Christianity and medicine – how do we fit?

There is an awkwardness, like seeing two boyfriends at the dance, when talking about medical treatment along with one’s Christian “treatment” toward health. I’ve heard in public about a Christian depression recovery program, “Daniel and Revelation will help heal your depression because for every negative statement, there is an admonition!” As a strong believer in God who is a better Psychiatrist than I am, I still feel an awkwardness with this approach. Maybe the people in these circles are guarded against the medical community disregarding the power of God. Maybe vice versa. A dear Jewish colleague of mine disclosed his regrets about developing many years ago in a culture of medicine in which he perceived he would be discriminated against if he practiced with faith. It was much stronger in the 60’s. Now it’s almost posh to say otherwise and he feels a bit robbed of experience. 

In church today the man over there said, “Evil causes stress.”  It’s hard for me to take that. My mind envisions a beaker over a flame burning off everything else that intersects in the differential, and nothing but evil is left, like a black stain. 

Question: Christianity and Medicine, how do we go together? Please answer? It helps to be a friend to Me. 

12 thoughts on “Christianity and medicine – how do we fit?

  1. Dr. Sana, thank you for the post. As a lesbian since birth (1963) way before it was posh…Mary Oliver speaks to me/nature is good/ ‘god’. Animals, particularly dogs, in my experience exemplify the obvious – love begets love. And perhaps nature is nurture. Best, Kelly & Maple
    wagging tails for all beings
    namaste

    • way before it was posh… lol. Love it Kelly. Before rainbows meant more than pots of gold? smile.
      I love the dog example. I am amazed how Timothy in our community just seems to make everyone forget about the barriers that separate one person from another, they almost forget themselves. They think outside of themselves. They become community, just like that.
      Sometimes I think, may I be more like Timothy. Too funny.
      Keep on, Kelly!

  2. In AA God became the more generic term “your higher power” and AA remained effective.
    Call it what you want but the methods for recovery are the same.

    As far as I know science has neither proved or disproved God.

    The concept of ” God” cleans up some of the scary aspects we must endure as humans so everyone has their own take on it.

    Do you sell God to patients? No.

    If it walks like Christian and talks like a Christian…if it doesn’t call it something else and go with that.

    Someone, wiser than I, once told old me that my understand of God is a result of what brain power God gave me, or something like that.

    Stay away from beakers for awhile.

    Richard

  3. I don’t have any high degree but I know and believe that only God can truly heal hurts in people’s lives. Jesus is the only perfect example for us. I’ve seen Dr Phil episodes (by no means am I a regular viewer) but it seemed odd to me that he directs people to trust him. It seems that people do want someone they can confide in and someone who will give them the answers on how to make things better in their life. I believe God understands that need and is telling us to trust Him. He’s given his Word (the Bible) with answers and directions on how to live to be happy and healthy. He is a loving God that wants only the best for us but we only understand what that is if we study His Word. Many times the direction is contrary to our current culture view that everyone can find solutions within themselves. I believe that is a deception of the devil to misrepresent God.

    • Thank you Tammy! That is a tough one for many. Sometimes I’ve been caught in the grasp of an anxious patient, “Help me doctor! Will you help me?” and it is heartbreaking. They literally grasp me. I am relieved that God is a better psychiatrist than I am, every time! 🙂

  4. Hi Dr. Q. I loved your analogy of the “two boyfriends at a dance” and it is an awkward mix at times. Being a clinician and a firm believer also, I am able to separate the two. However, sometimes having faith during a crisis is significant to the healing process…along with the medical help. But I have heard people at times see mental illness as an “evil spell” or something spawn of the devil and that of course is so Victorian and so far from the truth. Unnecessary pejorative language can do so much harm to someone already suffering from their mental illness. We fortunately have so many paths to healing today and the combination of all of them are usually the best. Marsha

    • Hello Marsha! Thank you. You have a wonderful way of offering reflection. I can never see myself.
      Your reference to culture and time, Victorian, rocks. As does the reminder of the multiple paradigms of treatment. Thank you again. Keep on!

  5. I am not an expert. However, I do suffer from mental illness and I am very religious. I believe that Heavenly Father gave us medicine to help us. I believe in taking medication. I also believe that if less drastic measures work, that is a blessing. I will have to take medication for the rest of my life. I used to struggle with that, but now, seeing the difference in my life, I know it is for the best, and I believe that God has placed the knowledge here so that we can still live meaningful and full lives. Look at all the amazing things that research has brought us in the past 100 years. We used to commit everyone with mental illness to the hospital, we used to not be able to save people who had heart attacks, or strokes, or diabetes. I have a son with type 1 diabetes and I would never tell him that prayers would heal him and he needs to stop taking his meds. I believe prayers can help us, they can even heal us, but sometimes the answers to healing are to take the meds that are needed. I remember an amazing talk I heard a few years ago that said in America we are allowed to be sick from the neck down. We can have any number of diseases and their symptoms, but when our brains are sick, it is called mental illness and there are too many people who will try and tell you, if you just had more faith… If you just prayed more, or read more scriptures… It is like there is something faulty with me and I must deserve this more than someone else with heart disease, or kidney disease. The fact is, mental illness is something I don’t have any control over. It is a part of my life whether I pray or not. I believe God knew that I would have these problems and that I am here today because I need the help that I can get from modern medicine. Maybe, instead of pointing fingers, we ought to be more willing to embrace each other with all of our illnesses and problems and not worry so much about where they came from.

    • Patty! Hey! Thanks for commenting. Great to “see” you. Your comment helps me process. I’m liking your juxtaposition with DM and mental illness. I’m hearing idea of implied inevitability of some illnesses.
      “Instead of pointing fingers, we ought to be more willing to embrace each other” – liking it. Reminds me of a prayer to open my awareness of how I am being loved rather than changing how others love me.
      Keep on!

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