Here are two more example people could use to condemn religion or write it off as just a bunch of crazy people: Rampaging Muslims killed eight Christians in Pakistan this weekend after rumor spread that somewhere in a village
a Quran had been defaced; and Dale Neumann admitted to a jury that, while his daughter lay dying, he prayed instead of calling 911 or rushing the 11-year-old to the hospital.
Let’s start with the first one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t convince people your religion is based on peace if everytime someone offends you, you resort to violence. Yes, the rioting Muslims – 20,000 at last estimate – might be non representative of Islam. If so, let’s hear that proclaimed loud and clear – and not in polite policy statements, but from the mosques where these Muslims attend services. That’s what is lacking in every condemnation from Muslim leaders against terrorism – it doesn’t come from the mosques. Bibles and other religious icons of Judaism and Christianity are defaced frequently. People burn Bibles, gangsters co-opt rosaries as neckwear, and weirdo artists make a chocolate Jesus. Those actions will elicit a letter from the Pope or a condemnation from Israel or a petition started by believers in a certain part of the country. They use their words to express their outrage or offense – not their fists. Muslims seriously need to get a clue on this.
Likewise, Christians who believe in God but somehow don’t believe God gave people medicine or doctors, need to get a clue – and perhaps some jail time and psychiatric care. I come from Texas; I’ve been plenty exposed to people who claim direct communication with the Almighty. I’ve also seen, from people who would never bring attention to themselves or stand up on a stage screaming that God will heal your lame leg, actual physical healing in response to prayer. So it isn’t that I doubt there is sometimes healing that can’t be explained by medicine or science. But it is rare, and it is unpredictable. Medicine, too, can be unpredictable, and the cure is sometimes worse than the symptoms of the disease – just ask anyone who’s endured chemotherapy. But medicine has a far better track record of healing than prayer, and believing so does not mean you’ve turned your back on God, as Neumann seemed to think.