Tag Archives: Muslim

A Rational Call to Reasonable Muslims

What World will She Discover?

What World will She Discover?

And not only Muslims. . .

from the Iranian Atheist

Reasonable people across the globe, with faith or without faith, should be paying attention to this “muezzin call” to stop, think and try creative cooperation.

What is the alternative?  Look around.

What is Religion and Religion’s Books, offering to the Next Generation?

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A Mis-Diagnosis of Faith

Whitman Photos--SG 062imp

I “had” faith for a large part of my life.  Then, through a series of experiences, I no longer “had” faith.  You could say that I was once diagnosed with faith and then, through a long series of aggressive (and not so aggressive) treatments, I am now “faith free.”  You could say that, I could say that, but I’m not so sure “faith” is always a good diagnosis.

I appreciated the article “A Test of Faith” in the New York Times today.  This young woman, who comes from a religious family, is undergoing clinical trials to rid her body of cancer.  She says she is now “cancer free.”  Along the way, she finds that she still does not believe in prayer or faith, yet “has faith” in her doctors:

“I still don’t pray or attend church or consider myself religious. But I have a different kind of faith now — a faith in my incredible team of doctors, in the strength of my body and in the power of scientific research.

But I’m still left with a lot of questions. Why did my good friend Anjali, who was also young and had the same disease, not respond to the treatments that saved my life? Part of the answer has to do with science. But the other part is a mystery. And even if I don’t practice a formal religion, I spend a lot of time thinking about why I’m still here.”

Good questions; a very human struggle for answers.  But calling this “new diagnosis” something like “faith” is, in my opinion, a mis-diagnosis.  Yes, “faith” can be trust; “faith” can be assurance that others are doing their best; “faith” can be a belief in the good, in health because you have seen the good and the healthy results, etc.  But thinking of “faith” as something other than a reliance on the supernatural may simply be too much for our culture that (maybe suffers?) with a clear case of “having faith.”

I would offer another viewpoint. . .a non-medical diagnosis.  This young survivor does not have “a different kind of faith;” she has not substituted natural “faith” for our endemic supernatural “faith.”  She is now (thank Goodness) cancer free and continues to be “faith free” because she knows, from scary and successful experience, that there are competent people who are doing their best to understand the human body better and are working hard to help and heal.  She knows, not believes.  She knows, as all wise people know, that there will always be “mysteries” for humans to investigate and research and she knows that life must always be open to “clinical trials.”

As one who once “had faith” and who is now, also, “faith free,” I can assure this young woman that she no longer has to “have faith” in anyone or anything.  We all, at times, ask “why am I still here?”  But the healing process, like most of life’s challenges, may remind us how wonderful, and wonderfully fragile as well as powerful, the human body and human mind really are.  And wonder wins out over faith every time.

{note:  I really do wish Suleika health and happiness.  Having lost my parents and other family members to cancer, I have deep feeling for the struggle to survive, the fear and suffering of so many.  I have no doubt (smile) that her reasonable story of facing her physical challenges with open eyes will be encouraging for many who face life courageously without faith}