Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't Waste Your Cancer!

I stumbled across this little gem while poking around at old posts over at Your Religion Is False. A few choice selections from their list about ways in which people "waste" their cancer:
  • You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
  • You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
  • You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
  • You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
  • You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.
Wow. Now, mixed in with that shockingly offensive bullshit are a couple of good pieces of advice (e.g. "You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection" -- it's a little fucked up to use this whole you will waste your cancer phraseology, but certainly the basic point is a valid one). So I don't want to say that people don't probably find solace from stuff like this.

But I have to say, comments like "You will waste your cancer if you think that 'beating' cancer means staying alive" are goddamned insulting. Cancer is not a gift, okay? And if it is, I'm never ever ever ever inviting Jesus to another one of my birthday parties, unless he promises not to bring a present.


  1. What an utterly offensive list.

    And what a splendid "gift" God "designed" for my very Christian mother and aunt, who have both lost both breasts to cancer; and to my very Christian grandmother, who died of it. She can't do much witnessing now.

  2. LMAO @ jebus not bringing presents... clever :)

    On a more serious note though having lost my father to cancer (and he believed he'd be healed right up to the end saddly) those who think cancer is a gift are a little sick and twisted in the head... I'm not entirely sure how I'd respond if someone told me I should view my dad's drawn out death as a gift...

  3. Pharyngulite ninja checking in here. Prepare to be overrun by the hordes.

  4. interesting colbert the other night, economist was on saying that if everyone in the audience contracted cancer that night, how it would be good for the economy, because they'd all have to spend, spend, spend. so maybe jesus is an economist and he does have a gift for us.

  5. Excuse me, just one of PZ's horde passing through. Don't mind me, I have nothing to say.

  6. Great title. Good work! Just passing through.

  7. That is going right up to the top of my "messed up shit" list, and I'm fresh off of reading some "blame the victim" stuff brought to you by The Secret.

    Pharyngula Ninja Vanish!

    *Throws down a smokebomb*

  8. Hello, just another hordling here. Interesting post about insane people. My dead mother would very much tell them something.

    word ver: uncrok

  9. No peas!? Eh, don't like 'em that much anyway!
    I like you.

  10. WTF?

    When I was spending weeks on my back in isolation getting chemo for leukaemia and then for a bone marrow transplant one of the things I was most grateful for was my unbelief.

    At one point I tried to imagine being a believer. So there's a supernatural being who loves me and is ripping my life apart to help me love them more? Or I'm being punished for some transgression - but I'm not told what it is I've done wrong? That would have driven me insane!

    Understanding that it's all statistics, just a numbers game and I won a booby prize in the lottery made it easier to handle. No sadistic bas#$d's picking on me. There's no reason to berate myself over what I could have done differently to avoid it.

    It's happened. Accept it. and move on.

  11. @pzsentme: I actually really really like fresh spring peas. Actually, if spring peas were readily available and in season all year long, I probably wouldn't weigh 230 lbs.

    But somebody had already stolen the blog title I wanted, so this was my second choice :)

    @Malcolm: I totally agree. Not to compare this on any level to how much it must suck to have cancer, but last week my favorite pet died very suddenly and mysteriously. We still don't really know what killed her. I was really grateful that I already had a worldview that accepts the idea of events happening without any external meaning, a worldview that doesn't just tolerate uncertainty and the unknown, but embraces it. I feel like it made a lot easier for me to come to terms with the fact that we'll never know exactly what killed her.

    @the various anonymous and non-anonymous Pharyngulites: Awesome. :) Thanks for taking a look!

  12. Cancer as gift from God? How does someone fit a crazy idea like that into their head ... remove brain first?

    I like peas.

    cb, PZ Horde, UK Branch

  13. James,

    I'm amused to see the Pharyngula referrals over here, since I would have figured that that's how I would have stumbled onto your blog, but it was actually the comments you posted on Mark C-C's bullying/reunion post that made me check out the rest of what you have over here. I, too, like you!

  14. So much magical thinking goes along with cancer. Just talking about it as a fight implies that if you "lose" it was because you gave up the "fight." And people's desire for answers leads to a tendency to try to find something someone did that was wrong which led to the cancer.

  15. Over here from Jerry Coyne's site, where you linked to this. Un.Be.Lieveable. I'm not even sure which is the most offensive. *Designed* for you by God? That may well be the most offensive one right there. A list like that brings the Three Stooges to my mind--while reading it, I had this image of Mo smacking Curly on the head...

  16. Yea, as my father wasted away, his mind slipping as cancer ate his brain, I could tell he was over joyed with his gift. The pain, the confusion, the fear. he looked so grateful as he lay in his own shit tears of shame and unspeakable pain streaming down his face.
    I know he loved jesus even more as the blood rotted in his body and the memories slipped away.
    Great fucking gift jesus. I am so gla he didn't waste his gift of cancer. fucking christians