12 November 2006


I read a lot, which you may notice by the rapid turnover in titles on the sidebar. Primarily, I read for entertainment, but every now and then I like to pick up something different. In this case, K bought it for me because I'd talked about being interested after the author appeared on the Colbert Report. The book is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Although I don't necessarily agree with all of it, the basic idea is that it doesn't make logical sense for there to be a supernatural power in control of the natural universe and that there are rational arguments against it and against most of the claims that a belief in some type of god or religion are strictly necessary for humans.

I also found it interesting to read a non-American's opinion on how an American's social standing suffers just for denying a belief in a supernatural god. When you live in a society where such a large proportion of people are believers in at least their public persona, it can be difficult to know when to express opinions to the contrary. While I've never had the personal experience of friends and family turning their backs on my because of my lack of belief, it has certainly been a problem at different points which I'm not going to go into.

It is also something that has come up a few times on the ambulance. EMTs are all taught about patients who may refuse care because of a variety of religious beliefs, and that isn't even what I'm referring to. Patients have asked me to pray for them or with them, sometimes on the spot. Since I'm in a professional capacity, I generally defer with some vague indication to "do what I can later". I try to reinforce to myself that I'm not actually lying, because what I can do is exactly what I do, nothing. I don't think it is appropriate in the back of an ambulance to try and explain/defend why I have come to the conclusions I have about god and religion, nor the place to try and "convert" anyone else, but my patients seem to have no such issue. I treat the situation like any other piece of extraneous information on a call, but every now and then it is hard to bit my tongue so it is fun to read a book where someone doesn't pull their punches and attacks the superstitious religiousity head on.

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