science

When Religion and Medicine Clash
Religious views can pose a distinct danger to personal health and safety when modern medicine is shunned in favor of prayer.

Religious views can pose a distinct danger to personal health and safety when modern medicine is shunned in favor of prayer.

In multicultural societies, religious conflicts can be common. Canadian news headlines are replete with reports of opposite ideologies or needs colliding. We may think of a law such as Quebec’s Bill 62 that forbids wearing certain face and head veils when receiving public services. However, another recent story proves that these incidents can be more than just a clash of beliefs. In some extreme cases, religious views can pose a distinct danger to personal health and safety. An example of this would be when medicine is denied to a child.

An Unusual Child Custody Case

A June 2018 National Post article revealed some disturbing details that surfaced during a child custody case in British Columbia. Post writer Adrian Humphreys reported that the couple in question contested a Provincial Court order that removed their daughter from their home, claiming that they’d been discriminated against because they were Christians.

However, investigations revealed that their religious views had caused them to be banned from attending several local churches. To make matters worse, they did not vaccinate the child or allow her any access to medicine. The proverbial nail in the coffin was their refusal to accept legal help, then bringing a stuffed lion to hearings and claiming that Jesus Christ would advocate on their behalf by speaking through the lion.

Religious Stances on Medical Care

The National Post piece documents an unusual case of harm caused by extreme religious views. Nevertheless, a few other groups have adopted controversial stances concerning modern medicine. A February 2018 CNN piece mentions the backlash that American televangelist Gloria Copeland received when, during a broadcast, she directed listeners to “inoculate [themselves] with the word of God” instead of getting flu shots. Meanwhile, Sandee LaMotte points out that Copeland isn’t the first religious figure to decry certain forms of medicine. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses will not receive blood transfusions, and the Amish generally forbid heart transplants since they regard the organ as “the soul of the body.”

Faith Healing Controversies

The most well-known opposition to medical treatments lies within the Christian Science denomination, established by Mary Baker Eddy during the late 1800s in the United States. In her 1875 text “Science and Health,” Eddy proposed that illness was an illusion, and that believers could end it through prayer alone. Referred to as “spiritual healing,” this belief has been one major cause of the controversies faced by the movement. It’s gained media attention thanks to several troubling incidents over the last 30 years:

  • Several outbreaks of measles between 1985 and 1994 at Principia College, a predominantly Christian Science institution in Illinois
  • The death of a two-year-old Massachusetts boy from a treatable bowel obstruction in 1986
  • An 11-year-old Minnesota boy who died in 1989 due to complications from untreated type 1 diabetes

While Christian Science’s current official stance doesn’t forbid followers from seeking treatment, it still focuses on what it sees as the importance of prayer in healing and encourages members to request prayers from Christian Science practitioners. In the meantime, children with parents in other faith healing groups have died under similar circumstances. A May 2016 CBC News article discussed the case of Alex Radita, a Calgary teenager who died from malnutrition because his parents attempted to treat his type 1 diabetes through prayer instead of caring for him with medicine as prescribed by doctors.

Freedom of Religion Versus Health and Safety?

Although it’s easy to believe that clashes between religion and medicine are a purely American phenomenon, the tragic case of Alex Radita and the unusual custody case documented in the June 2018 National Post article both prove that Canadians aren’t immune to these issues. As the religious landscape of our country changes, it is up to policymakers, religious leaders, and society to determine how to strike a fair balance between religious liberty and matters of life and death.

7 Great Places to Visit on Your Vancouver Honeymoon
Lion Gates Bridge is one of many places to spend your Vancouver Honeymoon.

Lion Gates Bridge is an attractive spot for couples looking to maximize their Vancouver Honeymoon fun.

Although there are many exotic locations around the world in which to spend your honeymoon, Canada offers a number of great places that are romantic and fun after the stress of a wedding. Flying domestic is typically much less expensive than taking an airplane to an international destination, making it good for your budget. If you’ve never experienced the lovely city of Vancouver, here are seven places to visit on your Vancouver honeymoon, anniversary or just a romantic getaway.

Great Vancouver Honeymoon Spots

  1. Capilano Suspension Bridge – The suspension bridge has been a main attraction in Vancouver since 1889, and many other features have been added to the landmark over the years. Walk across the bridge that sits 70 meters above the river and experience a view that is unlike any other. Take the cliffwalk or the treetops adventure to see all the rainforest has to offer. Don’t forget to take in the Story Centre, which is an educational feature that explores the fine details of the bridge.
  1. Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours – Who wouldn’t enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through many different famous settings in Vancouver? Private tours for two people are available, or you can join a group of even more people to see the red-cedar forest, the Rose Garden, the Lions Gate Bridge and some of the most iconic statues in the area.
  1. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – The first classical Chinese garden in Canada is a perfect place to find peace and romance when you walk through the covered walkways and pavilions. Enjoy a jade green pond filled with koi fish, miniature trees, and tai hu rock. Have a cup of traditional Chinese tea before you leave.
  1. Vancouver Art Gallery – Take in some culture while you’re on vacation at a world-renowned museum. If you’re into photography, you’ll find a huge collection of works from Ansel Adams, Cindy Sherman and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The gallery also has a collection of paintings by Emily Carr, who is known for a modernistic style influenced by the local indigenous peoples of B.C.
  1. Science World – This museum may be known as a place for children to explore the scientific world, but adults can enjoy the exhibits and see how science and art collides. The Geodesic dome is a beautiful piece of architecture that should be admired. The museum periodically hosts adult-only events. Check the calendar to find dates and plan your trip accordingly.
  1. Queen Elizabeth Park – Even if you’re not into floral displays and horticulture, Queen Elizabeth Park offers stunning views in a romantic setting where you and your partner can talk and connect. The park sits 152 meters above sea level and is the highest point in Vancouver. It features native and exotic trees and beautiful sculptures as well as recreational activities.
  1. BC Place – The stadium is the home of the Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions, but it also hosts many different special events throughout the year. The retractable roof is a technological wonder, and if you ever get a chance to see this venue, you should definitely take advantage of it.

Vancouver offers many styles of hotels, from the most modern with all the bells and whistles to classical bed and breakfasts outfitted in antique décor. If you enjoy shopping, you’ll find a plethora of different stores featuring local designers and artisans to find the perfect souvenirs of your trip. If you’re into sports, Vancouver has a full selection of summer and winter sports venues. Enjoy the ocean or the mountains, both in the same day should you choose. You can’t go wrong when you take a trip to Vancouver to see all it has to offer.

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Canadians with Religion Are More Likely to Lie for Money

money

At the University of Regina in Canada, a study has attempted to get some data about the tricky subject of people lying, especially where there is money to gain from the lie.  One result of the study seemed to indicate that more than half the subjects were willing to lie to get a direct financial gain.  The study was set up to let the subjects remain anonymous, and involved testing whether a person would give truthful information to another person in the test, knowing a lie would likely end up delivering more money to the person who told it.

The study split volunteers into teams of two, separated them, and set up a situation where two packages worth $5 and $7 in one version, or $5 and $15 in another version of the controlled study were to be divided between the two participants.  Person A knows the amounts in the delivery, and is directed to tell the other person which is the higher amount.  Person B gets to choose which to select (presumably the higher amount).  Person A had the opportunity to be dishonest, with anonymity, and with no other impact on the study, except that lying could be counted on to be likely to return a few extra bucks to that person.

The creator of the study then connected the willingness to lie in the study for greater gain to other individual traits, which had been noted at the outset, including major area of study (the subjects were all college students), and other categories, including religion, family background, age, and some economic indicators, including student debt.  The three largest indicators of willingness to lie in the study were religious identity (those that self-identified as more religious being more likely to use deceit for financial gain, although lying is classed as a sin in the main religions represented), being a child of a divorced couple, and being a business major.

The creators of the study seemed nonplussed by the last two indicators of higher levels of willingness to be deceitful, being familiar with prior studies that supported the notion that business majors as a class were ambitious and statistically more prone to value financial gain over moral values.  Perhaps it is true, as the creator of the study postulates, that a religion that distinguishes itself as the one true faith, as most major faiths teach, creates a condition in which there are those who are inside those particular parameters of righteousness and those who are not of the flock, and perhaps for some with this worldview, it is easier to cheat a little for some extra money, as against those who are not of the same faith, even if lying is a sin in the belief system.

But for those who respect all as children of the same universe, such as the Universal Life Church teaches, the idea of damaging or harming another individual to benefit oneself would be anathema and would conflict also with the principle of doing good in the world.  This may be closer to true religion, the notion that harming one causes harm to all.