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In the Middle Ages how did religion both Help and Hinder medicine ?

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Introduction

In the Middle Ages how did religion both Help and Hinder medicine ? During the middle ages religion was extremely important to almost everyone. At that time it was Christianity that people followed. They were greatly influenced by the Christian Church. People would go to church and listen to the Priest read from the bible. The priest would be the only one who could read and write in the Church, apart from the people higher than him (bishops knights) etc. So people enjoyed listening to him read from the bible and the people there wouldn't have known whether it was the truth or not, so they had to take his word for it. In my essay I will be explaining how religion both helped and hindered the development of medicine. I will then sum up the points I have made with a conclusion, where I will say whether it helped more than it hindered or hindered more than it helped. My prediction now is that it was a hinder more than a help. I think this using what I have been studying over the past few lessons and the notes I have made from websites and books. As I mentioned before the Christian Church influenced people, especially Christians. The bible, Priest and higher people of the church taught it was important to help the sick and poor. ...read more.

Middle

This is why medicine became a total hinder, as none of the ideas were going to work, people just thought they did. Medieval physicians took astrology very seriously and believed the position of the planets should be consulted before operating. They would only operate if the planets were 'favourable'. We of course know that this is a silly idea, but in those days people would probably end up dead, because the planets weren't in the right position for them to have an operation. They would die waiting for an operation. Physicians also believed that different star signs ruled certain parts of the body, for example Pisces governs the feet and Taurus rules the neck and so on. It was also thought that the position of the planets affected life and health, not just when to have an operation. So astrology was a major part of the hinderence in medicine. There were tests that doctors used in those days to decide if you would live or die. A favourite way was putting a 'caladrius' bird on the sick-bed. If the bird looked away from the patient it was believed to result in death. If it looked at the patient then they would supposedly survive. This to us sounds like a ridiculous idea but in the Middle Ages people truly believed in it. In my opinion, putting a bird on the sick-bed was not a good idea anyway, because who knows where the bird had been ? ...read more.

Conclusion

This would've come from Galen only being able to dissect animals, not humans. Now I have made my points on religion helping and hindering I think that it is obvious that religion and the Christian Church in the Middle Ages was much more of a hinderence than a help. In my opinion it wasn't actually the common peoples fault, but the people who had a bit of power ! For example, physicians, priests, kings bishops and many more. The ordinary people followed what these more important people said, as how did they know what was right and what was wrong, or what was a help and what was a hinderence ? Basically they didn't have the knowledge to challenge any of the ideas they were told. So going back to my introduction, I was correct in saying it was more of a hinderence than a help. During the Middle Ages religion did help in some ways for example, building monasteries and spreading Galen's ideas but it hindered in more ways than I ever imagined. For example, believing that the planets controlled health and operations and thinking that dead saints had the power to heal. I could go on forever. My final point is that perhaps people listened to the Christian Church to much ? I think the reason for this is that they didn't really have anywhere else to turn to when something went wrong, apart from religion and the Church. In the Middle Ages religion hindered the development of medicine much more than it helped. Hayley Hassan 10H ...read more.

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