Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the god of health

I listened to an interesting radio show today where they guy talked about how we worship the god of health. He made several interesting points, talking about how what they are doing today reminded him of old U.S.S.R techniques. The zealots today are erasing cigarettes from all images, including famous photos and cartoons. Now he wasn't pro smoking by any means. That wasn't his point. The point had more to do with how we're being indoctrinated. How easy it is to move people in whatever direction you wish them to go using these techniques. And he's right.

As I listened I couldn't help but see how this relates to those of us who have invisible illnesses. Yes, indeed. Our society does worship a god of health, that god not to be confused with our God who is The Healer and the God of Life. There's a huge difference!

This cultural god of health causes us to view health as something to be worshipped and coveted. It causes us to point fingers at those who are overweight, still smoke, don't jog, and worse, to somehow assume that someone is to blame for any health problem, often their parents be it due to environment and habits or genes or the sick person himself. Those who worship the god of health believe that it is for the good of all society that those with 'defective genes' don't have babies, even when it's after the fact (after conception). We call it 'irresponsible' or 'a tragedy (that could have been avoided)'. They also believe that it is compassionate to shorten the life of someone who's health brings troubles...

We all sure wish to be totally healthy. And those of us who have MCS surely know how important it is that our environment be free from toxic chemicals and pollution. I'm not arguing that at all! [that is a subject for another post]. What I'd like you to ponder for a moment is how this focus on health, from jogging to dieting, gene manipulation to 'magic bullets', has caused us to be a society that almost views sickness as a choice. Some even go so far as to believe that it all begins in your head - what you think/ believe causes your body to be ill. Mind over body stuff. It's surprising how far that has crept into every day thinking be it ever so subtly that even we, ourselves, have been duped at times.

None of this is to negate personal responsibility for practical care for you body. Eatting nutritiously, exercising if/when possible, sleeping enough etc. Certainly we need to do that. From a Christian standpoint that relates to taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, our bodies, which we should do. The main focus for Christians, however, is on the Lord. Health is a blessing. Sickness is the bi-product of living in a fallen world. [a bit simplified but...]

The connection is how our views on health have been warped by subtle brain feeding. We adore Adonis and loathe The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's about how we can go so far as to rewrite history by airbrushing the cigar from Churchill's hand and some old cartoon while at the same time shrug off alcohol, behavior that leads to STD's or over indulging in pizza, coke and eclairs. It's about looking back and watching the grand march down this anti-smoking campaign path and seeing not only how quickly and entirely we were convinced but to what extents we will go to remove it from human history. Question is what else did they cause us to believe along the way?

Once upon a time the weak and frail, the disabled and those who were ill were seen through compassionate eyes and with a soul that said "there but by the grace of God go I". We didn't see health solely as something one deserved or wasn't worthy of. We didn't point fingers at someone who got Scarlet Fever or Spanish Flu. We had compassion for them and felt it was community's virtue to assist them in any way we could. We didn't look at them in disgust and loathing. We surely didn't believe they brought it on themselves somehow nor 'thought themselves unwell'.

It seems that today unless one can identify a particular germ as culprit these new illnesses don't exist -----

or worse--- somehow you just want to be ill....


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