Faith is a supplement, not a cure-all for diseases

In Opinion
Illustration by Peter Pham / Daily Titan
Illustration by Peter Pham / Daily Titan

So there’s this new pill they sell behind the counter, it’s both a multivitamin and antibiotic. It’s an anesthetic and a vaccine. It’s basically an all-around panacea and magic bullet all rolled into one convenient capsule; you’ll never have to leave your house to buy it, either. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.

It’s called faith. The only problem is, it’s not really FDA approved yet.

According to an article published by NPR, a Philadelphia couple who were already facing manslaughter charges for the death of their 2-year-old son are now facing new charges for yet another child that passed away under their watch.

In 2009, Herbert and Catherine Schaible’s son Kent suffered from bacterial pneumonia with symptoms such as coughing, congestion and loss of appetite. Naturally, the couple turned to prayer instead of seeking immediate medical attention for Kent until he died days later.

Now the Schaibles are facing new charges when another child of theirs, 8-month-old Brandon, passed away from breathing problems. The Schaibles did not seek out any medical attention for their child, even with parole still looming over their heads for the death of Kent, and prayed for Brandon’s recovery.

Growing up Catholic in a religious family, faith played a huge role in my adolescent development. Though that faith has waned back-and-forth throughout the last few years, it’s still relevant in my life. But to think that doing nothing but prayer for your child’s well-being and expecting immediate results is just ridiculous.

Faith is something that should help provide strength to the Schaibles after they took all the necessary precautions to help their children, not a magic cure. It’s like declaring bankruptcy aloud and expecting all your debts to go away.

In 2009, a young girl in Wisconsin, 11-year-old Kara Neumann, died of diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from untreated juvenile diabetes.

According to the New York Times, Kara could not walk or even speak, but her parents prayed for her recovery with all their might. It was only when her aunt called the authorities saying her sick niece needed to be rescued did the paramedics come to take her in for medical attention.

Kara was pronounced dead on arrival.

Growing up in a religious family with a history of diabetes, we went to see a doctor to get our insulin fix and then we’d go to church. It’s incomprehensible how parents can witness their child suffer through so much pain, yet leave their fate to a higher power without first doing something about it themselves.

Religion is a great spiritual center and will definitely get you through tough times, but actions must be taken to ensure everything that could possibly be done has been done before sitting back, taking a breath and saying a prayer. I’m not going to show up to a physics final, after a whole night of cramming in prayers, without a lick of studying done, and expect an A-plus.

No, I’m going to get an F. An F for foolishness.

Finally, there’s the story of Russel and Brandi Bellow, a “faith healer” couple from Oregon who plead guilty of negligent homicide, according to ABC News. Brandi’s 16-year-old son, Austin, was experiencing flu-like symptoms and the couple prayed for his recovery. An autopsy report showed that Austin had died from an infection from a burst appendix that had gone untreated while his folks were busy praying.

The Simpsons episode “Faith Off” comes to mind whenever the subject of faith-healing is brought up. Bart “heals” Milhouse of his vision impairment by knocking off his glasses, resulting in the blind VanHouten boy getting run over by an oncoming vehicle. When Milhouse asks Bart to heal his injuries, Bart says he is unable to.

What we need to do is stop being Milhouses and take our health into our own hands.

Faith can be a powerful tool when it comes to spiritual need. Sometimes, when times are tough and there’s nothing left to do, faith can be all one has to go on. But sometimes faith just needs to take a backseat when it comes to the immediate health of a child, or anyone for that matter, when medical attention can be sought out first. Go see a doctor.

Then pray.

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One commentOn Faith is a supplement, not a cure-all for diseases

  • Hello, I read this in the print paper today and just wanted to say I loved it! Really great piece, wonderfully written. I especially liked your opening 🙂 Thanks for a great and interesting read!

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