Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Reviews Soundings

Deliver us from evil

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 10 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:359

Rapid Response:

Bad theology

Better to go back to the fundamentals of the Christian faith than to
rely on the Christian "fundamentalists" that Imre Loefler cites. The
gospel accounts of Jesus record him as being highly critical of the
religious people of his day: they were careful to give a tenth of every
herb in their garden, but neglected the weightier matters of the law, like
justice and mercy. He accused them of shutting the door of the kingdom of
heaven in people's faces. they do not enter themselves, he said, but stop
others entering. They also impose heavy burdens on others, but do not lift
a finger to help them.

It was Jesus who told the story of the Good Samaritan, who supplied
analgesics to a victim of violence whom religious people had ignored,
fearing contamination. He also said that the victims of a disaster where a
tower collapsed were no more wicked than the rest of the population.

I could be wrong (not something US Christian fundamentalists often
say) but these gospel stories seem to put Jesus on the side of the doctors
and nurses administering analgesics and sedatives.

In religion as in history, primary sources are to be preferred to
subsequent interpretations - including this one.

Competing interests:
Anglican priest

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 August 2006
Bryan G Vernon
Lecturer in Health Care Ethics
Newcastle Medical School, NE2 4HH