Sunday, 8 January 2012
Todd Pitner's Damascus Moment
I was perusing through some of my old Internet hangouts today and happened upon one of Todd Pitner's old posts at premiercommunity.org.uk.
I met Todd (ILoveAtheists.com) in London about a year ago. He seemed like quite a likable guy. Moderate, witty and could do some rather impressive card tricks. He struck me as the kind of guy I could socialise with even though we are at opposite ends of the theistic spectrum.
Since then I've heard Todd debating on one or two podcasts where I was surprised to hear an abrasive, confrontational, patronising Todd Pitner. Perhaps that was for the benefit of the mainly atheist audience, they expected a preachy, dogmatic testosterone soaked willy waving contest and that's what he gave them.
I decided to look up Todd's website. I remembered he had a series of questions to challenge the Atheistic world view. I took some time to review each of his question and I'm toying with the idea of giving a detailed response to each one. Perhaps I'll respond to one question and depending on the response, withdraw or tackle another one. If Todd demonstrates he is once again able to engage in thoughtful reasoned debate, I may answer some more questions. If he's still dogmatic and preachy, there are more interesting debates to be had elsewhere and I will only have lost a potential drinking buddy.
While browsing Todd's challenge at ILoveAtheists.com, I came across Todd's "Miracle". The event he describes as his "Damascus Moment". [a sudden and/or radical conversion of thought or a change of heart or mind. a religious conversion; a revelation, especially about one’s self].
He informs us that he would have gone to the doctors but he was just too busy at work. He made a wish to God his cough would go.
Eventually he conceded he needed to go to hospital but before he would make the trip he'd have a shower.
In the shower. He had a violent coughing fit and proceeded to relieve himself of large quantities of mucus. He called out to Jesus for relief from his discomfort.
On exiting the shower his symptoms were gone.
However, I was still waiting for an amazing punch line.... but none came.... There was a mention of his Atheist wife (a Professor in a secular university) who witnessed this Miracle and subsequently converted to Christianity, but no spectacular, jaw-dropping miracle.
Todd constantly reminds us that he was an Atheist, But clearly Todd was a Bible believing Christian before this event. Atheists do not petition God for a cure or cry out to Jesus for relief from discomfort any more than the Pope calls out to Zeus in his moments of despair. He was a Christian without a defining moment. Todd openly admits he has an impulsive, addictive, all-or-nothing personality. Plunging into the depths of Materialism, Drugs, Workaholism, Alcohol, Family neglect and a total lack of balance in his life. I think this is the event that changed Todd from a wannabe Christian into a full blown evangelising, fundamentalist. Sill addictive and impulsive but less self destructive and far more socially acceptable.
My main criticism of this proclaimed Miracle is that.... I just don't get it.
When I was a child and suffering with a cold, My Mother, Grandmother, Babysitter etc. would send me upstairs for a hot shower. Even when I was in the military, a hot shower was the order of the day to instantly relieve flu symptoms without the need to wimp-off to the sick bay. When I was first married, my wife would recommend a hot shower whenever cold symptoms hit hard.
To this day I still have a hot shower to relieve bad cold and flu symptoms. Sure it doesn't always work but it does seem to work better the worse the symptoms are. The hot water eases aches, pains, chills and shivers, it dilates the blood vessels and the steam loosens all that yucky mucus and clears the sinuses. The ideal outcome is indeed a violent coughing fit to get rid of all the gunk. You step into the shower feeling like death and step out with a clear head, clear chest feeling pretty good.... not all the time but often enough to make it worth while trying.
To enhance the effect I would strongly recommend a hot drink, a double shot of your favourite tipple and a sauna. Alternate Hot sauna, Cold shower, Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold and finish with a hot shower. Goodbye Cold Symptoms.
I've been doing this for years because it often works spectacularly well. My Mother knew it, My Grandmother knew it, My Wife knows it and it is embedded in self remedy folk law.
I'll have to admit I do have a high credulity threshold so I've never attributed this remedy to a supernatural miracle. I've never stepped out the shower after a particularly successful de-gunking and proclaimed "Praise the Lord... Its a Miracle.... There must be a God". I just get dressed and get on with my life and think to myself what a wise woman my mother was.
While half the world is starving, while there are wars, while children are being abused, natural disasters, corrupt world leaders, crime and atrocities that make you weep, I'm sure any God capable of prioritising would have better things in which to be intervening than Todd's mucus problem.
I'm glad Todd is feeling much better now and has regained control of his life as a result, but I think this is a good demonstration of the power of faith and NOT a demonstration in the power of the entity in which you have faith. If Christians choose to attribute everyday events to their God, that's fine with me.... until they also want to demonise and persecute the people who do not attribute such things as they do.