The Harm of Religion

You often hear people say, what’s the harm in religion?  If I keep my religion to myself and don’t push it on others, where’s the harm?  If it was possible to keep religion to oneself, I might just agree, but too often we see how people unintentionally push their religion on others, especially children.  Makayla Sault is the perfect example of the harm religion causes to others.

Many of you have already heard this story, but Makayla Sault was an 11 year old girl from Ontario, Canada diagnosed with a very treatable form of leukemia.  With proper chemotherapy treatment doctors gave her a 90% chance of survival.  Those are excellent odds and it was very likely this girl would have survived to lead a long, healthy life.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as she recently passed away.

Makayla Sault Passes Away

When given a 90% chance of survival, that still means there’s a 10% chance of not surviving.  Was Makayla part of the unlucky 10%?  If only that were the case.  This little girl died because her parents refused chemotherapy in favor of traditional medicine.  In other words, they chose unproven quackery over proven medicine.  This family is not Christian (as far as I can tell), but their religious beliefs led them away from modern medicine to ‘medicine’ that simply doesn’t work.  Makayla was receiving chemotherapy treatments, but her parents stopped those treatments and now say that those treatments were the reason she died.  Oh, the power of religion, to so easily sway people against science and reason.

The parents even released a YouTube video of the girl saying that she was deciding on her own to stop treatment.  Bullshit!  That girl didn’t know any better.  Her parents were most certainly scaring her away from proven medicine.  Her parents weren’t pushing their religion on me or you, but they were pushing it on their daughter.  Their daughter, with no other form of education, had no reason to disbelieve them.  Because of religion, this little girl is dead.  Religion killed this girl.

Disgusting.  Atrocious.  Unbelievable.  Sickening.  I could go on and on with more adjectives, but you get the point.  Don’t think for one second that religion (regardless of the form) causes no harm.  It does, and it often does it in ways the religious don’t mean it to.  My biggest hope for this world is that one day, children such as Makayla Sault won’t have to worry about religion killing them.

6 thoughts on “The Harm of Religion

  1. While I agree that religion does harm, I will not agree that this child should have been forced to undergo treatment she and her parents did not want, regardless of whether or not anyone thinks this 10 year old was able to make such a decision. Religion does harm, but so do the non religious who think they have the right to force their own non religious beliefs on others. There is no difference here. On the one hand, we have a child diagnosed with an illness that may/may not be managed with commercial medical treatment, and on the other hand, we have a child diagnosed with an illness that may/may not be managed with more natural alternatives to the commercial medical treatment. It is wrong to force either option based on someone elses opinions, beliefs or experiences. Individuals and families need to be free to make up their own minds and suffer their own consequences, which in this particular case this family is.

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    1. I have to completely disagree with you. We’re not talking about whether the child should go to public, private, or home school (as an example). We’re talking about the LIFE of this child. These parents killed their child (although I will admit the parents themselves were indoctrinated by religion). Their child had no choice in the matter. The government needed to step in and save this child’s life. With commercial medicine, this child had a 90% chance of survival. With alternative medicine she had a 0% chance. You are giving commercial medicine and alternative medicine equal footing in your argument and that in itself is very dangerous. In fact, that is the very argument the parents used to kill their child.

      You stated that people need to make up their own mind and suffer their own consequences. For adults, I completely agree. If an adult chooses alternative medicine over commercial medicine, it’s a shame, but that adult made the decision. That’s not the choice of the child. This child did not make up her own mind. Anyone who argues that she did is ignorant of the situation this child was placed in. This child was indoctrinated by her parents through their religion.

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  2. When it comes to religion there are many different beliefs. Some beliefs are helpful. I have known countless people who would never have made it through difficulties situations or overcome addictions without their faith. You cannot really say that all religious beliefs are always harmful. Nor can you say that religion is always helpful.

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      1. Some people may be helped by sspects of religion, but let’s not assume religion and only religion could have helped them. A secular group or method exists and could help too. To often religion defines itself as the only source of help.

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