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Lasik Eye Surgery & Calvinism
Yes, that is a strange combination for a topic but you'll see it ties together. On Friday October 8th, 2010 I had the Lasik (laser) eye surgery procedure done to correct my vision. I've only worn glasses for about 10 years but my eyes had reached a point where they weren't getting any worse and I decided now was the time to do this procedure and gain independence from glasses.
After investigating several companies that offer the procedure, I settled on one that offers a lifetime "touchup" policy, that will allow me to go back in for free if my eyesight were to ever worsen. I took my daughter with me to the consultation and the procedure because she has worn glasses since she was about 7 years old and I wanted her to consider her options in the next few years. (They typically will only do the procedure on 20+ year olds, as by then your prescription should be stable) My daughter was very fascinated by the entire thing, as she was able to watch everything on a big screen TV.
HOW IT'S DONE
First, several tests are done to ensure the person is a good candidate. If your vision is extremely poor, or if the lens of your eye is very thin, or if you have extremely chronic dry eye you may not qualify. They put you through a battery of tests including measuring your pupil (the smaller your pupil the better). All of this is done with special machines which all are painless. The week before, I had to be on a regiment of artificial tears eye drops just to prepare my eyes.
The day of the procedure, they offer you a valium to settle your nerves. After the drugs take effect, you are taken to the operating room where you lay on your back with your head slightly in a trivet. Numbing drops are put into your eyes along with artificial tears. The doctor uses something to prop open your eyes so you don't blink. From the earlier tests that were done, the laser is guided to slice little "U-shaped" cuts right over your pupil (called "flaps"). These flaps will act as natural contacts which are shaped like your prescription. The entire procedure took less than 10 minutes and was virtually painless, and actually the most discomfort was the propping open of my eyes.
Immediately after the procedure you are able to go home. They give you another valium and suggest you go home and sleep so that you can forego any pain as the numbing drops wear off. Later that day, I could already see at least almost as well as I could with my glasses. Supposedly it will only get better until I have perfect 20/20 vision. I will need to continue to use drops for the next week or so to fight infection and keep my eyes lubricated. Also, at night I wear futuristic goggles that keep me from accidently rubbing my eyes.
RESTRICTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Now how this all ties into religion or specifically Calvinism. First, for those who may not know, Calvinism is simply a fancy theological word that means the person believes God is in control of everything. God has planned everything.
A man at my work (a nominal Roman Catholic) brought up that Muslims have an almost anti-science mentality when they will say things happen simply because "Allah wills it". Especially how once he asked a Muslim about the "law of gravity" and the Muslim simply responded, it works because "Allah wills it". My workmate also referenced Calvinists who he thinks have the same anti-science mentality. My being a Calvinistic Christian explained that while we give credit to God for planning everything, that doesn't mean we humans can't determine the process of things. A person need not be master watchmaker to see that a watch operates from a series of gears, tension springs, or even vibrating crystals. Calvinism is decidedly not anti-science. As a matter of fact, many great universities were started by Calvinists -- such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale (source) So, it is clear that while Calvinists ultimately give God credit for everything, we still acknowledge that we can understand processes how things work.
And lastly, the idea that since Calvinists believe God has pre-planned everything, including who will be "saved" that somehow Calvinists don't "evangelize/attempt to convert" people is false. Calvinists have been the most evangelical branch of Christianity. Historically, America was originally a predominately Calvinistic country. The first English/Dutch settlers brought with them, the Geneva Bible which was put together by the Calvinists and had great impact on the principles of America.
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