Prayer fails again

April 1, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

In a tragic story from my own state of Wisconsin, an 11-year-old girl died last week because her parents trusted God to heal her. The parents apparently didn’t realize that their child had diabetes, so they never sought medical help. Instead, they prayed.

Though not reported in the StarTribune article, local radio reported that the parents did not blame God for letting their daughter die. Instead, they blamed themselves…not for failing to seek medical help, but for failing “to have enough faith” to heal their daughter with prayer. Sheesh.


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Category: Health, Medicine, Religion

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (4)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Quite often, religious beliefs inspire real world ignorance. This is such a sad example of this.

    Other times, people who claim to be religious are smart as can be; they don't allow their religious beliefs (whatever they are) to trump their need to deal intelligently with the world.

    The big question for me is what is the difference between religious folks who can deal with the world and those who can't? Is it a matter of degree of belief, or type of beliefs, or something else? I'm more and more convinced that it isn't religion per se that determines whether people thrive in the physical world.

    Having written this, though, I wonder how many non-believers would have allowed their child to die of treatable diabetes (even though there'd be no religion to blame). In sum, was this girl's death really due to religion or just ignorance? Or was it religiously-inspired ignorance?

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    To take an Ayn Rand view (as discussed here): If more people who openly eschewed the roots of biological science would also reject its products (as in this case), the variation in survival rates would eventually improve the overall emotional acceptance of its benefits through attrition among the detractors.

    Think "Evolution in Action" as in Niven/Pournelle's "Oath of Fealty"

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Grumpy: Prayer can also work miracles. It can turn a child with a dangerous birth defect into a Goddess to which we should pray. That is the story of this two-faced baby who was recently born in India.….

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    "That is the story of this two-faced baby who was recently born in India…."

    Wow, and here I thought Picasso just made that stuff up in his imagination.. .

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