Lawrence Krauss, who sme of us met in Melbourne at the SoFiA Conference last year, has written a piece for the Wall Street Journal "God and Science don't mix". He reports some esults of a panel he was on that addressed this sort of topic, with scientists of both persuasions (atheist and Christian) speaking.
Krauss points out, as many of us do from time to time, the disconnect between what Christians believe and say, and how they behave, in relation to God' concern for4 each of us as individuals. He starts off noting that scientists do their work assuming that God (or his agents) won't interfere in any way. Sounds reasonable?
But in other aspects such as health we insure against ill-health rather than trust in God, or go to a doctor rather than praying for help. Is there a disconnect here?
Don Cupitt talks about the end of Christianity starting when a couple of otherwise religious Scots businessmen insured their cargoes from abroad against loss at sea several hundred years ago. Niall Ferguson made reference to thsi event during hs "Ascent of Money" episode a couple of mweeks ago. Why if you trust in God, do you insure anything against loss?
It's a bit strange to be the first respondent to your oen blog. But another related piece has just arrived as follows from Atheist Revolution:
Why Do Christians Want Health Insurance?
Posted: 26 Jun 2009 04:07 AM PDT
It was almost a year ago that I unveiled my health care plan. Now that the Obama administration is moving ahead on their own plan for reforming American health care, I have a good excuse to revisit it. Instead of merely rehashing it, I'd like to use it to inquire into whether most Christians really believe what they often claim to believe.
Do Christians Really Believe What They Claim to Believe?
One of the things that has always bugged me about Christians is that there often seems to be a massive discrepancy between what they claim to believe and how they behave. Health care offers an excellent example of what I am talking about. For the Christians who claim to believe that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and are cared for by a benevolent god, why do they need health insurance? Why avail themselves of modern medicine at all? Shouldn't prayer be sufficient?
An obvious explanation is that the Christians who take advantage of medical treatment do not actually believe what they claim to believe. They may say that they are content to trust their god, etc., but their use of the health care system suggests otherwise.
I can accept such an explanation (i.e., that many Christians do not actually believe what they often claim to believe). In fact, I find it at least somewhat encouraging. But is it accurate? And if so, why do so many continue to insist they they really believe such things?
The critic will object, "Wait a minute! By your line of argument, you could say that Christians who work for a living are hypocritical if they do not merely pray for wealth." I see this as a very different sort of argument. The Jesus/god as healer is a theme encountered throughout the Christian bible. I don't think I'm reaching too much to pose that question.
Revisiting Atheist Revolution's Health Care Plan
Here is how I previously described the plan:
Under my plan, atheists would receive health care at government expense just like what everyone receives in the counties with the highest quality health care systems. Christians and believers of other absurdities would automatically be placed on the Prayer Care Plan. This plan would not cost the government (or anyone else) anything at all. When believers got sick, they would pray for recovery. It's really that simple.
This should be quite appealing to the large number of conservative Christians who oppose any step toward universal health care because it would save large sums of money. If they really believe in prayer, as they so often claim, then they would have nothing to worry about on the Prayer Care Plan. In fact, their health care should be better than that received by the rest of us!
You know as well as I do that Christians are not going to be lining up for such a plan. They are not interested in opting out of their current health insurance or failing to seek medical treatment. The question is why. The seemingly inescapable answer is that most Christians do not believe what they so often claim to believe.
But My Particular God Works in Mysterious Ways!
That is a cop-out, and I believe you know it. If you want to respond with any sort of "but that isn't how my god works" claim, the question you still must answer is why. That is, why does your god, a god which you insist loves you, turn a blind eye to your health problems?
The "mysterious ways" thing is little more than a smoke screen. It does nothing to answer the underlying question. If you believe in the sort of god in which you claim to believe, why isn't prayer sufficient for you?
Posted by Scott McKenzie
Please check out these related references which give a unique perspective of the never-ending and entirely predictable pre-patterned religion vs science shouting match.
Ref #3 describes the origins and inevitable cultural consequences of the form of mind that emerged at the time of the European Renaissance.
A form of mind which has inevitably objectified quite literally every one and every thing---including The Divine.
Posted by John
It seems fairly obvious to me: despite what Christians say, it is empirically the case that God does not miraculously intervene in illnesses or the other circumstances of life in any consistent and reliable way. The usual response is to claim that he has his own inscrutable reasons for action or inaction. But the real and practical result is that if you get sick and have no insurance, you are going to be a burden on your family or *someone* because most times God is not going to miraculously heal you.
Perhaps more on science and God later...
Posted by Bravus
loved the health care plan. should would save a lot of money. did you ever propose that to Obama
Posted by gary
There is an even more fundamental question:
If you style yourself as an "optimist", why have any insurance whatsoever?
Surely taking out insurance is "negative thinking".
So you see, it is not only believers in the supernatural who don't make any sense.
Posted by David Miller