Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Bible Promotes Child Abuse... Again

The parents of an 11-year-old girl who died Sunday from an untreated form of diabetes prayed for the girl's health rather than seek medical intervention, police said.

According to police, Madeline Kara Neumann of the town of Weston died of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that develops when a person's body has too little insulin. She reportedly had not received medical treatment since she was 3 years old, said Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin, whose department is investigating.

Interesting. Here again, we have people deciding to pray instead of seek medical help. But these are the people who truly believe what is in the bible... not the people who would have taken the child to the doctor, which would have undoubtedly prolonged the child's life. After all, John 16:23 contains that phrase "...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." So these people believed the lies in the bible, asked, but did not receive.

Oh, sure, they are nut balls. But anyone who believes what is in the bible is a nut ball IMHO. The parents deserve the fate that befalls them. One dead daughter and the rest of their children taken away from them. But things like this should jar the "faithful" awake and make them wonder "Hey, just what the fuck do we actually believe here?" I mean, if we are a "Christian nation" as the right wing wants us to believe, why would these parents need to have their children taken away from them? After all, they are just following their christian faith.


coreydbarbarian said...

if only, say, 10% of all bible-believers think a literal interpretation is best, why bash the other 90%? clearly, the majority of christians do not feel the same way, allowing for metaphor in their interpretation.

the golden rule is THE cornerstone of my ethical code, after all. and that line from the kid's song, "jesus loves me", the one that goes, "red & yellow, black & white, they are precious in his sight"? equally informative.

yeah, that jesus guy wasn't too bad. wonder if they'll ever get back 2 his teachings?

Ceroill said...

I am oddly enough reminded of one of the now semistandard conventions of science fiction writing: The Ethnic Colony World, or the idea of "If you really want to live by 13th century standards, fine, there's a whole world full of like minded people, go be fulfilled. Just don't expect the rest of us to be impressed."

csm said...

Well, CoreyD, that is all well and good for you, and as I've said before, I congratulate anyone and everyone who findas their peace in their way. Frankly, though, if you don't take something literally, and then try to live your life by it, it runs into some problems. Take prayer. Why pray? The bible says to pray because god will give you what you pray for. But he doesn't. So maybe you pray to clear your mind? But that is not in the bible, nor do I see how you can interpret the bible to say that. But, of course, anyone can interpret things they way they want, huh?

As for the golden rule, I'm all for it. It pre-dates Jesus by a substantial amount of time though. I also like some of the other stuff attributed to Jesus. I am on recrod as linking the sermon on the mount - now there is something I wish christians took literally. But people pick and choose what parts of Jesus' "message" they like. One part that is always forgotten is that Jesus backs ALL of the old testament law and says it still stands. Many many many christians say, oh, the law is no longer required because of Jesus. But Jesus says (Matthew 5:18-19) "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." So the Hasidic Jews are better at following the word of god than almost all christians...

coreydbarbarian said...

csm, anytime a person interprets a text, s(he) is bound to run into problems. especially when some parts of the text are clearly intended as metaphor, other portions intended clearly as literal, and other parts, not clear at all. perhaps we can partially attribute that to the fact that this collection of books was written by numerous authors, at various times in history, and no doubt, with various intents.

now, regarding prayer.

for a moment, let's assume that prayer relates to emotional/spiritual matters more so than actual physical stuff.

imagine that a believer in prayer is wracked with guilt over a particular "sin", to the point of distraction. because of his/her attachment to those guilty feeling, the individual finds themselves unable to forgive themselves and move on. so they shift their p.o.v., "put it in god's hands", ask for forgiveness, ACCEPT said forgiveness and move on with their life, no longer carrying this burden and hindering their life.

in such psychological circumstances, one can see how the placebo effect works miracles. of course, 2 thousand years ago, we didn't call it a "placebo effect", but this doesn't negate the effect.

miraculous medical turnarounds, psychological "re-births", all achieved by the power of prayer, or if you prefer, the power of placebo.

and, while i agree with ya on many, many points, i have a different interpretation of matt. 5:18-19.

i think maybe we're hung up on "the law" and "fulfilled" in the first verse. in a different verse, when considered in the context of jesus "violating" jewish law in order to do good, the law seems to rank a distant 2nd. so interpretation is required.

re: da golden rule

true that the rule predates christianity, if considered in its philosophical sense only. must be said, though, that jesus modified the original thought, and placed it in a theologial context.

i know it sounds like i'm nitpicking here, but saying that jesus "borrowed" the golden rule from previous sages is a bit like saying einstein "borrowed" his ideas from planck, maxwell or lenard. it's true in a general sense, but not in a specific sense.

csm said...

With ya on the prayer and psychology stuff.

Re: "the law", I find your example to be one of many, many examples where the bible clearly contradicts itself.

And completely disagree with you on Jesus and the golden rule. Mad props to Jesus for embracing the golden rule. But I don't see what he added to it that cannot be found in any one of the multiple religions and philosophers who also embraced it.



I must say you have got to be one of the most frustrated anti-Christians I have ever met. Nothing rolls off your back. How would you Constitutionally solve this problem? Granted, we have a young life snuffed out by ignorance, but as I have posted before, this child will not breed and maybe this type of irrational thought will go with it.

There is also a fine line between intervening in this situation and intervening in other dangerous parent sanctioned activities like riding ATVs, hunting with guns, mountian climbing and on and on. I just don't know where you would draw the line and why. And even if you drew the line realistically, would someone coming after you be as reasonable.

If given the choice between government sanction and individual freedom, I would choose freedom every time even if freedom might not be the best solution in this exact instance. Because once you open the sanction door you step upon the slippery slope.

csm said...

So are you saying (and I think you are) that the other children should NOT have been removed from the parents?

I think the difference between us is that I view the non-treatment of physical (and mental) maladies of children by their parents as child abuse. A child with diabetes from an early age that was never treated? I find that to be child abuse and it should be treated like any other case of child abuse.

Interestingly, I think many christians would agree with me. And that is good. But it makes them hypocrites.

Ceroill said...

csm, I suspect that most Christians don't really think through all aspects of what their tradition says about any random situation, and are not so thoroughly familiar with what are (these days anyway) the lesser known verses as to consider that they might be in violation.

I agree with you about the remaining kids in that family. If they truly want to raise their family that way they should find a place to live that does not consider that kind of thing abuse. Hence my comment about the science fiction stuff. Basically the thought that with an effectively limitless number of habitable worlds to choose from every splinter culture or faction can have a homeland/homeworld of their very own.

G said...

I'm sorry, but don't blame the Bible for the stupidity and negligence of these parents. There is no place in the Bible where we are told to reject medical advice or to pray INSTEAD OF getting medical help.

As for taking the Bible literally, the vast majority of Christians who say they take the Bible literally don't mean it in the strictest sense. We also recognize that there are colloquialisms, figurative expressions, etc. But we don't go out of our way to "spiritualize" things when the literal meaning is the natural, logical sense of it.

In the case of these people, I seem to remember reading in Yahoo news that they don't actually attend any church. And from the article you linked to, it sounds like they were just accepting the garbage that they probably saw on tv (TBN).

If they HAD read their Bibles and taken it literally, they would have taken the child to their church elders for prayer as as soon as she became sick. At the church, at least one of the people would probably have asked what the doctor said... and then told them to get her to a doctor. There is nothing biblical about rejecting medicine.


I DO agree with you that refusing to get medical attention is absolutely negligent, at least for physical problems. Mental issues would depend on the situation. One could make a strong argument that the psychiatric establishment has been equally negligent at times (e.g. the gross overuse of ritalin). But my agreement with you doesn't make me a hypocrite at all. I do believe that God can and does heal. But the Bible doesn't say that He absolutely WILL heal in EVERY instance, apart from proper medical care. That is a false doctrine that, again, gets spewed about by many tv preachers.

Maybe your view that I am a hypocrite comes from your personal interpretation of what the Bible says. Consider that it might not say exactly what you thought it said... or mean exactly what you interpreted it to mean. If you take everything within the context of the entire Bible, then my agreement isn't hypocritical at all.



I have posted before this is the biggest quandary for me for my stance on individual freedom. And my point is where do you draw the line? In the Phoenix area we have kids who drown in backyard pools every year. The warnings go out, but kids still die. Invariably, the parents will say the child was only out of there sight for a few minutes, but the result is a child is dead because of negligence. Many want to give the parents jail time, but I just don't see it that way. The intent to do harm was not there and I daresay it wasn't there in this case either. Ignorant people have figured out how to have kids on a consistent basis and I do not foresee this changing anytime soon.
So where do you draw the line?

My belief is that children only have one right and that right is the right not to be violated physically, mentally or emotionally. In this case, the parents, who have the responsibility to make sure the child has what it needs to thrive, violated the child's right. But I have a question for you; let us say we have another family who believes in exactly the same way, has children, but they are lucky enough not to have any health problems with the children until the children become adults, is this abuse?

I have always contended no parents go into parenting trying to do a bad job. Many are no good at it, but they aren't trying to be bad at it. For this reason, I believe the government should not be heavy-handed in situations like this. Should the other kids be taken away, maybe. I would contend it should be a last resort. Watch the family, keep track of the other kids get some third party counseling, sure. Destroy the family with a sweep of the hand, definitely not.

Parents get into trouble in lots of ways. Letting there kids eat whatever and how much they want until it becomes an unhealthy situation. Trying to stay their "friend" instead of being a life guide. Living vicariously through their children. Lots and lots of ways for parents to fuck up. I personally think these cases should be handled in an each case scenario with no "set-in-stone" solution for all. As I said before where would you draw the line?

I am with g on this too. You cannot blame the Bible; you have to blame ignorance and I certainly have not found a solution to the ignorance problem. They just seem to keep having kids.

csm said...

The bible absolutely says that if you pray for something god will give it to you. So if someone reading the bible and believing it decides that this is the best course of treatment for their child, then they are in accordance with the bible and their belief system. They are deluded fools, but they are being consistent. For another believer in the same book to then say that the person is negligent, is hypocritical, no way around it. I take solace in the fact that at least the right thing gets done (eventually) in the removal of the children.

G said...

The Bible doesn't say what you seem to think it says. Of course, if you take a verse or two out of context, you can get the Bible to say just about anything you want it to say. That's exactly what these "Word of Faith" teachers do.

But if you take what the Bible says in context (both the immediate context and the context of what the rest of the Bible says), then you don't end up with these misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

I've already mentioned that the Bible never tells us to pray INSTEAD OF taking someone to a doctor. Nor does it say that prayer is all we are ever supposed to do. The Bible says a lot about prayer. To just take one verse and use it to make a point is a common error.

My position isn't hypocritical at all. I believe the Bible is true... the WHOLE Bible. What would be hypocritical is to take a couple verses that make my point, at the exclusion of other verses that might add details that don't fit with my preconceived ideas.

csm said...

We're never going to see eye-to-eye on these points, G. When something is there, written in black and white, there is no further context necessary. I am NOT saying the bible says not to seek medical help. I am saying it says pray and god will give you what you pray for.
John 16:23
Mark 11:24

What further "context" makes those statements not true?

And people who refuse medical help because of the bible - because of their "faith" - have these biblical quotes to rely on:
James 5:14-15
2 Chronicles 16:12

G said...

I understand that we won't ever agree. But when you're saying that I'm a hypocrite for not being like these people, I think I should explain why your accusation is unfounded.

I actually already mentioned the verse from James. For one thing, it doesn't say "instead of" medical care. Also, these people didn't do what these verses say.

In 2 Chronicles, it is a simple statement of fact. There is no cause-effect stated (although it is clear that you inferred it). But in addition to that point, you need to understand that taking the Bible literally doesn't mean that you can take every isolated incident mentioned and make a general application to all people in all times. Just like I don't expect to make an income by fishing and finding coins inside the fish.

In the verse in John, there are two phrases ("in that day" and "in My name") that need to be properly understood. I have also already mentioned taking things in the context of the entire Bible. And in the case of prayer, there are some qualifiers given (e.g. praying according to the will of God [1 John 5:14], not asking for the wrong reasons [James 4:3], etc.). This would apply to all the verses mentioned.

Most false doctrines over the years can be attributed to the overemphasis of one group of teachings and the exclusion of others.

My position is totally consistent with believing the WHOLE Bible. I do believe that prayer is important, and that God does heal. But those things don't relieve me of human responsibilities. The Bible warns against presumptuousness. It doesn't say pray and do nothing else. Nor does it say "pray and god will give you what you pray for." That's your interpretation.

I know that you aren't going to accept what I'm saying. But my beliefs are consistent with what the Bible says... the WHOLE Bible. As I said, if you just take a verse here and there, you can get the Bible to say just about anything.

csm said...

Again, I disagree. When something is written in black and white, that is what it says, that is what it means. The bible absolutely does say ask and you shall receive.

That said, I take you at your word and "believe" you are sincere in what you believe.

G said...

I know that we will continue to disagree on this point. I don't expect to change your view, just as I'm sure you aren't expecting to change mine.

And I agree that the Bible says that... but that it also says other things on the same subject. I don't believe that the Bible was ever meant to be just a bunch of "one-liners" to live by, but was rather meant to be taken as a whole. And in addition to saying "ask and you will receive," it also says the things I mentioned, and I just won't take a qualified statement as an unqualified, globally applicable truth.

csm said...

Understood... I would never expect a book that was cobbled together over centuries and written by various and sundry individuals to avoid contradiction and deliver anything in a clearly stated manner... and yes, I am aware that you would not state it in those terms... {grin}

zandorit said...

I think fairly intelligent persons must not believe in something which is obviously based on myth and fiction. You can hold picnics and meetings without children and others being in danger for their lives. I am a trained medical professional and these are some of the most literal idiots we have ever seen. Having to get court orders to save a child's life SHOULD NOT be needed. And if you defy parental orders you risk hospital lawsuits and on and on.
Just a very sad and pitiful group of people IMO.