Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Take Two Dilutions of Lady Ga Ga and Call Me In the Morning.


Oh, boy.

Germany’s Union of Catholic Physicians offers a “treatment” for homosexuality.  And it’s homeopathic.  Who’s surprised?  Treat a nonexistent ailment with a nonexistent cure.  When you look at it that way, it almost makes sense.

No, wait.  No it doesn’t.  Nothing about it makes sense to any person who hasn’t entirely switched off his brain.


The religious association, which calls itself the “voice of the Catholic medical community,” writes on its website that while “homosexuality is not an illness,” a host of treatments are available to keep such “inclinations” at bay. Possibilities include “constitutional treatments with homeopathic tools … such as homeopathic dilutions like Platinum,” “psychotherapy,” and “religious counseling.” Among homeopathy’s controversial treatments are the prescription of “Globuli,” tiny pills that consisting mostly of sugar.


Mostly of sugar?  Spoiler alert: the rest of the pill contains MAGIC.  Did you catch that bit about homeopathic dilutions?  If you’re reading this article you’re probably an atheist, and therefore likely to be a skeptic, and if you’re a skeptic, you’ve likely seen this brilliant video, in which James Randi, at a 2001 lecture at Princeton, explains exactly what homeopathy is.  I strongly suggest you watch it if you haven’t already.  Randi, as ever, is far more eloquent than I, and he says all I could ever hope to say about why homeopathy in general is stupid.

Beyond that, though, and now that Randi has given you a solid grounding in the “principles” of homeopathy, can we all just take a moment to ask, why platinum?  If the basic idea behind homeopathy is that “like cures like,” or, in other words, ingest a dilution of what made you ill in the first place and you’ll be cured, is the Union of Catholic Physicians really asserting that platinum metal makes a person homosexual?  Huh?  Why?  How?  If that were true, wouldn’t most of the heterosexual couples who have platinum wedding rings be divorcing because they’ve mysteriously turned gay?  Or maybe only their left fourth fingers have turned gay.  Is there a double-blind study that can test for the sexual orientation of one afflicted digit?

I just have a hard time believing that anybody could assert that platinum causes gayness.  What evidence could there possibly be for…oh.  Never mind.  (Sir Elton, in case you’re wondering, is in that collage because he has like a million platinum records…so obviously that must make him supergay.)

Okay, I kid.  Let me restore my Serious Hat to its former stern angle, and continue with the article.

Lest you think it’s only German Catholics who are idiots, never fear: the Protestants are gamely on the Papists’ heels.

Though Germany’s Protestants tend to take a more liberal approach to homosexuality, conservative members of the church also continue to raise opposition to gay-friendly policies. In 2009 some 30 pastors from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia wrote an open letter to condemn statements made by the church’s state president Alfred Buss. “The practice of homosexuality is not consistent with God’s creation,” said the letter to online news portal Der Westen. Those who discredit therapy for homosexuality deny people “who suffer from homosexual feelings the help to change,” the letter continued.

Suffer from homosexual feelings?  It seems obvious to me that the people who are suffering aren’t suffering because of their sexual orientation.  They’re suffering because they live in a world of bigots who will only accept and love them if they behave and think and feel in ways that are consistent with the whims of an imaginary, illogical, and cruel God.

And you purport, UCP, to treat them with magic pills full of platinum vibrations.  I don’t think I actually need to point out to you, dear reader, how ridiculous this assertion is.  You have enough functional brain cells to have turned on your computer and navigated to this page; you are intelligent enough to see why homeopathy is for morons.  If you believe that a homeopathic remedy can cure anything – if you believe water has a memory and that its memory gets better the further removed it is from a substance that was once dissolved in it – then perhaps you would be interested in purchasing a bottle of Doctor Libbie’s Frontier Physicking Concoction.  It contains pixie dust and unicorn giggles, and is guaranteed to cure you of all your ills.

I am outraged at the studious dumbness of the UCP, but I do wish this article had taken the time to point out how totally absurd and pathetic homeopathy is.  Most people see that “home” prefix and assume it means “home remedy,” or, in other words, “natural/herbal medicine.”  (Which is still a stupid way to treat an ailment, in my opinion, but I’ll restrict myself here to homeopathy.)  Most people have no idea what homeopathy really is.  Most people will, alas, never watch James Randi’s brilliant lecture.  Wouldn’t such an absurd circumstance as this article presents, with a union of goofball magic-believing Catholic doctors nattering about how they can cure The Gay, be the perfect time to teach Joe Average what other hilariously stupid magical thinking lurks in the world?  You know, aside from the idea that sexual orientation is a sickness?

Why do these fools still claim it’s a person’s sexual orientation that causes gays and lesbians to feel distress to the point of “psychological emergency”?  Seems pretty obvious to me that it’s religion causing these feelings, not orientation.  The religion of the person suffering, but also the religion of the people around him or her.  If nobody was insisting that a vengeful peeping-tom God saw all your thoughts and really cared about where you stuck your bratwurst, would these poor individuals feel such fear and sadness?

Yet somehow atheism is never presented as a treatment for their psychological emergency.

What if somebody did extend that option?  What if atheism was part of the usual panel of possible treatments for people suffering from religious anxiety?

It’s never likely to happen, I know.  At least not in my lifetime.  But maybe those of us without medical licenses can still have some influence.  After all, thousands of homeopathy “practitioners” are treating diseases in America with their magic water drops, and most of them are unlicensed to practice medicine.   (The rest should have their licenses revoked, in my opinion, but that, too, I will save for another article.)

So here it is, people.  Here’s Doctor Libbie’s Bracing Nostrum for Religious Anxieties and All Manner of Cognitive Dissonances:

Listen.  What if God’s not real?  What if none of us are part of a divine plan, but instead, part of something far more complex and beautiful — a natural plan that writes itself as it unfolds, that binds and unbinds itself in an intricate and ever-changing lacework?  What if everything about you – your hair color, your height, your sexuality, your senses – is a unique and beautiful variation on a theme that is endlessly self-composing?  Every one of your precious individual traits is a note in a chord, and every chord sings together in a harmony more delicate and singular than any psalm in any holy book.  In a world without God you are not a mistake.  You are not an accident.  You are not chance.  And you are not wrong.  You are variation; you are all the potential futures in an elegant double twist of glowing platinum threads, rewritten and rewritten and rewritten in every cell of your body.  You are beyond worth, because there is nothing else like you.

You are exactly what nature needs you to be.


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Homo-homeopathy. I can’t stop saying it.

David Tyler

Let me see an imaginary treatment for a non-disease mandated by an invisible non-exiitent being. Yup – makes perfect sense to me.

Moe Bacon

I am from Germany and I didn’t hear from this before. It wasn’t even in the news, as far as I am aware of. Maybe it’s because I am not living in the Catholic part. They seem to bee even more crazy than the Christians over here. (Of course I mean only the ones who are doing stuff like this. Most Christians only go to church on Christmas Eve or for important events. These tend to believe almost nothing from the Bible).
I must keep my eyes even more open from now on to fight the BS.

Henry (from San Jose)

There’s an entirely difference substance that would make more sense as an additive to a purported homeopathic homosexuality cure, and it’s not metallic. 😉

The really odd thing about the phrase “suffer from homosexual feelings” is that it’s people who use phrases like that who cause the suffering in the first place. This is yet another way in which religion invents problems and then taxes society to pay for the solution.

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