Sunday, September 5, 2010
Tyler, my nephew
One of my sisters has triplets - Vinny, Tyler, Teigan. They will be 2 years old on October 1st. Tyler has caught the short end of the stick when it comes to his health. He struggled the most at birth, has auditory implants, and has strabismus (lazy eye). He recently had surgery for this and it went well. However, in the recovery stage, a physician's assistant at the hospital failed to catheterize his antibiotics correctly - three times. Needless to say this caused Tyler some inconvenience and led to a rather scary situation with an eye infection. He is still in the hopsital recovering. The reason I bring this up is because my mother has consistently asked me to "pray for the poor little guy." I don't know if anyone can relate with a situation like this, but I cannot tell her "No, that won't help him." She has asked me if I believe prayer works and I flat out said no. I have not actually told her I am an atheist. I cannot tell her that it is the probabilistic genetic makeup, mixed with environmental factors that are responsible for his health problems. This speaks to the main reason I believe people, including my mother, believe in a prayer-answering god. They don't have to think about whether or not rational explanations feel "cold and empty". They have a false oasis that welcomes them whenever they "need it". But my questions to her and others are how do you know it worked?, and what about all the other prayers you made? Were they answered? Make no mistake, my mother is brilliant. She absolutely does not fall into the deluded, fundamentalist category. Her belief in a personal-intervening god is the only irrational idea she harbors. At some point in time, I need to have a long conversation with her about her beliefs. At least one, as anyone who comes upon this blog will know.