Monday, October 6, 2008

7 Tishri 5768: Ten Days of Repentance/Child Health Day/World Hospice and Palliative Care Day/World Habitat Day/National Storytelling Festival

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess”: This article suggests part of the current financial crisis is due to prosperity theology, a Christian belief that correct religious belief or practice leads to material wealth. While God may well favor followers with material benefits, assuming that one will receive said benefits is a dangerous one. Humans are always imperfect, at the very least making mistakes. Frequently it goes deeper, with people can blind to at least some of their own faults, so they may not even realize that some of what they believe or do is wrong. As such, one cannot automatically assume one is worthy. And even if one is worthy, people do not always get what they deserve, e.g., the Book of Job teaches us that bad things can happen even to the most righteous people. As such, making assumptions that one will receive material benefits one for being religious is not justified.
  2. “Faith-healing parents arrested”: To quote:
    The mother and father of a teenager who died in June turned themselves in Thursday to face charges of criminally negligent homicide.

    Neal Beagley, 16, died because of bladder complications nearly four months ago. Authorities said his parents belong to the Followers of Christ Church, a religion relying on prayer in place of medical care.

    After Beagley died, a medical examiner ruled his death could have been prevented had his family taken him to a doctor.
    You can probably hear me sighing at this point.  Major rule:  PRAYER IS ONLY A FORM OF COMMUNICATION.  When one prays, all one does is talk to one’s deity, be it in prose, poetry, or song, be it praise, thanksgiving, or petition; that is all.  Prayer, by itself, does nothing else.  If one is fortunate, the prayer may be granted; it may also not be granted.  Whichever happens is not in our hands, so it pays not to rely on prayer alone when other means of accomplishing worthwhile goals, such as healing the sick, are available.  As empirical evidence that faith-healing can go horribly wrong, I recommend “What's the harm in believing in faith healing?”
  3. “Pope Benedict XVI starts off marathon Bible reading”: This is an interesting way to promote the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
  4. “US financial crisis causes spike in online anti-Semitism: monitor”: Anti-Semites will blame anything bad on the Jews, whether it makes sense or not.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “'Smoot' measurement reaches new heights at MIT”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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