Sunday, April 17, 2005

Faith, Hope and Charity

Recently, in a blog comment, "Brother Arun" spake thusly:

"Do not despair. You can get 100% of your hearing back as if you never lost it.

The great physician Jesus can heal you. All you have to do is ask him to touch your loss of hearing and restore it. All things are possible if you only believe."

I made a post in reply asking Arun to get in touch with me but, unfortunately but not surprisingly, he never did.

Carl suggested I was tolerant. :)
Robin said she wondered what it was I was going to say to Arun.
Mike, in email, wondered if I was taking on a second career as a deprogrammer.

I guess what I would really have liked to do is to help Brother Arun understand that not only is his blithe promising of miracles not helpful, it is hurtful.

I would try to make him undertand how terribly, terribly, unutterably hurtful and cruel it is to suggest to a handicapped person that if they just believed in Jesus that they could be healed. It's cruel because it is untrue, as can be demonstrated by the millions of faithful, handicapped Christians; and it's cruel because it suggests that the handicap is in a way their fault. If they were just Christians, or better Christians, better people, they could hear or see or walk. It's their flaw, their inability to believe, or believe enough, or properly, that is trapping them in a world of limits, losses and pain.

I'd ask him why I should expect special treatment from Jesus when there are millions of handicapped people all over the world, many of them fervently praying as we speak to Jesus for delivery that is not coming. Why is that, does he suppose?

Are they praying wrong? Not faithful enough?

What a capricious God that would be...

Finally, I would ask him something that an email correspondent suggested... if God tinkers in the affairs of men on such a micro-level, why in the name of all that's holy did He take away my hearing in the first place? And if He didn't, why would He get involved in bringing it fully back?

Because I accepted Jesus as my own Personal Savior? Some kind of holy signing bonus?

I have thought a lot about faith since losing my hearing, in large part because of all those who have invoked faith in their wishes for me. Many people of so many different faiths have said they'll pray for me, have been praying for me. It is a powerful source for good and for hope in a lot of good peoples' lives. And I believe it can do wonderful things for the sick and handicapped - in conjunction with the real miracles being performed by science every day..

But when I see "faith healers" or have people promise me my hearing back in exchange for becoming "born again" or just believing hard enough, it makes me angry. It reminds me of all that religion can be when it is perverted - when it becomes a tool to berate and intimidate and manipulate people.

Arun clearly can not know how much my heart's desire would be to have "100% of your hearing back as if you never lost it", of how much I ache for that, or he would not dangle the prospect of having it again it in front of me like some wonderful boxed relic I am not currently worthy to see.

Brother Arun, like so many 'hit and run' evangelists who don't actually care long enough to stick around and see what his words mean and do to people, would be a much better servant of Christ if he dropped the scales from his eyes and used his faith to help and inspire the afflicted - not by promising them miracles that won't happen and only deepen their sense of loss and, in the worst-case-scenario, amplify their suspicions that somehow, they are at fault.



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