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Rated: E · Article · Cultural · #2070189
Does Cancer Kill More People Than Cancer
Russian Roulette

Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.
Hunter S.Thompson

Einstein once famously said that nobody can win at a roulette table unless they steal the money from the table. The reason unfortunately being that it is a game we can neither control nor predict. I recently happened upon a statement which read as the following ‘Religion kills more people than cancer.’ I think most would agree that this is a powerful statement and after reading these words I was transported to Einstein’s roulette table. My thoughts were ‘If I were to place a bet on how I will meet death, will it be religion or cancer that steals away my last breath.’ I am certain that I can’t defeat or hide from this event, but - where will I place my chips? Will I place them on the red (religion) or will I throw them to the black (cancer)? Whichever colour I elect, Einstein was correct: I can’t win!

Cancer is the beast that holds the knife to the throats of our cousins, it is the monster that assassinates our grandparents, and it is the gargoyle that kidnaps our children. Wherever we hide and shelter, it will find us! It will drop us into the Colosseum and watch with delight as we are dragged and ripped apart, and with the ‘pollice verso’ we are swiftly handed our eviction order. Worldwide, 20,000 people are evicted every day. In 2016 7.6 million people will be taken by cancer. Are your chips edging towards black yet?

Wait! Should our chips be making a u-turn towards red (religion), maybe we can make this bet with very little anxiety. With the above statement (Religion kills more people than cancer) we have a quandary: It isn’t a quote. We have here a sound-byte, and we are all a sucker for a sound-byte, they are quick, snappy and are easy to remember. As we watch any debate or we watch our politicians in battle we hear how often this bayonet is used to sharpen their words.

‘Religion doesn’t kill,’ we can say these words to the supporters of the above statement until our faces change colour through the full spectrum of the rainbow, but predictably we will be given the same answer, ‘Ah, no! Religion doesn’t kill, but - people kill in the name of religion.’ When we hear somebody utter these words I usually ask them to repeat them again but a major fifth higher, at least this way we will have at least a little melody to these tired words. From the major fifth we are then usually taken through to the relative minor, ‘Religion is the opium of the people.’ Again, another sound-byte but this time words stolen from Marx. Marx was a giant of socialism but I urge anyone who takes refuge with these words to familiarise themselves with the biography of Marx, listening very carefully to the woes of his wife, his children and neighbours. Marx really doesn’t help with your moral argument!

Of course, throughout history violent times have passed with many of these impious actions happening under the ‘veneer’ of religion. A much more interesting statement would read ‘Atheism kills more people than religion.’ Now at last we can discuss the First World War, the Second World War, the many socialist and communist regimes of the world. It is worth remembering that Stalin alone killed more than 20 million people. Terrible isn’t it? Millions of innocents killed in the name of atheism- if only their leaders had had some ‘faith’just imagine how different their biographies would read. But with a sigh, we know this not to be true. Atheism doesn’t signify life; Religion doesn’t represent death.

Religion isn’t planning a take-over bid on cancer - we won’t read in the Financial Times tomorrow that cancer has gone into liquidation. Religion can’t match the 20,000 lives a day that cancer has notched up.

Ok, the croupier is tapping her fingers now, I have to place my bet.

Wish me luck!

Paul White
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