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:

Deliver us from straw men

I found this Endpiece (1) belatedly while going through 2 months'
back copies of the BMJ, put aside during a busy apple season and was
surprised by it, hence the less than rapid timing of this response.

Imre Loefler labels (or is that libels?) a whole people group
(Christian Fundamentalists) as evil and sinister and urges BMJ readers to
vigorously resist them. Loefler asserts that these Evil ones are
effectively torturing terminally ill patients by denying them pain relief
on their dying beds so that their souls will be purified by pain,
according to Loefler's version of the bogey Fundamentalist’s belief. No
instance, quote or other supporting evidence is offered to support this

Any such Fundamentalists would be acting unbiblically, since the
Bible says

“Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those in
bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember
their misery no more.’ (2)

I am sure that Dame Cicely Saunders would have had something to say
about this perverted belief (should anyone claiming to be a follower of
Jesus be shown to hold it), inspired as she was by her Christian faith and
compassion to start the hospice movement.

A more positive, and evidence based, view of Bible believing
Christians in medicine is found 5 pages earlier in the inspiring obituary
of John Anderson, who established a 100 bed eye hospital in Afghanistan
which survived 4 decades of war, spending 30 years alleviating the
suffering of poor people in far off lands. (3). We read that Anderson at
16 ‘began dedicating a part of every day to prayer and reading the bible,
a habit he continued for the rest of his life’.

It sounds suspiciously to me that Anderson was a Christian

(1) Loefler, Imre, Soundings ‘Deliver us from evil’, BMJ volume 333
12 August 2006 p359

(2) Bible, Revised Standard Version, Book of Proverbs, chapter 31
verses 6-7

(3) Obituary of John Anderson, BMJ volume 333 12 August 2006, p 355

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 November 2006
Stephen F Hayes
Freelance GP, GPwSI dermatology, dermatology educator, apple grower
Bitterne walk in centre, Southampton