ARE ADULT STEM CELLS, GOD’S HEALING POWER?
VERBOSE AND RANDOM MUSINGS ON GOD, RELIGION, STEM CELLS, HEALTH & THE INEVITABLE
(A 1/4 baked secular and slightly irreverent but meaning no disrespect hypothesis of what God wants us to do when we get sick)
A religious friend questions her activity in a group on Longevity:
“I really don’t know why I’m in this. Aging is a natural thing. We are all meant to die when god chooses.. anything we do or say will never change that. Life goes how it wants to, and no research is going to change that.”
You bring up an interesting question. I respect your opinion and share my own. For the sake of this exploration, let’s assume God exists and we all agree on how to define him…
You wrote, “We die when God chooses.”
If God brings us into life and chooses our death then I would guess you are presuming that God is omniscient and omnipotent. If that’s the case, then your entire life too is pre-destined and you have no choice in any of your decisions. This is fatalism. In fact, this is absolute fatalism when you give it all up and allow God to take responsibility for everything that happens to you. This takes all responsibility out of our hands.
The next are controversial hot buttons no doubt but we can only assess the value in a philosophy or “ism” if we push ourselves and them to the extreme. So, with an omniscient and omnipotent God and a fatalist interpretation, everything happens as it was fated. The woman gets an abortion only as she was fated to do. The serial murderer kills again only as he was fated to do. The Uncle rapes the niece as it was fated. And we can all just sit back and take no responsibility for anything that happens to us or around us. That can’t be right.
Perhaps you feel you can interpret God’s intentions and make decisions on behalf of his intentions for yourself. On the one hand you have no say, on the other you can not only see the pattern in God’s mysterious works but also interpret them and affect change in your life based on your interpretations of them. So you feel you can analyze and understand the intentions of an omniscient and omnipotent being? Do you know how limited our vision is, figuratively and literally? DO you know that we see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, we see only about 0.00018% of it in our limited visible spectrum. The rest of our senses are equally pathetic. SO we are “aware” of an infinitesimal amount of what is really going on. We are completely unprepared and incapable. For sure, God works in mysterious ways because we only see a trillionth of a fraction of what he does in the universe. Einstein said: “trying to understand the universe is like trying to understand an entire deck of cards when you can only see one.” He understood the folly of that hubris-tic exercise and he was pretty smart by any standards. The narcissism inherent in this is mind boggling. So that can’t be right.
Should we accept our fates or should we try to change them? Fatalism is a philosophical construct that fails when applied to practical living. Will you lie down in traffic, secure in your knowledge that if God intended you get run over by a bus, you will get run over by a bus? Conversely, if God’s intent is for you to live, no number of buses running over you will cause your demise? No? Then you are already choosing to abandon fatalism and partaking in actions which hedge your bets against God’s intended destiny for you or fate. So that can’t be right.
Are you so special that God spends his time on deciding your fate? Is it the big stuff, like life or death with a big empty space in the middle or does he decide every single event, like if you get a dust mote in your eye or an uncomfortable wedgie from sitting on the bus too long? Has God put that pimple on your nose before Church? Don’t use make up, your are covering God’s intent. So that can’t be right.
“Life goes how it wants to.”
Do you mean God created your life which proceeds according to his plan? You are giving up all free choice and we are back to the fatalism argument. Did God intend for a child to be born with a disease or contract a disease and if so, should we allow that to proceed without intervening. Should a simple infection from a splinter be allowed to spread, become gangrenous and cause death. The next time you trip, should you keep your hands at your sides and take that concrete curb full in the teeth? No. You can’t. Your survival instincts kick in, as God intended, one might surmise. We intervene at every level of every day. God brought you to this group with it’s interests in Longevity. Was that not his intention? Does he intend for you to survive only instinctively or also with forethought and planning and the utilization of that grey matter in your head? I’m thinking the latter.
You remind me of a story:
A man lived by the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town. And that all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, ‘I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.’
The waters rose up. A guy in a row boat came along and he shouted, ‘Hey, hey you! You in there. The town is flooding. Let me take you to safety.’ But the man shouted back, ‘I’m religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.’
A helicopter was hovering overhead. And a guy with a megaphone shouted, ‘Hey you, you down there. The town is flooding. Let me drop this ladder and I’ll take you to safety.’ But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God will take him to safety.
Well… the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter, he demanded an audience with God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I’m a religious man, I pray. I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?’
God said, ‘I sent you a radio report, a helicopter, and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?
I don’t think we should assume everything is pre-destined
I don’t think we should assume we know God’s plan
I don’t think we should assume we should hand over responsibility for our lives
I don’t think we should assume we should hand over responsibility for the manner in which we die
I don’t think we should assume we are so important as to warrant divine intervention
I don’t think we should take a pass on what God has put before us
Perhaps God’s intent was for us to do everything in our power to live well and to live long. When a child is struck ill with a deadly disease , it is “God’s will.” Then, when a child is healed from a deadly disease, it is a miracle. Is it less of a miracle if a motorcycle accident donates the heart needed or a new treatment cures the previously incurable? Should we not partake of those things because God has a plan? Shall we make no effort to assist in the extension of a healthy lifestyle?
Adult stem cells are the body’s natural healing system, presumable put there by God. Shouldn’t we use them?
Doesn’t God want us to live and prosper? He did give us the equipment for it. A body that heals and a mind that reasons, a world full of healing plants and doctors and scientists who were put here, also by God. Is it not God’s intent for you to utilize all of the resources at our disposal, including perhaps, the 76,000,000 hits when you google “God” and “healing.” The Vatican has given their full throated support to adult stem cells and they know a thing or two about God. Is it not God’s intent for you to eat, to breath, to love, to connect, to perpetuate the species and to live as best as we can for as long as we can, if for no other reason, then to share and illuminate the word and beauty of God to as many as we can for as long as possible.
So this is your radio report, your row boat and your helicopter. If you embrace God, you must embrace food, embrace breathing, embrace health, embrace healing, embrace science and embrace longevity. They are all put here by God for you to enjoy and benefit from. To ignore them or turn away is as to turn your back on a gift from God.