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Wednesday, 05 October 2016 09:37

Op-ed: Sainthood for Mother Teresa exposes the delusion of religion

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In canonizing Mother
Teresa as a saint ("Pope declares
Mother Teresa a saint," Sept. 5),
the pope publicly confirmed the essential
tenets of Catholicism:
That God could have
stopped Catholic priests from raping
altar boys. But, overall, He didn't
want to.
And millions throughout
the world rejoiced in this good
news. Such is religion.
Granted, the pope didn't
frame the issue quite that way. But
it's true just the same.
One miracle is as possible — or
impossible — as another.
Preach that an omnipotent
deity can perform miracles, and
you also preach that at other times
He chooses not to.
e reality is that the priests really
did rape altar boys. And the reality
is God didn't stop them. There is
no excuse of "metaphor" to hide
behind here, as moderate theists so
often do when it comes to their
holy scripture.
Put simply, God was either unable
or unwilling to intervene. The
Catholic God purportedly is omnipotent
and hence was able to stop
the rapes — even though He didn't.
The Catholic God is also omnibenevolent.
So sitting out and
willfully letting the rapes continue
was also the right thing for Him to
do.
In essence, that's what
every Christian believes — liberal
moderates as well as conservative
fundamentalists. Though few like
to admit it.
Such is the human brain on religion.
Christianity is not only
ridiculous and repugnant. It is also
deeply dishonest. No reasonable
earthly father would allow his children
to be raped, if he could readily
intervene to stop it. No
reasonable person would praise an
earthly father who willfully let
such rapes occur.
But substitute "Heavenly Father"
for "earthly father," and now His
faithful supplicants shout, "Laus
Deo!"
Let's review. In order for Mother
Teresa to be declared a saint, the
church needed to recognize that
she'd performed not just one miracle
but two.
The first miracle was the purported
healing of Monica Beresa, who
claimed she'd been cured of a cancerous
tumor by a beam of light
emitted from Mother Teresa's picture
in a medallion placed on her
abdomen. But her doctor stated
that it was a cyst caused by turberculosis,
not a cancerous tumor, and
attributed her gradual recovery
thereafter to her months of medication.
Even her husband declared
the miracle a "hoax."
Curiously, a call to put the
medallion to the test to cure another
tumor goes unanswered, despite
the suffering it presumably
would save.
Pope Francis recognized the second
purported miracle last December,
after a Brazilian man
recovered from a brain infection
when his wife prayed fervently to
Mother Teresa to heal him.
This is superstition of the lowest
order. Don't understand something?
"God did it."
Seeking intellectual respect, Pope
Francis recently declared that God
is not "a magician, with a magic
wand." But as the pope's canonizing
Mother Teresa shows, he's
happy to promote God's magic
when it makes for good PR.
It's nice that Mother Teresa miraculously
healed two people, according
to her church. How
unfortunate, though, that she didn't
bother to heal the many others who
have died under the care of her
Missionaries of Charity, often in
squalid conditions with poor medical
treatment, despite the unaccounted-
for millions of dollars
raised in her name.
The reality is, when an outcome
truly would require a miracle, then
intercessory prayer to saints and
gods never works. Never.
Pray for rain, as Gov. Rick Perry of
Texas once enjoined his state to do,
and sure enough, it will rain —
somewhere, sooner or later. But,
notes Marshall Brain, pray for an
adult human amputee to regrow a
limb almost instantly, just as
Mother Teresa cured the Brazilian
man, and it doesn't ever happen.
Ever.Apparently, Mother Teresa
hates amputees. Either that, or God
does. He'll routinely regrow limbs
for salamanders. But for people?
Meh. Not so much.
Primitive superstitious beliefs are
not reason to rejoice. Mass selfdelusion
is not reason to rejoice.
Rejecting reality is not reason to
rejoice.
They are reason to mourn.
Mother Teresa was no saint. In
more ways than one.
Gregory A. Clark – is an associate
professor of bioengineering at the
University of Utah who accepts
and professionally tries to develop
treatment approaches that are
based on evidence.

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