Last Thursday I came down with Strep Throat. If you’ve ever had it before, you know how painful it is. I was in such discomfort, that I had to ask my Mom to drive me to the emergency room so I could get treatment. In fact, I haven’t driven my beloved Mustang in almost a week, and boy do I miss her! The rumbling of the V-8, the smooth shifting 5-speed, the surge of torque that pushes you deep into the leather seat…
Where was I? Oh yeah, Strep Throat! Sorry, these medications tend to make me a bit out of it. But I contend that an atheist on strong medications and suffering from Strep Throat, such as myself, is not as “out of it” as a healthy, sober, person of faith.
Why do I say this? Well, on the way back from the hospital, my Mom told me a story about how, when she was 15 years old, she acquired Strep Throat herself. Now before I continue with this story, I must give you a little background on her parents (my Grandparents). They are very loving, yet very religious people. My Mother’s parents are, in fact, the people who indoctrinated me into Christianity when I was about 4 years old. What 4 year old wouldn’t believe everything their kind and loving Grandparents told them?
Anyway, back to the story. My Mom acquired Strep Throat at age 15. What did her parents do at the onset of my Mom’s illness? They prayed. They had the local preacher visit. They prayed some more. They had the local preacher visit again. They had her anointed. They had the whole congregation pray for her repeatedly. Did I mention that a whole lot of people were praying and anointing and exercising the power of their faith?
Well, my Mom continued to suffer from Strep Throat for over a month! Consider that in my case, I went to the hospital after 3 days of symptoms, and after my antibiotics treatment, I am expected to be fully functional by Wednesday. Assuming that I do recover by Wednesday as the Doctor told me, I will have had a total of 7 days of downtime, and it would have been less had I decided to go to the hospital sooner (which I should have).
My Mom suffered from Strep Throat for over a month because her parents never took her to see a Doctor. The preacher, the congregation, and all those prayers and anointments couldn’t do what a bottle full of pills could do. Obviously, Strep Throat kicked the absolute shit out of their faith. Strep Throat 1, Faith 0.
What is Strep Throat? It is a bacterium that infects your throat. It is a purely material entity. And what are antibiotics? A purely material medicine designed to fight the infection. And what is faith? Belief without logical proof or material evidence. When you look at the cases of both my Mom and myself, faith was the big time loser.
Nowadays, my Grandparents sing a slightly different tune. Of course they are still very religious, but today they would take a sick child or relative to the hospital instead of pray for them. They have definitely learned their lesson. And as a result of their “education,” they most definitely have less faith today than they did back then. Of course, my Grandparents will insist to my face that while today they would take someone to the hospital, they still have “just as much” faith as they did before. They, of course, are wrong about that; they are in denial. Either they lost faith in the power of prayer for healing their sick children, or their faith in prayer is now trumped by their knowledge of medicine. Either way, their faith is necessarily compromised. If it wasn’t, then they would still subscribe to the faith healing method.
Faith will never heal anything. Faith will never perform as well as anything material. In fact, the only time faith ever does perform, is when it creates a placebo effect, which is material anyway. So here we are full circle: faith just doesn’t perform.
Faith is the only leg that the afterlife has to stand on. Logical proof and material evidence are the only legs that anti-afterlifers like myself have to stand on. And from the stories presented above, its pretty clear which legs are the safer ones to stand on.
Anything supported by faith is, in fact, not supported at all. Using the (powerless) power of faith won’t cure you of illness, nor will it make the afterlife, or God, exist.