August 30, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

Atheist Doctors Might Kill You

Your doctor’s religious beliefs – or lack of them – might have a lot to do with how soon you exit this world when elderly or infirm.  Science Daily reported, “Atheist or agnostic doctors are almost twice as willing to take decisions that they think will hasten the end of a very sick patient’s life as doctors who are deeply religious, suggests research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.”  The press release from the British Medical Association concluded, “the relationship between doctors’ values and their clinical decision making needs to be acknowledged much more than it is at present.

The findings appear to be subject to interpretation, because not all religions are created equal.  The article said, for instance, “Specialists in the care of the elderly were somewhat more likely to be Hindu or Muslim, while palliative care doctors were somewhat more likely than other doctors to be Christian, white, and agree that they were ‘religious.’”
    Interpretation aside, consider the logic: a religious person is likely to care very much about the afterlife and the consequences of dying.  Religious doctors are also likely to have moral principles about the sanctity of life.  Why would an atheist care about such things?  When you die, you die; it’s only natural (everything dies, after all), and better that a patient be put out of misery.  Let the dying sleep so we can focus the resources on the living, he or she might say.
    Ideas have consequences.  You had better consider your doctor’s beliefs, and the beliefs of health care policy makers, when considering your final will about prolonging your own life.  The new leftist/progressive push toward universal health care (mostly promoted by the non-religious) also contains the seeds of rationing – decisions about what lives are worth preserving without any thought of human dignity.  Despite the promises and repudiations about rationing, the American president snuck in a recess appointment for head of the healthcare program who has overtly promoted rationing as a preferred policy (see  Watch what politicians do, not what they say.  That principle applies more than ever in the current political environment..
    One tragic statistic in the press release illustrates the erosion of belief in God among the majority American population: “But, overall, white doctors, who comprised the largest ethnic group among the respondents, were the least likely to report strong religious beliefs.”

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