An ex-minister's story of losing her faith, and the failure of theodicy in a world where people matter.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on November 16, 2014 at 10:17pm

Of course one does not interrupt the processes that bring comfort to an individual. That would be cruel and unnecessary. Just plain mean spirited. If someone likes prayers, go right ahead ... I won't get in the way. 

"I'll pray for you!" What a silly thing to say to me. I asked the person to contribute to cancer research or volunteer at a fund raiser if they were able. Each and every one who said that to me, I reminded them to have a cancer check up. This cheap statement infuriated me. Sure, go on with your daily routine as if there were no need for a prevention for all kinds of cancer. The least they could do was make a few phone calls or offer to go grocery shopping for someone too sick to stir.

There were 17 recliner chairs with drip sets on each. The chemo room was filled to overflowing each morning and standing room only for others to get their dose of poison dripped into their bodies. Why? From where does all this cancer come? What are we doing to our bodies or allowing to be done to our bodies to have to go through that awful experience. There were two young girls, probably in their early 20s, curled up in the fetal position, so sick they wanted to die. 

"I'll pray for you!"

When I went grocery shopping with my bald head, many people stopped to ask me if I were in cancer treatment. I nodded. They said the sweetest thing I could ever hear ... "I had cancer 5, 10 or 15 years ago and I am fine now!" It was like a bell ringing in my ear, people do survive cancer and all the dreadful things one does to get rid of it. 

For me, cancer was a blessing. I don't have the same kind as Daniel and he has suffered far more than I. Daniel helped me through the whole miserable mess by just being there. I knew he was thinking of me as I was thinking of him. There exists a special bond between us, for which I am very grateful. 

Comment by Michael Penn on November 16, 2014 at 8:48pm

Me too, Daniel. I save it for Nexus then. Imagine a person praying and grieving, or praying because they are sick. It would be wrong timing to tell that person that their belief is imaginary.

Comment by Jonathan Tweet on November 16, 2014 at 5:04pm

@Laura, it's sad the way that ancient attitudes get justified today. How can people think that the sort of genocide you cite is OK? The way I see it, people can say anything no matter how crazy. Luckily people are a little more circumspect when it comes to acting crazy. 

Comment by Jonathan Tweet on November 16, 2014 at 4:51pm

@Daniel, thanks for your personal story. That was moving. It's good that you can get some of what you need from participating on those fora. To me, it seems like prayer arises out of the human need to do something, or at least to feel as though we're going something. Helplessness is no fun, and lots of people would rather pray to a god than feel helpless. I take it that you never step in to tell people that intercessory prayer is stupid. 

Comment by Jonathan Tweet on November 16, 2014 at 4:41pm

@Michael, yes, everybody suffers. I like atheism because it acknowledges suffering instead of explaining it away.  

Comment by Luara on November 11, 2014 at 1:46pm

So the group is the one place, the only place, where I can see what's done, how other people manage, and what's in store.

That reminds me of the online support I sought out for my delayed-reaction food allergies. 

Many people with celiac disease have delayed-reaction allergies to other foods.  Yet I saw a couple gastroenterologists, who were clueless about my kind of food allergies, in association with celiac disease or not. It was the patients who were familiar with that kind of food reaction. 

So I interacted a lot with other sufferers of these food allergies, trying to get what useful info I could. 

It's disorienting and puzzling when the supposed experts don't know anything, and the "grapevine" seems to know more. 

Comment by Luara on November 11, 2014 at 7:32am

I quoted

This is what the Lord Almighty says... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:3)

to a Christian. Her response:

I already explained that one.
God's not just a God of love, God' is also a God of judgement, order, etc

Comment by Michael Penn on November 10, 2014 at 11:47pm

I suffer and I have no faith. All people suffer at some time. Faith is simply believing things that are not so. Believing with no evidence.



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