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Medicine and Your World View

We are coming near the end of our discussion of Timothy Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor (2012).  Tonight’s session I centered on how to apply our faith to our work in medicine. We started tonight’s discussion with clarifying how a person’s world view affects how they see the world and how they interact with it. Your world view will affect every aspect of life including how and why you do your work.

Keller explains that a “world view” is established by determining what you believe the world ought to be like, attributing a reason for why it is not that way (what is the problem) and deciding what the solution to the problem is.  We discussed a variety world views that have been proposed throughout the centuries. Plato believed the problem was our physical weakness and we needed to overcome it by being more philosophic, Marx believed the problem was the unjust economic system and the answer was socialism, Satre believed there were no objective values so we can not impinge on anyone’s right to do anything. Hitler’s world view revolved around the idea that the problem was lack of Aryan supremacy and his solution was the Holocaust and world domination. All of these world views have one thing in common. They take some part of God’s creation (which we know was all originally good) and point at it and say that is the problem.  The Biblical World view is different. It says the world was created as good, the problem is that sin has entered the world and corrupted it and the solution is God’s grace and salvation gained for us through Jesus. The cure is the relationship we need to establish with Our Lord. The Biblical view is relational and does not blame some aspect of God’s creation as evil.

This explanation/discussion led us to spend time discussing what factors in the practice of medicine make it difficult to work as Christians in this field? What are the main temptations and tests?  To this there were a variety of items brought forth and discussed. Among them were: 1) The risk of loosing your identity by placing so much emphasis on your career and patients. 2) The long hours can enslave you and keep you from pursuing your other duties as spouse and parent. 3)The frequent idolization we get from patients can lead to a feeling of superiority and we get less humble. 4) A tendency to take more credit for what is transpiring and failing to acknowledge God’s hand in all of this. 5) The tendency of the culture to see science and religion as totally separate can inhibit our ability to acknowledge our faith to our patients and cause us to not take the opportunities we should to share the Gospel. 6) The tendency toward specialization in medicine can drive us away from seeing the patient as a whole person and trying to treat them as such.

We finished our discussion by discussing the habits we need to hold onto as Christian Physicians to help us continue to bring God into our work lives. Among these are praying for and with our patients, willingness to share Christ’s message when the opportunity arises, keeping an attitude of service as the primary motivator, having a generous heart with our time and finances, and meeting regularly with other physicians to pray and draw close to God together

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