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The Price Of Authentic Faith


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Yesterday I sent a post to a friend. It was concerning a couple who had lost a child somewhere near the city of Philadelphia. The child had no appetite and went a week without medical care while showing symptoms of sickness. It is difficult to imagine that parents would ignore these symptoms in an infant. It is more difficult to imagine they could continue to do so or a week. The most difficult thing to swallow, one would think, is that the child's life ended unnecessarily. But it's not. The most horrific thing about the incident is that this child's passing was not the first incident of negligence that ended in a child's life cut short.

 

Four years ago, Herbert and Catherine Schaible lost a child when symptoms of illness were ignored by parents. The parents were placed on 10 years probation after being charged with involuntary man slaughter. However, if you asked the the Schaible's church family; "ignored" might be an incorrect term. You see, Herbert and Catherine Schaible prayed for their children to be healed instead of seeking medical attention.

 

Churches across the globe believe in faith healing; a physical healing attributed to miraculous happenings. Miracles are, by definition, events that circumvent the observable and measurable laws of our physical universe. Some faith systems are so dogmatic in their beliefs that they encourage members to shun medical attention when confronted with serious illness. They do so because they believe their condition to be a part of a divine unraveling plan. To seek to undo this plan would be to tamper with God's blueprint and to miss the (possible) blessing of a healing that God might perform miraculously.

 

The year is 2013...just in case you weren't sure.

 

Yahoo news reported that the parents had taken the child to a court-ordered check up as part of probationary restrictions following the death of their first child. However, whether or not they took their child to a doctor without the full extent of the courts upon them remains unanswered.

 

The assistant district attorney is quoted as saying: "Nobody argues that these aren't very loving, nurturing parents," she said Tuesday. "Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don't know."

 

It is my hope that these words were chosen by a public official speaking very careful before all the facts have been gathered. My question is: "How can we even begin to imagine that their religion DID NOT have something to the death of there baby?" To fail to ask this question is to ignore sound reasoning and turn a blind eye to the history of the parents' behavior - you betray this child as well as the last.

 

I sent a link of the article to one of my friends who has remained a believer while I have left that part of me behind. Her response was that the situation was: "That's just sad, infuriating, and disappointing." My inclination was to respond to her saying: "and made possible completely by religion."

 

But that may be reactionary.

 

I have learned that faith is a word in our culture and time that has a broad swath of definitions and interpretations. I've met pastors and lay people who have ridden the fence of literal interpretation of the bible. While people do something ridiculous in the name of faith they say that scripture has to be interpreted and the person was blinded even though they were acting on something they had read correctly at face value. This theological bent is quickly turned on its head often by the same person the same person, often in the same conversation. He can guide you to ultimate truth by quoting scripture - no interpretation needed, or he can walk you through the interpretation so you don't get a silly idea from reading the silly idea as it is written. No surprise to the skeptic that which side selective literalist come down on has a lot to do with justifying his or her own behavior or viewpoint.

 

"This," Sam Harris says, "is how you play tennis without the net."

 

I've some to a couple slow conclusions over the past couple days while digesting these thoughts. My first is that I think it's horrible to publicly state that we don't know whether or not the religion of the parents had anything to do with the death of these children. That is the definition of counter-productivity; the prosecution doesn't prosecute, parents go back to parenting in the same manner, children die and the public looks on while we excuse deplorable behavior because of our inability to constructively criticize the obvious harms of unchecked faith. Everybody loses.

 

My second conclusion is a bit more cynical. These parents are Christians. You would need to be pretty ignorant of the bible to claim that Christianity has nothing to do with sacrificing children in order to prove one's alligiance to God. Abraham and and his son come to mind right away. But even those selective literalists will have a hard time denying that the spirit of the gospel is about a son being sacrificed at the command of "the lord."

 

So I must draw a line between my friend and me on this issue. I think she should be sad or even infuriated at this loss - but not disappointed. This couple should not be shunned by other believers anymore than they should discount the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in order to show his love and obedience to God. The secular community should be able to say whatever they wish in response to this - they evaluate outside of the fog of belief. But Christians should hold this couple up dearly because in a world of supposed believers professing faith, they have proved their faith not once but twice.

 

Say what you say about Herbert and Catherine Schaible but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in God.

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...

Say what you say about Herbert and Catherine Schaible....

 

I will.  They are criminals.  

 

...but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in God.

 

The motives for their behavior are quite irrelevant, at least when considering their criminal acts.

 

As to whether their beliefs are "authentic", I guess that depends on whether one considers delusions, emotional and psychological dysfunctions and mental illness "authentic".  Perhaps they are fakers.

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The price of authentic faith is the willing sacrifice of an individual’s ability to engage in cognitive reasoning aka their ability to engage in conscious intellectual activity. They essentially become mind numb robots programmed to think and act as part of an identifiable collective. The level of indoctrination religious groups can achieve is disturbing. It is certainly not unusual for the brain washing to achieve virtually complete control of the adherents mind to the point the adherent will sometimes willingly sacrifice themselves, as well as their most cherished loved ones, in order to obtain the blessings of their “God”. This process will often include the banishment of a disobedient spouse or children from the family…forever.

 

 

And the adherent’s willingness to give liberally of their financial means, sometimes to the point of personal financial distress or even bankruptcy, is well documented. The price for having authentic faith is indeed often quite high. When they say Jesus wants it ALL they quite literally mean ALL.

 

 

 

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What sickens me most is Christian Majority is too afraid to say what we as atheists are not: 

Prayer doesn't work. Praying instead of seeking medical aid is not an acceptable way to act when your child is dying. 

 

These people out and out MURDERED two people...helpless BABIES...their own children...because of their faith in God.

 

Most Christians are not prepared to go that far. They would absolutely take their children to a hospital and pray in the waiting room. 

 

But they look away and shuffle their feet when confronted with stories like this....because it is a DIRECT smash in the face of Christianity and it's core belief in God and the power of Prayer.

 

And people will continue to die because of it. 

 

 

I wish that Herbert and Catherine Schaible could get some psychiatric help to deprogram them of this way of thinking. If what this article says is true and they ARE genuinely distraught and grieving for the loss of Brandon, then they too are also victims of a sinister brain washing that has ruined their lives, killed two of their children, and had the other 7 taken away. 

 

But again, people are too wishy washy and frightened to stand up and say, "You know, we need to start going to these churches and telling them this isn't right." 

 

I dunno where I'm going with this. I'm sorry, Brandon and Kent Schaible. I'm sorry this looney and archaic religion stole your lives and made your last days and absolute misery. I'm sorry people were so unwilling to step forward and save you, and save others like you. 

 

Rest in peace, kids.

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Sadly, I highly doubt they are going to be introspective about this if they didn't learn the first time around. I hope they do, if they have any form of a moral compass, they will stand in front of a mirror and reflect on what they didn't do. Long and hard. 

 

 

 

 

The price of authentic faith is the willing sacrifice of an individual’s ability to engage in cognitive reasoning aka their ability to engage in conscious intellectual activity. They essentially become mind numb robots programmed to think and act as part of an identifiable collective. The level of indoctrination religious groups can achieve is disturbing. It is certainly not unusual for the brain washing to achieve virtually complete control of the adherents mind to the point the adherent will sometimes willingly sacrifice themselves, as well as their most cherished loved ones, in order to obtain the blessings of their “God”. This process will often include the banishment of a disobedient spouse or children from the family…forever.

 

 

And the adherent’s willingness to give liberally of their financial means, sometimes to the point of personal financial distress or even bankruptcy, is well documented. The price for having authentic faith is indeed often quite high. When they say Jesus wants it ALL they quite literally mean ALL.

 

 

 

Quoted for truth, it is horrifying the power of pack mentality. A waste of potential, I believe that everyone has something to contribute to humanity. Even if it is on a macro level, we all have value.

 

The dehumanization, the corruption of the individual is disgusting. Once someone is in, it is extremely difficult to shake. The collective slowly becomes their only family and sole source of support, unknowing together they tear each other down. Destroying each others support network outside the collective, and sowing a culture of distrust to the outside world. The tricky thing is, the mental damage is not easy to see, especially to the individual himself/herself. It almost like an mental addiction, they need their "family" and beliefs to survive, because the inner-strength and identity, the soul, has been destroyed. There is always a way out, but it is hard to see the light and scary to embrace it.

 

This is not to say, that being a part of a religious group is always a bad thing. Any group will always curb behavior outside their norm, this is unavoidable due to the very nature of being a group. For a group to thrive they need some form of a group identity to hold people together. The key difference between being part of a healthy group and a cult is that in a healthy group, members are still treated with respect and as individuals. The group will not attack their members for having a life outside the group and doubt is tolerated to an extent. I mean if one doesn't agree with any of the group doctrine, than why even join.

 

Another key difference, is that members are allowed to be decent human beings and encourage one another to get the help they need. Such as taking one's child to the hospital instead of doing nothing but pray (which is as good as doing nothing). 

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"Say what you say about Herbert and Catherine Schaible but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in God."

 

And I'll repeat your ad hoc defense of their actions with the following:

 

Say what you say about the Nazis, especially the SS, but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in their leader, Adolf Hitler.

 

So whatever point you're trying to make is absurd. I'm with the others who said what they really are - criminals, despicable ones at that.

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"Say what you say about Herbert and Catherine Schaible but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in God."

 

And I'll repeat your ad hoc defense of their actions with the following:

 

Say what you say about the Nazis, especially the SS, but one thing should be clear to skeptics and believers: they have an authentic faith in their leader, Adolf Hitler.

 

So whatever point you're trying to make is absurd. I'm with the others who said what they really are - criminals, despicable ones at that.

I don't think he is saying that that justifies their actions, the only thing he is saying is that they stuck to their guns. Yes, the same can be applied to the Nazis, but they were still held responsible for their actions. 

 

To any reasonable individual faith alone is not a justifiable reason. Faith needs to be supported by reason.

 

Reasonable Faith: Faith that derives from good will. As in, holding faith that the medication my doctor prescribes me will help me get better. This is reasonable faith because the doctor is a professional and spent years studying medicine. It is reasonable to assume that my doctor is not a quack and I'm trusting his integrity. Or if my friend has been reliable returning my books I loaned him, I can hold faith that he will keep returning my books. This is faith with reason.

 

Their faith, however, does not derive from reason. They have no justifiable reason for continuing to believe in prayer, at none I can see.

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Reasonable Faith: Faith that derives from good will. As in, holding faith that the medication my doctor prescribes me will help me get better. This is reasonable faith because the doctor is a professional and spent years studying medicine. It is reasonable to assume that my doctor is not a quack and I'm trusting his integrity. Or if my friend has been reliable returning my books I loaned him, I can hold faith that he will keep returning my books. This is faith with reason

 

And you have just made a very nice argument defending the xtian cult's strawman regarding 'faith'. Congratulations (said with complete sarcasm)

To wit:

 

1. There is no such thing as reasonable faith at least the type of faith defined in the bible (Hebrews). The bible faith which is what is relevant is a blind belief in things not seen ie: unproven.

2. Your analogy about the doctor is fallacious because faith has NOTHING to do with what you should be accurately saying - your expectations based on proven methods by the doctor. You 'expect' to get better because evidence shows, beyond any doubts, that the prescribed medicine ought to help you.

3. Also applicable with your friend and the books. He will return the books because he's your friend and that's what friends do - you can count on them with similar reasons as cited for the doctor.

 

I get frustrated when I see things written that seemingly reflect nothing more than one's viewpoint with no anecdotal evidence - just an opinion. It ticks me off as well because comments like yours play right into the hands of the cult.

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Reasonable Faith: Faith that derives from good will. As in, holding faith that the medication my doctor prescribes me will help me get better. This is reasonable faith because the doctor is a professional and spent years studying medicine. It is reasonable to assume that my doctor is not a quack and I'm trusting his integrity. Or if my friend has been reliable returning my books I loaned him, I can hold faith that he will keep returning my books. This is faith with reason

 

And you have just made a very nice argument defending the xtian cult's strawman regarding 'faith'. Congratulations (said with complete sarcasm)

To wit:

 

1. There is no such thing as reasonable faith at least the type of faith defined in the bible (Hebrews). The bible faith which is what is relevant is a blind belief in things not seen ie: unproven.

2. Your analogy about the doctor is fallacious because faith has NOTHING to do with what you should be accurately saying - your expectations based on proven methods by the doctor. You 'expect' to get better because evidence shows, beyond any doubts, that the prescribed medicine ought to help you.

3. Also applicable with your friend and the books. He will return the books because he's your friend and that's what friends do - you can count on them with similar reasons as cited for the doctor.

 

I get frustrated when I see things written that seemingly reflect nothing more than one's viewpoint with no anecdotal evidence - just an opinion. It ticks me off as well because comments like yours play right into the hands of the cult.

You are putting words in my mouth. But I'm not defending biblical, blind faith, but defining a different kind of faith. Faith deriving from goodwill and what I know. I could be suspicious that my doctor cheated his through college or bribed. I could also stay suspicious that my friend or neighbor never return everything. This is faith coming from past expectation and experience. 

 

I would not be loaning something expensive to a complete stranger, but I could take a risk and loan a rake out of the kindness of my heart. If the stranger doesn't return it all well, it is a shame but not too big of a deal. If I loaned my car to a stranger and he doesn't return it, shame on me. This was a foolish risk to make. This is faith out of good will.  

 

The difference is not to be stupid with your faith, and keep your critical thinking skills going. I guess the more correct term is gambling. Can I trust this individual? Is it wise to put my trust in something from what I know about the circumstance? I guess what I'm getting at, is when you are putting your faith in something, you are taking a risk. 

 

Whatever happens, you are responsible for the choices you make. If you get burned, you better take a step back and evaluate what went wrong and learn from past mistakes.

 

edit:

Now that I really think about it, faith is no different from gambling. When you are putting your faith in something you are making a gamble. The question isn't so much about faith, but probability and risk. 

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Keep your critical thinking skills going along with this faith you defend? Sorry but to me that is just an oxymoron. And your additional comment about gambling has nothing to do with what you'd posited earlier. Now, you may have the last word - I'm going back to sleep but I have faith I'll wake up. ROFL

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That was still in tune with the theme of cost and risk. There are some choices that are riskier than others, a chance. You can believe in something, but that doesn't mean it is going to work out. There are some chances that are so close to 100% or 0% that there is no need to evaluate the risk any farther, it is insignificant.

 

Lets just agree to disagree. As I'm typing this I am still considering what I think. Wendyshrug.gif

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"The assistant district attorney is quoted as saying: "Nobody argues that these aren't very loving, nurturing parents," she said Tuesday. "Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don't know."

 

W.T.F.?  Has the world gone completely insane?

 

FUCK FAITH.. unacceptable excuse for stupidity and the unwillingness to take personal responsibility.

 

The thing that pisses me off is that somehow... because the words 'faith' and 'god' are in there that this is not a fucking MURDER BY NEGLECT CHARGE. What the hell is nurturing and loving about these fucktards?

 

Children die because their PARENTS are candidates for the Darwin Award.

 

I am convinced that religion is a plague on mankind. It should be eradicated like smallpox.

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FUCK FAITH.. unacceptable excuse for stupidity and the unwillingness to take personal responsibility.

 

I think I'm gonna run my replies through you Ravenstar. This isn't the first time you've said something more understandable than I ever could. Thanks for the validation (again)...

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I have no idea whether or not the person who made those comments to the press is an elected official of not.

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