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The role of religion in the history of medicine

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The role of religion in the history of medicine Throughout the history of human health, religion has had both beneficial and detrimental effects. The very first historic discoveries were found in the pre-historic time. It is very difficult to understand pre-historic mans view on medicine, for they had no form of writing, thus no written records. One of the main findings are of "trephined" skulls. The process of trephining is when one cuts a large hole in the back of the skull. Often, skulls are found with the bone at the edge having grown back a little where it was cut. This proves that some victims of trephining lived for many years after the operation. The state of medicine during the Middle Ages was dire. Then, as in much of history, the Church played a major role in providing health care. ...read more.


The other important part of the Egyptians was that they were the first to have specialized professions, such as doctors. The Greeks failed to advance very far medically, due to their religious beliefs, meaning that during their time, religion had a detrimental effect on the advance of medicine. However, they did introduce "Asclepions", which, in essence, were the first hospitals. The Hippocrates were a major factor in the advance of medicine, producing such things as the Hippocratic Oath. However, they also produced other nonsense such as the four humours. An important philosiphor of the time, Hippocrates, did not want doctors to rely on a theory of the cause of disease that could be applied to every case, nor to depend on religious practices. ...read more.


In this way, religion has had a beneficial factor on the advance of medicine. On the other hand, some traditions and religions have rather controversial beliefs that limit the medical interventions that they are willing to accept. Christian Scientists, for example, reject the use of medicine, trusting instead in prayer to invoke healing on the patient. Jehovah's Witnesses will not accept blood transfusions. Physicians sometimes seek court orders allowing treatment in such cases, especially if the life of a child is at risk because of the beliefs of the parents. Court orders are an unnecessary effort, and it's things like these that have had a detrimental effect on the advance of religion. In conclusion, no particular religion has had an overall positive or negative effect on human health, but all religions have played their part in being both beneficial and detrimental to the advance of medicine. Miles Murdoch 11/10/09 Miles Murdoch 11/10/09 ...read more.

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