As everyone here knows, one of the arguments made for religious belief is that it is comforting in the face of life's difficulties. It turns out that science may be comforting as well to people under duress.

This suggests that the comfort is the result of the belief that things are under control rather than any specific content of the belief.

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My wife's family lived in Westfield, NJ at the time of the murders so the case is very familiar. Westfield is an affluent community of big houses and well maintained lawns and the killings took place in 1971 before mass murders had become commonplace. It was a very shocking crime at the time and one that became more shocking when List was captured. It's not clear that List's announced motives were his real ones.

It's not clear that List's announced motives were his real ones.

I'm sure they weren't.  He was apparently extremely repressed and had built up tremendous anger. 

But Christian theology has been used before to whitewash horrible acts.

So those who survived were not saved by God, but actually just "left behind."

Yes,m but, you actually think about that.  Believers don't   I don't think any believers have been asked why they were spared and not the others.  They are too self-centered.

You can't get a better placebo than religion. If you're sick but get well then it's gods will. If you're sick and die it's gods will. It's a win win.

When I was a studying lay minister nobody knew why some people got healed and others did not. It was a big mystery. Put a little logic on it and this all makes sense. God is imaginary.

Not anymore.  If you live it is god's will but, if you die the doctor gets sued.

All a con man -- or an enduring believer in superstition -- needs is a good story to cover every possibility:

1) you get better,

2) you get worse, or

3) you stay the same.

Someone could just as well pray to a jug of milk!

You are damned right, it does not work. As a child, I watched my grandmothers pray for relief and strength but nothing changed. I watched my mother and aunts pray for relief and strength, nothing changed. It did not change for me until my tiny little ten year old daughter told her father he didn't have the right to treat me the way he was. I prayed, and did all the things that the Passive Gospel teaches. Nothing changed until I put my kids in the car, with pillows, blankets, a stock pot and our two mother cats with their kittens and got the hell out of there and out of the marriage. I've been an angry bitch ever since. The bitchiness saved my life. 

I certainly feel a sense of comfort knowing that my life is grounded in reality and that my actions are guided by my attempt to make my own personal and rational decisions. Life can be difficult enough without having to also account for and explain the illogical whims of some supernatural force. 

I find a world guided according to a plan made by a VERY UNPREDICTABLE super-duper masochistic, insanely jealous, pie in the sky papa very scary. To quote Loren, "Science works...bitches!"

That's an interesting observation.

One of the reasons people turn to alternative medicine is that they are alienated from mainstream medicine in some way.  They seem to need something to put their faith in, so they then turn to alternative medicine and become believers in it. 




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