Thursday, June 23, 2005

Docs and God

As we seem to be lacking patients at the moment, I'm blogging from Clinic this morning:

MONIFA THOMAS, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES - A study from the University of Chicago, being billed as the first to examine physicians' religious beliefs, has found that 55 percent of doctors say their religion influences how they practice medicine. In addition, 76 percent of doctors said they believe in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife, putting them more in line with their patients than the rest of the scientific community.

"We did not think physicians were nearly this religious," said the study's author, Dr. Farr Curlin, citing previous studies that indicate religious belief tends to decrease as education and income levels increase... According to the study, 90 percent of doctors in the United States attend religious services at least once a month, compared with 81 percent of the general population...

In addition, physicians in some specialties were more religious than others, the study said. While 58 percent of family doctors said they look to God for support and guidance, the same was true of only 36 percent of psychiatrists and 27 percent of radiologists.

Curlin said that might be because: "Psychiatry is the medical specialty that comes closest to being a complete explanatory framework for life. It can make sense of the powerful range of human experience in non-religious terms."

5 Comments:

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Keith said...

Sounds like you & Psych. were made for each other.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger Luke said...

As it relates to politics, I've written about the issue of Faith before (in addition to doing some musing outloud on the subject).

This study looks at how "religious" doctors tend to be. As I've said in the past: put simply, I think there's a vast difference between what is spiritual (which comes from within a person) and what is religious (which comes from an organized group of men telling you what to believe).

That's not to say there can't be some relationship between the two things - religion can help increase one's awareness of an inner spiritual nature. But there is no guarantee that it definitively will, nor does anyone need religion to do right in this world, in my opinion.

Though they'd never admit it, I think many people see going to church as a way of "showing God they're worthy enough for His team," hedging their bets on one of those coveted spots in Heaven, so to speak. It is this aspect of religion which bothers me - getting so caught up in the idea of an afterlife, you forget we have the chance to strive towards a better world for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters in this life.

For me, it comes down to this: actions speak louder than words. Don't merely tell me that Jesus loves me - show me that you do. That's what I try to accomplish in my life (though God knows I'm not always successful).

Perhaps what Curlin says in this article holds some truth. But just because I like to "make sense of the powerful range of human experience in non-religious terms," that certainly does not mean I reject God outright. My personal view is that it is impossible for me to have enough perspective to ever rationalize or understand God fully; he is much bigger/smaller/pervasive than we can comprehend. To fit him into the confines of one set of beliefs therefore confines his true nature, in effect trivializing the role he has played in the universe.

The "details" of religion are thus not as important to me as the results they manage to achieve. Used as an instrument of charity and mercy, the Church (Mosque, Temple, etc.) is a beautiful thing; it is a shame that such is not more often the case.

But that's nothing more than my hastily-worded opinion. The only way we grow as human beings is through communicating with others, learning what lessons life has taught those around us. I love hearing how others' perspectives differ from and/or are similar to mine. If you don't feel compelled to share your thoughts here, I hope you'll at least consider what I've written. Cheers!

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger Danielle said...

I find it so interesting that I actually agree with many of the points you bring up here.

You say: "think there's a vast difference between what is spiritual (which comes from within a person) and what is religious (which comes from an organized group of men telling you what to believe)."

I have always felt that "religion" is something you do out of habit, out of feeling like you SHOULD do it. Spirituality is something you do because you want to. It is private and between you and God (well, for me it's God) Religion does not equal relationship.

Then you say "For me, it comes down to this: actions speak louder than words. Don't merely tell me that Jesus loves me - show me that you do."

One of the most convicting quotes for me, was stated by Brennan Manning

"The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

I am so guilty of INACTIVE FAITH! I fail constantly at "walking the walk." But that's the difference between religion and relationship(spirituality): relationship offers Grace.

Grace to fail, and not "know it all" but to get back up and try it again, because you want to--you WANT to live a life of love



What a ramble..sorry! Man, I better get back to Pharm studying as Dr. Cuddy will NOT offer grace if I fail..LOL

 
At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Sam said...

Heya!
I very much like how Danielle put it there, so i will not repeat any of that. interesting read!

I watched Patch Adams last weekend and thought of you! haha

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous jodizzle said...

I fail constantly at "walking the walk."

No one fails at that as long as you are a good and decent person. Somehow, I doubt anyone serious about medical school is malicious or evil at heart. Sure, you doctor types will make a lot of money, but I doubt that is the driving force behind your career choice. Usually, it has something to do with a genuine concern and a want to help people.

If you were just in it for the money, you'd all be graphic designers.

The base of faith is that it is deep within you...a need to be a kind and decent person.

I'm pretty sure even God would consider sleeping in on Sundays if he had to attend a boring church service after a night of studying microbiology.

Whereas I don't ever believe a doctor should preach at you, there has to be some attachment to faith. I mean, there's a lot of bad things a doctor would see and hear, right? I know I would have to have faith in someone or something else to deal with that. Whether it be a faith in humanity, Jesus or Shiva...I think a doctor needs to be able to find the good in anything. Which, to me anyway, is what religion does for people....helps them find the good in others or in any situation.

Anywho. I liked the article. Much more thought provoking than zombie dogs. Although I'm intrigued by zombie dogs. Intrigued and a little freaked out.

 

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