Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Religion and Medical Schools

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Kazzar, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. Kazzar

    Kazzar Psychiatrist
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I have been checking out the mission statements of various schools and I noticed that Loma Linda Medical School in California places a strong emphasis on religion in their core curiculum. I did not take this in account before, but do other schools include religion in their courses? Even if it is not written on paper, how much is religion discussed in class? I mean, I am all for healthy debate and discussion about the various truths of the world, but I am wondering if there is a lot of "God-talk" other than nice euphanisms about praying for somebody or a person being in "God's hands." I want to go to a school where people are allowed to think for themselves without being bombarded by scripture or religous allusions (not to say I would be offended if a teacher made reference to a "forbidden fruit of knowledge," but I wouldn't be able to stand, "you remember in Luke or Revelations that so and so....") With my preferences, are there any other schools I should watch out for? If possible, I would like to go to a diverse campus with students from many ethnic groups and religious backgrounds.

    On a side note, are there classes in medical school that discuss the concerns that patients from different ethnicities and relgions have? For example, if a group takes offense to a certain procedure, like surgery on the eye? Are there culutural-awareness in medicine classes? If such classes exist, does anybody know which schools have good programs for them?

    BTW, the people on this board have given me lots of help with my pre-med anxieties, and even though I wasn't posting, there are lots of us "watchers" who are grateful for all the information.

    Oh yeah and cross-my-fingers for high MCAT scores and a nice bowel movement tomorrow.

    (I had to throw a poop joke in this dry message).

    (For added fun, imagine a monkey throwing the poop joke into the message).
     
  2. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Loma Linda is pretty unique as far as US med schools go in that it is owned and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA).

    As such, their mission is first to seek to train people of their faith, or similar Christian faiths. This stems from the Christian teaching about Christ being interested in healing people, and the Biblical character Luke and others following in kind.

    Naturally, the atmosphere and curriculum at LLU reflects all this. Importantly, I do not think there is any manner of coercion going on there at all upon other people to accept certain viewpoints.

    Incidently, the SDA Church owns a medical school in Mexico. For priority admissions consideration, you send in your baptismal papers along with your other application materials.

    Where other medical schools are owned and operated by other interests, you might expect the atmosphere and curriculum to reflect the same.

    For example, Islamic International University School of Medicine in Pakistan reflects the Islamic faith, has that atmoshphere, and accepts students most in kind.

    For another example, Vellore Christian Medical College in India is owned and operated by a U.S.-based board with strong Christian moorings. About 2/3 of all accepted students are Chrstians. Still, I have spoken with Hindus who have graduated from there, who could not speak more highly of the place (it IS a truly inrcedible place). Why? Becasue there is high value placed upon tolerance of other religions there.

    For still another example, State Universities in the U.S. reflect the multi-cultural context that is America. Most private ones as well. They accept students in kind, and their atmosphere and all refelcts this.

    The numerous Catholic-owned med schools in the U.S. and abroad show influence of the Catholic faith in them.

    Enough examples. At bottom, multi-cultural people should not be afraid to be in religious contexts, so long as they are non-coercive and sufficiently accepting of others. IMO, this is an important part of being an educated person in a multi-cultural society. Equally, religious persons should not be afraid to be in multi-cultural contexts. The experiences in either atmosphere can be growth-inducing and mind-widening, whether you accept the actual premises of the context or not.


    Best wishes.
     
  3. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for such an interesting post!

    From my own perspective, each human being is a moral agent, whether he knows it or not.

    Physiologically and medically, every patient is affected by their unique understanding and integration of their own moral agency into their own identity, whether they know it or not.

    If you are concerned about an over-emphasis of a certain type of moral agency which may differ from your own, may I suggest that you review the specific curricula of the schools that you consider.

    As for me, I would not consider entrusting my medical education into the hands of an institution that did not address fully the relationship between the patient's understanding of his own moral agency and that same patient's medical, gross well being.

    There is too much evidence to support the idea of a crucial relationship between faith in a certain world view and the medical well-being of the patient who holds that world view. After all, it is the patient's world view that governs how the patient lives and moves on this earth.

    Best of luck, and consider that even in your own case, each time you offer an opinion about our human condition, you are sticking a moral flag in the ground, and evangelizing around that flag (whether you know it or not).

    John
     
  4. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
  5. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    Although I'm not a very
    religious person myself (I know it's hard to tell), I'd like to know how you associate your religious beliefs with your chosen field of medicine. Let me explain: it seems
    that being religious would keep many people from going into medicine. I mean I know there are millions of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. doctors, but I what I don't
    get is that why they would go into this field if almost everything doctors do is in opposition of God. I mean everytime you save a life, you'd be going against God's
    plan for that being. After all, does not the Bible say that God is the sole determiner of one's fate. And wouldn't a doctor's action to preserve a life God wants to end
    going against God? I may be way off, but I'd like to hear what you'd have to say...besides you never know if a question like that would come up during interviews if
    the panel knows you're very religious. Also, you mentioned something earlier about God being the only one able to create life. Well i don't know if you saw this or
    not, but at Univ. of Penn. (or was it Pittsburgh?) a doctor has developed a program where he can all but give parents the baby of their choosing. The story was
    featured on one of those "20/20" type programs and it showed how this doctor has developed a method where parents can chose whether their child will be tall, eye
    color, whether they'll be musically inclined, athletic, etc. My question is: hasn't this doctor virtually made himself as close to God as anybody can. I mean he can
    create the being of desire...in a way he has total control of what comes out.
     
  6. pyra

    pyra Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2001
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I don't think a doctor would be acting in opposition of God's plan. Instead, God would be acting through the doctor to heal others. Throughout the Bible a lot of Jesus' disciples were sent out to heal the sick. I'm not sure where I heard this from, but "God is the one who heals and the doctor is there to change the bandages."

    I didn't see this program, did this actually work out? Did the baby turn out OK? But if you remember the Dolly sheep clone, I believe that something was wrong with the clone and it started to age really fast. Maybe this doctor was able to make the baby, but would it really have a soul?
    Anyways, that is what I would answer if an adcom asked me these questions.
     
  7. AltruismINC

    AltruismINC Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I know it isn't far away that doctors will be able to create a life using embryonic stem cells and/or micropipette injections of DNA. Sure it's illegal in the US, but there are other countries with researchers that will have this procedure down pat within a few years. They need a surrogate mother, of course, but the creation of life, at least until the blastula stage of life, will be done in the lab. This raise some theological points: if one believes in a soul, does a scientist now make the soul? Or if god works through the doctor/researcher, then are they all demi-gods (like mini-Jesus's) in their own right? I think as science progresses, religion (and religious institutions like the Catholic Church) will have to reform and re-think their views on how life works. Cause if life/souls are created at conception, ie the basis for pro-life, anti-abortion statements, then are they accepting the fact that the researchers are now God because they facilitated the fusion of cells? I mean, there has to be something else going on. I think there is a high probability of something else higher out there, but we cant write about it, it is so above us, anything we could say would be innocorect and ignorant. Saying "God is compassionate" seems trite and false on the basis of, how could be describe something that transcends time and space - if such a being (or thing) exists. I heard something of this effect in a dialog of Plato, but I dont hear much about theology in modern times - at least not the earth shattering/ideological disserations. Maybe I am not reading enough stuff in the theology section of Barnes and Nobles.
     
  8. ewells

    ewells Big Daddy
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    516
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am pretty sure the Pope declared that a cloned being would have a soul, so that would provide an answer for Catholics, anyway.
     
  9. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Monster2,

    Your other questions have been adequately addressed. If you wish a more thorough treatment of them go to An Examination of the Biblical Character of Luke the Beloved Physican.

    Now this one.

    The HHHHUUUUUGGGGGEEEEE difference here is that God creates something out of nothing--originates it in the most unique way possible.

    The Hebrew word translated "created" in English Bibles in the book of Genesis carries exactly this connotation: creation of something from nothing.

    Scientists, on the other hand, create something from something--from what God has already made.
     
  10. AltruismINC

    AltruismINC Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I would have to disagree about creating something from nothing. There are labs that created amino acids from chance associations of elements in primordial conditions. The same conditions also produced nucleic acids. The question of building a complex machinery, which are fundamentally cells, might take a few more intermediate steps. But because there is no current theory on how ammino acids + nucleic acids + primative forms of ATP made up ancient DNA/RNA replication mechanisms, by no means gives support to the existence of a god. Life is just the probability that some combination will like to repeat itself and provoke its own growth. Once something, by chance, no matter how small the process is, starts to promote its own replication, evolution can start taking place, and the skys the limit (or more appropiately, maybe human beings are the limit).

    As an aside, I dont think anything on Earth will evolve anymore because medicine is allowing people and animals who should died from various diseases to reproduce and contribute their genes to the gene pool. Does this theory make me a bad wanna-be doctor? Maybe, but I want to be a doctor to end needless suffering and pain, abstract as they may be, without regards to evolution. However, if my practices allow people to reproduce and have children with the same problems, who will suffer the same devestating effects and painful treatments, then I dont know... who are we to shape evolution?

    Maybe we can just find a way to remove the pain component from nerves permanently in the genes. Sure, we may hurt our bodies because we wouldn't know when a nail has been driven through our hand, but should we ever have to experience that pain?

    Does anybody know if there any research being done to manipulate genes to permanently decrease the severity of highly painful events (just to the point where a horrible pain would be a simple discomfort)? I guess we as a species need to know (on an evolutionary scale) when something is "bad" for our body. But I presume that people are smart enough today to be able to realize when stuff is very bad for them (ie being shot) and they should not do activities that promote that.

    Well there are people who like to pierce their genitalia... that has to hurt... but maybe it increases their reproductive success...
    ;)
     
  11. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Elements + Certain tightly controlled conditions = Elements + Certain tightly controlled conditions

    Nothing = nothing.

    Scientist have yet to, and I will venture that they will never, take non-matter and there with create matter. That is what something from nothing means in non-theological terms. Science by its very definition has to do with the realm of matter. God, on the other hand, is not presented in the Bible has resticted to those confines.

    Yes, something from nothing, and man NEVER has done it, and I will venture, NEVER will.
     
  12. Good topic! In my opinion, I'd rather go to a school that has a diverse mix of people that are representitive of the world I live in, rather than of my own moral and religious views. To me, every religion has ethics molded into it, and it would be too narrow to be exclusive based on faith. I have heard lectures on the doctor-patient relationship, where the doc explained how an understanding of the patient's culture helped him immeasurably. I believe that one could have a strong faith in his religion and still be able to accept someone else of a different faith and that person's culture, while still being able to help them.
     
  13. roo

    roo Voice From The Wilderness
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I thought Creighton University in the USA had some historical religious affiliation. I checked their webpage, and it describes their jesuit origins, and a picture of a priest and two others is currently their main picture: http://www.creighton.edu/
    Whether religious principles or broader-based ethics has any small inclusion in their cirriculi, I don't know, as I don't go there. It is a very well-regarded school internationally for academia, though.
     
  14. kltmd

    kltmd Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    http://www.pathfinder.com/TIME/cloning/home.html
    If you're interested in the cloning issue, TIME Magazine did an interesting article a few months ago, and it can be found at the above address. Personally, I'm concerned with the number of fetuses that would be lost in the process of human cloning. Take a look; you'll see what I mean.
     
  15. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi AltruismINC, I read something in your post that made me want to think out loud a bit:

    I think there is a high probability of something else higher out there, but we cant write about it, it is so above us, anything we could say would be innocorect and ignorant. Saying "God is compassionate" seems trite and false on the basis of, how could be describe something that transcends time and space - if such a being (or thing) exists. I heard something of this effect in a dialog of Plato, but I dont hear much about theology in modern times - at least not the earth shattering/ideological disserations. Maybe I am not reading enough stuff in the theology section of Barnes and Nobles.

    Theology is alive and well in our modern times. About describing the nature and attributes of God, of course this all depends on your belief structure. As an example, for Christians, Jesus Christ is the perfect image of God who is otherwise invisible. So then in the Christian faith it follows that a transcendent God has become a descendent God, God who is spirit became flesh and blood, God who is eternal became temporal. Again, this is an example from the Christian faith, and you can see that if your faith aligns with this faith, then we are not left in the dark about the personality and ontology of God. Instead we are allowed to know more about God than many of us would like to know about God!

    just my example of one perspective that answers your questions.

    john
     
  16. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    oops, I dont know how to set up a quotation. In my previous post, AltruismINC's words are above the quote lines, my comments about his words are below the quote lines.
    john
     
  17. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Monster2, you bring up an interesting point I think.

    Your statement brings a flood of thoughts into my mind. Perhaps the best way for me to respond to your thoughts is to ask you:

    "If you are a doctor, doesn't God also determine your fate?"

    Perhaps if there is a God, that God, while needing none of us for anything, nonetheless allows us the priviledge of participating in things that he would like to accomplish. When I think about this concept it blows my mind. Hard to believe. At the same time, this idea is central to several major religions. And personally I see quite a bit of logic in it!

    john
     
  18. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Monster2, your post really got me thinking.

    Its against my own rules to reply to a single post more than once (bandwith considerations), but I thought of what seems to me to be a better response to your post.

    I don't know if you have kids. But imagine that you do (if you don't). Pretend you are a carpenter and you wish your son would go out to build a treehouse, to follow in his father's footsteps! Of course, you could go do it yourself for him...but wouldn't it give you more joy if he went out and built it himself, even if it was crooked and not plumb, and if you were certain that a good rain would soak it to the floorboards, and a good wind would take it out entirely? And even if you were sure that his treehouse would fall apart under stress, wouldn't you still think to yourself "When that happens, it will give me an opportunity to teach him something that he isn't ready to learn yet, and if he listens, he will learn to build a better treehouse."?

    So, in such an example, you allow him to participate in something that you would like to accomplish.

    Maybe.....maybe....maybe if there is a God, and if he intended all sick people to die of their illnesses, he wouldn't have permitted some of us to become doctors. I only say this because as you know, evidence cries out in a loud voice that doctors, every once in a while, eliminate disease and promote longevity of life in their patients.

    just thinking out loud!!

    john
     
  19. AltruismINC

    AltruismINC Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Florida, I have to say that what "makes my mind whirl with thought" in your posts is that your ideas feel very romantic in nature. These notions that a doctor may be actually a device of god seems like a weak argument for a relgious defense that doctors are not gods in their own right.

    Personally, I would I find being a surgeon (I think the residency that is most like being a god) unappealing because I get no thrill of having a life in my hands. If I was cut out for it, and I could help lots of people, sure, but it would purely be a selfless act, and those are hard to produce when it involves the choice life-long career. But in my crude meanderings, I feel that surgeons must enjoy a certain degree of "playing god," if not for the fact that they have the knowledge that without their help, at least one person would not be alive on this Earth.

    But back to relgion: I know it is good to have faith, because hope heals, and when people are happy, their stress goes down, and they are more prone to survive injury. And the fact that the power of prayer works, I believe, is because, for the most part, people who have a close-knit social network of people who care (and pray), they are more likely to feel loved and it will give them the desire to live on to lead happy lives.

    Religion is a great thing because it works much like television. It places people, whatever take you have on religion, in a fantasy world (like a sitcom or X-files-ish show) or in a reality-based stupor (news - bad as it may be, and "based on a true-story" programming). Regardless if the ideas expressed are real or not, relgion allows us to relax about the scarier things in life (ie death). But it gives hope. And if people believed that there was a big Diamond in the sky that led the powers of the universe, and humankind has written many ancient books about their experiences with the diamond, I say, "Great - as long as it makes you happy."

    So I'll make this rambling post medical school related: Is pragmatism respected in medical school? Or do most people focus on Platonic absolute truths, like the real cause of everything? I am a big fan of the ideas in Willam James' "Pragmatism." What ever makes Suzy happy is true for Suzy. I'll accept that, at least when Suzy is around.
     
  20. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Tony Clifton, I agree with something that you wrote:

    [/QUOTE]I have heard lectures on the doctor-patient relationship, where the doc explained how an understanding of the patient's culture helped him immeasurably. I believe that one could have a strong faith in his religion and still be able to accept someone else of a different faith and that person's culture, while still being able to help them.

    In essence I think that your response is the best for Kazzar who originated this entire string.

    Every person has a religion, and every person's religion has an affect on that person's health. And then, in a more general sense, whether in the exam room, in the grocery store, or in the halls of academia, it is always true that any one person will always come into contact with people of a different religion.

    I think too that discrete religious beliefs, by their very nature, are mutually exclusive.
    There is at present a very politically correct but logically false notion travelling around the world that all religions are somewhat equal, and that perhaps there are many different roads for human beings to reach God. Maybe there are many roads, but if so, we cannot go to the different religions to confirm this. Why? Islamics are pledged to kill people who are not Islamics. Lutherans still hold the belief that the seat of the Pope (not the individual, human pope himself) is in fact the seat of the antichrist. All Christian denominations believe that all other 'non-Christian' religions are false, and are excluded from God's blessings. So, what shall we say to these things?

    I think you are correct to say that in the medical sense, an understanding of the patient's culture is crucial to the development of a proper treatment plan for that patient. It is not the doctor's prerogative to proseletyze the patient, but it is without doubt the doctor's obligation to understand the patient's religious belief structure.
    Can we say that the patient's belief structure has no effect on the patient's physiological well being? The Hacidic Jew has a strict diet that is not observed by the modern-day American protestant. If we say that 'religious beliefs don't matter' then we by default say that 'nutrition has no effect on any person's overall health".

    Patients' religious beliefs are a determinant in each patient's medical well being.

    So to Kazzmar, and to all practitioners or medicine, I offer just my opinion: learn to deal tactfully with other peoples religious beliefs, and if you can't, you cannot be an excellent practitioner of medicine.

    If I were a Jew, and if the best medical university was run my Isalmics, I would apply to that university.

    john
     
  21. True, I think that there are things that someone has to do outside of themself to, ultimately, better themselves. For instance, taking a course in 'medical spanish', could help you as a doctor, in an area where a majority of your patients are spanish. Are you going to give up the english language to learn Spanish? No, you are going to increase your awareness and your network to be able to reach people you normally would not.


    I totally agree, there are a few times in life when people are very vulnerable, and sickness has to be one of them. A patient of any culture should be treated without encroaching on their beliefs. Everyone should know that he/she has the right to be healthy.

    It's good to go to a medical school where you will be comfortable and learn the most you could. Your knowledge of medicine and cultural awareness is what's going to help the patient.
     
  22. Olsen

    Olsen Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    This reminds me of a funny story.....

    Several generations from now, when scientists have figured out how to manipulate and create life, a scholar dies and goes to heaven. There he says to God, "We on earth have discovered the secrets to life, we can create life, choose how it will develop, and we will soon be able to prevent death! We no longer need your services for we have become our own gods". To this God answers, "That is truly impressive, I am so happy that you have advanced so far! Why don't we have a contest then, we will both create life, but we will do it like the old days!". The scientist laughs at the challenge and says "That is not a problem!". He then promptly picks up a spoonful of dirt and begins to walk away. At this God says "Hey hold on there buddy, you are gonna have to get your own dirt!".

    I am not extremely religious either. But it does amuse me how we, as humans, begin to become full of ourselves when we list our accomplishments. The true scientist looks at the world and recognizes that when we look out over our ocean of a universe, so far, we only see the top of it!
     
  23. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    Based on all of your views, I came to a conclusion that religion is UNNECESSARY. It is a NONSENSE that exist and it becomes obligatory for doctors to succumb to religion for the sake of the patient. It's a dilemma since religion makes the medical community think about certain medical procedures whether they are right or wrong and thus lose focus of the results.

    One of the points raised alluded to Genesis about the creation of something from something versus the creation of nothing from nothing. While I respect your beliefs, I think the idea of a divine hand is a product of the romantic nature of human intelligence. It's like naming a pet. If you follow science, you will see that Feynmann's notion of quantum mechanics, anthropic principle, the rest of that jabber adequately define how things are created. I do not see an OUTSIDE force, rather a spontaneous way of things just waiting to be written down. Remember, we live in the world of probability, and what we perceive is only so because it is real, i.e. 99% probability. So creation is the workings of what is highly probable, less likely an imposing will.

    I hope I don't go to the depths of h*ll for this.
     
  24. I like the story. Nothing is truly accomplished on your own, there's always the greater Force that allows you to do it in the first place.
     
  25. Khartenuyi Mijiminbi

    Khartenuyi Mijiminbi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmmm. I thought you just said

    ???
     
  26. kltmd

    kltmd Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Monster2, is the natural world the only evidence we have for the existence of God? Although I believe that our universe screams of an orderly Creator, it is not the only evidence I rely upon. One interesting phenomenon that seems to point to a God is the division of good and evil within human hearts. Every culture has some sort of moral system. We all see some acts as being wrong--for example, most Americans would agree that killing an innocent child is wrong. Why? To me, it seems that our innate sense of morality must come from some otherworldly source. And Im willing to bet that most medical educations will include some sort of ethical training. It seems that morality pervades every sphere of society. Just a thought.
     
  27. AltruismINC

    AltruismINC Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dont know about the good/evil thing being a indicator of morality. Maybe just in "civilized" areas like America, Japan, and the European nations (any many more I am too lazy to mention). I mean, there are people in Africa that think that cannibalism is "good" and sharing is "bad" cause it is weak and will cause you to lose resources that you need to live. Are these countries anti-God? Pro-Satan? My relativist anthropological heart cries out no.

    Ethics is only feasible in nations with adequate food, health, and shelter for most of their citizens. You have to be able to survive easily (I mean, if you were desperate, you could work at Mc Donalds and scrape by with a minimum wage job.... you couldnt start a family, but you could survive). Ethics is a "1st world" idea and also has a strong foundation in such countries. Therefore, I think it must be seperated from God or whatever is out there.

    However, I must defer, that there is energy in this universe. E=mc^2, sure, but matter or energy must arise somewhere... maybe God, but maybe an infinite loop-time paradox. And if God created the energy, who created God? If he was always there, then why cant matter/energy always have been there? Who made the laws of gravity? I think somethings up, but I don't think the Bible or other religous texts can explain it. It's up to hard-core science to solve the real mysteries of the universe. However, it takes a hard-core doctor/humanitarian to solve the mysteries of the body and human soul).
     
  28. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2001
    Messages:
    901
    Likes Received:
    2
    I already get some great inside info on the medical application process at SDN, but these thought provoking articles are what keep me coming back everyday!

    I commend the mature and often broad discussion of faith/morals by every poster on this thread as of yet. A med school that openly talks about the role of spirituality in the broad sense (religion falling under its umbrella) of its application to the sick and their families is what I seek. I want to be in an instituion that teaches me and my peers that we must take into account whether the sick is Buddhist or Christian, just as we ask if they are 20 or 60 yrs old. Individuality, not collective medicine is the only way to maximizing the role of a physician.

    More and more I've realized during the healing process and in times of great trauma there is always that search for meaning by all those involved. "Why did this happen to him, and not me? I should've been the one with cancer, he's such a loving person..." Other animals do not have these thuoghts. They instinctively help the maimed in anyway they can and move on. They dont debate whether or not to help, they just act!

    All humans have that tendency to help (us future doctors moreso than the average person), yet we also seek an answer for the place that all of this trauma fits in... By our very nature we seek higher meanings for everything in our life. Yet it is never apparent immediately why. It may not be apparent for another decade or two. Most likely, we will never know exactly "why" this event happened. Whether you beleive in god or not, the only conclusion is that it DID indeed happen and we are to make the best of it that we can. Help the sick back to recovery in anyway that we can and let nature take its course. And thus, we have come full circle back to our basic animal instincts: help our injured brethern regardless of the circumstances and deal with the ?'s that remain later.

    An individual who beleives in Islamic principlies is Muslim.
    An interesting note on arabic grammar: In english a person working on a farm or that drives is a farmer and driver, respectively. In arabic a 'Mu' is added at the beginning of the word. Thank you for reading.

    p.S. John, do you go to USF also? :p
     
  29. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    4
    I couldn't have put it any better, Altruism! I myself pretty much boiled my "beliefs" down to those fundamental issues and decided that it really shouldn't matter what is out there, if there is anything out there. I'm happy helping others out because we're all humans and have at least that much in common. Others have just as much a right to exist as I do. And though I don't consider myself extremely religious, I have very religious friends. It's been hard for me to understand what they mean when they try to explain their beliefs, but I still try because I'm sure I'll have patients like them someday. At the moment I'm trying to interpret what most people call "God" in terms of society (ie substituting "society" in place of "God" in statements). It works for me. But what's most important in the end, as someone else has already pointed out, is to try to understand each other.
     
  30. Khartenuyi Mijiminbi

    Khartenuyi Mijiminbi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a "hard-core" African, I must contest. Ethics is a human concept, no matter where humans are. Animistic tribes who practice cannibalism do know very well in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong. They know fully that, behind what they do are the spirits, and they are not good. They know strongly what right and wrong is because of their God-given consciences. They just go against them because they want to.

    There is a very profound anthropological book called "Eternity in their Hearts" by I think Don Richardson that those who think otherwise should read carefully.
     
  31. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, no, ethos and morality are products of human intelligence. Goodness is an evolutionary behavior that serve to perpetuate the species... that is a behavior brought about by intelligence and the fact that we are social animals. We describe evil to be against this notion, but in reality there is no such thing as "evil". We consider what we fear as "evil"... harm and death for example. But if we were the third party, we would see a lion killing a hyena as something that is not evil but natural (even if the lion does not eat the hyena). Because self-perpetuation demands survival of the species, we can innately feel cannibalism and murder "wrong". Good and evil are the complications that arise from aware and intelligent beings. There is nothing otherworldly about it.
     
  32. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    Really, religion is nothing more than a political tool. As I've formerly alluded, it is a consequence of social behavior. Religion is no different than a political organization... except that the true religious leaders are considered supernatural.

    And where in fact do supernatural beings come from? The concept of God is nothing more than the ultimate "leader" and "protector". It stems from this simple line of reasoning:
    a. we are not born equal... some are born smarter, stronger etc.
    b. per history, the strong dominate the weak (e.g. emperors were thought of as god)
    c. as thinking beings, the only way to protect yourself from someone stronger than you is to relinquish your rights to someone else whom you think is STRONGER
    d. how fitting then is that the poor, needy and helpless would submit themselves to the "STRONGEST", where there should be no other... hence the concept of god was born

    In essence, religion is politics. In reality there is no such thing as "god".

    That is why I believe religion to be nonsense, yet it cannot be eradicated, as we will be forever in a state of "hierarchy"... a battle of strong and weak.
     
  33. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    Good post, Monster.

    I agree that religion is a political tool.
    But I think its necessary to distinguish between religion and spirituality, two very different things. I consider myself a spiritual but not religious person.
     
  34. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Religion can certaily be a political tool.

    But remember, some political systems can be extrmely inimical to religions proper, and even kill religious persons for their faith.

    In that respect, politics can be a very real tool AGAINST religion, and FOR anti-religious ideologies.

    The irony is that the anti-religious ideologies are, for the very most part, themselves religions in that they have "prophets" of a sort, defined belief systems, underlying assumptions and overlying premises, advocators, and methods for "evangelism." This applies to any life-guiding philospohy, whatever it may be; and we all have a life-guiding philosophy.

    Hence, in that regard, and at root, EVERYONE is religious, of a sort.

    Because of this, I kind of chuckle when I hear people say they are not religious. It inevitably follows that they will go on to advocate, or will so if pressed, some belief system, its assumptions and premises, basic tenents, and "prophets," so-to-speak. Such is only part of being human.

    Now, the beautiful thing is when we can hold to our religion without persecuting others, whether that religion be one we normally think of as associated with that term (Islam, Chrsitainty, etc.), or a "religion" that is one in terms of it being a defined belief system that simply has the markers of a religion proper.

    Fact is, humans are innately religious beings, and that aspect of them inevitably expresses itself in one form or another. Because of this, it is not whether we are religious, but which religion we hold to--whether a religion or a "religion"--why we hold to it, and I think most importantly, upon what basis we hold to it.
     
  35. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    scootad wrote:

    Along the same lines from Stephen's post, but put another way (if I understand him correctly): If you agree that religion is a political tool, how would you argue against the position that " 'Politics' is a religious tool."?

    john
     
  36. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Altruism wrote:

    Of course! Proponents of any one world view will alwyas describe beliefs of opposing world views as "Romantic, wishful thinking, narrow-minded, without factual foundation" or whatever other phrases you can think of. Par for the course! To say otherwise, we would have to deconstruct our own world view.
    Anyone up for that? Who wants to unravel his own identity?

    John
     
  37. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    "we all have a life-guiding philosophy...
    Hence, in that regard, and at root, EVERYONE is religious, of a sort.

    Because of this, I kind of chuckle when I hear people say they are not religious. It inevitably follows that they will go on to advocate, or will so if pressed, some belief system, its assumptions and premises, basic tenents, and "prophets," so-to-speak. Such is only part of being human."


    I don't agree with the above quote. Not everybody has a life-guiding philosophy.
    That is an overgeneralization. Many people have no idea why life exists, why we are here, the purpose of life, etc. And it does not inevitably follow that those who say they are not "religious" will advocate some belief system. That's another overgeneralization. As I said above, many people do not have a life-guiding philosophy, are confused, or may have a private philosophy and have motivation to share it with others or persuade others that their system is the right one.
     
  38. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    that should read: have NO motivation to share it with others...
     
  39. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    To Stephen Ewen, I sent you an email last week and never heard back. Would send you another but maybe there is a problem with the connection. You can reach me at [email protected] john
     
  40. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    That life-guding philosophy, as described, shares some things in common with one called "futilism" and another called "nihilism."

    It says, in essence, "We live life, and we do not know why."

    Futalism proper takes it one step further and adds, "and there is nothing we can do about it either way."

    Nihilism proper takes it further by adding, "and we probaly cannot even know anything, in any truly sure sense."

    Yet, either way, holders of any of these are indeed guided by things that motivate them in the day-in-and-day-out, and if pressed by an alternate guiding philosophy, will either accept it or give reasoning in keeping with the held philosophy as to why they should not.

    Many world religions proper are like this: they do not go out and advocate for the religion, but should competing ones come along, with people trying to persuade them into the alternate religion or "religion," the self-advocacy of the religion comes through. Hinduism is the classic example, and it does share some correlates with futilism.

    Hence, the "I don't knows," the "futilists," and the "nihilists" can be seen as fully religious persons--just like every other human.

    Even a supposed non-position is in reality a position, even if by default.

    -----------

    Florida, I got your e-mail and will write in a day or two.
     
  41. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    I agree with you Stephen, but I think we were using two different definitions of religion. I was using the term "religion" on a macro-level to describe one of the mass spiritual movements of the world that is rooted in certain pre-defined tenets or scriptures and that is organized in a social hierarchy (e.g. the major world religions like Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.) I was NOT using a microperspective definition of religion (which is what you were using) whereby religion is an individual's own concept of spirituality that diverges from any central tenets or scriptures and may lack any social hierarchy.
    In fact, the latter microperspective is what I would call spirituality, not religion.

    I agree with you that even a non-position is a position and even futilism is a life-guiding philosophy, but I think we were using different semantical language.
     
  42. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Scootad wrote:

    Amen! oops , I mean, I am refreshed to see someone bringing up semantics in the discussion. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to semantics. But in nearly every argument I ever hear about anything that is not finite and factually based and verifiable, people tend to argue their different positions without first defining the language of their respective precepts. Therefore, they get *nowhere* in the argument.

    Now I appreciate your distinction between spirituality and religion, and the macroscopic vs microscopic definitions of the terms as you define them. And I agree with you on the terms that you use to define the differences between the two.

    But to go a step further, I would hope that you would define the word 'god', because from my perspective, religion is more than just a set of itellectual beliefs that a man can hide or reveal as he sees fit. Religion moves every man's feet as he walks to and fro, making every man a prophet and an evangelist, whether he knows it or not. And
    so I would like to know your definition of 'god', because in my world view, every man has one, and every man serves his god faithfully whether he knows it or not. So for me there is no distinction between macroscopic and microscopic interpretations of 'religion', unless we would agree to relegate the discussion to the subjective. This means I believe logic reveals an objective god that every man serves, even though each interprets and defines and responds to that god in different ways.

    In summary, can we discuss your definition of 'god'?

    john
     
  43. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    USeF theBull wrote:

    Forgive my semantics! The underlying ethics of a medical school governed by Seventh Day Adventists may be "Christologics", and so an institution run by Muslim human people may be governed by "Islamics".

    I will be at USF at the end of this August to start premeds.

    john
     
  44. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Apologies to the group!

    In my post
    to scootad, I began by saying "I agree with you Stephen" when I meant to say "I agree with you Scootad"! (Although I happen to agree with Stephen too).

    john
     
  45. Florida_style

    Florida_style Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    No I didnt! Time for me to rest. Until next time!!! Ill try to extract both feet from my mouth.
    john
     
  46. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    Or you might use the edit finction. :cool:

    Exactly!
     
  47. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    Thanks for the reply Florida_Style. You bring up some very interesting points.
    You asked about my concept of G-d. I don't really want to get into this here in depth, but to me G-d is not something that is clearly defined. I do have many doubts and questions and I am in no way certain about the origin of life. But I try to keep an open mind about it all and listen to the perspectives of others. I have always been fascinated by the order/organization of nature. For me, confusion or uncertainty is not a bad thing. In fact, I revel in it. Not knowing exactly why we are here, where we are going, but at the same time admiring the beauty in the nature all around us is in itself a beautiful thing to me. I guess that's where my spiritual nature comes in. I feel at peace with nature in a sense.

    I totally respect your position that the macroperspective of religion and the microperspective is one and the same for you.
    But that may not be true for everyone, and it certainly isn't the case for me. :)
     
  48. Kazzar

    Kazzar Psychiatrist
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Scootad, I completely agree, well, have the same feelings about religion with you. I think being a skeptic or having a skeptical mind is part of being a good scientist (and thinker) and will help you in being a good doctor. (Taking a new drug study with a grain of salt until you see some real data and how they actually conducted their research to back up their claims before you start prescribing mass quantaties of the chemical).

    I also enjoy the beauty around me, excuse the cliche, but I would be naive to try to pinpoint the cause, no matter how general I make it. I also find beauty in the idea that the flower I am looking at is not a product of design, but randomness. Order within chaos. The development of a organism is so strict in times of growth and what has to happen at what times, that it amazes me it can be almost completely done by genes. To me, everything is chaos, like some nifty little computer proggy I had when I was a kid, called "Life" where you have a code with some laws. Its great cause a lot of times things would "die" - the blips in the screen would stop moving. But sometimes, the blips would keep growing and mutating indefinately, it would be art. To me, human beings aren't much different. Even the scabbiest, most letcherous of humans to me is still art.

    Pragmatics aside (the part where I would say, whatever makes people happy, religion-wise, go for it), people also need to realize that religion accounts for many of the wars, if not directly (Crusades), but indirectly (the current Palestine-Isreal conflict). If there was no religion, there would be much less hate.....

    People could thrive on ideas and possibilities, but no. Wanna know why (or at least my meager hypothesis?) Religion is life. It sustains itself, evolutionary wise. People are taught it as children and people are constantly being converted the world over. It acts, in my mind, like a parasite, consuming everything. It's similar to ecological competition between plants in a forest. The one who can outcompete, through whatever tactics it has evolved (ie tenets of different demonimations that seem more appealing to different people) is the one that is the most popular. Of course, if it produces the most seeds (children), it will outcompete by sheer numbers. But having multiple ideas and keeping an open mind is hard to pass between people because it isn't an organization, a tradition, there isn't agnostics or atheists who go out and convert people. Why is Christianity the fasting growing religion around the world? Is it because it is right or just? Look at the number of missionaries each religion has, and growth rate of its members, you'll see a high correllation on a Pearson's test (sorry had to throw in some stat-analysis - been doing that all last quarter for my research with Down's syndrome).

    Something else IS out there, that's for certain. But I am not letting some bing in a smock who read one religious text 78 times tell me he knows what life is about. (Instead, I'll listen to a guy who read 78 religous texts and assimilates them all).
     
  49. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    879
    Likes Received:
    128
    Beautiful post, Kazzar. I couldn't have said it better myself. :)
     
  50. Stephen Ewen

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2000
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    1
    I see no less than ten religions/guiding philosphical assumptions/worldviews, et al, coming through in the above post:

    Skepticism - first paragraph.

    Darwinism - "I also find beauty in the idea that the flower I am looking at is not a product of design, but randomness."

    Naturalism - "Even the scabbiest, most letcherous of humans to me is still art."

    Pragmatism - "If there was no religion, there would be much less hate." (BTW, don't you think it is far more the type of religion, and not all religion?)

    Relativism and humanism - "whatever makes people happy, religion-wise, go for it."

    Nihilism - "People could thrive on ideas and possibilities, but no."

    Social Darwinism - "The one who can outcompete, through whatever tactics it has evolved (ie tenets of different demonimations that seem more appealing to different people) is the one that is the most popular."

    Agnosticism - Something else IS out there, that's for certain.

    Religious Syncretism and Relativism - "Instead, I'll listen to a guy who read 78 religous texts and assimilates them all."

    This is just to show my orirginal point that ALL humans are indeed very religious beings. Nothing more is intended hereby.
     

Share This Page