Nov 6, 2009
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You guys have got to watch Religulous by Bill Maher; it's AWESOME!

To a patient asking if you're a Christian (actually happens more often than I thought it would): "I'd prefer that subject not to be the focus of our discussion today. Tell me more about why you're here so I can help you."

To a supervisor: "I'm really not that religious" or "I've got so much studying to do these days that I have a hard time fitting the church into my life."

To the Jim Jones Kool-Aid drinker that heckles you about religion every day: "Being a scientist makes it very difficult to believe in things that I can't prove and this is why I'm an atheist. This won't change the next time I see you." If this person is a patient, they will get referred to a physician, "more in line with your beliefs, sir."

If I have to sneak in my own thermos of coffee every day because I get sneered at by administration, I'll gladly thank them for my training and let another less religious institution get the benefit of the thousands of hours of training they invested in me.

I don't preach tolerance, I ask that all be respected if they are respectful. From what I know of the real-world definition, tolerance is a person not agreeing with another person or his views, but being forced to accept that they must work together. Many people have an incorrect view of what tolerance really is.

Gotta love Wikipedia:
Paradox of tolerance, the problem that a tolerant person is antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it.

The Muslim and Hindi coworkers I admire the most are the ones that put that extra effort into looking absolutely professional with it, having their headpiece almost perfect every day, or their Hijab made from such beautiful fabrics and colors that you can't help but appreciate them. The ballers have the jewelry on their head match the belt and the shoes and I'm all for it. No problem with a Kippah worn on the head of a Jewish person or a surgical cap full of awesome colors and tribal designs. Well starched white shirts and black dress pants every day doesn't bother me at all. The ones that do the bare minimum and have the "I'm X, deal with it" attitude won't get much respect from an atheist like myself.

Yep I'm Catholic and loved religulus lol. Too many people are bitches nowadays. Who gives a **** if your prof talked about easter for 10 minutes at the end of lecture? My prof started a lecture talking about people being jerks on elevators in new york. Why do you care? Does it offend you? I watch Bill Maher and he talks trash about religion 24/7. I don't start whining about it. My PI in the summer thinks religion is for ****ing idiots. I wore a cross everyday and we got along fine. It's just that mentality nowadays that people really can't take ****. My best buddy in med school is an atheist and he talks **** about religion to me often. I don't crap myself and talk to the admin about this very offending language. Is it difficult for you to just ignore it and move on?

Some guy thought it was crazy that there's prayer groups before exams. I don't do that myself, but does it really matter to you? If 100 students in the exam room professed their hatred of religion in plain sight of everyone I wouldn't really care either. Do little things like this offend you? Do you have hatred in your heart when you see muslims praying at a certain time of day? Just move on. You're an atheist, congratulations. Now stop being an attention *****.
 
Nov 6, 2009
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Slavery was also once an important part of American life. And I'd be willing to bet that in the future religion will also be less important in American life.

This might be the single dumbest post I have ever witnessed on the internet.

God damnit.

 

JGimpel

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Yep I'm Catholic and loved religulus lol. Too many people are bitches nowadays. Who gives a **** if your prof talked about easter for 10 minutes at the end of lecture? My prof started a lecture talking about people being jerks on elevators in new york. Why do you care? Does it offend you? I watch Bill Maher and he talks trash about religion 24/7. I don't start whining about it. My PI in the summer thinks religion is for ****ing idiots. I wore a cross everyday and we got along fine. It's just that mentality nowadays that people really can't take ****. My best buddy in med school is an atheist and he talks **** about religion to me often. I don't crap myself and talk to the admin about this very offending language. Is it difficult for you to just ignore it and move on?

Some guy thought it was crazy that there's prayer groups before exams. I don't do that myself, but does it really matter to you? If 100 students in the exam room professed their hatred of religion in plain sight of everyone I wouldn't really care either. Do little things like this offend you? Do you have hatred in your heart when you see Muslims praying at a certain time of day? Just move on. You're an atheist, congratulations. Now stop being an attention *****.
I didn't specifically mention Catholics; I guess you got jealous. I'm could go into the Catholic Mafia, birth control policies out of line with modern medicine (a woman can suffer greatly if she's forced into being a human incubator) and child abuse, but I don't really care what you do with your spare time. My views previously expressed only have harsh words for those that are condescending to me because I'm not religious, and are like this every time I see them, as if I'm some lost sheep that needs to be shown the way. This is a thread about religion on the day when the most hedonism in the US is actively taking place. I assure you that nobody is reading this thread.

So many questions, so little interest.
 
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Nov 6, 2009
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I didn't specifically mention Catholics; I guess you got jealous. I'm could go into the Catholic Mafia, birth control policies out of line with modern medicine (a woman can suffer greatly if she's forced into being a human incubator) and child abuse, but I don't really care what you do with your spare time. My views previously expressed only have harsh words for those that are condescending to me because I'm not religious, and are like this every time I see them, as if I'm some lost sheep that needs to be shown the way. This is a thread about religion on the day when the most hedonism in the US is actively taking place. I assure you that nobody is reading this thread.

So many questions, so little interest.

If you bothered reading my post I mentioned that I absolutely do not give a **** about anyone bad mouthing religion at all.
 

Akali

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This might be the single dumbest post I have ever witnessed on the internet.

God damnit.

Really? That's funny because you obviously don't get the point I was making or the context in which the statement was made. Ironically, you and your post seem to be far more ignorant. You also included an immature picture of an imaginary, all-powerful god that you, presumably, think actually exists. And to top it off, the picture claims that this supposed deity is making fun of my stupidity when if you ask any Christian what Jesus is like they'll claim, mistakenly, that he is nonjudgmental and loves all of his creations.

But whatever, it's cool. I ain't even mad. Feel free to come at me again when you get a little less stupid.
 

JGimpel

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Really? That's funny because you obviously don't get the point I was making or the context in which the statement was made. Ironically, you and your post seem to be far more ignorant. You also included an immature picture of an imaginary, all-powerful god that you, presumably, think actually exists. And to top it off, the picture claims that this supposed deity is making fun of my stupidity when if you ask any Christian what Jesus is like they'll claim, mistakenly, that he is nonjudgmental and loves all of his creations.

But whatever, it's cool. I ain't even mad. Feel free to come at me again when you get a little less stupid.
I'm with you, Akali. I'm not sure who this JP2740 guy is or why he's all militant against us. He's probably pissed that his Celtics didn't make it to the Superbowl this year and is taking it out on us. I'm an atheist scientist but I'm actually for respecting religion when those that are religious respect themselves as well as others that have a different viewpoint than theirs.

In his mind, when all else fails, Reductio ad Catholism
 

MsKrispyKreme

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I'm a very religious person, but I am also a private person. It never fails that super nosey (usually female) patients want to discuss ad nauseum where I am from, what's my religion, do I have a boyfriend/am I married (and why not), do I have children, what do I think of universal healthcare, how much $ do I "make" :rolleyes:, where I purchased my lipstick, who does my hair, what my parents do, what type of car do I drive, etc.

I always just politely smile and firmly state, "I don't discuss any personal matters at work. Let's talk more about what brought you to the hospital today."
 

evilbooyaa

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I'm lucky enough to not look like I should be Christian. However, one time I stayed in a patient's room and held hands with him, his family, and the hospital chaplain as they prayed to Jesus for forgiveness. Did I recite the words myself? No. Did I out my own religious / non-religious beliefs and am therefore a horrible person? No. Did I build rapport with my patient by doing nothing on my own in his greatest time of need? Sure.

If someone wants to pray with me and is willing to lead the sermon, I will do it if I have the time. Listening to religious statements doesn't necessarily make you religious. I imagine the preaching of good values isn't something that most people would be against hearing.

However, a lot of negativity in this thread seems like 1) Athiests that don't know how to deflect and get angry when they're asked about their religion and 2) Christians who are pissed of at athiests.

Idk, man. Probably a problem more in the South, so I probably don't have the best handle of what all this means.
 

link2swim06

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I'm lucky enough to not look like I should be Christian. However, one time I stayed in a patient's room and held hands with him, his family, and the hospital chaplain as they prayed to Jesus for forgiveness. Did I recite the words myself? No. Did I out my own religious / non-religious beliefs and am therefore a horrible person? No. Did I build rapport with my patient by doing nothing on my own in his greatest time of need? Sure.

If someone wants to pray with me and is willing to lead the sermon, I will do it if I have the time. Listening to religious statements doesn't necessarily make you religious. I imagine the preaching of good values isn't something that most people would be against hearing.

However, a lot of negativity in this thread seems like 1) Athiests that don't know how to deflect and get angry when they're asked about their religion and 2) Christians who are pissed of at athiests.

Idk, man. Probably a problem more in the South, so I probably don't have the best handle of what all this means.

I think a lot of people in this thread aren't christian nor athiest.

Being agnostic is the only thing that make sense to me. It seems impossible to know one way or the other.
 
Nov 16, 2012
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I think a lot of people in this thread aren't christian nor athiest.

Being agnostic is the only thing that make sense to me. It seems impossible to know one way or the other.

The problem with comparing the atheist and theist position as opposites is that they're not. The Muslims, the Christians, the Jews, etc have to labor under the claims of exclusivity with respect to each other with respect to historical information with respect to science and on and on. Atheists just have to claim what they're saying is bullsh!t. They don't have to claim the primacy of any one belief.

So that, I can be atheist with regards to benign religious claims, antitheist with regards to violent apocalyptic ones, and agnostic with regards to my own understanding of the afterlife and other similar ideas.

I've heard preachers rambling out racist ahistorical nonsense on the radio from night nurses in the hospital I work at. That's acceptable. My deference of being asked my religious belief considered suspect and damaging to patient relations.

Perhaps in some liberal areas some degree of opposites might exist, But what you will never hear the theists address is the difference between--"what you're saying is nonsense"
vs "if you don't believe what I believe you're going to burn for an eternity on a lake of fire."

Again these positions are not opposite. And I submit that one is far more arrogant than the other, and it high time that one also ceases its reign as the more socially acceptable of the two.

I may be agnostic personally. But will not accept that because I defer engagement of specific religious beliefs that I am simultaneously doomed to burn AND am also not culturally enlightened.
 

Work

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There are a lot of good points being made in this thread (and some knee-jerk bad ones). I appreciate the insight regardless. Someone above said something like, "Stop being a wuss," and the truth is, although it is pretty frustrating to know that some patient relationships will be judged based on your religious views, that's just how it is and probably how it will be in our lifetimes.

I am an agnostic atheist myself, and in my defense, I have prayed with patients and have stayed honest with them in regards to my beliefs, regardless of the consequences thereafter, but I started to doubt myself after a while, wondering if adhering to my own code of ethics was particularly necessary in this line of work. I think it is.

I don't think it's particularly about being offended when it comes to attendings preaching their religion to the class. It's unprofessional. I would have had the same complaints if it were any other personal views, religious or not. An attending mouthing off about the ignorance of Christianity and the legitimacy of atheism in front of a class would still be unprofessional in my opinion, even if it were in line with my views. My comment about group prayers was unjustified though, I admit. It gets frustrating sometimes, but I have to get over it - and over myself. Thanks, y'all.
 
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I always skirt the question and say I was raised baptist. If it makes the relationship better I honestly don't care if they think I'm christian.
 
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Heard an elderly patient ask this of another student the other day. She said "Tell me are you a Christian child?"And he said "Maaaaaa'aaaaaaaaaaaam I am tonight." Then just like people suggested, he distracted from the issue by talking about his blue suede shoes. Handled it pretty well.
 

dxu

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Working in EMS and in the ED has provided many opportunities to pray with patients. I understand why many of these patients want to pray and find that most of the patients who ask for this are really very sick. Generally, patients with dental pain who just cannot get in to see their dentist rarely ask for laying of the hands (unless those hands are covered in topical percocet and capable of reaching a cab slip).

So when asked, I politely decline but offer to speak with one of the many religious nurses or other staff members in my facility and have them come in and pray with them. So far, I have had great luck with this technique.
 

MalachiConstant

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Ugh....I'm on a palliative care rotation, and had to spend half the day today with a chaplain.

I asked the medical director who's in charge of the rotation what to expect. She starts telling me stories about how great the guy is, and how he finds ways to help regardless of your religion...whether it be catholic, methodist, baptist....LOL. She then somehow segues into different folks that come through the hospice center. 99% Christian, but they did have a native american once and she recalls maybe 2 atheists, then proceeds to tell me about how horrible and meaningless and tortured the atheists deaths were. I said, "yeah, I could imagine how horrible it would be if you were in pain and vulnerable and in need of comfort and were surrounded by people who didn't understand you and just wanted to elicit some sort of deathbed conversion." That seemed to end the conversation.

So I venture out with the chaplain to visit a patient. Lo and behold, it is the patient and wife with whom I had my first difficult religious encounter in the hospital a while back. Needless to say, spending 2 hours trapped in a house with a chaplain, and 2 devout catholics, one of whom is now demented and asks repeatedly what church I go to was exhausting. So much deflecting I felt like I was in the matrix.

I need a drink. Some good may come from the ordeal though, as I think I'm going to volunteer my services to help counsel the secular patients through end of life issues, if the hospice center will oblige.
 
Sep 16, 2011
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I go to school in a pretty conservative region, and to put it simply, I see a lot of patients that are very eager to share their beliefs. The problem is that I try to be very honest with patients, and they tend to find out that I am not very religious. As soon as they start talking about their beliefs, I feel that the question "Are you also a believer?" becomes unavoidable. The problem is this, and it never fails: I feel that there is a very perceivable shift in the patient encounter soon after, and either they offer to pray for me or they close off and don't appear as enthusiastic to talk to me or provide me any more relevant history unless I specifically ask.

My question is: is it considered unethical to perhaps exaggerate my religious views in order to establish a better rapport with a patient? I have tried to be completely honest with patients, and it hasn't been too bad but I feel maybe this is a non-issue and that the potential to have patients trust you more supersedes the need for you to be completely honest about something as trivial [to medicine] as religion.
I've been dealing with psychotic, religiously preoccupied psych patients for many years. When they go off on their manic proselytizing rants, or demand to know my religious beliefs for the sake of "saving" my soul, I always respond exactly the same way in order to prevent an irrational (and potentially explosive) argument:

"You have spent a great deal of time thinking about this, and I can see that it is very important to you. Thank you for sharing with me. But now we have to move on, because there are other patients here who also need my help..."

It works almost every time.
 
Mar 4, 2013
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I really don't have a problem with this. Religion and faith are important parts of American life.

I think good doctors should be able to discuss spirituality and religion with their patients. Maybe this means going to church once in a while.

I agree that as physician we do need to be able to talk about matters of religion and faith. JACHO, an accrediting body, actually mandates spiritual assessments to be done so the topic of religion and faith is not at all inappropriate to discuss. There are times when it is pertinent to health. Here are some questions they suggest asking:


The AAFP also had an article that addresses this that is worth reading:
Saguil A, Phelps K, The Spiritual Assessment. American Family Physician, September 15 2012 Vol. 86 No. 6

Just my two cents.
 
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