Species, light it on fire, pee on it, and flush the charred ashes down a toilet, and no atheist would even blink an eye. (Unless the atheist in question owned the bookstore and you hadn’t yet paid for the copy.) I dare you to try the same with the Quran in front of Muslims.

Atheism, in case (like Avital Binshtock) you have no idea what it is, refers to the lack of belief in a god. It has nothing to do with Charles Darwin and nothing to do with “reverence” for any books, Darwin-authored or otherwise.

It is true that most atheists are familiar with Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection and sexual selection because they became the jumping-off point for all kinds of interesting scientific research that demonstrated how life could have evolved on earth, destroyed the teleological argument, and provided a sensible alternative to the panoply of ludicrous creation myths.

But a fundamental part of being an atheist is not having sacred texts. Anyone who “reveres” The Descent of Man in the same way that Christians revere the Bible or Wiccans revere the Rede (whatever the hell that is) is some kind of freaky “book-worshipper,” not an atheist.

What an insulting essay! Maybe if I go chop down an old-growth tree it will make me feel better.

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