Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's a Suicide...

WARNING: This post makes some references to religion.

For those that are unaware, I'm the son of 2 Nigerian immigrants. In our country, it is customary to invoke tribal rituals passed down for generations to treat most illnesses. In my youth, I was subjected to some of the most acrid, primitive, pungent and stunningly disgusting home remedies you could imagine. These traditional methods are preferred to the point where those with potentially fatal (but treatable) conditions often shun medical attention and find themselves in an early grave.

With that being said, I was born in Washington, DC -- the would-be capital of the WORLD. I subscribe to and place the the utmost of faith in western medicine. My mother doesn't even own any more of those black bottles of Liquid X with its mystery ingredients. You would think that in the advent of medical innovation, one would rely on western medicine to keep us from the brink of death, right? Well, to quote the great philosopher Charles Q. Murphy: "WRONG! Wrong..."

Apparently, there are some Jehovah's Witnesses strolling the planet Earth who believe that seeking treatment is heresy -- to the point where a 14 year-old kid lost his life, instead of seeking the blood transfusions that could have substantially prolonged his life.

Yes, it is not a perfect science... but improvements are made daily and new, more effective treatment is always one lab experiment away. The saddest part about this story is that his parents wanted so badly for him to receive treatment -- it was his aunt who (allegedly) convinced him that it would be sacrilegious (editor's note: the aunt refused to comment when approached by the AP about the incident... hmm -- curious). The judge for this trial didn't agree with that theory -- he believed that the boy was not coerced and that he was more than capable of making the decision on his own. Really, good sir? How many 14 year-old boys do you know that wouldn't rather be playing baseball, chasing girls or playing Guitar Hero III until their fingers went numb? Something tells me that an untimely, excruciating death wasn't exactly his #1 wish for the holidays.

Moral of the story: If your ear won't stop bleeding, one of your lungs stops inflating or your heartbeat sounds like the bass line of a Dr. Dre track... don't be an idiot -- go to the doctor. Now.


Your Friendly Neighborhood Skeptic said...

My great grandmother is blind in one eye. Do you know why? Because she's had cataracts sicne before I was born and has been "praying them away" for close to 30 years.

For some reason religious fundies have this strange aversion to science, as if it's some malicious concoction brewed by the Prince of Darkness. I think it's because science is primarily responsible for religious opposition so it must inherently be bad.

News flash, fuckers. It's because of science that you didn't die of Typhoid Fever like little Timmy in Oregon Trail. It's because of science that you can watch porn on your PC with your hand planted firmly on your junk in the privacy of your home and not at some creepy theater. It's because of science that you're reading this blog right now.

So the next time any of you shun science I suggest you mosey your way on up to Lancaster and live in Ahmish Paradise. Don't get me started on religion, Abe. Don't get me started.

The Girl From Park Heights said...

I say let them commit their religious suicide. Only the strong will survive, right?

It actually sounds like a twisted natural selection to me.


Cat said...

I lost a relative, in part, who was a Jehovah Witness and needed surgery but b/c they don't do the whole blood transfusion thing (not even their own blood) it was a no go. I have learned alot about that religion and understand where the thoughts come from but it seems they aren't taking into account why the rules were in place at the time and how society has changed since then. God gave us the ability to rationalize and independently think for a reason. I personaly believe the good book is for guidance and shouldn't always be translated to take things so literally.

Not Your Average Male said...

Cat -- I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm glad to hear from someone who has had some personal experience with the religion; I agree with your statement. Something written that long ago can't be taken verbatim -- especially when societal evolution has brought us so far and changed so many things.