Topic: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

I've had several heated discussions with my family about this over the last several months and wanted to get some feedback from other CC patients on it as well.  First, I am a faithful believer in Jesus Christ and attend Church just about every week.  I participate in Bible Studies and small groups, etc. and consider my knowledge of Scripture to be average.  Second, I am a science fanatic and firm believer in the Scientific method.

So - the problem begins when someone tells me that they just "know" that God is going to cure me and I'll be just fine.  This happens frequently with some of my older friends and family.  They get frustrated when I talk about the scientific side of how CC is and tell me that I need to have more faith.  WELL - the truth is that I do believe that God is capable of healing me through a miracle, but He certainly hasn't spoken to me and promised this to me.  Healing miracles are not as common now as they were in the days of Scripture from what I can determine.  However, the Scientific Method will tell us that with stage IV CC, very very few people survive past 3 years and virtually noone past 5.

I believe that God is certainly more powerful than the Scientific Method and can perform miracles at any time when He chooses to for His plan.  But it is silly to believe that He is specifically going to heal me.  I accept and fully believe He is capable - and I ask/plead/pray that He will, but the belief that He WILL/without doubt cure my cancer if I have strong enough faith is just not acceptable to me.  It simply may not be in His plan for me.  And it really, really bothers me when someone tells me that I will be healed but only if I have strong enough faith that God will perform a miracle for me.

I also believe that God gives us the Scientific method so that we can use it make advances in medicine, technology, and quality of life - and I think God uses science to perform some of His miracles.  It is a very powerful gift, but clearly there are situations that the SM is proven wrong by one of God's miracles.  Overall, though, it is a good guide for us to use.  For example, science tells me that I need to work on getting my ducks in a row for my family and to prepare for the road ahead.  Science tells me that chemotherapy will probably extend my life, and I want that.  Science tells me why I feel the way that I fell and I like to know why I feel rotten or run down so it can be treated.  Science is a great thing!!

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense and I know that I have rambled on, but I wanted to get some feedback from other patients.  What are your thoughts on this?  Are any of you in the same boat?  Do you throw science out the window and replace it entirely by faith?  Do you keep science as a good guide and then leave room for God to intervene if it is His plan?  Or, do you throw faith out the window and rely on science?

This might be a heated discussion here as well, so lets all please not make this personal.  I think it will be helpful to myself and possibly others to have a discussion about it.  Not everyone's beliefs will be the same, but perhaps someone has an angle that will make more sense to someone else.

God bless you all in your journey's.  And may the advances in Science treat you well in your battles!

Ulcerative Colitis 1990, Stage 0 colon cancer and subsequent colectomy with J-pouch in 7/2005, PSC 7/2005, Klatsin CCA 8/2009

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

I wanted to post one after thought.  It is ironic to say this to the folks that I have disagreements with on the topic, but I do believe that God is healing me through some recent good news I have had.  I believe He is using science (chemotherapy!) to do it.

Rick

Ulcerative Colitis 1990, Stage 0 colon cancer and subsequent colectomy with J-pouch in 7/2005, PSC 7/2005, Klatsin CCA 8/2009

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick, not a boring question! Teddy is Catholic I am not but am beginning to wonder myself. Before his humongous surgery, he prayed for God to come through the surgeons hands. When he survived the Whipple he told God he would go to Mass daily. And he has. You can see all the stuff he went through on "Lainy" so I won't go in to that but now he has 2 small tumors one near the liver the other near a kidney. They are shrinking for no reason at all!! We will know more after the PET next month. When he meets a new doctor socially, lets say, the doc just shakes his head and says, you shouldn't even be here. How do you do it? Which is why he got the name Miracle Man. Bottom line, we prefer to believe its some of God and some of Science.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick
Richard Dawkins may not agree but I like the way you rationalise science and religion - it works well together.  As for me, God (or Nature) drives us forward to find a cure and this community is making such a big contribution.

Gerry

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick,

I'm not a patient but was the caregiver for my Mom.  I am in the medical profession (a cytologist) and along with my Pathologist diagnosed my Mom with CC.  I wrestled with the same questions you do.  I am a believer in God and in having faith and have witnessed what I can only call miracles in my journey with this disease and my profession.

I questioned my faith, God AND medicine during my Mom's illness.  From a medical point of view the moment I saw my Mom's slide under my microscope I knew what we were going to experience.  The worst thing about being in the medical field is that we know far more than we need to. 

I feel like I walked a fine line in sharing medical knowledge, procedures and prognosis with my Mom and Dad while always being careful not to take away hope or waver in my faith. My emotions ran the gamut of being furious at God, mad at science to a stronger faith and finally acceptance that God truly has a plan for all of us and that faith means just that.  That sometimes you just have to accept on faith that God has a plan. I do believe God has a plan for our lives. 
I believe that God uses us as instruments in his plan.  I believe God uses science as a tool as well.  I believe we cannot know the mind of God.  I also believe that God gives us the gift of choice and the ability to make decisions.  I believe that God expects us to use the minds he gave us.

Your summation on your faith, science and belief is what I wholeheartedly believe.
I remember being ready to scream at times when truly well meaning people told me to just have enough faith and that everything would be fine.  (I grew to

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Pam, I just want to step in here and tell you how much I love your e-mails. No matter the situation or what is going on in my life I always feel so good after I read your posts! You always make sense to me.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick,
   I agree with you. To say that you WILL be healed if you only have enough faith is to imply that YOU have failed if it goes badly! It's sort of like a "blame the victim" thing! All through my husband's illness we prayed/pleaded/begged each and every day for God to intervene and make him better. My Husband believed that faith alone would do that for him, I had my private doubts. Now that he has gone, whose fault is it that God didn't save him from dying? Mine, his, or - God's? Well, the answer is, it is none of our "fault" - God simply had a different plan for Butch, and I have accepted that. I have gone through my "crisis of faith", and come out the other side realizing that we truly can't know the mind of God, but he does love each one of us, and the plan he has for each and every one will unfold as time goes on.

Joyce C.

9 (edited by Darla Tue, 16 Feb 2010 12:02:35)

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Joyce,
That was very well said.  I share your feelings & beliefs.
 
Marion,
Yes, the answers are in our hearts.

Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

I struggle with the same questions. I think I have faith, but not nearly as much as many around me. I dont know the ultimate plan or even my part in it. I am not very religious, but very spiritual. It is a difficult question.

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick,

I'm a Christian by faith and I believe God will totally heal me.  The thing is, I may not get that total healing until I pass on from this earth; but it will come. 

Kathy

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick,
I just came across your posting and had to add my two cents worth.  I apologize in advance for it being so long.

When my Linda was diagnosed with CC on Jan. 1, 2006 at the age of 62 and a lifetime of unbelievable health, I was not a believer in God.  I was a believer in science, having worked in fields where we used it every day.  But I was a skeptic about religion due to the pain and suffering that exists every day all over this world plus the hypocrisy that I saw so often.

This website did not exist then so I posted for help using my daughter's computer on a site operated by Johns Hopkins.  I got the usual answers and not many specifics.  I took Linda to a national major medical center but the results were the same.  She had elected for us to drive the long trip as we often did on vacations.  On the very first night starting home after the bad news, our daughter called and said a lady had emailed her and wanted to talk to us.  I told my daughter to give her the phone number for our motel and waited for a call.  The next morning the young woman called us and told us her father had been fighting CC for 2 1/2 years and that she had been on the internet all that time exchanging information with others.  She said she had NEVER telephoned anyone with CC during that time, BUT THAT SOME OVERWHELMING FEELING TOLD HER SHE MUST CALL US.  She led us to an oncologist in Dallas who proposed giving Linda Gemzar and Oxaliplatin -- not the standard protocol at that time - and who gave us some hope for the first time.  Knowing that we were in Dallas for that appointment, the young woman's family invited us to their home where her father talked with Linda about his experiences and what she could expect fighting CC.  When I met this young woman and her family, I knew she had not exaggerated about never having called anyone.  They were a very religious family and even with all my disbelief, I knew that the Hand of God had moved through her! 

Because of other complications Linda's treatment was delayed and was all performed near our home under the protocols passed to our oncologist by the doctor in Dallas.  Even though Oxaliplatin was not approved by the FDA for CC treatment, our doctor got it approved through our insurance and for eight months the treatment worked beautifully with almost zero side effects!
It was if a grand plan had been put into effect from somewhere  -- and I truly believe it was!  After studying the Bible and other books, we were Baptized in March 2007 and I truly became a believer in God. 

Needless to say, we both prayed for Linda's healing over and over, firmly believing as you said, that God can work a miracle if it is in His plan.  I still believe that with all my heart and being.

The chemo eventually quit shrinking the tumors, they began to grow again and we were unable to stop them.  I lost my teenage sweetheart and my teenage bride after almost 49 years of an unbelievable love and marriage in Nov. 2007.  HOWEVER,  FROM THE TIME OF HER DIAGNOSIS SHE WAS GIVEN A TOTAL OF 1 1/2 YEARS OF WONDERFUL LIFE IN WHICH YOU COULDN'T TELL SHE WAS EVEN SICK before she slowly weakened from the next chemo and was taken from me 5 months later.  I FIRMLY BELIEVE GOD GAVE US THAT TIME AND DID IT THE WAY HE DID IN ORDER TO BRING ME TO HIM.

Why was His plan what it was?  I do not know and feel I can't know because I do not have His knowledge or overview of this world and universe.  BUT I FIRMLY DISAGREE WITH ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THE ONLY OBSTACLE TO GOD'S HEALING SOMEONE IS THEIR LACK OF FAITH.  As Linda and I left our house for the last time together  -- not knowing it would be the last time -- I broke down crying and told her I did not know what I would do without her.  She was still strong enough to walk with my help and she stepped forward and hugged me and said "You are not going to be without me!  HAVE FAITH!"  Her faith was so unbelievably strong!

So, to sum up, I firmly believe as you do.  We must have science and the progress in medical treatments it brings for so many of us.  There will be miraculous healing in some cases.  How and why does He select which cases those will be?  I don't know.  Maybe He took my Linda because He needed another Angel in Heaven.  And He obviously left me here to do more work.  That's one reason I am an Advocate for CC.

Re: Faith vs. Science - please keep it tame and respectful.

Rick, just wanted to chime in here also!

My spiritual journey is at about the level you describe.  One thing I have to always remember though, is that God created EVERYTHING.  That includes science.  I believe the good things in this world were put there by God for us to use to our benefit.  He guides those surgeons and medical professionals, but still leaves us with free choice.   Yes, God has a plan for all of us, even though we may not know what that is.  We can have faith that God's will be done (and hope that it is favorable to us while we're here!). 

I've wrestled with the "why would God.....and then do this" attitude.  Why would God give me such a beautiful son at my age (48 years old - through fertility treatments), only to take his mother away from him at such a young age.  God didn't make a mistake.  There is a reason for all of this, we just don't know it right now.  What I CAN do is have faith in God that He will guide the doctors to use their science to perform miracles.  They do happen!

Linda

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain."