Randall Munroe, the creator of the well-known webcomic, xkcd, is on a relaxed publishing schedule due to a very sick family member right now. And out of that trying experience, he draws these three awesome panels:

sickness and science

Hell yeah, Randall.

Something Personal

When my father was fighting cancer, he (even while being a man of faith and prayer) relied on the advances of medicine and scientific research to fight the disease and keep it at bay as much as possible. Even though he wanted God to heal him, he still knew that medical care and advanced technology would be the most important weapons in the fight.

Now I look back and think, Why did we hope for miracles when we knew medicine would do all the real work? I’m honestly not sure if there are any practical reasons for prayers. When someone you love is dying, you want them to be instantly free of illness and suffering. Who wouldn’t? A miracle is a get-out-of-cancer-free card that no believer would turn down. To faithful Christians like us, we prayed for that easy-out, but we truly trusted in the doctors, the chemotherapy, and all of the other treatments used that were backed by tested science.

When praying for healing, you never know if you’ll be heard or if it will ever happen. There can be no reasonable expectation or time table; healing either happened or it didn’t, and sometimes a “miraculous healing” looked just like something explained just fine by science anyway. So when a loved one is ill or dying, you can feel free to hope for an immediate improvement, but trust in those who have tested treatments and medicines that you know can help. Even if your loved one does die, you can at least be thankful that it wasn’t your fault, your lack of faith, or anyone’s relationship with a deity that was at fault.

Science works, bitches!

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12 thoughts on “Comics and Cancer”

Palaverer · December 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Gah! Please stop using that slogan! We need to come up with a new one.

    Godless Girl · December 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    As much as I want to agree with you, I just … don’t. I must seem like an awful woman who hates my own sex, but really, I’m not. Ah well! Let’s focus on the main point, shall we?

Andrew Hall · December 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Personally, I blame all of my problems on Ahura Mazda.

OK, this may be a bit off topic, but can I recommend a new slogan?

Science, guaranteed not to send you to Hell!

    Godless Girl · December 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    That’s a good one for a shirt 🙂

    Jacob · December 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Jesus: He loved the hell out of you 😛 Just my cornball side speaking. Sorry 🙂

Jacob · December 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I just want to throw in my two cents 🙂

I don’t think the bible supports…

Too little faith = no miracle.
Enough faith = auto-miracle(auto-heal).
Science + Faith can’t mix.

I would say the bible doesn’t go against science in most ways and that medical technology is perfectly usable. The most useful trade in the missions field is medicine.

If anything, I think that the Bible would support that faith can intercourse with treatment to provide hope and comfort during treatment, but will not necessarily lead to the desired outcome. The most amazing instances of faith I have seen in my own life were people who sang their way through the last months of their life in a cancer ward, who smiled their way through back surgeries and brain infections, and who were peaceful among frantic visitors at their hospital beds.

Again, though that’s just how I myself understand the Bible. As we all know, many other Christians might disagree with that standpoint.

    Godless Girl · December 21, 2010 at 3:22 am

    I know faith is a source of comfort for many (it was for my family). Even so, I think those same joyful, hopeful people in cancer wards and hospital beds could just as easily be faithless.

      Jacob · December 21, 2010 at 5:12 am

      I don’t see any reason why not. A perfectly reasonable assumption. Not that I’m hoping either of us get’s to test that one too much. I wonder how many “faithless” DO approach those times with comfort and joy. For that matter, I wonder how many “faithful” have a clear enough understanding of the Bible that they experience joy and hope instead of awaiting a guaranteed miracle or even experiencing despair and emotional agony?

      I haven’t seen much sickness and suffering like outside of my Christian loop, if you will. Any of y’all got some stories of family members or friends(atheist) who showed exceptional selflessness and joy through dim medical situations? Or stories of your own encounters with life-threatening illness where you still were singing melodies and lighting up the room? I feel like we’re preparing for an Oprah episode.

nullefide · December 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

My grandmother died over the weekend and I find myself feeling lost without the Christian script and how-to lists on dealing with death that I grew up with. My parents can sit around and talk about how happy she must be seeing everyone in heaven and how she’s in a better place and all that. But since I stopped believing (not that I think I ever really believed in the first place) I don’t know what to say or how I should deal with my feelings.

I know death and sickness is hard for everyone, even the religious, but some days I miss having the imaginary to fall back on. To just pretend that my grandmother is skipping around in the clouds with my grandfather and everyone else, whole and herself again, might be comforting. :\

    Jacob · December 22, 2010 at 5:54 am

    wow, sorry to hear that. I have a lot of nightmares about losing my dad one day. You’re right, death and sickness is hard for everyone. I hope you find your consolation, where ever it might be from.

    I’ll go with skipping around in the clouds, though. Jesus, the lover of souls, is one great room mate, I’m sure.

Henway · December 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm

sometimes the only way to deal with deal in a sensible way is with humor, and looking at the bright side of life.

Tweets that mention Comics and Cancer | Godless Girl -- Topsy.com · December 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

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