Religion in the ancient world helped more than hindered it(TM) How far do you agree?

Authors Avatar

‘Religion in the ancient world helped more than hindered it’

Do you agree?

Religion did not help more than hindering medicine in ancient times. However, this is only true in some aspects, and not others. Overall, religion helped as much as it held back medicine in all periods of ancient times - the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans; as well some aspects. An example of when religion helped medicine is mummification, as Egyptians believed that bodies were needed in the after life, therefore learning basic anatomy. On the other hand, only one of the many examples of religion hindering medicine is when the Egyptians wore amulets, believing specific ones (like the god Bes, who was believed to bring good luck) could cure diseases or bring good fortunes.

Religion played a huge role in treatment, because even though doctors were there to treat the illnesses, there was also a continuous belief in gods and supernatural treatments, such as Asclepius, the god, in the Greek and Roman eras. During the Egyptian period, people who treated the sick were called medicine men. This is just about an equal to a doctor; however, if the cause of the patient’s illness was believed to be supernatural, then the cure was up to a priest. This is obviously one way in which religion hindered medicine, as the Egyptians believed in many gods which could cure diseases. On the other hand, Egyptians also used herbal cures and drugs to cure disease. This helped progress a lot, but it wasn’t influenced or caused by religion. In the Greek and Roman civilisation, their supernatural beliefs were just as bad, if not worse, as the Egyptians’. Their main mindset, the god, Asclepius is an example. The Greeks built temples for people to sleep in, and believed that during the night, Asclepius and his daughters would come and heal you. In reality, this did actually make people feel better, but mainly because the temples included a stadium, baths etc. Nowadays, an asclepion (the temple) would be equal to a spa. In addition to being an example of religion helping, this is also an example of chance; the motion meaning to be religious, yet turning out to be physical, although helping nevertheless. In all three ages, herbs, among other things were used as medicine equally. In the aspect of treatment, religion helped a little more than it hindered medicine overall.

Join now!


Causes of disease varied a lot from Egyptian to Greek time periods, but the Romans pretty much agreed to the Greek ideas, but made a continuance of god related causes. The supernatural was blamed for most diseases by the Egyptians, even though they used herbal cures in conjunction with prayers. It was thought that evil spirits entered the body, and made the person ill. The religious view of evil spirits held up medicine, as it obstructed any further research into cause. This being said, the Egyptians still recognised physical injuries like broken bones or cuts. Amazingly, the Greeks developed ...

This is a preview of the whole essay