Take Two Jesus’ And Call Me In The Morning

Sometimes my atheism tends to distance myself from my patients.

Take, for example, the woman who called for an ambulance because she had a sudden bout of severe belly ache. This had been going on for over an hour before she called and we'd been busy all day so it took us some time to get to her.

We were met by the patient herself who didn't seem to be in any pain. I asked her what the problem was.

“I had severe pain”, she told me, “it was so bad I was curled up on the floor, I couldn't breathe”.

“Go on”, I said.

“But then I called out for Jesus twice, and the pain went away”.

“Erm… OK”.

“So I don't want to go to hospital, if the pain comes back I'll call for Jesus again”.

It's here that I have a slight quandary – if a patient tells me that they called out for the Flying Spaghetti Monster*and he healed them, I might think that they are bonkers. But there is no way I can suggest that calling out to another imaginary being (in this case Jesus) might not be the sane response to pain of this type for fear of having a complaint put in against me.

At the end of the day, I wasn't going to get her Sectioned, so I left her at home.

A similar thing happened a little while ago, another patient who believed that praying to Jesus had stopped his chest pain and then refused to come to hospital.

If a patient tells me that the voices that he hears direct him to do things, then I consider that he may have a mental health problem; however if they tell me that God (whichever one takes your fancy) has told them something then I can't challenge that. And if there is no evidence for the existence of either of these sources outside of the mind of the person hearing them, then aren't they both from the same source?

It's strange, but when I did my mental health placement as a lowly student nurse I was told that we should challenge things that our patients would say that are just not true. Until someone can prove that 'God' exists then why aren't we challenging these apparently delusional thoughts?

It also confuses me how anyone who works in emergency medicine can believe in a benevolent supreme being, given the things that we see and the cases that we deal with. Also we are suppose to use scientific evidence** to determine our practice, which seems to go against the type of mind that believes in invisible sky bullies.


*May you be touched by his noodly appendage.

**Yes, I am aware that people who are allowed to practise their faith in hospital can recover quicker, but I might recover quicker if I have distracting and happy-making activities to take part in rather than sit around staring at the ceiling. I don't think that World of Warcraft can be considered a religion. Likewise I'm aware of the 'prayer' experiments that prove that in double-blind tests being prayed for makes absolutely no difference in healing. Show me one shred of evidence that proves the existence of God and I'll convert, until then it's a load of old hokum like the existence of the Higgs Boson.

61 thoughts on “Take Two Jesus’ And Call Me In The Morning”

  1. There is decades of overwhelming scientific evidence for the standard model of partical physics (cf the output of any particle acceleraator ever run) and the standard model predicts there should be a Higgs Boson! It is any thing but “old Hokum”. The physics community's well-founded belief that there should exist a Higgs-Boson is in no way comparable to blind faith in religious entities.I have read every entry of this blog (took me a while, but I got there in the end) and I largely agree with every sylllable you've ever written here and have a great admiration for all the hard work you and your colleagues do as a consequence.

    The Higgs Boson comment, however, has seriously dented my appreciation of this blog.

  2. It's a purely practical matter: cultural reinforcement means that you need be a lot less mad to believe in God than to believe in, say, aliens, and so belief in God tells you less about their mental health. It's not because the belief is somehow inherently less mad; it's absolutely just as mad.

  3. Atheism is the belief that all religions are wrong, and that there is/are no god/s. And that the people who hold that belief want to proselytize is evidenced by the Dawkins, the Hitchens, the numerous atheist bloggers of this world – and indeed this post.Don't get me wrong – hold your belief/disbelief with pride, enjoy it, write about it, rant about it – it's all good, and you may educate someone who needs to hear your beliefs – BUT. The moment you try to diminish the rights of another human – including the right to make any kind of personal health care choice, based on their differing beliefs, then you are becoming as one with the fundies of this world, and on a VERY slippery slope. (IMO anyway.)

    And the only “atheist” states so far on record – the Soviet Union and PRC – have all brutally oppressed believers in deities/”unseen forces” at least as badly as any religious persecution you may care to name.

    I put it to you once again – it is not about any gods/angels/ogres/pixies/rationality or other memes we choose to believe (or disbelieve) in that matters – it is how we are willing to dehumanise, and disenfranchise, the other humans who disagree with us, that counts.

  4. Well now I don't recall actually mentioning atheism, much less “spouting … dogma in support of [it]”.I put it right back to you that a publicly funded body such as the Health Service should help all its patients equally, and that the best thing to do when someone genuinely thinks that prayer will cure them is somewhere between saying “maybe, but please phone us for help as well”, and giving them a slap and telling them to stop being so damned stupid. Saying “okay, I respect that” and leaving them to die is clearly not helpful.

    I appreciate entirely that “many people would rather die than live in a world where they are not free to believe whatever makes the most sense to them at that time”, and that's very noble, but practically, “freedom of belief” is a nonsense. You do not have freedom of belief. Try it. Just try it: believe you are an elk. I bet you can't. You believe whatever your mind and senses tell you to believe and you don't have a choice. Of course, that's not justification for trying to force people to believe one specific thing — trying to police people's thoughts is a bad idea both morally and practically — but it should suggest to you that perhaps the issues are at least a little more complex that the black-and-white image you're painting.

    But the fact is that religion — and by “religion” I mean any delusion that people are encouraged by their peers to hold, and I do consider belief in gods is a delusion (even if there is a god, on present evidence you couldn't rationally believe in him) — the fact is that religion killed Madeline Neumann, a little girl too young to understand the ideas that prevented her from getting the simple and effective treatment that would have saved her life, or the issues that surround those ideas.

    I put it to you that it does matter a toss what people believe — an innocent little girl is dead.

  5. You're using a definition of “atheism” that applies to nobody.In my experience, most people who call themselves atheists believe that there is no evidence that a god or gods exist and therefore disbelief is the only logical course of action. We are open, in theory, to the very remote chance we are wrong, but don't like to call ourselves “agnostic” because that seems to lend too much credence to the idea that there may be a god, which we view as fantastically unlikely.

  6. “Sometimes my atheism tends to distance myself from my patients.” All “isms” – ie, the dogmatic belief that one is in absolute possession of the whole truth, and all others who believe differently are foolish and deluded – distance us from one another.

    Yeah, those nasty “-isms” like Atheism, or Pacifism, Botulism or Cubism.

    Perhaps you should look into what words mean rather than going entirely by the spelling.

  7. I believe Australia exists yet personally I have less evidence that Australia exists than I have that God exist. Does that mean I am delusional about Australia as well?

  8. That just means you don't know much about what constitutes “evidence”.I assume we're talking reliable documentary evidence, unilateral consensus, photos of the Earth from space, a-priori plausibility, second-hand accounts of holidays there and so forth, versus a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, a couple of coincidences and some recall bias, yes?

  9. Is that not the exact point that is being made – people are in fact making “major life decisions” based on their religion“Yes – THEIR OWN major life decisions.

    If people wish to refuse treatment due to one belief they hold, and in the absence of demonstrable pathology, surely it's a case of go to it, and good luck – unless of course you want to also ban alcohol, tobacco, fatty food, life dissatisfaction, skiiing, cars – and anything else that may prenaturely kill a person?

    We all, surely, have the right to make our own life decisions in accordance with our current thoughts?

  10. 1) We aren't sure although there are some theories. Unfortunately it may just be unknowable with today's science. To be honest I'm not fully up on the Big Bang research.2) Natural selection as we became social creatures – those early humans who were nasty got bumped off, or kicked out of the tribe. They then didn't have any children.

    3) Because there are physical remnants that exist. If someone communicates something to us from the past if it is *wrong* then we should put it to one side, for example the 'miasma' theory of disease. Or that men who lay with other men should be stoned to death, or well… really most of that Leviticus stuff. Why don't you believe in Zeus as the lord of all Gods, that came earlier?

    4) Nope, but if there is no evidence at all for the existence of something, why should we change our lives for it? You can't prove that I don't have superhuman powers that I just choose not to use, but you shouldn't throw yourself off a building thinking that I'll fly up there and catch you.

    I 'believe' in evidence, I believe in things that are worked out using the scientific method. I don't believe that there is a teacup orbiting Jupiter because there is no evidence that it is there – show me the evidence and I might start believing.

    Why does one religion believe Jesus to be the son of God, yet another just think him to be a decent bloke and prophet? What *evidence* is there that he was one or the other? Why believe one book over another?

    Why doesn't God strike down paedophile priests or suicide bombers? If he did a bit more of that sort of thing then there might be more *evidence* and therefore more belief.

    Saying, 'mysterious ways' and 'he lets us make our own mistakes' is the same as my cliaming to have psychic powers, but that I just don't fancy using them.

  11. I feel sure that I read somewhere that the code of practice for paramedics somewhere says they mustn't say anything to reinforce psychotic delusions, where “psychotic delusions” is defined as “any delusion not shared by other members of their culture” or something very much along those lines.Which is all fair enough, since I suppose there's a huge difference between believing that which you've always been told is true and that which you've pulled out of thin air, but this, combined with Skinner's pigeon results, is how Madeline Neumann's parents got started. It's all well and good saying we have to respect people's religions, but their religions, used in place of medicine, can get people killed. Who knows how long it will take next time that woman has chest pains before she gives up on Jesus and calls an ambulance?

  12. I think I went to school with Higgs Bosun.Maybe I should make some leaflets about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then I can swap literature with the Jehovah's Witnesses when they come calling.

  13. Perhaps I need to work on those *irony* tags…The reason why I picked the Higgs Boson was in the hopes that it'll be discovered at the LHC.

    I mean I could have mentioned Brane or String theory if I were being serious…

  14. Define a delusionIf I, as a strapping figure of a man, go to my GP and say You know what doc I think inside I am a woman . Eventually hell accept my delusion and butcher me to alter my body to match the delusion.

    When I went to my doctor and told him I thought I was Admiral Lord Nelson would he cut off my arm and pluck out my eye? Would he hell

    Go figure one man's delusion is another womans truth

  15. My $.02 – is that religion is one of those areas where you have to make allowances – so long as their “delusion” isn't harming any other person (strapping on a bomb to kill the “infidels” would be an example of harm)In the case of parents who won't allow treatment of their kids – that's that tricky icky area, and much as I hate to say it, my gut feeling is that government needs to keep it's slimy hands off of what should be a personal choice.

    I am reminded of the Florida woman who was brain-dead, yet kept going on life-support while the US congress tried to force her husband to continue paying megadollars for her medical care.

    Light Be With You, friend.

    Go, with the Earthmother.

    *smile*

  16. I don't think that World of Warcraft can be considered a religion.From watching some of its practitioners I think you might be wrong there.

    Show me one shred of evidence that proves the existence of God and I'll convert…

    Try the Pratchet test: Go to hilltop, wearing chainmail, in a raging storm and cry “All gods are bastards!“. See if they don't take instant revenge on you.

  17. Sometimes my atheism tends to distance myself from my patients.”All “isms” – ie, the dogmatic belief that one is in absolute possession of the whole truth, and all others who believe differently are foolish and deluded – distance us from one another.

    That, and not the nature of the belief (delusional or otherwise) is the cause of most wars, terrorism and oppression, and if you replaced “atheism” with the religion of your choice, I respectfully propose that your post above would sound exactly like the rationalisations of the kind of people who think it is their duty to knock on doors and proselytize to others.

    You are NOT the thought police, and any beliefs (delusional or otherwise: it's irrelevant) that help and support a person to get through life, while not harming anyone else, deserve respect – life is hard enough for most people, without anyone else needing to rob them of something that genuinely gives their lives meaning.

  18. If those long PowerPoint training sessions included a couple of hours on religions approved (by NHS policy, if they could be) for miracle working and speaking directly to patients without incurring requirments for reporting sectionable symptoms or hospital recovery verification then they'd certainly be interesting enough for me to want to subscribe to them out of pure voyeurism.

  19. It's all well and good saying we have to respect people's religions, but their religions, used in place of medicine, can get people killed.”History indicates that many people would rather die than live in a world where they are not free to believe whatever makes the most sense to them at that time – and I am including atheists in this, belief is belief regardless of what it encompasses.

    The logic that people should be denied the right to exercise absolute freedom of belief in order to save their lives closely mirrors the fanatic's belief that one is better off dead than living in sin or against the will of God – both in fact have nothing to do with God/s or their non-existance, and everything to do with our primal need to force our own values onto other humans.

    I'm always saddened to read people blaming religion for all ills whilst spouting the exact same kind of dogma in support of atheism – I put it to you that it doesn't matter a toss what anyone believes, so long as they're not trying to shove it down other people's throats, or make major life decisions on their behalf because they are “delusional.”

  20. I was in a debate with the Christian Union at my university. The motion was “This house believes that God is dead”.Here are some of the quotes from me in response to hearing God:

    “When was the last time anyone in the church received a memo from Jesus or God”

    “Doesn't what the member of the proposition has just said not sound an awful lot like the symptoms of Schizophrenia? The answer ladies and gentlemen is yes; yes it does

    The latter lead on to 2 minutes of ranting about Jesus Psychosis and a further two minutes on the relationship between religion and mental health.

    It didnt go down too well!

  21. Some time ago l was reading the Da Vinci Code. Some sky bully came up and started to tell me how it was not the work of god yadda yadda yadda.I just looked at him and said “Actually l am a spiritualist and a clairvoyant” l have not seen someone move at such a rate out of my space as fast as he did making the sign of the cross and telling me l would rot in hell for my evil ways.

    So should you be disturbed by sky bully any time give it a go it can have a very entertaining effect! :-))

  22. Hmmmm?? I'm confused…..how come your atheism didn't distance you from the lady with the stroke??? You know, the one in your book with the sweet husband……”Miracles do sometimes happen, and I suspect that this entire woman's family will be praying for such a miracle” lol…..do you believe in Miracles?? Why would you say that if you didn't believe, are you delusional??? Because you certainly believe the family of the old lady is delusional…..right?? lol….

  23. Yeah man! Mind you in my experience there are a lot of super religious types who seem to be terrified of ill health when you would think they would have faith in their God.When I was a lowly student nurse myself and full of good intent, I once asked a catholic lady if she would say a prayer for another patient. Then I went to the other patient and said ” that lady over there is of your faith and she will say a prayer for you” to which she replied ” what's wrong with my face?” Ah well that sort of thing soon wears off as you pursue your career!

    I think religion has got a hell of a lot to answer for, although there are beautiful buildings and music which have been created because of it. It's when people think that they can do or say whatever they like and then hide behind their religion that problems occur.

    Also so many of the warring religions seem to have much in common but the people involved just can't see it.

  24. 'It's strange, but when I did my mental health placement as a lowly student nurse I was told that we should challenge things that our patients would say that are just not true. Until someone can prove that 'God' exists then why aren't we challenging these apparently delusional thoughts?'You wouldn't be able to prove God's/gods' nonexistence to the satisfaction of most theists.

    When do theistic beliefs cross the line from harmless to 'delusional'?

    If the person is not an imminent danger to others or incompetent enough to warrant being sectioned, I don't see why it would be necessary to challenge them. People pretty much have the right (as they ought to) to believe as they will and act in accordance with those beliefs as long as they're not actively harming others, even if the consequences are ultimately negative, right? If you've offered treatment and stated your concerns about them refusing medical care, then it'd seem to me you've fulfilled your moral and professional duties. To unduly pressure a patient to seek care when s/he doesn't wan't to seems like it would probably be unethical to me.

    'It also confuses me how anyone who works in emergency medicine can believe in a benevolent supreme being, given the things that we see and the cases that we deal with. Also we are suppose to use scientific evidence** to determine our practice, which seems to go against the type of mind that believes in invisible sky bullies. '

    Why shouldn't rational, science-based professional practice be combined with the idiosyncratic logic of religion in the same person? One or the other might have to give some ground, but the general trend in the West has been for religion to accomodate science, while dealing with questions that haven't been or can't be tested, has it not?

  25. You've probably heard that the religious talk to God? The difference when you're mad is that God talks to you.

  26. Faith in thy party leaders have move heaven and earth in the strangest directions.Faith in thy doctor helps one to good recovery, so adopt a good bedside manner.Me Farther being an atheist was told so many times that he he had so many months to live. but he did not believe them, so he rattled my cage until he was eighty seven,Medicine is only part of recovery, but the unknown brain activity has some control. We cannot tell the finger cut to repair but most of the time it gets done , with some help of the medical infection yet still people can keel over,from unnoticed dirty finger nail. Faith can be illogical, can help in the recovery. witch doctors or doctors with doctors bedside manner is food atart in people can get better.Re gut pain: 7 decades ago I was climbing the wall with pain , by the time the doctor reach me, there being no ambulance service , the Pain had gone.[no prayer] , 3 years later I was sliced and diced , leaving a nice scar that is still a topic of surgeons comments..So conclusion if prayer works so be it, each mind needs help.Tis nice to have faithe in thy ambulance “driver”

  27. Atheism isn't a belief, but a lack of belief.I would agree that it doesn't matter who believes what, as long as they're not shoving down others throats. Unfortunately it is shoved down our throats, from one extreme (religious terrorism) to another (C of E schools choosing only believers as entrants).

    Whilst it is not to blame for everything it is to blame for a lot – and what frustrates us atheists is that it is based on absolutely nothing at all.

  28. Is that not the exact point that is being made – people are in fact making “major life decisions” based on their religion. Just because your chest pains have stopped for a while after you asked 'God', doesn't mean that a heart attach isn't in the wings and this may have been prevented by a hospital visit.From a personal point of view after sitting in a hospice for 2 weeks watching cancer kill my mother in the most cruel and undignified way, i was left with two points of view:

    1. there is no god

    2. there is a god which i never want to have anything to do with again.

  29. How about if you put it like this?Her subconscious feeling was very strong that the pain was not, after all, as serious as she had first thought. Being of religious mind, she was able to rationalise it as a reassurance from Jesus. Although dressed in a cloak of religion, her intuition was entirely real and based upon her knowledge and experience of her own body. In her culture, it's more acceptable to feel that such hunches come from Jesus rather than self, so that's naturally how she expressed it.

    Since she was acting in a socially appropriate manner and was speaking from a base of experience (that of her own body) and acting in a way that, without the religious trappings, would be rational (I don't think this is as serious as I first thought, so I'll decline the ambulance), she is not as insane as the person claiming that the God of the Wardrobe has told them to cut off their hand to receive enlightenment.

    It doesn't make her right, but it doesn't make her insane either.

  30. Atheism is a belief – it's a belief that God(s) don't exist. You can't prove God doesn't exist anymore than you can prove God does exist. Agnosticism is the only scientific choice ;)S x

  31. “That just means you don't know much about what constitutes “evidence”. I assume we're talking reliable documentary evidence, unilateral consensus, photos of the Earth from space, a-priori plausibility, second-hand accounts of holidays there and so forth”Yes that just about sums up the quality of my evidence that God exists

    “versus a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, a couple of coincidences and some recall bias”

    Yes that also sums up the evidence I have that Australia exists

    I agree totally with you 😉

  32. It's easy to drag up one case presented in isolation, like Ms Neumann, but I could equally offer you the (still ongoing, after her death) case of Ms Schindler-Schiavo, a brain-damaged young woman who was dehydrated to death against the (religion-based) wishes of her parents.How many little girls are dead because the UK/US public believed in non-existant WMDs in Iraq? And are we disbanding democracy/our parliaments off the back of that one massive error?

    Where do you stand on DNR orders, made in the absence of the patient's consent?

    Really!

    “…practically, “freedom of belief” is a nonsense. You do not have freedom of belief. Try it. Just try it: believe you are an elk. I bet you can't. You believe whatever your mind and senses tell you to believe and you don't have a choice.”

    Au contraire – I can be an elk right up until I decide to gore someone else with my horns (antlers?) – google “otherkin” and see how many people are rubbing along just fine, with beliefs so at variance to the norm they'd make your ears bleed.

  33. If you take that logic through to its conclusion then we should remove all warning signs, as they remove people's rights to make their own life decisions in accordance with their current thoughts. We should not try to warn people when they come home and say “a Nigerian prince says I can have 42 million dollars if I help him out!” as that would remove their rights to make their own life decisions in accordance with their current thoughts.Essentially, what you're opposed to, is allowing people to make informed decisions. Information is apparently a form of oppression in your mind.

    It's a bit more complicated than that.

  34. My point was that you are tarring “atheism” with the same brush as “Marxism”, “fascism”, or “Catholicism”, and justifying it be recourse to etymology. That's patently wrong, as per my previously posted definition of “atheism”. You then went on to describe it as a “dogmatic belief”, which it is anything but.In what way have I missed the point there?

  35. Essentially, what you're opposed to, is allowing people to make informed decisions. Information is apparently a form of oppression in your mind.”Nonsense.

    I am opposed to calling people incompetant because they disagree with one's own beliefs – you are holding forth at great length that if only they were INFORMED correctly, they'd “believe” exactly the same things you do.

    If you can't spot the humanity gap there, whereby that is the exact same belief of the Inquisitor, Jihadist, and the Communist persecutor of anyone outside their cult-like ethos, then good luck to you.

  36. What if someone said:”I had a severe stomach pain/chest pain but I did my relaxation and deep breathing exercises/held my wife's hand and she talked calmly to me and it went away.”

    Nutty type with belief in the paranormal? Or sane person who knows that body and mind are linked??

  37. you are holding forth at great length that if only they were INFORMED correctly, they'd “believe” exactly the same things you do.

    Well, yes, but I don't care at all what people believe in and of itself.But the fact is that “being taken to hospital in an ambulance, being seen by doctors and having evidence-based medicine practised upon you” has been repeatedly shown to have a curative effect, and (as noted in the original blog post) prayer has been repeatedly shown to have no discernible effect.

    I am in favour of encouraging treatment that we have proved over treatment that we have repeatedly failed to prove. Freedom of belief is all well and good, but surely people have a right to see the relevant information before they make their decision?

    I'm totally against forcing anyone to have treatment they don't want, but equally, if their decision is not informed, or is informed by a delusion, then any freedom they may feel they have is illusory. Their decision is dictated to them, not by threat or intimidation but by the misinformation fed to them previously.

  38. It isn't “one case … in isolation”, though; I could just have easily cited Josef Mestre, or any of the myriad children of Jehovah's Witnesses whose parents try to stop them having transfusions. I could cite the Witnesses themselves, who've been told, based on no evidence at all, that blood transfusions lead to eternal damnation, and as such have made what is by any reasonable standard a misinformed decision not to have them.I can't work out the relevance of Ms Schindler-Schiavo's case, or the WMD thing. I think it should be obvious I'm against DNR orders being made without the patient's consent. (In the case of Schindler-Schiavo, I think her husband, as her guardian, can give consent on her behalf.)

    Au contraire – I can be an elk right up until I decide to gore someone else with my horns (antlers?) – google “otherkin” and see how many people are rubbing along just fine, with beliefs so at variance to the norm they'd make your ears bleed.

    Yes, and ask them to believe they're not elks, and see how easy they find that. You can't believe something just by wanting to. If you really thought you were an elk you wouldn't be able to type a reply. You have the right to believe what you please — you're just not capable of doing it.

  39. You can't believe something just by wanting to.”I agree – so, what's your point regarding faith/the lack thereof?

  40. My point is that your “freedom” to believe things is not really a true form of freedom. We say “you should be free to believe what you want” but when used properly that's really a shorthand for saying “we should never attempt to ban ideas or ways of thinking”. And it shouldn't be confused with “all ideas, opinions and hypotheses are of equal worth, and discouraging certain ones is a form of oppression”. You only have true freedom to make a decision according to your values if you have all the relevant information at your disposal. Someone who has convinced themselves that asking Jesus for help twice will relieve chest pains does not have that information and therefore has robbed themselves of the freedom to make that decision independently.My point is that advising someone to use proven medicines instead of relying on prayer is not oppressive and does not violate their freedom of thought or belief: it is in fact vital if those freedoms are to be properly expressed.

  41. I think we're missing a point here. If they are so sure of gods ability to help and cure them: why did they call the ambulance?

  42. Dear Mr Reynolds,On behalf of all 7th Day Pastaterians, I would like to complain about your flippant, almost callous remark about our Lord, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Only when you have fully embrassed the goodness that is contained in the Book of Bolognese, will you truely understand.

    Parmesan be with you,

    Paul

  43. “I had severe pain”, she told me, “it was so bad I was curled up on the floor, I couldn't breathe”.”Go on”, I said.

    “But then I called out for Jesus twice, and the pain went away”.

    “Erm… OK”.

    “So I don't want to go to hospital, if the pain comes back I'll call for Jesus again“.

  44. As a research scientist I get to try things and observe results and consider the evidence (never blowing things up in the lab honest!).As a christian I 'know' God exists. I think that studying things only works because God is consistent. If people have another faith I don't mind, God is 'almighty' so I'm sure he's not bothered by Spag Monsters and the like. If I'm challenged by other faiths then its a sign of weakness. Trying to make Britain conform to my religion would be a sign of that weakness. Christianity thrives in adversity and has always made a right horlicks or actually running a country or society. Not because God is wrong but because his people (inc me) are flawed.

  45. “Not because God is wrong but because his people (inc me) are flawed.”Sort of sums this reply up really.

    What's the max number of replies one thread can have on the board Tom? I suspect that this post was of the *light blue touch paper and run* variety :p

    Just started on AoC thanks to your recommendation and it's a lot of fun, but couldn't take the aggro on your server cos of all the ganking….being camped by a level 14 Rogue in the tutorial isn't my idea of a good time, so I swapped out to a PvE. Looking forward to mass PvP later on though.

    Axy

  46. No limitI sometimes do this to see what other people think – by reading their replies I get to learn stuff.

    One day I'll let you all know where my home forum is – then people can discuss this sort of thing *forever*

    As for ganking on AoC – you can always change your instance to avoid such knobbery.

  47. Personally, I'll take George Carlin's take on God:”We have a great understanding, God and me. I don't understand him, he doesn't me, and we've both agreed not to let his son interfere in our relationship. You know, so often a relative can get in the way.”

  48. The idea that there is no God is your belief. But you take it further, you take this belief and make of it a religion. Worse still, you're an evangelical about your religion of disbelief. Otherwise, we'd not hear a single word of it. If you were a true atheist, the woman's attitude about Jesus healing her simply wouldn't compute. You'd shrug your shoulders, say, “Well isn't that lovely? Do you have any further need for our services? No? Fine, then. Cheers.” There would be no post here because there'd be absolutely nothing to write about. Nothing is there. Nothing to see here, move along. That you insist on opening with “Because of my atheism.” Your atheism. Your thing to be talked about, analyzed, discussed in the comments. Oh how you adore the semantics of it all. Whom are you trying to convince anyway, in this belief system, pardon me, this non-belief system of yours? I remain unimpressed.Other than this nonsense, you've got a wonderful blog going on here.

  49. You are wrong, the idea that there is no God is not a belief – much as I don't 'believe' in fairies, much as I don't 'believe' that the world is flat.Likewise I don't 'believe' in gravity, I experience it.

    And it doesn't compute at all – I cannot understand why people believe in something for which there is not the slightest shred of evidence for. I don't believe in a teapot in orbit around Saturn, nor do I think that there is one there given that there is a likewise paucity of evidence. And if I read it in a book written by people long since dust who proclaimed it as the 'truth' I'd be likewise non-plussed by modern people who consider such a thing as true.

    And yes, I do talk about me a lot, as it's the one person that I'm sure about, that is least likely to delude me – that's why this is a personal blog and not one that claims to be 'balanced' or 'impartial'. It's about my thoughts and feelings on ambulance work, not someone elses thoughts.

  50. Chainmail is a conductive material, surely it would be a better test to be in the valley, miles away from any lightening attractive material, preferably in the intense sunshine, and then shout it. That way you'd be sure it was the Gods taking revenge and not just a fluke 😉

  51. If, instead of calling out to Jesus, this woman had turned the lights on and off, and had likewise experienced some presumably unconnected relief from her pain, would you advise her against trying this again instead of getting help? Would you, upon encountering this, feel it worthy of comment? I think you would do both of these things — clearly this woman is mad.The only difference is that 'not believing in god' has a name that you can equivocate with that of a religion, and 'not believing in the curative power of the lightswitch' doesn't. And to an atheist, the two propositions makes about as much sense. Certainly there's about the same evidence for both.

  52. Skeptics and atheists are great at telling us what they dont believe in. I dare to say that the God you choose not to believe in is not the same God I believe in. The point is, would you mind telling us what you believe in? For instance tell us, oh wise one:1.The big bang appears to be how the Universe as we know it came into being. What do you believe caused the Big Bang?

    2.Morality appears to be a universal concept and it would have to be for things like the Nuremberg Trials to have been legitimate. Where do you believe this objective moral law came from?

    3.I have never seen the American civil war. Why should I believe that it occurred? What do you believe is the statute of limitations for believing something that people in the past have communicated to us?

    4.Do you believe that lack of evidence is evidence? Do you believe that you can prove that something does not exist?

    5.How do explain that there are things that exist in the universe that can not be measured but actually do exist? For instance, your thought that God does not exist is a thing that exists and cannot be measured. You love or hate for someone exists but can not be measured?

    Finally, please tell us not only what you believe but what evidence you would use to back up what you believe.

    By the way, I like you website.

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