Christianity and Modern Medicine

Much of modern medicine can be traced back to devout Christians:

That modern science, including modern medicine, in large measure grew out of the Judeo-Christian worldview has been documented by many experts. As to science in general, the words of Rodney Stark are worth recalling: “Science was not the work of Western secularists or even deists; it was entirely the work of devout believers in an active, conscious, creator God.”

Or as John Lennox wrote: “Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday, Babbage, Mendal, Pasteur, Kelvin, and Clerk-Maxwell were all theists, most of them Christians. Their belief in God, far from being a hindrance to their science, was often the main inspiration for it.”

People like Alfred North Whitehead and Robert Oppenheimer – neither of them Christian – have emphasized the importance of  the Christian worldview in the development of modern science. So it should be no surprise that in the area of medicine, Christians have tended to lead the way as well. Here are just a few names that can be mentioned:

Many very important discoveries in many medical fields were made by people who held a Christian commitment and there is not room to mention them all here: William Harvey (circulation), Jan Swammerdam (lymph vessels and red cells) and Niels Stensen (fibrils in muscle contraction) were all people of faith, while Albrecht von Haller, widely regarded as the founder of modern physiology and author of the first physiology textbook, was a devout believer; Abbe Spallanzani (digestion, reproductive physiology), Stephen Hales (haemostatics, urinary calculi and artificial ventilation), Marshall Hall (reflex nerve action) and Michael Foster (heart muscle contraction and founder of Journal of Physiology) were just some among many others.

 

The same can be said of the advance of surgical techniques and practice. Ambroise Pare abandoned the horrific use of the cautery to treat wounds and made many significant surgical discoveries and improvements. The Catholic Louis Pasteur’s discovery of germs was a turning point in the understanding of infection. Lister (a Quaker) was the first to apply his discoveries to surgery, changing surgical practice forever. Davy and Faraday, who discovered and pioneered the use of anaesthesia in surgery, were well known for their Christian faith, and the obstetrician James Simpson, a very humble believer, was the first to use ether and chloroform in midwifery. James Syme, an excellent pioneer Episcopalian surgeon, was among the first to use anaesthesia and aseptic techniques together. William Halsted of Johns Hopkins pioneered many new operations and introduced many more aseptic practices (eg rubber gloves), while William Keen, a Baptist, was the first to successfully operate on a brain tumour. www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/content/?context=article&id=827

One also thinks of things like modern nursing, and famous names such as Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. Numerous books could be appealed to here which tell this story more fully. Let me mention just one book that is worth reading in this regard.

Consider Physicians, Plagues and Progress: The History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics by English historian Allan Chapman (Lion, 2016). In some 500 pages and in great detail, he offers us a fascinating tour of how medicine has developed, and the Christian connection to it.

He of course acknowledges other foundation stones, but Christianity did have a major role to play: “If Greek independence and intellectual curiosity supplied one foundation for a specifically Western style of medicine, I would argue that the Judeo-Christian religion supplied another.”

There is plenty one could share from this book but let me focus on just one aspect. Given all the controversy today over things like vaccines, let me look just a bit at some of the figures – including devout Christians – who were involved in this from early on.

One of the key players was the devout English physician Edward Jenner (1749-1823). He was involved in creating the world’s first vaccine, the smallpox vaccine. It “caused a sensation. Here was a simple, cheap, quick method, using easily accessible ingredients, that had the power of conferring lifelong immunity against one of the most feared scourges of the age.”

Chapman continues:

Vaccination, however, was not a cure for active cases of smallpox, but a preventative, or “blocker”, which took away the patient’s susceptibility to the disease. Living as he did in that pre-bacterial and pre-viral age, Jenner had no idea of the physiological mechanism behind the disease: the virus Variola major. Mercifully, since 16 October 1975, not a single smallpox case has been reported worldwide; a true triumph of medical science, and humanitarian zeal.

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Physicians, Plagues and Progress: The History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics by Array Amazon logo

Consider two other key players: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and Robert Koch (1843-1910). Says Chapman:

In the 1870s, Pasteur began to work towards preventing diseases such as chicken cholera in birds, anthrax in farm animals, and rabies in dogs and humans, by developing the immunological principles set out by Edward Jenner and others with regard to smallpox. . . . Pasteur named his new weakened-strain drugs vaccines, in honour of Edward Jenner’s vaccination method of 1796.

 

Louis Pasteur had demonstrated beyond doubt that many diseases were transmitted by bacteria and could be prevented from becoming active by pasteurization techniques, or by vaccines, but it was his younger German contemporary Robert Koch who supplied the crucial link between specific strains of bacteria as seen through the microscope and specific diseases, such as anthrax, cholera, and tuberculosis.

He continues: In 1882 “Koch had identified the cause of that great scourge, tuberculosis, the slow-growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This piece of research would win him an early Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1905, though an effective cure would have to wait the development of the first antibiotics in the late 1940s.”

Some closing thoughts

I am not a doctor, a medical expert, a scientist, nor a historian of science and medicine. Like most people, I have to rely on others – on various experts in the relevant fields. So when it comes to controversial issues in science and medicine, I have to read and study as best I can, trying to form my own views on certain topics.

The contentious issue of vaccinations is clearly one such topic. I make no claim to being any sort of expert on anything related to this. I can only draw upon what others have said, try to weigh up the evidence, and proceed from there. I have written a few articles before on this matter. See here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/14/vaccinations-the-public-good-and-big-brother/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/08/20/on-morrisons-mandatory-vaccines/

As is often the case, there tends to be various extremes that we ought to avoid. For example, there are some folks – Christians included – who really believe that all vaccines are evil, are dangerous, and/or are part of a malicious cabal of terrible plotters who are seeking to destroy the world.

But then there are those at the other extreme who seem to think all vaccines are only always good, safe and necessary. They get all bent out of shape when legitimate questions are asked, or valid objections are raised. They often lump all these sensible people in the middle together with anti-vaxxers, seeing them all as “conspiracy theorists,” nutjobs and the like.

Well, I am not part of either extreme. I think there is a place for vaccines, but there is also a place to ask hard questions – especially of some of the rushed-through vaccines that are now being pushed for COVID. So I will keep being sensibly cautious here, and not just run with the current narrative.

We need to get out of our heads any ideas that everything having to do with vaccinations is somehow the work of the devil, and something no believer could ever countenance. We should be thankful that God’s people were at the forefront of modern medicine, and helped us stem the tide of various infectious diseases.

But to state that much of the early work in immunisation and vaccination was basically medically and scientifically sound, and often undertaken by committed Christians, does not mean that this is always still the case today. Many scientists and medical experts and those in the pharmaceutical industry may be doing their best, and many may well have the desire to see real medical breakthroughs resulting in less disease and death.

But of course not everyone and everything is so pure in motivation or intent. There is such a thing as Big Pharma, and there are individuals and groups who are mainly in it for the money. And there may well be some truth to the charge that some at least of these folks like to have a never-ending supply of sick people and sicknesses so they can keep rolling out their products – at a cost – be it various medicines or vaccines or what have you.

Just as it is foolish and reckless to think that everyone involved in these areas is an evil and profit-hungry rogue, so it is silly to suggest that just because one dons a lab coat that they are working from pure motives and seeking only the best for others, with no thought of pecuniary reward or other baser motivations. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2004/08/22/a-review-of-science-money-and-politics-political-triumph-and-ethical-erosion-by-daniel-greenberg/

As all Christians should understand, everything in this fallen world is a mix. We have good, moral and well-meaning scientists, doctors and those in various big businesses. And there are also some who are greedy, wicked, looking for a quick buck, and reckless when it comes to the welfare of others. That is to be expected.

So there most certainly is a place for some healthy scepticism, for asking hard questions, and for not just running with everything the government or the “experts” are telling us, be they ScoMo and the state medical chiefs, or Gates and Fauci.

Very real negative medical complications – including death – from these new vaccines are valid concerns, and citizens have every right to proceed slowly here, seeking the best scientific and medical advice, and not being rushed or forced into receiving things that may well require longer-term testing and analysis.

And given that ominous things like mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports are now very real possibilities indeed, we all must be very cautious, and keep asking hard questions and sounding the alarm when needed. I will certainly keep doing that. You should too.

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10 Replies to “Christianity and Modern Medicine”

  1. Balanced article. For sure no one should be forced.

    If you have time for any further reading this site is super helpful. A Christian epidemiologist, not working for the government. She explains science really well. https://emily-smith.net/covid-19-posts/?fbclid=IwAR0WuDIEXcZs837GhPc0SPhWWJcX_VhS-l-_cez5E2FPisgvhyhm6CUxT8I
    If that doesn’t work she is on facebook – Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist. or a non-Christian one https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/
    Also, ‘Dear Pandemic’. findeable on facebook. For us non-sciencey, or in my case just learning a bit of science, they are very helpful.

  2. I not against vaccines as some do prevent horrible diseases but others it is only if you are a senior or elderly that you need them and some don’t seem necessary if you aren’t doing something risky. I really don’t like it though when the government forces them on you. If they are effective let them speak for themselves. if we had a honest media and less begging for nanny to step in to our lives because we just don’t want to make decisions for ourselves maybe people would be informed better and could make the right decisions. Christians advanced medicine and science but both are increasingly being run by none Christians same with pharmaceuticals. Whatever Christians create for good satan comes and ruins.

  3. A few sites for study:
    SummaryA brief summary of essential information about the COVID-19 vaccines | Opinion | Lifesitenews
    Deaths and injuriesAnd list of deaths and injuries from covid ‘vaccine’. Go to vernoncoleman.com/press on ‘health’ button on the side bar and check link at top of page
    Medical/Research OpinionsAsk The Experts : Covid19 Vaccines (brandnewtube.com) part 1
    ASK THE EXPERTS II | Oracle Films | CoviLeaks | 2021 BBC Panorama Response (brandnewtube.com) part 2
    Legal IssuesState Power, Control and COVID-19 – Quadrant Online Augusto Zimmerman First They Came for Victorians – Quadrant Online Augusto Zimmerman
    WHOWHO insider blows whistle on Gates and GAVI global health dictatorship | Opinion | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)
    ChurchKeith Malcomson – Irish pastor – THE GREAT RESET by Keith Malcomson – Limerick City Churchhttps://keithmalcomson.weebly.com/sermons1.html

  4. Dear Bill,

    I won’t be going anywhere near these COVID treatments that are in fact not Vaccines.

    The death toll from these vaccinations in Israel (according to a recent report) has now exceeded the COVID monthly death rate prior to the mass Pfizer Vaccinations in Israel . ISRAEL has vaccinated over 4 million people. Key points –
    1) The virus source in China, funding and involvement of US citizens in the development of original COVID virus remains unknown.
    2) Bill and Melinda gates (known supporters of Population control) have deep tentacles in WHO and massive Investments in Vaccines. Their vax investments have paid off handsomely.
    3) the demonisation of alternative treatments is highly organised funded and widespread. (Refer Craig Kelly’s experience),
    4) Vax suppliers provide ZERO Liability and
    5) The world wide death toll from all Covid Vaccines now exceeds 7,000 souls, and continues to climb.

    All Christians need to seek the Lord and not be manipulated by the MSM, the AUSTRALIAN Govt, a gung-ho PM and foolish Christians such as Franklin Graham who are profoundly ignorant of the short and medium term dangers of these vaccines.

    I make decisions based on the LORD’s guidance and specialists who actually are deeply concerned about these poorly tested and potentially dangerous vaccines. See Below.
    “Although the long-term effects of the injections are unknown, Dr. Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., has made a dire forecast. She is the Director of the lab of Antiviral Drug Mechanisms at the National Cancer Institute and is renowned for her groundbreaking research in molecular biology and virology. Her doctoral thesis revolutionized the treatment of HIV/AIDS. She has stated:

    “Most people don’t realize the vaccines do not prevent infection. You’re injecting the blueprint of the virus and letting a compromised system try to deal with it. And worse, it doesn’t go in the cells that a natural infection would, that have lock and key receptors, gatekeepers, so that only certain cells can be infected, like the upper respiratory tract for a coronavirus.”

    “Now you’re making it in a nanoparticle which means it can go in every cell without that receptor. So, can you imagine the damage of bypassing God’s natural immunity and allowing the blueprint for coronavirus that also has components of HIV in some strains, meaning you can infect your white blood cells. So now you’re going to inject an agent into every cell of the body. I just can’t even imagine a recipe for anything other than what I would consider mass murder on a scale where many people will die in America from the vaccine. The numbers from the XMRV’s (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and the vaccine injuries for the (past) 40 years support that.”

    So Dr. Mikovits did not just randomly come up with her forecast, but based it upon specific research findings. She described it as “mass murder” which it certainly would be if her forecast is anywhere close to accurate.

    Her warning that these injections can cause death is confirmed by
    Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, an award winning researcher and former head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene in Germany and was a professor of virology and microbiology for 30 years in Germany. In the statement shown below, he warns that by taking these injections, killer lymphocytes already present in our body will cause an auto-immune attack with terrible consequences for our health and even death. Dr. Bhakdi made this statement:

    “The big, big danger about this vaccine is you are shooting the gene of the virus into your body. It is going to go through the body and go to entering cells that you don’t know. These cells are going to start making, not the whole virus, but virus protein, and these cells are going to put the waste of that spike protein in front of their cells. And the killer lymphocytes will see the waste, and, you know, anyone who does not understand there is going to be an autoimmune attack because the killer lymphocytes are already there. It is with this that I will say, “Bye bye,” (death) because you don’t realize what you are going to do. You are going to plant the seed of autoimmune reactions. And I tell you, don’t do this.”

    Dr. Sherri Tenpenny is board certified in emergency medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine and author of several books on the impact of vaccines. When she was specifically asked about the forecast from Dr. Mikovits, she stated,

    “If they don’t die, they’re going to be seriously injured. There are some things in life that are worse than death, you know, having to live with chronic inflammatory drug induced hepatitis, you know, having chronic seizure disorders, having debilitating autoimmune diseases. Some people are so sick it would be merciful if they died.”

    None of these medical specialists ARE WIDELY reported in the Australian Media. In fact I have seen a ABC article attacking Dr. Judy Mikovits, A short term 4 -6 month drop in COVID Infections means nothing. Australians should look at a 2-3 year horizon.

    So the lesson is BEWARE, QUESTION what you hear. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

    Happy Easter to all
    Phil

  5. What is interesting with the Corona 19 virus is that the current innoculation injections apparently have very high specificity, meaning it is easier for mutant variants to “escape” the immune response. Good news if you want to make vast amounts of money from future inoculations and, I understand, we appear to already see evidence of these escapes in places like Kent, UK and Michigan, US.

    Apparently, however, when the body comes up with its own, internally generated immune response, the immunity is broad spectrum. So not only do our bodies have the potential to come up with a means of generating an excellent immune response, which is why so few, proportionately, of people who contract the virus die from it, that immune response is, apparently, more robust than the ones currently being generated by the vaccines.

    You have got to love the genius of God.

  6. Thank you Philip for posting the above information as I totally agree with you.
    Over an extended period of time I have watched and read much of the information presented and am alarmed that so few are aware what is being deliberately inflicted on the global population.
    And dare I say this includes many a Christian!

  7. Dear Bill, this article will resonate with all of us from one side or the other, or perhaps even fence sitters.
    The Bible says All will be revealed, the information Is out there already, from your posts there are readers of your blog that have found the truth and there are set free.
    Sadly few are prepared to search – I guess it’s like reading the Scriptures, how many do that? Then add the non- believers and most of the population don’t even realise they are under attack. They believe the MSM, lemmings, or as The Bible puts it ‘lambs to the slaughter’.
    Thank God for your blog and not only Your shared wisdom, but the wisdom of your readers.
    God Bless you Bill,
    Mark Bryant

  8. Such a balanced article Bill and one that is so needed during these times. Yes we are to avoid extremes but not compromise our freedoms of choice. I am not an anti-vaxer by any means, but this Covid V has divided many families. My dear daughter that works in NSW health has taken the Pfizer V and I was totally shocked when she informed me. We had conversations about it and she knows about my concerns. Thankfully she had no reactions at all, but I am concerned about the long term effects, since it is still in the experimental phase and the adverse effects are quite evident..
    I am praying for her and the family as my brothers are also going to take it. So I am definitely the “Conspiracy Theorist” in my family.

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