Some Thoughts On Faith-Healing

… because I saw The Atheist Pig’s cartoon today. It takes something I don’t have to be able to convey so much in 4 panels with simple drawings.

Anyway, it reminded me of an old verse of mine:

(Every word of this is true.)

A friend of mine, some thirty years ago,
The eldest son, a farming family’s pride,
Was gone from school, about a month or so
Before we heard the truth—the boy had died.

He’d fallen from a tractor in a field,
Though whether he was dead first, we don’t know;
The coroner’s exam? Too late to yield
An answer; there was nothing it could show.

His parents tried to cure the boy with prayer–
They brought him home, and put their son to bed.
Devout and faithful, hope turned to despair;
It broke their hearts, admitting he was dead.

Their church—to whom they turn when times are rough—
Blamed them, and said they had not prayed enough.

Now, from the comments there, I have to include here another bit–I could edit it to make it a bit clearer, but I’d rather not take the time today.

oddly enough, what is bothering me right now is that I cannot remember his name. For some reason, that really saddens me. I remember his sister was named Sarah; I had a real crush on her. He had a younger brother too, who was also my friend; the younger brother was going to be the first in the family ever to go to college, until my friend died. The younger brother understood that it would now be his duty, as it was to be his brother’s, to stay and take over the running of the farm.Brother and sister both kept going to school for the month while their brother, my friend, lay dead in his bed. They simply did not talk about it; I am sure they must have been asked where he was. Perhaps they just said he was sick… it was 30 and a bit years ago, so details are fuzzy.This was a good family. Nobody deserves something like this, but it is particularly hard when the family is this good, and so reliant on their faith, and their church takes their devotion and uses it to crucify them.Podblack, you know that I am absolutely of the belief that one can be a skeptic and be religious. Skepticism is a process, not a result; the results you get from critical thinking will (and must) depend on the available evidence. This family was doing what they fully believed was right. They were not stupid; they were not gullible; they were not bad. They were fed lies, from people who had earned their trust.And dammit, he deserves for me to remember his name.

What I’m wondering today is, how many of us have some similar story, of a friend or relative? I lost an office-mate to ovarian cancer; toward the end, she got all sorts of advice, and took most of it (just in case), no matter how bizarre it seemed (“drink everything out of a blue glass”). My sister turns to her prayer groups (fortunately, also to her doctor) for her many illnesses.

With my friend, it was really by accident that we learned the truth; his family wouldn’t have broadcast the information. With my office-mate, you had to be close enough to be one of the people she opened up to (quick test–did she feel she had to put her scarf back on and cover her bald head? If so, you’ll never hear all the details) to know how many desperate cures she was willing to try, and how many more she turned down (she had no shortage of people telling her to quit chemo, but chemo is what bought her more years with her young son).

In other words, the cases we know about are not the full picture. But how many do we know? How many do you know?

A Brand-New Semester!

The summer is over
The autumn is near
The first day of classes
Is finally here
I’ve looked at the rosters
I’ve crunched up some stats
I’ve gotten up early
Surprising the cats
Inhaling my coffee
I’m ready once more
A brand new semester….

I’d love to ignore?
New students to bore?
A job I adore?

You fill in the blank. I have to go walk the dog and bike to class.

On Original Sin

Because of what happened in Eden
When humanity toppled from grace
Every man, every woman, each baby
Bears the sins of the whole human race

Now, I know there are men who are wicked
And some women have evil within
But I cannot see damning a baby
Cos it’s born with original sin… [Read more…]

Six Word Stump Speeches?

Longwindedness is for the birds;
Come, state your case in just six words—
The candidates are rarely terse,
So take a chance; you can’t do worse!

Six word stump speeches. Why six words? I don’t know. But they could sure use an infusion of creative and intelligent people. So I thought of you immediately. Yes, you!

And yes, I tried my hand at a few. I did not use my Cuttlefish moniker, though, so you’ll have to guess.

Atheist Thank-You Cards V 1.0 (Hospital)

Commenter Cazfans asks:

[Y]ou don’t by any chance have any “thank-you doctor for your skills and services” type poems hidden away in your ink bladder do you? Living in the Deep South, and getting older, I would like a poetic way to thank the docs and leave the dog out of it.

A brilliant idea. Too brilliant to be selfish about*, so here’s my first draft, which I hereby explicitly make available to anyone who wants to use it (exception: you can’t simply steal it for profit–you can edit, and you can add, but you can’t screw people over). I see the first stanza on the outside of the card, and the rest on the inside, with plenty of room left for you to personalize it for your own particular hospital heroes.

I’ve heard I had an angel who was watching over me
And who saw my operation safely through
But the heroes and the heroines, as far as I can see
Had no wings attached—and so, I’m thanking you.

Thank the doctors and the nurses, the technicians, and the staff
Thank their teachers, too, for all that they have done
Thank the EMTs and drivers, thank the folks who made me laugh
Thank the donors—even those who think it’s fun.
Thank the people on computers making sure it all goes well
Thank the bureaucrats who made it go at all
Thank the people I’ve forgotten (likely more than I can tell)
Thank you, all of you, for answering my call.

I have a few photos that could go along with this, but not on this computer. If you make any, please share them here!

(If you have suggestions for categories, or for rhymes, feel free to send them. Can you improve on my rhyme? I don’t doubt it for a minute–but if you can, do! What other situations need atheist thank you–or other–cards?)

*This is why I never make any money off of my poems.

Republicans Looking To Pitch Their Big Tent At Tampa’s Strip Clubs

“Our party is a big tent. We can house many views on many issues.”
Lee Atwater, Republican strategist

The Republicans are coming
And they want to pitch their tent
They’re conventioning in Tampa
It’s a really big event

They’ll be boosting the economy,
The figures make it plain—
All the dancers know, the GOP
Knows how to make it rain

In their G-strings and their pasties
In their heels and platform soles,
They are well aware, Republicans
Are leading at the poles

And the delegates are grateful
As the dancers spin and writhe
While they’re not well-versed in tipping
They remember how to tithe

It’s their sacred obligation,
Putting money in the plate
Or the G-string of a dancer,
If the evening’s growing late

They’re conventioning in Tampa
It’s a really big event
The Republicans are coming
And they want to pitch their tent [Read more…]

NH Sheriff Candidate Would Use Deadly Force On Law-Abiders

He wants to be the Sheriff here
He’s running with a cause
He wants to stop the doctors who
Are following the laws

He knows abortion’s legal, but
He knows it’s wrong, of course—
He’s willing to prevent it, through
The use of deadly force

He’d prosecute the doctors, and
He’d drag them off to court
Or citizens grand jury, as
A path of last resort

He wants to be the Sheriff, cos
He’d answer, then, to none…
It’s time to pop some popcorn—
The election’s getting fun.

Story, after the jump: [Read more…]

Todd Akin’s Plan B

Oh, the saga of Todd Akin
On the troubled trail he’s taken
Now his party has forsaken him, and hung him out to dry
This Republican pariah
Claims he queried his messiah
Now, this modern Jeremiah wants to have another try

From his party he’s been cut off,
And his money flow has shut off,
But he wants to work his butt off for Missouri if he can
His campaign is in a pickle
Going after every nickel
Cos the voting base is fickle, when you tell it like a man

Now he’s after your donation
Looking all across the nation
So express your indignation in a monetary form
Cos the message he is sending
With his dime and nickel spending
Is, his fight is never-ending for the male and Christian norm

He’s an underdog—a fighter,
Though the funds could not be tighter
Still the future’s getting brighter, and “legitimately”, too!
Send him lots, or just a portion
So he’ll live to fight abortion
And the GOP’s contortions are in full and vivid view. [Read more…]

Verse Form Invades New Niche

Reader Shellity has made good on her promise to pinch my verse form. Even better, her wonderful poem has shown added flexibility–three verses, instead of my usual one or two, showing me that my form has greater potential than I ever suspected! This is how it begins, and before you know it my verse form will be boring elementary school children for generations to come!

While you are at Shellity’s, take a look around; in particular, I loved what I saw in the “Big Angry Sky Daddy” category. I always said I wasn’t the best at what I do. I just got here first.