Because It’s Worked So Well in the Past …

Charity, I know this one will thrill the hell out of you …

HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors ‘to rely on God’

The Children’s HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their [Pentecostal] pastors had told them to do so.

Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so.

As an alternative to their FDA approved medication that has been clinically proven to extend lifespan as well as quality of life for people suffering from HIV / AIDS, they were either told by their pastors to pray, or they were given small bottles of “blessed” water that would supposedly heal them.

No dice.  For all of the claims of the blind seeing, the lame walking, or the terminally ill suddenly feeling happy and getting the urge to go for a walk, there’s no legitimate cases of faith healing doing anything other than putting people at risk of dying from abandoning their medication … just ask “Oliver”:

Sixteen-year-old Oliver (not his real name) said he was told by a pastor to swap his HIV medicine for a plastic bottle containing water that would heal him.  Later, after his mother had experienced what he believed was a miracle cure, Oliver stopped taking his medication, and his condition quickly deteriorated.

He has since gone back on his medication and said he believed he needed to combine his drugs with his belief in faith healing.

Odd position, considering the faith healing did absolutely nothing on its own … but at least he’s taking his meds.  He can convert later on … since he now has a good chance of there being enough of a “later on” to speak of.

In the interest of fairness, this is only being observed in a small percentage of the overall Pentecostal population, affecting a relatively small group of people.  This is not an epidemic by any stretch of the imagination, but it does reveal the frightening degree of influence of church authority on its members, as well as the dangerous weight given to the power of faith in the face of situations that have defied even the strongest believers since the dawn of history.

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8 Responses to Because It’s Worked So Well in the Past …

  1. Charity says:

    Hey Jason,

    Yeah, Christianity is simply mysticism. I think that’s funny too because most Christians will tell you one of two things. 1) Mysticism isn’t real. or 2) Mysticism is of the Devil.

    Grant it, I don’t agree with everything about conventional medicine, but no one, and I mean no one, should force little innocent children into a “healing” by God, Jesus or Holy Spirit that could potentially kill them. It amazes me of how a Christian parent wouldn’t go to a magician and say “heal my boy”, but would have no issue in jumping in a church or healing crusade prayer line for their child’s healing.

    I remember getting in a prayer line at an Assembly of God church in southern California in 2007. I have always had bad eyesight, and had been asking God to heal me on a somewhat regular basis since I was a little girl in 1982. There was a big ministry group there from that Bethel Church in Redding, California. A guy prayed for me, and continually told me to laugh. I just smiled because I had gotten to the point in my Christianity where I would NOT do courtesy falls, shakes or laughs for anyone. Nothing. happened. at all! I remember people all around me laughing and laughing and laughing. People crowding in the aisles and all excited about what God had done. I told my husband that maybe I just wasn’t as much as a Pentecostal as what I had been because I just didn’t get it. I even thought that I had fallen away from God, and as a result, couldn’t relate to what He was doing all around me.

    There is a huge danger with divine healing, it ALWAYS puts the sick person at fault. The person was never healed because they didn’t have enough faith and that’s pretty pathetic because Jesus said in the Gospels that all it takes is the “faith of a mustard seed”. The sick don’t get well because there is sin in their life. A person’s sick because they’re not godly and need to learn patience by waiting for God’s “perfect” timing. Can you see the fear and manipulation in all of that? This then puts sister or brother Christian at the mercy of God, the Bible, Jesus, Church and spiritual leadership…….. You are a piece of shit and need to be taught a lesson. You need to change your wicked ways. You need to trust God. You need to submit to the position of authority that God has put me in………

    I will say this, don’t think for a minute that Pentecostals are the only flavor of Christianity that is full of manipulation and abuse. Sometimes the seeker friendly ones are the most dangerous behind closed doors.

    Jason, thanks for keeping us posted on current events around the world regarding faith and religion.

  2. People need to understand something, here, something that most people never give any thought to: There is a world of difference between ‘healed’ and ‘cured’. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have received throughout my lifetime countless blessings for the healing of the sick, for everything from boils to fevers to eye conditions to kidney failure, and just about anything in between that you can think of. In every case, I have experienced a ‘healing’, even if I have never been spontaneously ‘cured'; I was always left with my illness, but I was reassured about the outcome, and I knew I had nothing to worry about – take care of myself and follow my doctor’s instructions and take my medicine, and everything would work out the way it should. In my case, ‘healing’ blessings serve more to strengthen and bolster my spiritual needs, to reassure me that I am doing what I need to be doing, and that no matter how things turn out, I don’t need to worry – it’s all good. Even if I die of it, it’s still all good. This has the effect on me of allowing me to let go of my anxieties, letting me relax and rest and put my worries away. This, in turn, has led to me recovering faster from those things that I can recover from, and dealing better with those things that cannot be recovered from. Looked at in this way, I am a firm believer of the power of healing blessings.

    • There is some arguable premise that either direct or intercessory prayer could potentially provide a palliative effect to someone suffering from a disease or injury, especially if they’re aware of it. As you point out, though, it’s vital that you keep taking your meds and do what the doctor tells you. Really, that was my main point. If you want to receive blessings because it gives you a more positive outlook, I have no problem with that. I do, however, take issue with families in which the parents refuse medical treatment for their children, who then end up dying from completely preventable diseases. Again, prayer as a coping mechanism for the faithful is one thing; flat out denying medicine is another. I suppose believing in the existence of an afterlife takes the sting out of the whole prospect of dying in the first place, so it’s likely easier to just sit back and put everything in God’s hands. For people who don’t believe, I think life is seen as a little more of an emergency since all we’re certain of is the one we’re living, not anything afterward.

      • Exactly. We have to do what we can do, medically, and AFTER all of that, we need to leave the rest up to God, Fate, the Universe, or whatever – the point is, though, we DO need to do our part, first. Take our medicine, do our treatment, all that.

        As for an afterlife, I look at it like this, sometimes: If there is no afterlife, then my belief in one is pointless, but nobody will be around to laugh and point fingers at me afterward, so what do I care if I’m wrong believing in an afterlife? And if there IS an afterlife, I would rather NOT spend the rest of eternity with everyone pointing and laughing at me for denying the reality of an afterlife. So, I can face the possibility of being teased for belief here, or the possibility of an endless eternity of embarrassment there. I choose the potentially shorter sentence. :-)

        • Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it’s only human nature to want to believe in an afterlife as a way to cope with the alternative of non-existence after death. Choosing the former over the latter as a preference, even without evidence, is fine; I just take issue with those who state it as fact and demand I live my life according to what they think will happen to me when I get there.

      • There’s the story: A man is sitting on his roof, with flood waters lapping at his toes. A guy in a rowboat comes by. “Hop in, the water’s only gonna get higher!”
        “No”, says the man. “I’m waiting for God to save me.”
        The man in the rowboat shakes his head and paddles off, and the water rises. The old man is now perched on the highest part of the roof, with the water lapping at his knees, when another man in a motorboat comes by. “Hop in! The water’s only gonna get higher!”
        “No,” says the old man. “The Lord’s gonna save me.”
        The man in the motor boat shakes his head and moves on. The water gets higher – it’s now at the old man’s waist. A guy in a helicopter comes by and hovers over head. “Hey! I’ll drop you a ladder, climb on in! The water’s only gonna get higher!”
        “No,” says the old man. “My Lord is gonna save me.”
        The guy in the helicopter shakes his head and flies off. The water keeps rising, and the old man drowns.
        At the Pearly Gates, he asks the Lord, “I had faith! I prayed for you to save me! Why didn’t you save me?”
        The Lord shakes his head and says, “I sent two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?”

  3. BeyondRedemption.... says:

    When STUPIDITY prevails….. it does the observer well, to not even give it a moment’s thought. Stupidity is rampant in America….There’s no sense worrying about that which you can’t really do much about……. That’s only going to ruin your Sunday……….. And write off the people who believe in the stupidity… they’re beyond help anyway. I’m going to the pool for my morning swim. Have a nice Sunday……………………….. ;-)

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