why are there no resurrections in the modern world? it’s the eggheads’ fault!

April 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Or at least it is according to Pat Robertson, who now seems to be just trying to see how many pathologically dumb things he can say without losing his viewership. On an episode of his hour long routine of begging for money and pontificating through Bible thumping, a viewer called with a very valid and legitimate question. In the days of yore, there were many tales of people rising from the dead or being miraculously cured of their ailments. Today, these cases are as rare as winning the lottery, and for many, there’s a perfectly logical explanation. What gives? Well, if you were awake in history and science classes, you probably have a few good ideas and they more than likely revolve around things like germ theory and scientific research. Since declaring when patients are dead before the days of EEG was inexact to put it mildly, having a doctor say that a patient has expired only for that patient to wake up a day later was entirely plausible.

Now imagine yourself seeing someone in a coma being pronounced dead by a very esteemed doctor, put his or her body in storage as a funeral is being organized, then hear moaning and groaning as the "corpse" comes to and tries to figure out what’s going on. Surely you’ll run from the mortuary screaming about zombies or miracles, depending on how the person awakens. So yes, back when we couldn’t tell a coma from clinical death, relatively regular resurrections were indeed possible. Same goes for miraculous cures from diseases. Before germ theory and many modern tools, it would be very possible for doctors to diagnose a patient as terminally ill while it just so happens that the patient is just going to be miserable for a while to make a full recovery. And yes, this sort of misdiagnosis happens today, explaining a great deal of supposedly divine interventions. Aggressive cancers turn out to be benign or even self-terminating tumors and the person facing a death sentence rejoices that God heard her prayers and let her live.

But to hear Robertson tell it, it’s not medical mistakes that account for resurrections in the past but fervent belief. Because doctors have better tools, more training, and are far more accurate, they’ve lost their belief and those who trust in empirical facts are doomed to living out whatever diagnosis they were given. His evidence? In Africa, where misdiagnosis is rampant and medical care is often very poor, the same sort of miracles the modern world no longer sees happen on a regular basis because African fundamentalists just believe what the pastors tell them. You know, exactly like in the West about 140 or so years ago. It’s amazing that as science kept on giving all of us longer lives, more accurate diagnostic methods, and cures and treatments for many once fatal illnesses, the Bible thumpers urge us to abandon what’s been proven to work and find our solace in ignorance. Hey, if we don’t know that a miraculously arisen person was very much alive and simply misdiagnosed, it’s a genuine work of the supernatural, right? No. Not at all.

Certainly it’s nice to hear that a deity will pause his infinite plans and change the universe if you think about it hard enough, which is why so many fundamentalists want us to "let go and simply believe in God’s work," but they’re really tuning out of modern life and asking us to do the same to preserve their own selfish sense of comfort. The world is scary and being convinced that you will either be shielded from it by an omnipotent entity, or have said deity make sure you never get overwhelmed (see the good old, "God only gives us what we can endure" platitude), is an easier way to go through life. An uncaring, vast universe will dwarf you with scale, and kill you off by a random chance, caring nothing about your hopes and your dreams, and it’s the concept that an inherently chaotic, pseudo-stable cosmos where they’re not special that sends fundamentalists into hysterics. And so, they look for miracles and either rationalize away scientific explanations or pretend that there are none so they can hold on to what they think are signs of God. Even if the sign of God they cite is just a botched diagnosis or a random doctor’s incompetence…

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