My Blog

Here, I review articles from the NYT that relate to my field of study. I respond to the articles and give my opinion.

Chronic Loss in Faith

posted Mar 29, 2016, 12:35 AM by Lidia Guerrero

The article “The relationship between religion/spirituality and physical health, mental health, and pain in a chronic pain population” written by A. Elizabeth Rippentrop,, Elizabeth M. Altmaier , Joseph J. Chena , Ernest M. Founda, and Valerie J. Keffalaa claims patients with chronic pain are more likely to feel abandoned by God than other people . At first, the authors open with a claim that faith does not help chronic patients. In fact, they explain. these people are more susceptible to tragedies such as suicide.They then proceed to explain the experiment that supported their claim. Exactly 157 people with chronic pain from various backgrounds were asked to complete a survey. The authors reveal that of those, only 122 patients actually took if. They then explain the different backgrounds the patients who took the survey come from. These included gender, age, ethnicity, and religion among others. They came to the conclusion that patients with chronic pain feel abandoned by God and have more intense pain than people without chronic pain.

While this article does provide supporting evidence to back up their claim, their numbers are flawed which makes me question their results. Only 122 people ended up taking the survey. This is supposed to represent all people with chronic illness. Even if these people had different backgrounds, this still seems like too small of a sample pool to accurately represent all patients with chronic pain. Moreover, part of their claim is that religion does not help people with chronic pain. Yet, they claim that pain intensity is “positively correlated with negative religious coping” (Rippentrop 5). This seems as if people’s character traits and bad coping techniques are more to blame than religion itself.

Works Cited

Elizabeth Rippentrop, A., et al. "The Relationship Between Religion/Spirituality And Physical Health, Mental Health, And Pain In A Chronic Pain Population." Pain (03043959)116.3 (2005): 311-321. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

Prosecution of Neglect

posted Mar 27, 2016, 12:49 PM by Lidia Guerrero

New York Times writer Abraham Verghese argued that parents should be prosecuted for neglecting their children’s healthcare in his book review “‘Bad Faith’ by Paul A. Offit”. He opens his article by narrating the story of the Swan family. Rita and Doug Swan were both devout Christians who opted to see a Christian Practitioner when their 15-month-old son became ill.As their son grew more sick, the Christian Practicioner told them that their lack of faith worsened the situation. Eventually, the child was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with meningitis. Unfortunately, his condition was too advanced and the child died. The Swans were later rejected by their church when they tried to preach about health care neglect.Verghese then explained a probable cause for this neglect: since some of Jesus’ disciples resurrected people, some Christians believed that they could perform medical miracles as well. He states that unfortunately, the U.S has given leniency to parents who base their child’s health care solely on religion. He ends by relating his hope that someday experiences like the Swan’s will lead to prosecutions for negligent parents.

I totally agree with this article and it backs up my claim that child care is more important than freedom of religion, but it could use more evidence. It provides yet another example of a child dying tragically because of parental negligence. This article makes it clear that parents must be prosecuted for their actions, and it also explains why there are still cases of children dying because of religion in the United States. Still, the article has one downside; while the author does provide logos to back up his claim, we are unsure of what his sources are.

Works Cited

Verghese, Abraham. “‘Bad Faith,’ by Paul A. Offit.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 10 Apr. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 201

The Importance of Hope in Faith

posted Mar 27, 2016, 12:38 PM by Lidia Guerrero   [ updated Mar 28, 2016, 6:21 PM ]

Chapter nine of Spiritual Caregiving As Secular Sacrament : A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers written by pastor Ray Sherman Anderson explains the importance of hope for people who have been plagued by negativity. He presents his case by giving us an example of Alan, who suffered from a spinal cord injury during a motorcycle accident. Alan was left paralyzed and was inundated with suicidal thoughts. However, after being presented with the opportunity to renew his faith, he realized that his life was not over and he could still accomplish great deeds. Anderson then proceeds to illustrate that hope in Jesus is just as important as physical substinance by using the example of the prostitute Jesus talked to in  the book of John. He concludes the chapter by explaining that without hope, a person’s faith is weakened; hope is what drives a person’s religious faith.

While this book did not change my belief that children’s healthcare surpasses freedom of religion, it made me reanalyze the importance of religion for people.  For many of them, religion is their support. It makes any pain or illnesses they withstand bearable. While their faith may not cure them, it makes their sickness and healing process easier. Moreover, some people view their religion to be more important than their physical health; they are willing to die for their faith. Indeed, this is very honorable and I do believe that their wishes should be granted; however, in the case of children, their health care should be valued above all else.

Works Cited

Anderson, Ray Sherman. Spiritual Caregiving As Secular Sacrament: A Theology for Professional Caregivers. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Making a Spectacle Out of Poverty

posted Mar 11, 2016, 9:29 PM by Lidia Guerrero

Rafia Zakaria's article “Poverty as a Tourist Attraction”, published in The New York Times argues that “voluntarism”, the practice of volunteering in foreign, poor areas, makes a spectacle out of poverty instead of noticeably improving the lives of the destitute. She claims that western people who partake in this often objectify the people living in these communities and view them as a way to make themselves feel better. Zakaria states that these volunteers are fooled into thinking that they can “save” a needy town during a one-time stay. She holds that these actions “provoke a lucky-me gratitude”; they care more about the pride that comes with helping than actually helping (para. 2). She concludes by pointing out that, unlike voluntarism, many organizations have dignity, as their volunteers or donors do not need to meet the hapless in order to help.

While I agree to an extent that snapping selfies while volunteering can be seen as selfish, Zakaria assumes the worst in volunteers and fails to acknowledge the great help these volunteers provide. Certainly, taking pictures with destitute people can be seen as disrespectful, and it may appear that volunteers only help out of pride and to feel good about themselves. Still, I am of the opinion that feeling satisfaction out of helping someone is human nature; there is nothing wrong about being proud of providing aid to others. Zakaria is simply assuming that all volunteers are motivated because of self-serving reasons, which weakens her argument. Besides, no matter what the volunteers’ agendas are, they still get the work done. Isn’t it more selfish to limit the help hapless people get on the basis of volunteers’ motivation than to assist others to feel noble?

Works Cited

Zakaria, Rafia. “Poverty as a Tourist Attraction.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 01 May 2011. Web. 11 March 2016

Is Money Synonymous With Happiness?

posted Mar 4, 2016, 7:02 PM by Lidia Guerrero

In Bina Agarwal’s article “Happiness Is an Important Indicator of Societal Progress”, which was published in The New York Times, she talks about the importance of the government recording success both objectively and subjectively. She mentions several examples of measuring people’s well-being objectively, such as using GDP, life expectancy, health, and education. She then questions whether or not these are adequate methods to decide people’s quality of life.  Agarwal points out that more subjective factors such as happiness “capture an important dimension of well-being that is missed by objective measures” (para.6). Still, she admits that there are flaws to these methods since people have different opinions on what it means to be happy. She concludes by highlighting the importance of using both objective and subjective measures to discover people’s well-beings.

I fully agree with Agarwal’s concerns for both methods and she made me consider what well-being means. While using objective methods is the most practical and logical way to test out people’s well-being, it can also be inaccurate. While financial stability definitely plays a factor in people’s welfare as it provides with basic need, having money does not automatically ensure happiness. Moreover, even though knowing whether a person is happy would convey the nation’s success, Agarwal rightly points out the flaws; it can be biased and  definitely ambiguous to try to decipher something from an intangible, abstract concept. Also, Agarwal’s article made  me consider what prosperity really entails. Do people need money to be happy? Are happiness and welfare synonymous?

Works Cited

Agarwal, Bina. “Happiness Is an Important Indicator of Societal Progress.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 02 July 2015. Web. 04 March 2016

Should There Even Be A War At All?

posted Feb 26, 2016, 9:30 PM by Lidia Guerrero

In Christina Hoff Sommer’s article “Work With Boys- Not Against Their Nature” which was published in The New York Times, Sommers states that the education should accommodate to the needs of boys. She claims that boys “are now the have-nots in education” and that we should work to make classrooms a safer environment for them. Sommer argues that even though women advancements is something to be proud of, we should not ignore the fact that boys are being academically excluded from our schools, as they are for more likely to to feel isolated. She mentions that boys have scored lower in reading and writing exams than girls, and that this should be addressed. Then, she uses a boy in California who was discouraged from showing his creativity as an example to show that boys are being discouraged from partaking in their nature. She concludes by stating that we should “[work] with. not against, the young male imagination” (para. 7).

While I do agree with some points Sommer makes, she omits crucial information and underestimates the problems girls face in education. I do agree that boys should be encouraged to read more. Literature and English are seen as more feminine subjects which may discourage boys to improve their literacy skills. However, Sommer fails to mention that this same ordeal occurs to girls in Science and Math. They are discouraged to participate in these fields which are seen as more masculine. By Sommer only bringing up what she calls “junior high school football gap”, she underestimates issues girls face as well. This article makes me wonder whether it is really true that there is a war on boys or whether we should work on both genders being equally included.

Works Cited

Sommer, Christina Hoff. “Work With Boys- Not Against Their Nature.”  The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 21 December 2015. Web. 26 February 2016

The Real Terror In The U.S

posted Feb 19, 2016, 7:28 AM by Lidia Guerrero

In her article “Respond to Real Threats, Not to Fears of One Religion”, Faiza Patel argues that even though mass shootings have taken more lives than terrorism in the U.S, Americans still undermine the danger of white shooters and focus on demonizing Muslims instead.She starts off by stating that we have focused two wars due to terrorism, yet have failed to impose gun control. Patel claims that even though it is imperative to examine the motivation behind an attack, Americans still jump at labeling Muslims as terrorists even “on the slimmest basis” (par 3). She states that “ the way we describe violence as a matter of public discourse is crucial” and explains that while white shooters are labelled as mentally-ill, Muslims are painted as terrorists (par. 4).This, according to her, promotes racist stereotypes. Patel closes the article by asserting that threats should be classified by their seriousness instead of by the religion of the perpetuator.  

While I full-heartedly agree with Patel, she lacks the necessary evidence to back her claim. It is true that viewing all Muslims, even if they committed a crime that does not carry a political agenda, as terrorists involves racism, especially since white criminals are called mentally-ill even if their crimes are worse. Why does being white mean that you cannot be a terrorist? Still, Patel needs more evidence to fully prove her argument. For instance, she claims that “[mass] shootings take many more American lives than terrorism” (par. 1). While this is probably true, she should back up her claim by providing statistics. Despite this minor fault, Patel still made me ponder the way media uses connotation to twist our images of people.

Works Cited

Patel, Faiza. “Respond to Real Threats, Not to Fears of One Religion.”  The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 4 December 2015. Web. 19 February 2016

The Presidency and Fear Tactics

posted Feb 11, 2016, 11:39 PM by Lidia Guerrero

The article “Justifiable Fear of Terrorism Must Not Breed Intolerance”  written by John B. Bellinger III and published by The New York Times states that current presidential candidates should not jeopardize our nation’s freedom of speech or “[fuel] Islamic extremism abroad” (par. 5). Bellinger starts off with his own personal anecdote about being in Washington D.C during the 9/11 terrorist attacks; he had to be moved out of his office in fear of being attacked. He concedes to the fact that even though the U.S has more sophisticated ways of preventing a terrorist attack, terrorist groups such as ISIS are still a concern. Bellinger then proceeds to talk about certain political candidates who use these public fears to strike up xenophobia towards Muslim people. He claims that ostracizing Muslims only divides the nation and angers terrorist groups even more.

        While I agree with Bellinger’s article, I think that his connotation is ill-explained and that his ambiguity regarding presidential campaigns weakens his argument. While reading this article, I constantly found myself nodding along to his claims; it is morally wrong to want to kick out all Muslims from our country. Still, there are flaws to his argument. For instance, he constantly mentions “irrational” fear. and the audience is left to wonder if this fear really is irrational. Is there a justified reason for being afraid? Moreover, Bellinger’s omission of presidential candidate’s names weakens his claim because it appears he has no solid argument. I know he’s referring to Donald Trump; however, someone who is not caught up in politics might think that he keeps talking about “certain” candidates because he does not have any definite candidates to pin-point.

Works Cited

Bellinger, John B. “Justifiable Fear of Terrorism Must Not Breed Intolerance.The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 5 December 2015. Web. 12 February 2016.

Are Online Relationships Artificial?

posted Feb 5, 2016, 9:37 PM by Lidia Guerrero   [ updated Feb 11, 2016, 11:40 PM ]

         Sherry Turkle’s article “Face-to-Face Friendships Involve Real Emotions” states that face-to-face relationships, unlike online ones, require unedited relationships.  She explains that even though online relationships can  hurt and benefit us, they do not provide both the advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face relationships. To prove this, she continues explaining that online friendships are easier to “edit”; a person can choose to be who they want online and “edit” their flaws. Turkle argues that online relationships make emotions easier to express and in turn make face-to-face relationships riskier. She claims that this difficulty in expressing feelings “makes emotions into, well, emotions.” Turkle continues on explaining that having a face-to-face relationship “cultivates empathy” because you can assess their body language and actually have physical contact (par. 5). She concludes by stating that even though technology has its perks, we should appreciate life outside the screen.

         Even though I agree with Turkle when she mentions that technology affects people, she omits several benefits of online relationships, and I disagree with her underestimation of the effect of such relationships.  The internet has more emotional impact on people than Turkle explains. She omits the fact that many people have fallen in love online and then had lasting relationships. She also fails to mention that unfortunately, cyberbullying is a common occurrence that affects many young children today and has even led to suicide. These two examples prove that internet affects our emotions more than Turkle claims they do. Still, this article provided more insight for this argument. Turkle made me ponder upon the differences between online relationships and face to face relationships; unfortunately, it is true that we tend to “edit” ourselves online and therefore find face to face relationships riskier.

Works Cited

Turkle, Sherry. “Face-to-Face Friendships Involve Real Emotions.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 6 March 2015. Web. 5 February 2016.

The Battle Between Religious Freedom and Child Care

posted Jan 29, 2016, 4:46 PM by Lidia Guerrero   [ updated Jan 29, 2016, 8:25 PM ]

The article “Let Us Follow Our Beliefs in Caring for Children”, written by Sharon Slaton Howell  and published in The New York Times, argues that parents’ “religious beliefs must be accommodated in all cases no matter how serious” in regards to their personal health and their children’s health (par. 1). As a Christian Science practitioner, she believes in God’s healing powers over modern medical practices. Howell addresses the United States population by using freedom of religion to support her argument as well as personal examples. For instance, she says that her mother was only healed after turning her faith to Christianity. She ends the article with her own experience of being healed by a Christian partitioner when she had a terrible foot wound.

I agree that parents have full autonomy when it comes to making their own health decisions. However, when it comes their children, they should not endanger them by denying them modern medicine or by imposing dangerous religious practices. Even though Howell has examples that “prove” her argument, she fails to mention circumstances where religious freedom puts children at risk. For instance, parental refusal to vaccinate their children results in disease outbreaks (“Effect of Vaccine Exemptions”). This raises the question of whether accommodating the law to everyone's religious beliefs is worth endangering children. Moreover, Howell also overestimates the validity of her examples. She guarantees that her mother’s and her own healing was due to God, but I wonder whether this was actually a coincidence. While this article does provide me with better understanding of religious parents’ views, and I did question whether or not it is acceptable to rely on a supernatural being for a person’s health, I am not convinced. I still believe that parents’ religious freedom does not transcend their children’s health.

Works Cited

Howell, Sharon Slaton. “Let Us Follow Our Beliefs in Caring for Children.” The New York Times.  11 March 2015. Web. 29 January 2016.

Lee, Emily Oshima. “The Effect of Childhood Vaccine Exemptions on Disease Outbreaks.” Center for American Progress. 14 November 2013. Web. 29 January 2016.

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