Modern medicine suffers from the same crippling ideology as modern Christianity. In both, the obsession with resisting evil, of rallying against the bad to protect the good, prevents them from seeing the problems of man’s physical health and his spiritual nature clearly.
Christianity veered from the template established by Jesus Christ almost as soon as it began. To my mind, His injunction that mankind should “resist not evil” is the second most important of His ministry. Heaven and earth can no more be unified through resistance to evil than it can be by subduing the devil, once and for all. His central and most important message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, was a call to rethink the approach man had long taken: that of resisting evil to restore heaven on earth.
Whether modern medicine was helped or hindered by Christian thinkers is debatable. Many would argue that the system of medicine and the science which undergirds it advanced despite the mystical and stifling beliefs of Christianity. Whoever wins that argument will have his reward, but I cannot help but note an intriguing correlation between modern science and modern Christianity: modern medicine has evolved to become as obsessed with resisting evil as the Christian church.
I doubt very much it was all Pasteur’s fault, as this tendency was present in medicine long before his time. The germ theory of disease, however, does encapsulate the approach neatly. We’ve spent an enormous amount of time, money and effort fighting germs, even though we now that not all germs are bad.
In fact, studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of germs and bacteria are good for us, if not necessary to life! Good health is apparently as dependent upon a balanced microbiome as it is any other factor (e.g diet, exercise, hydration, etc.). Knowing this, wouldn’t it make sense that you should be more likely to receive a prescription for some missing bacteria or other microorganism than you would for the magic bullet of medicine – antibiotics – which mount an indiscriminate assault on your microbiome?
Doctors and priests have earnestly fought the “good” fight for centuries. They have resisted evil in its various forms, corporeal and spiritual, in an attempt to establish a healthier world. While I certainly do not question or fault their intentions or sincerity, I am compelled to raise the question: is this approach getting us anywhere useful?