Another snake worshiper dies of snake-bite. Hew refuses medical treatment. It's against his religion.
How do you react, as a rational atheist skeptic? I turn to the comics, but not without a nagging feeling that something is grievously wrong with these people's minds. A primitive obsession with snakes lingers in their neurology, just as we have vestiges of organs we no longer need. Do these people need to be locked up and medicated for their own good?
But as a libertarian, I believe in religious freedom, even if that freedom involves the ability to commit suicide by the object of your religion...and have it be OK with your religion.
I guess I side with libertarian psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. who believes that psychiatrists should definitely not be in the business of deciding who gets medicated and/or incarcerated. The crazy are entitled to be crazy, as long as they don't harm anyone against his/her will. By this logic, as long as they don't proselytize, and as long as they allow people to opt out, the harm is limited to a few lunatics acting according to their free will and taking the consequences.
What do you think?
Mostly, I'm in agreement. People who are stupid frequently wind up paying the price for being stupid. The problem is proselytism and its tendency to catch people who don't know assholes from elbows. The purposeful spreading of such stupidity I personally find intolerable, especially when the kind of tactics evangelical religion is known for using - irrational fear and uncorroborated assertions - are the primary tools used.
Side note: I'd be very curious as to the education and intelligence level of the attendees of churches where snake handling is prevalent. Somehow, I suspect you won't find many MIT grads...
Mark 16:18 says "and they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them, and they shall lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Let's all get insane here. Does this mean we should go to church, drink our poison, pick up a poisonous snake, and then pray for the sick, knowing that they will recover? Is this verse a "proof" that you really are a christian? You go to church and do this as proof of your salvation, but if the snake bites you (or the poison kills you) then you are a screwed and very dead fraud!
Most people have more important things to do with their time! As for the snake handlers, they need to get an education and raise that IQ.