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“Jonestown in slow motion”
#1

“Jonestown in slow motion”
"... is how one writer described Christian Science – a reference to the apocalpytic cult where more than 900 people died in a mass suicide in 1978. Aided and abetted by his religion, my father killed himself in the slowest and most excruciating way possible.

Sometime after his death, I dreamed about him. I was alone in a warehouse – a dark, menacing space – and in it my father had dissolved into a miasma, covering the floor with a kind of deadly, toxic slime. Somehow, I was tasked with the problem of cleaning it up, without ever touching it. It was, of course, impossible.

That is where Christian Science leaves us. It could disappear today or tomorrow or years from now, but its own beliefs, and the religious exemptions it has seeded in laws all across the US, will leave a disaster in their wake, resulting in lives ruined, in unnecessary suffering and death, and in legislation that allows every crackpot cult and anti-vaccination zealot to sacrifice their children. Christian Scientists can renounce Eddy all they want, but it will not undo the evil they have done. That is their legacy."


An extract from a book about Christian Science. It's long but I found it really interesting and well worth a read.

Show ContentSpoiler:
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#2

“Jonestown in slow motion”
When I was 6 years old and taking piano lessons, my teacher had recitals every year. This guy would always come who had a grapefruit-sized growth on the side of his face. Each year it got bigger, until it was melon-sized and his mouth was pointing 45 degrees the other way. It was mottled and awful-looking. Naturally, being a kid, I asked what the heck it was. It was explained to me that he was a Christian Scientist who doesn't believe in doctors, but that sickness is merely "an error of mortal mind". So this was I guess either some form of cancer or a benign tumor that just kept growing.

One year he didn't show up, and I was quite clear enough on why; I didn't have to ask.

Even as a kid, this struck me as neither Christian nor scientific. It was just appalling.

Error of mortal mind, indeed. An error leading to (premature) mortality is more like it. But it shows the lengths to which people will go to maintain their ego investment in ideas they've bought into, pretty much no matter how stupid or bizarre they might be.
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#3

“Jonestown in slow motion”
If only children weren't involved.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#4

“Jonestown in slow motion”
Apparently Twain had something to say about Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Sience: "There isn't anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can't believe it. At this very day there are thousands upon thousands of Americans of average intelligence who fully believe in "Science and Health," although they can't understand a line of it, and who also worship the sordid and ignorant old purloiner of that gospel -- Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy, who they do absolutely believe to be a member, by adoption, of the Holy Family, and on the way to push the Savior to third place and assume occupancy of His present place, and continue that occupancy during the rest of eternity."

@Thumpalumpacus My thoughts, too... though, if someone's been brainwashed into this... and then dies a slow and painful death, like the author's father... can you really blame them? Or at least not sympathises a bit, in a terrified, incredulous way...
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#5

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-06-2019, 09:59 PM)Vera Wrote: @Thumpalumpacus My thoughts, too... though, if someone's been brainwashed into this... and then dies a slow and painful death, like the author's father... can you really blame them? Or at least not sympathises a bit, in a terrified, incredulous way...

I'm a big proponent of the freedom of religion we practice here in America. I think that right should properly end when your faith inflicts harm on someone else.

Medical care for children should be mandated. I'm glad when CS/7DA/JW parents are prosecuted when their refusal of medical care for their children results in the child's harm or death. Your religion is not more important than someone else's life. Period.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#6

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-06-2019, 10:23 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: I'm a big proponent of the freedom of religion we practice here in America. I think that right should properly end when your faith inflicts harm on someone else.

Medical care for children should be mandated. I'm glad when CS/7DA/JW parents are prosecuted when their refusal of medical care for their children results in the child's harm or death. Your religion is not more important than someone else's life. Period.

I think this is part of what this lady is saying - that it's CS that paved the way for all those exemptions you have in the States. It's beyond infuriating.

On a tangentially related note, was reading an article about a father's decision not to split his conjoined twins, even though it will mean the death of both of them, while surgery would have saved the life of one of them...

... found it kinda mind-boggling how in the same article they talked about another pair in a similar situation where the court ordered that the twins be separated, against the wishes of the (Catholic) parents.... but in this case the decision of the (Muslim) father was... almost commended by the article. I still fail to see the difference between the two cases. And while I really sympathise with the parents, what they are doing is sentencing one of the children, who could have a long and healthy life, to early death. There is no honour in that, whichever way you look at it.
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#7

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-06-2019, 10:30 PM)Vera Wrote:
(08-06-2019, 10:23 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: I'm a big proponent of the freedom of religion we practice here in America. I think that right should properly end when your faith inflicts harm on someone else.

Medical care for children should be mandated. I'm glad when CS/7DA/JW parents are prosecuted when their refusal of medical care for their children results in the child's harm or death. Your religion is not more important than someone else's life. Period.

I think this is part of what this lady is saying - that it's CS that paved the way for all those exemptions you have in the States. It's beyond infuriating.

On a tangentially related note, was reading an article about a father's decision not to split his conjoined twins, even though it will mean the death of both of them, while surgery would have saved the life of one of them...

... found it kinda mind-boggling how in the same article they talked about another pair in a similar situation where the court ordered that the twins be separated, against the wishes of the (Catholic) parents.... but in this case the decision of the (Muslim) father was... almost commended by the article. I still fail to see the difference between the two cases. And while I really sympathise with the parents, what they are doing is sentencing one of the children, who could have a long and healthy life, to early death. There is no honour in that, whichever way you look at it.

I don't think there's much honor in their fetishizing belief over wellness, yeah.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#8

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-06-2019, 10:30 PM)Vera Wrote: On a tangentially related note, was reading an article about a father's decision not to split his conjoined twins, even though it will mean the death of both of them, while surgery would have saved the life of one of them...

Guardian article Wrote:He faced an agonising decision: should he give his permission for surgery, knowing that Marieme would die, in order to give Ndeye a chance of life? Deciding against surgery would almost certainly mean Marieme’s health would deteriorate and both girls would die. But Ndiaye simply could not contemplate knowingly causing Marieme’s death.


While I don't agree with his decision, I can empathize with the father's dilemma.  That decision would require courage to live with.

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it.
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#9

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 02:45 PM)Chas Wrote: That decision would require courage to live with.

He has to live with his decision... and his daughter has to die with.
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#10

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 02:50 PM)Vera Wrote:
(08-07-2019, 02:45 PM)Chas Wrote: That decision would require courage to live with.

He has to live with his decision... and his daughter has to die with.

I'm just saying that some people wouldn't be willing to take responsibility to make the call.

Oh, no Hallucinations 4:11 says the 'gilded sheep should be stewed in rat blood' but Morons 5:16 contradicts it.
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#11

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 03:15 PM)Chas Wrote: I'm just saying that some people wouldn't be willing to take responsibility to make the call.

Not doing anything is the same as making the call. I'm not saying I don't sympathise, I just wonder why in the case of the Catholic couple the courts (rightly) decided to save one of the girls and in this case it's somehow lauded as a brave decision.
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#12

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 04:21 PM)Vera Wrote:
(08-07-2019, 03:15 PM)Chas Wrote: I'm just saying that some people wouldn't be willing to take responsibility to make the call.

Not doing anything is the same as making the call. I'm not saying I don't sympathise, I just wonder why in the case of the Catholic couple the courts (rightly) decided to save one of the girls and in this case it's somehow lauded as a brave decision.

It's not that it's brave, it's that it'd be damned hard -- I think that's Chas's point.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#13

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 10:15 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: It's not that it's brave, it's that it'd be damned hard -- I think that's Chas's point.

Which I acknowledged in the beginning - that I sympathise - but it's still condemning one child who has a chance of life to death.

(How anyone can remain religious in the face of this is beyond me... ok, I get it, faith in a better life, etc., but god almighty, what kind of a monster god does this to a family...

"I burn down your cities, how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You must all be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind, you really need me
That's why I love mankind")

“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#14

“Jonestown in slow motion”
(08-07-2019, 10:51 PM)Vera Wrote: Which I acknowledged in the beginning - that I sympathise - but it's still condemning one child who has a chance of life to death.

Life has a way of forcing shitty choices. I'm glad mine have been relatively easy.
<Insert intelligent thought here>
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#15

“Jonestown in slow motion”
Well, that settles it then Facepalm

"I have great compassion for Caroline Fraser and her family’s heart-wrenching experience (‘You don’t need a doctor…’, Journal, 6 August), yet her depiction of the Christian Science church is almost unrecognisable based on my own experience. Yes, like many other Christian denominations, our church has had important lessons to learn – and has seen a decline in numbers. But the Christian Scientists I know strive to provide unconditional support for their loved ones, with each individual free to choose the type of healthcare, including medical, that is most effective for them. The five years I spent as administrator of a Christian Science care home – a place full of joy and longevity for those choosing spiritual healing – were far from what Ms Fraser describes.

Christian Science beliefs and practices, often misunderstood, can run against cultural norms. They are based on a deep faith in a loving God and on the teachings and healing works of Jesus, proved practical. The church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, makes clear that healing is the natural outcome of one’s continually growing understanding of God. Its practice embraces Golden Rule ethics – to treat others as one would want to be treated, to respect all views differing from our own, and to be law-abiding. The church’s aim is to relieve suffering and uplift humanity. The health and safety of children and adults are paramount to all.

And Christian Scientists continue to experience significant healing in their lives – morally, physically and spiritually. The first-hand accounts of healing through prayer published in church periodicals just in the past two decades, for example, range the spectrum of human ills, a number of them medically diagnosed and not easily dismissed as psychosomatic or natural recovery.

Given the challenges humanity faces, it seems such healing and restoration is still what the world needs today."


Coincidentally, I was reading an article on the right/obligation to know/tell people who might carry the genes for certain genetic diseases (mainly Huntington's but not just) and in the comments people were sharing stories from their times as medical practitioners and, understandably, god and his goodness or absence (of god or goodness, you choose) also came up.

While I do sympathise with people who need some sort of security blanket in difficult times, part of me can't help but pity them - to be so self-centered and incapable of dealing with life, that you need a father figure till your dying day, someone to kiss your boo boos and make them all better, someone to absolve you of all responsibility for their own choices and life... this is truly pathetic.

(it's something much stronger in the cases of those who have been healed/saved from a disaster, etc. and attribute it to god, the implication being that they deserve it... and those who didn't survive, deserved to die. I know that the vast majority of such people, praising god for his good, are just selfish and truly stupid... but there are also some truly selfish and *vile* ones who honestly think they deserve good thing more than others. What a choice - dumb and selfish, and self-centred (the whole universe cares about me) or dumb, selfish and vile.)
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#16

“Jonestown in slow motion”
Well now I have to rethink my top three most malignant Christian sects. It had been scientology, mormonism and jehovah's witnesses but obviously now xtian science has to bump one of the others or else I'll be forced to adopt a top (bottom?) 4 instead. Westboro seems too small to include.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#17

“Jonestown in slow motion”
My mother once had a dear, wonderful friend. The friend was a Christian scientist and did not believe in doctors.

That dear, wonderful friend developed cancer and died.

Imo , Mary Baker Eddy was an ignorant  fool whose superstitious drivel has cost I don't know how many lives. .
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