Faith Hospital

The Atheist Ethicist had a great posting the other day.

To sum it up: If you were sick, where would you rather go? A hospital based that relied solely on Science? Or one that relied solely on Faith?

The question may be irrelevant. I’d assume even the most religious of people would opt for Science Hospital, even though they’d pray while there. But maybe I’m wrong on that.

However, the question does underscore how important Science and the Scientific Method are. We wouldn’t want to be in a world without it, and yet you see so many fundamental religious people demonizing the whole practice in general.

Regardless of where you stand on faith, let’s admit that Science is essential and we’d be lost without it.

(via Atheist Revolution)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian, religion, Science, scientific method[/tags]

  • Rick

    Your key word there is “fundamental”. Take the age of the earth for example. Many hard-line fundamentalists firmly hold on to the view that the earth is only about 6,000 years old because they take the Bible so literally. Yet, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. Does the Bible contradict science? Not in my opinion, although sometimes people’s unwillingness to look at the Bible through the eyes of science does.

    And by the way, I would hope that there are no hospitals out there that rely solely on either faith OR science.

  • Mike C

    I totally agree with you about science… however, I don’t know why this dichotomy between faith and science has to be set up in the first place. I know that some religious people create that dichotomy and perhaps you’re just responding to that; but frankly, those religious people are wrong to think that faith and science are incompatible, and non-religious people who accept that false dichotomy aren’t helping things either. Why give aid and comfort to the fundamentalists by agreeing with their either/or, black or white view of reality?

  • txatheist

    Mike C,
    This may be a long answer but in my view it’s best to keep them seperate. Why should we merge religion with science or try to get them to compliment one another in some form? Why not call science our ability to understand nature and religion our ability to find theological answers to life? Your view please.

  • Siamang

    Rick wrote:

    And by the way, I would hope that there are no hospitals out there that rely solely on either faith OR science.

    Yes, but assuming that there were… which would you choose?

    Mike C wrote:

    and non-religious people who accept that false dichotomy aren’t helping things either.

    Mike, I really get the impression that you represent a minority view among Christians.

    But I think the more salient point that the AE was making regards my central problem with faith: “by which method do we discern a true theological statement from a false one?”.

    Since I’ve never had a satisfactory answer to this, which I believe to be the most central flaw of all religion, I think it should be the spotlight.

    Religion Hospital vs Science Hospital are merely applications by which this central flaw can be examined.

    Other possible applications that enlighten this flaw would be Religion Financial Planning vs Science Financial planning. Religious agriculture vs Scientific agriculture. Theocratic government vs technocratic government.

    But the central flaw remains, unless someone has any enlightenment at all about my question.

  • vjack

    That Christians choose medicine over prayer tells me that they know that their god is unlikely to help them.

  • Rick

    Siamang–It’s a moot point. I don’t see any “Atheistic hospitals” out there, and I am certainly not going to give any TV “faith healers” a chance. Faith and science are not mutually exclusive.

  • Aimee

    All I have to say is that I hope I never end up in a Cathtolic hospital if I should ever be raped. Even under those circumstances, any female can throw their hopes out the window of getting any real help. They won’t give the morning after pill out, because “It’s God’s will”. So there are definately hospitals out there that practice heavily based on religion. I’ll take a county hospital any day.

  • Siamang

    Siamang–It’s a moot point. I don’t see any “Atheistic hospitals” out there, and I am certainly not going to give any TV “faith healers” a chance.

    It’s a fer-instance. It’s a thought experiment. As Phillip Pullman has said (referencing religion), think of it like an imaginary number… technically not real, but with it you can calculate very useful things.

    IF… and it’s an if… IF there were, what would you do?

    The question is quite easy for me to answer.

    If you don’t like the question, let me try a different one:

    Would you ever trust any truely important aspect of your life or health to SOLELY material solutions or SOLELY prayer?

    For example, e-coli bacteria can be deadly to me and my family, if we get the wrong strain of it. So I run a life and death peril each time I cook a hamburger. I do not fear, I merely trust in the scientific data that tells me that properly prepared meat will not kill us, because e-coli cannot survive in meat that has been cooked to 160 degrees.

    So I cook the meat, without fear and without prayer. No amount of prayer will convince me to eat raw hamburger.

    But I have been present at many dinner tables where a person saying grace has specifically requested that God make sure that the food is free of things that would be harmful to our bodies. This seems strange to me, since God supposedly made bacteria too, and they outnumber us zillions to one. What side is He on anyway?

    Faith and science are not mutually exclusive.

    Tapdancing and meterology aren’t mutually exclusive either. But both science AND religion make various physical health-related promises, so it is quite enlightening to discuss the effacacy and practice of those. Every hospital I’ve been to has a chapel somewhere in it. It is an expected part of the medical process. I think it’s good to wonder every now and again why.

  • Siamang

    I forgot a big point…

    Jesus. Everywhere Jesus walked, he healed people. He brought sight to the blind, he healed the deaf, he made the lame to walk, he cured leprocy….

    And he did these acts as examples of his effectiveness. These were his deeds which displayed for all the world that people should listen to what he had to say.

    The Bible itself trots out faith healing and medical stories as evidence of Jesus’ truths.

    Aren’t we allowed to LOOK at the ability to heal as testimony anymore? When it was only Jesus who could supposedly heal a leper, and then only a few at a time, well, that was amazing, even if it was unverifyable and really probably just a legend. But now science has the ability to heal all lepers using antibiotics. Isn’t that a miracle millions of times greater than Jesus’?

    I read someone who wrote “The ancients said ‘faith can move mountains’ and nobody believed it. Today a scientist says ‘technology can move a mountain’ and nobody doubts it.”

    I think it’s time to call it like we see it. Jesus was a wandering faith healer, and since his time there have always been his followers who make similar or identical or even more grandiose claims in His holy name.

    It’s time to say “stop the snake oil, or prove your health claims.”

    It’s also time to say, two thousand years later, that people like Pasteur, Fleming and Salk put Jesus’ medical roadshow to shame.

  • txatheist

    Aren’t county hospitals secular? I realize that isn’t atheistic but that’s as close as I can think of.

  • Rokstenha

    So many opinions are just that – opinions. For those seeking truth: logical, exixtential, theological go to the following web site, with an open mind. If you have a “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind’s made up” mind set don’t bother.