Quite frequently when I speak out against faith-based thinking or “ways of knowing,” I get the response, “What other people believe is not your business, it doesn’t hurt anyone, why do you care?” Of course the easy response is simply to say “9/11” or point a finger toward Mecca, but the insidious nature of absolute faith infects us at home, just more quietly and behind closed doors.
This New York Times article highlights an example of our own, homespun, religious tragedy:
About 300 children have died in the United States in the last 25 years after medical care was withheld on religious grounds.
That’s death. Can you imagine the thousands of kids who merely suffer — but do not die — as a result of their brainwashed parents’ prayers to an unseen and mysterious God? Not to mention the times, all fired-up on holy ghost and righteousness, they may decide just to whip the devil out of some unruly child:
“Many types of abuses of children are motivated by rigid belief systems,” including severe corporal punishment, said Ms. Swan, a former Christian Scientist whose 16-month-old son, Matthew, died after she postponed taking him to a hospital for treatment of what proved to be meningitis. “We learned the hard way.”
Yes, it matters what people think. Whether they are chauvinist, racist, or monotheist — I see no harm in challenging other people’s positions. We are free to think what we want, sure — but we are not free to remain unchallenged for it.