A report on ABC News the other night noted the work of two doctors and their teams in fixing cataracts throughout the world. Called the Himalayan Cataract Project, this medical team has been featured in many other print, radio and TV media.
To date, principle doctors Drs. Geoffrey Tabin of Utah and Sanduk Ruit of Nepal and their teams have corrected over 500,000 cataracts and continue on their worldwide mission of helping those in underdeveloped countries.
When ABC followed them they were in Ethiopia, where people had already traveled for days to reach the temporary clinic in anticipation of being helped. Since starting the project in 1994, they have done their sight saving work in Ethiopia, Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan, India, Sikkim, Pakistan, Uganda, Ghana and other areas.
The simple operation and procedures that they have developed costs $11.00 for a plastic cataract lens and perhaps another $15.00 for the time of the seven-minute-long operation. The simple procedure involves light anesthesia, a slit in the eye to remove the clouded defective natural lens and a few minutes to insert a new plastic lens that corrects and allows for sight.
While continuing to do this work, they are also training other doctors to extend the program and also setting up procedures for financial responsibility and continuation of the project.
As an example, some (about one-third) of the patients who can afford it pay up to $100.00 for the complete operation, while about twenty percent pay a smaller amount based on their ability. The remaining patients receive the entire operation for free.
This effort has been so successful that a new book on the entire project is now available, (June 2013) on the work of Drs. Tabin and Ruit. The book title is Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives (Random House).
Their work and efforts can be found in many sites on the Internet and in 2009 the National Geographic Society in their National Geographic Adventure magazine publicized their work.
The interesting thing from my viewpoint as a religious skeptic is that this would be such an easy operation fix for God to do in his spare time. Maybe people should pray for a cure.
After all, if God could make all of the billions of planets, stars, black holes, red dwarfs, rogue plants, asteroids, comets and such in a week and not even breath heavily, don’t you think that he could have taken a few minutes and cured everyone of this simple but debilitating problem?
Is it that hard, compared to making a universe? Or, did God want people in undeveloped parts of the world to become blind and stay blind? That sounds nasty and more like the work of a Devil than the wishes of a God. But who knows?
I guess that we have to take it on faith that God has bigger, better more time-consuming plans that are keeping him busy right now.
But wait a minute – how did faith get into this equation? Maybe God can’t do this. Should we question everything that God supposedly does or does not do?
I think that we have to take from all this a few simple conclusions. Faith does not work. Science works. Prayer does not work. Proven modern medicine works. Maybe – maybe - God is a fake.