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Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine

Vol. 8, No. 1 (43) 

Contents:


Religion Is as Religion Does

or

Understanding Religion Is the Key to Winning the Culture War

Often on these pages as a passing comment, I have said that having a level playing field relative to the concept of religion is the key to winning in the public square of ideas when secular humanism, as political correctness, now reigns supreme (including our Court of that name). Here, I want to focus on that idea. 

I make no claim to being a studied historian. Readers who are will cringe at my facile and brief review. I direct them to please correct me where I am wrong in this review, but I will vigorously debate my final conclusions. My observation is that there has never been a time, and rarely a culture, in which religious beliefs were not dominant. A particular religion may not have been dominant, but most people held to some religious belief. 

Certainly ancient times had their gods, as witness the unfolding saga of the peoples of Old Testament from "the beginning."

Rome and Greece had their gods. Perhaps, their more savvy leaders hid behind and under the cloaks of these gods while not being true worshipers. However, the people built temples to their gods, and their leaders found it necessary to cloak their appeals relative to those gods.

Then came the Roman Catholic dominance of the Middle Ages as the world power and authority. Still, rulers who were pagan at heart had to appeal to Christian trappings to hold their power with the Church and with the people. Atheism really had no place to stand.

The modern power of atheism seems to have begun with the Enlightenment. The minds behind the French Revolution wanted "liberty, equality, and fraternity" without God (i.e., Christianity). Karl Marx envisioned a modern state based upon the goodness of man without God but with a rule of an elite without religion (i.e., Christianity). Sigmund Freud developed a psychology of man that not only intended to eliminate God as necessary to psychic health, but to make Him the primary evil in people's lives. Many philosophers of these times understood the battle between religion (especially Christianity) and atheism. 

Many of the framers of the American Constitution were not born-again believers, but they knew that only propositions from the Christian faith could be the foundation for a lasting republic. They used the word "religion" in the First Amendment of the Constitution, rather than the words "Christian church" (or denomination), because religion and Christian church were one and the same to them. 

Later, Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre knew of the consequences for cultures with and without God.

Modern times are different. Few atheistic philosophers are honest and understanding debaters. Rather than argue, they simply ridicule and slander religious people (particularly in university and college classrooms). Perhaps, with four centuries of leaders and thinkers denying God, we have come to the point where honesty and true scholarship are no longer valued -- power is gained, held, and increased simply because "I say so." One Supreme Court justice (Oliver Wendell Holmes?) simply said "Might makes right."

Regaining the Debate

Essentially, the debate is not religion vs. non-religion (atheism), but which religion will govern social policy and state law. Ethics is based upon religion, and law is based upon ethics. Therefore, law is necessarily based upon religion.

Father Richard John Neuhaus has helped in this matter. He gives a simple definition of religion as:

"A religion combines (1) a more or less systematic correlation of beliefs that purports to offer a comprehensive explanation of reality, (2) the practical truths normative for living in accord with that reality (namely, ethics -- Ed), and (3) the practices or rituals that provide a measure of communion with the vital center of that reality. (First Things, January 1997, p. 63)

Father Neuhaus goes on to include not only Christianity, Judaism, and Islam under this definition, but Marxism, Nazism, New Age, psychoanalysis, and scientific materialism. In a flash of understanding that seems to have been forgotten, even the Supreme Court once labeled secular humanism as a religion. Humanist Manifestos I and II drip with religious words, phrases, and admonitions.

Simplify, simplify. Debate, debate.

Where formal definitions are necessary, Father Neuhaus has helped out considerably. However, we must also bring religion down to a personal and social level. Religion is what one person says that he, I, and others ought to do, or religion is the "why" of everyday life. "Oughts" are ethics based upon some belief (religion). The "why" is the motivation of each activity or each day. I suspect that for most people, their (personal) religion is an amorphous mixture of their upbringing and individuality mingled with vague notions of a formal religion.

It's time to level the playing field. At the personal level, how can you say what I ought to do? How can you say what you ought to do? How do you know what is right and what is wrong? How do you know to the extent that you are willing to raise children with those oughts or kill them before birth? 

At the level of government, why should the speed limit be 55 MPH or 65 MPH? Why should abortion be legal? Why should property tax be used to support public schools? Why should I not steal from others to feed my own family? Why am I obligated to pay taxes for welfare?

An interesting process occurs when the why of "ought" is pressed. One can only say 1) because "I say so," 2) because "________ (an authority) says so," 3) because "that's the law." Now, the 3rd answer is false because it only leads back to 1) or 2), but it is commonly given. For example, "that's the law" can be used to defend abortion (current) or prosecute abortion (pre-1973). 

1) and 2) are really only one, as well. "I" is an authority. So, finally we have to appeal to an authority. Each person chooses what authority may have authority over his life. This choice of an authority is necessarily supernatural, even for an atheist or materialist (one who believes that the only reality is one based upon atoms and molecules). To exclude the supernatural is itself a supernatural decision, because one simply eliminates it a priori.

The issue of miracles is a simple illustration. Did Moses and the Israelites cross the Red Sea on dry land with the waters held back? The atheist simply rejects the event, but he cannot prove it false. The Christian and Jewish believer accept the event because they know the power of their God. Acceptance or rejection is an a priori decision -- a supernatural decision because it accepts or rejects a universe with or without a supernatural power.

Evolution is another religious issue, accepted or rejected on faith, not proof. There are huge gaps in the theory (pun intended). (See final section below.)

The issue of miracles and evolution is also an ethical decision. Without a supernatural revelation, ethics become law. That is, ethics are based upon the power of the culture and the state to determine what is right and wrong. We have that situation in America today. Political correctness and a morality forced on society by cultural acceptance and the power of the state. 

Break the Secular and Sacred Division

With the Reformation came the breakdown of the secular and the sacred for Christians. All human activities became sacred, empowered by and dedicated to the One God. At the same time, those in the Enlightenment began to pretend that they were not religious, and Christians bought it.

We must sell what we have bought and market it in every nook and cranny available to us. The issue is not between the sacred and the secular, but whose religion will govern our culture and make laws that are enforced over us.

With the breakdown of civility and reasoning that has come with godless teaching, our task is not easy. Mostly, atheistic beliefs are propagated by the force of law and ridicule today. There is the willing media, liberal judges, petty bureaucrats, and multitudinous regulations.

I am not sure that there is another answer. Even with the small surge of conservatism and Christian understanding, the question of "why" must be answered. "Because I say so," or "because they say so," or "because God says so"?

These issues are perhaps the greatest limitation of Christian schools. If Christian students are not being taught to counter every argument against God and His ways, how are they a help to our culture, our country, and our world? Where will William Bennett's Book of Virtues get us? How do we make laws based upon "virtues"? Who, after all, made them virtues?

Perhaps we could not see what allowing a distinction between those who are religious and those who are not would lead us. But, we can clearly see it now. If the sacred and secular are allowed to stand, then it is only natural that religious people be forced, first into a cultural ghetto, and then a literal ghetto, and finally eliminated altogether.

Christians Arguing the Religion of Scientism

A huge movement among Christians is centered around Creationism. While there are variations within it, basically it is an attempt to refute Evolution on the basis of scientific evidence. Christians and their publications hail new books, such as Darwin on Trial, which attack the gaps in evolutionary theory, especially when such books are written by non-Christians. I know. I have been a vigorous participant in this approach. And, it has its merits for Christians -- to see that their Biblical faith actually has more scientific evidence than any alternative.

However, is Creationism the best approach against Evolution? I think not. Creationism must assume the tenets of scientism to enter the debate! We move onto their ground: science against science. Certainly, the evidence is whelmingly in our favor, but we have lost the battle before we begin. We have allowed the secular vs. the sacred to stand.

There is plenty of evidence that behind closed doors, honest evolutionists know their position is no more solid than the space through which some evolutionists claim that organisms traveled to earth. Evolutionists don't accept Creationism so that they can continue the Enlightenment -- no God, no morality -- no God, no authority over them.

No, the debate must be on religious terms -- theirs against ours. For indeed, theirs is a supernatural belief -- blind random acts that result in the beautiful creation of life that is immensely complex. 

On Stewardship of Information

Hilton P. Terrell, Ph.D., M.D.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported a study1 of the effect of the amount of prenatal care on pregnancy outcomes in low-risk women. They found no effect, despite a decrease of 2.7 prenatal visits. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed a schedule of 14 prenatal visits for low-risk women who first come to their doctor during their first three months of pregnancy. Since there are more than four million annual births in this country, that recommendation encourages 56 million physician-patient contacts. For what benefit to the woman and her baby is all this effort and expense? The authors cite a number of "observational" studies that connect prenatal care to good outcomes. 

Now, observation is not intervention. Neither is it cause and effect. I have observed that certain markers in the intracoastal waterway are associated with deep water. However, I cannot make shallow water deeper by moving one of these markers into the shallows. Dredging is required, and marking is not dredging. Unless there are intervention studies that show such, there is no proof that participation in prenatal care does more than mark out which pregnancies are destined for a better outcome. Superb rationales do not substitute for evidence nor do gripping anecdotes told by obstetricians.The authors correctly see their excellent study as a partial remedy for the gap that observational studies leave. They lament that there has been "little evidence to determine whether a 'dose-response' relationship exists for prenatal visits and perinatal outcome for low-risk women." A dose-response effect is exemplified by some of the evidence against tobacco use. People who smoked four packs a day for 20 years are at demonstrably higher risk to certain diseases than those who smoked two, who are in turn higher than those who smoked only one-half pack. So, these pregnancy researchers lowered the "dose" of prenatal care in low-risk women. 

Though they did not choose to come right out and say it, they found no dose-response effect. The lowered "dose" of prenatal care did not result in a worse outcome for the mother or baby by a number of measures. Now, in the politically correct world of tobacco-criticism, that kind of outcome would be seized upon by the tobacco companies as evidence that tobacco use does not matter for your health. Since the opposite is true for tobacco, its opponents widely display such studies in support of their position against tobacco. In the politically correct world of prenatal care, however, the obvious implication of no effect is left unstated. (It is not a proof of no effect.)

To repeat, in this very cautious study in a limited group of pregnant women, there was no dose-response effect. Might the question now be expanded to a larger portion of the pregnant population, and the expensive "dose" of prenatal care lowered even further? Likely, it will be done progressively until we know how much prenatal care is helpful, and among which women. I suspect that the answer will be that only a few aspects of prenatal care really matter, and those only among a rather select group of women. The rest can be left alone to enjoy their pregnancies as God provides through means other than interventionist medicine. The myth of medical prowess in pregnancy outcomes can be replaced by somewhat more humble assessments of its value.

The more hopeful thing about the study was all written between the lines. I believe that the authors noticed that there was no dose-response effect. I believe they also are keenly aware of the enormous vested interests in prenatal care which would rebel at an open attempt to axe it. But, by creeping up on the practice a little at a time, the prenatal care industry may be brought down to size.

The impetus for such studies is increasingly an economic one. Medicine for decades has "solved" its problems by throwing more "third party" money at them. In the process, we've bought a lot of worthless practices. The "third parties," having achieved an inordinate amount of control over medicine through the control of the money, are now beginning to exert that power by investigating what works and refusing to pay for what does not work. Since patients chose not to heed that the money they were spending was ultimately coming from themselves, they were not very wise shoppers. 

Though the third parties (government and insurers) may well begin by removing unwise expenditures, we should have no hope that they will stop at that. Any very expensive practice may be targeted by them, whether it works or not. A more basic remedy is to funnel a progressively smaller portion of money through third parties and a larger portion directly from the patient. At some point we would find ourselves using medical insurance properly as true catastrophic insurance, not as Santa Claus who will meet our every desire.

Reference

1. McDuffie, Robert S, et al., "Effect of Frequency of Prenatal Care Visits on Perinatal Outcome Among Low-Risk Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial," JAMA, Vol. 275, March 20, 1996, pp. 847-851.

On Breast Implants and Cosmology

The New England Journal of Medicine (June 6, 1996, pp. 1513-1518) published the Shattuck Lecture (presented at the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society) for 1996, "Evaluating the Health Risks of Breast Implants: The Interplay of Medical Science, The Law, and Public Opinion." The article raises a lament over the way "science" has been trashed by tort lawyers, inept juries, news media, and the irrational public. The article ends with a dark prophecy by Carl Sagan:

"It's a foreboding I have -- maybe ill-placed -- of an America in my children's generation, or my grandchildren's generation ... when, clutching our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline, unable to distinguish between what's true and what feels good, we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness."

(If his descendants are culled, it is just Sagan's universe, that is, inexorable evolution marching onward, obeying the impersonal laws of chance and physics. So what?)

Perverse me! I see hope in the very calamity they fear. Since "science" -- falsely so-called -- has expelled God, what else should we expect than that it will collapse in a chaos of warring elements -- greed, falsehood, and malfeasance? Absent a transcendent basis of evaluation, differing views of empirically based "truth" can only duke it out empirically. Maybe the scientific method is evolving toward greed and falsehood. Maybe the greediest liar will win. If Sagan thinks that outcome is "superstition and darkness," that is only his opinion. Since the victors write the history, he would be a footnote at best. The hope is that God may be bringing about an interim, cleansing judgment on the kind of science we believe in.

Medicine is a part of the larger culture and economy and reflects its deformities. A present pressing task for Christians is to return explicitly and boldly to a science whose empiricism is based on Scriptural revelation. That is, interpretations of empirical observations must be made within the framework of sound exegesis. We need to face down the errors that Galileo made with respect to the Church, and the Church with Galileo. It was bad exegesis, not bad science. The Scriptural framework was pitched out because of some examples, or alleged examples, of such errors. That truly was a baby-with-the-bath water error.

The clearest and central issues by which Christians can press for empiricism based on Scriptural revelation are cosmology and evolution. It is not by chance that the article ended with the quote from Sagan. Dr. Sagan is afraid that we will slide into a position in which we cannot "distinguish between what's true and what feels good." No. We are there already. It is from that ineptitude that we need to escape.

Ed's Note

With Carl Sagan's recent passing, he has found the truth -- that for which he was not seeking in this life. That Dr. Terrell's prophecy is more relevant is evidenced by the following.

Is Genetic Fraud Genetically Determined?

Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, "has been walking under a very dark cloud" after "the most devastating experience I've had as a scientist."

"Dr. Collins discovered that one of his researchers studying the genetic aspects of a kind of leukemia had fraudulently created data that were ultimately published in five articles (in each of which Dr. Collins was the lead author). Those articles are now being withdrawn, raising questions about the scientific validity of research on the genome project." (American Medical News, December 2, 1996, p. 9)

I have an insight that the above newspaper does not have. Dr. Collins is a professing Christian of a church within the Southern Baptist Convention. He expresses a false hope in science.

"Science is self-correcting. Any data that have real significance for medicine will be followed up on by someone else. If there is something wrong, it will be discovered."

In the September 1996 issue of Reflections, I wrote a lament and challenge for Christians in leadership positions. Dr. Collins was one of many that I had in mind. However, having met him once and heard him speak, I doubt his discernment to wed eternal truth with science. This article reinforces my previous observations.

I am convinced that there are enough Christians in important positions in both the medical and broader scientific world to affect the course and knowledge of each. However, these Christians' limiting problem is an understanding of philosophy (cosmology, epistemology, empiricism, etc.) and systematic theology. 

Christians are more a part of the problem than the solution. They are part of that "ineptitude" named by Dr. Terrell. As noted, Dr. Collins is only one of many, most of whom do not even receive this newsletter, and some who do, but fail to realize that I am talking to them. If postmillenialism is true, we have a long way to go towards its realization. Dr. Terrell sees hope in the calamity that science faces. Time will tell, but we will not likely live to see it.

Beat your plowshares into swords,
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man."

Joel 3:10, NASB

Brief Reports with Commentary

A Reflection on Anorexia Nervosa

Commentary: One dimension of women with anorexia nervosa with or without bulimina is a false image of themselves (e.g., when they look in a mirror). It seems to me that those women who want to change could simply place their faith in another person to decide what their image should be. Indeed, the issue is one of faith: faith in one's own concepts or faith in others.

As such, it is a basic issue of life. Whom do we trust? When we trust only ourselves, we are on the broad road to destruction. When we trust first the Word of God, and then others of that community who (more or less) conform to that Word, then we are on the narrow way that leads to salvation in this life and the next.

Ritalin and Cyclert: Life and Death for ADHD

Almost simultaneously I received two items in the mail relative to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). One was an article, "Ritalin Mania" (The Home School Digest, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 29-32) that described the overdiagnosis of ADHD, and subsequently the overprescription of ritalin to treat the "disorder."

As a physician, I received a letter (Dated December 1996) from Abbott Laboratories labeled as an "Important Drug Warning" about Cyclert (pemoline), another drug used for ADHD. It seems that 11 deaths (over a period of 21 years) are attributed to Cyclert, so now "Cyclert should not ordinarily be considered as first-line drug therapy for ADHD." 

Commentary: I won't go into a review of all the errors, Biblical and scientific, that occur with ADHD and the use of drugs to combat it. Such errors were documented more than 20 years ago and have only multiplied in spite of all the evidence to the contrary over this time. An expose is nothing new. I suspect that deaths from such potent drugs are nothing new either.

What I focus upon here is practical and healthy Biblical instruction vs. unworkable and unhealthy pagan instruction. Opponents, and sometimes adherents, think of Christianity as other-worldly and remote to every day life. I have given many examples on these pages in which the Bible is anything but distant.

ADHD is another great example. Most, if not all, ADHD is simply undisciplined boyhood behavior. Not recognizing the sinful nature of children, secular psychology and medicine are embraced because that's the only logical course of action once supernatural revelation is rejected. This move to "science" even contradicts the best studies of the science itself! But, it is better to "harm magnificently" than to admit a higher Truth and Power. Better to seek a quick fix than the arduous program of spiritual growth and discipline for the whole family, not just the "ill" child.

It's really quite simple. The Apostle Paul said, "Raise up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Wow! Here is total parental instruction in a sentence that has an assumed subject, one verb, and two objects of a prepositional phrase. One sentence refutes all the psychology and medical understanding of supposed ADHD. Well, maybe, we should add one more, "Spare the rod and spoil the child!" 

How many children have been harmed "magnificently" by the psychological and medical quick-fix? Millions. How many are now adults who find life much more difficult and who harm society or become criminals because they were exposed to a quick fix instead of the practical and healthy solution of the Bible? We can only guess.

The Bible is quite practical and healthy, often in a simple manner. Why then are so many Christians as willing as pagans to seek psychology and secularized medicine? The answer is also simple -- faith in the wrong god.

A Mandate to Heal the Sick?

"I strongly believe in the message of Matthew 9:35: 'Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness."

"If Jesus spent so much of his brief time with us healing the sick, it was something we were meant to notice. The research being conducted through the Genome Project is a natural extension of the Christian mandate to heal the sick." (Focus on the Family Physician, November/December 1996, p. 16)

This quote is one of many from a several-page interview and report on Francis Collins, a professing Christian who heads the Genome Project, a worldwide endeavor to map the entire chromosome structure of man. For more commentary on Dr. Collins, see p. 4.)

Commentary: Dr. Collins' statement, "a mandate to heal the sick," is repeated by numerous Christians in medicine and leadership positions throughout Christendom. It is a common justification for their work. It is more an example of their failure to read what the Bible actually says.

In Matthew 25, when Jesus is giving a graphic illustration of Judgment Day, He identifies those who are His by these acts: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, housing the stranger, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and prisoners. The command is to "visit the sick," not heal them.

In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), there is no mention of healing the sick. Luke, a physician, wrote Luke and Acts, but he never gives Christians instructions to heal the sick. 

In Matthew 9 where Jesus sends out the 12 disciples on a special mission, He did tell them to "heal the sick." He also told them to "raise the dead" and "cast out demons." I don't see Dr. Collins and others claiming those mandates. (Some do, but all have been proven to be deluded.)

I can't cover an entire review of healing and the sick in the New Testament here. (I have done so in Appendix I of Biblical Healing for Modern Medicine.) There is no mandate to heal the sick. There is a mandate to care for the sick, the original purpose of hospitals. In fact, I have written on these pages and elsewhere how physicians have lost their compassion for patients (in general, there are many exceptions) because of their zeal to heal.

I continue to be amazed at what Christians claim the Bible says, when a simple reading proves otherwise. This practice is not complex hermeneutics to be excused by a lack of seminary training! Just, what does the Bible actually say

Distortion of Responsibility for Murder of Child

"A doctor committed malpractice when she failed to pursue her suspicions that her young patient was being abused at home, a jury says. The child ended up dead (a curious phrase - Ed), and the mother's boyfriend convicted of murder."

"Family physician Rheeta Stecker, MD, of Hot Springs has been ordered by a Garland County jury to pay the estate of the murdered girl and her half brother $200,000 in a 1994 lawsuit." (American Medical News, October 28, 1996, p. 11)

Commentary (by Hilton Terrell, M.D.): Though the article does not say so, it would appear that the dead child's mother would have some financial benefit from the $200,000 award to the "estate." If the mother was indeed cleared (the report is unclear to me), then why would she not manage the proceeds? Yet, it was her boyfriend who beat the child to death (at 16 months of age). Why does a doctor have more responsibility for the safety and well-being of a toddler than does her mother? Indeed, Caesar (the state) is rewarding those who do evil and has become a terror to those who do good.

2nd Commentary (by Ed): There is the real possibility that "the good of the children" could be the financial and social ruin of the United States. The large welfare state is "for the children." Prosecuting families for appropriate corporal punishment is "for the children." The huge school lunch program is "for the children." The guilty-until-proven-innocent, aggressive, and damaging investigations by social workers of state agencies is "for the children." The whole public school system is "for the children." And on and on.

Indeed, as Dr. Terrell said, "Caesar has become a terror to those who do good" under the banner of "for the children." It is a great example that "good intentions" pave the road to Hell and that Satan masquerades as an Angel of Light. Again, many Christians are sucked into this vortex. "For the children" has become a shibboleth that whatever is said and done under it is accepted as good without question. Thus, we have our burgeoning police state and economic bankruptcy.

Debunking Myths

Certain fictions are repeated like "medieval gossips" by the public, the news media, and professionals who ought to know better. The Statistical Assessment Service (STATS -- what else!), a division of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, publishes such statistics. Here are a few (from an editorial by Mona Charen in The Augusta Chronicle, January 6, 1997, p. 4A.)1) Christmastime does not have an increased suicide rate. This myth countered a feature article run by this same newspaper.

2) Poisoned or booby-trapped Halloween candy is rare, rare, rare. Since 1958, there have been 76 reports of candy tampering -- most turned out to be fraudulent or false. No children have been killed. Using this data, many hospitals have stopped offering free x-rays for Halloween candy. (As an aside, trick or treating also seems to be dying out.)

3) Most police officers or emergency room workers (64-80 percent) will tell you of the horrid effects of the full moon. They're wrong! Numerous studies show no correlation between births, ER admissions, or deaths during a full moon

"STATS also debunks misleading income inequality in the United States, infectious disease hype, and overheated global warning reports. Killjoys!"

OSHA May Come Knocking at Your Door -- At Home!

"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the issue of improving indoor-air quality now is one of its 'highest priorities,' and it plans to issue standards within a year...."

"(Currently) OSHA's proposed standard for air quality will seek to ban smoking in all work areas, including customer seating in restaurants and bars and to designate smoking areas with an air-filter system ... at an estimated cost per establishment.... OSHA will also address indoor-air standards involving contaminants by mold." (Research Recommendations, December 16, 1996, p. 1)

Commentary: Ah! Most everyone is against smoking. "Let's get'em. We've got the big mo' (momentum) on our side. Sock it to'em. We've been nauseated by their putrid air for too long. Now they will get theirs!"

And, thus began the Nazi and Stalinist regimes. First, you get the "big mo'" against what most everyone finds offensive -- those misfits, insane, and beggarly. Whoops! Jews, Christians, non-Aryans, non-Communists...? No, no, no! Not me!

That's the progression. You think that OSHA (or another federal agency) will stop at air standards for business? Next will come apartment buildings where owners will simply abandon buildings rather than face the high costs of compliance. Then, their occupants can breathe the polluted air of outdoors.

Then, they will have standards for your home. Already, physicians and social workers decry the disease-producing air of many homes, primarily those who smoke. Most would welcome healthier conditions "for the children."

Somewhere, somehow our culture must get off this quest for ideal living conditions for all. It is a utopic dream. It is a worship of physical health. It is a denial of personal freedom. It is an open-arms invitation for government Gestapo tactics to invade your home. (They can already invade your business.) Please Christian, don't be fooled by such do-goodism. It is rank paganism that worships the state -- and a tactic that will come back to haunt you in your own home. And, I am not talking about ghosts!

Swallowing Camels While Straining at Gnats -- More Utopia

In avoiding food additives that might be carcinogenic (at doses far exceeding any real-life situation), the Food and Drug Administration has virtually blessed "natural" or "organic" foodstuffs. This situation is celebrated by nature-lovers who hug trees and pet whales while destroying civilization.

Well, their beloved nature has bitten them. There has been one death and dozens of injuries in the Pacific Northwest from E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized apple juice from Odwalla, Inc., a company with an "extreme enviro-friendly philosophy" (The Augusta Chronicle, December 13, 1996, p. 4A). What, Mother Nature a killer? Horrors. 

In avoiding the dangerous (in the mind of the FDA) drugs artificially added by man and allowing the sweet nectar of nature to go unregulated, the FDA has unwittingly allowed disease and death of another kind. 

Oh, not to worry. They will correct that oversight by requiring all juice products to be pasteurized and other regulations.

Dear readers, I weary. As a society we have come to believe that every illness and death is preventable. We want the government to make this faith reality. When its regulations cause mayhem and death, we somehow excuse the process and whine for more. (Remember air bags.) What we as Christians must see is that this war is religious -- faith in government (mankind) or faith in God. To help a great deal in the short term while we harm magnificently in the long term or to help a little in the short term while reaping huge returns in the long term. It is a subtle, but deadly -- oh, so deadly -- distinction. Will we learn?

AIDS: Issues and Answers

Vol. 11, No. 1 (68) January 1997

The Black, White, and Others of AIDS

Black Americans comprise about 12 percent of the population of the United States. Hispanics comprise 5-6 percent and Asian/Pacific and Native Americans about 1-2 percent. Thus, whites comprise about 80 percent.

However, the distribution of AIDS in these ethnic groups and between the sexes is not proportional. Per 1,000 population, the numbers with AIDS are: white men - 2.2, white women - 0.2; black men - 9.0, black women - 2.6; Hispanic men - 5.6, Hispanic women 1.2; Asian/Pacific men - 0.7, Asian/Pacific women - 0.1; and Native American men - 1.0, Native American men - 0.2. (Newsweek, December 2, 1996, p. 71, from Centers for Disease Control Statistics)

Commentary: I would not have my readers be "color blind," as the politically correct crowd would have us be. To have higher rates of HIV/AIDS, particular ethnic groups must have higher rates of homosexuality, IV drug abuse, heterosexual exposure to high-risk groups for HIV/AIDS, etc.

These rates are one example that something other than science guides the use of these statistics. While the data are present in the scientific literature, they are downplayed there and in the news media. Carl Sagan (see pages 4-5) would have our culture governed by science, but science does not tell us how to us these statistics. Religion and morality does. That religion and morality is currently called political correctness, but it simply a popular banner for atheism.

Before God, immorality in any person of any ethnic group is still immoral. AIDS statistics are one more example that science can neither determine what it will investigate nor interpret its results. Only a commitment to the supernatural can make those determinations. Even without faith in a supernatural being, such decisions are supernatural, because nature says nothing about morality (despite what natural law advocates might say).

The Worship of AIDS

"One world. One hope. Please support your local communities' World AIDS Day Efforts on December 1." (HIV/AIDS Prevention, December 1996, p. 2)

Commentary: On December 1, I could have lighted a candle in the lobby of our hospital in a ceremony to remember AIDS victims. However, I could not have held prayer a service to the One God to pray for these victims' healing and conversion (health). And, Christ has been banned from Christmas on campus, as December 25 becomes a "Winter Holiday."

Was paganism in any Third World country ever worse? What a contrast! All that "one world, one hope" can hold out to the disease ravaged bodies of AIDS patients is "We'll remember you... and perhaps make a quilt for the Big Guilt." Christ offers earthly peace and hope with eternal rest and glory. He will remember your sins no more.

One world. One hope. Pathetic, blind paganism.

More Religious Fervor

"Not even the Devil could have designed a virus as fiendish as HIV. Clear it out of the bloodstream and it hides in the lymph nodes. Banish it from the lymph nodes and it lurks in the brain. And even if it could be eradicated from the brain, it could still be found cradled among the chromosomes of a few quiescent immune cells, ready to pounce again after the hunters have gone away."

And yet. And yet the prospect of salvation for people with AIDS seems closer than ever before..." (Time, Fall 1996, p. 64)

Commentary: The Devil never designed (created) anything. Only God is Creator. And, "any prospect for salvation," is illusory at best.

The "mood" about AIDS does seem to have swung to the positive side this year: new drugs, a slowing of the epidemic, evidence of some effect of preventive efforts, etc. It's mostly hype based upon faith in science

I won't repeat the details here. I have covered them before. "Survival" is measured in days and weeks. Focus on prevention is a joke. Slowing is more likely a leveling of the epidemic rather than any efforts of medical science.

The illusion continues. Does anyone care to debate me about the religious content of the AIDS epidemic? When God goes, any god is worshiped.

"Most-litigated Disease" and Legal Trends

AIDS is "the most litigated disease in the history of America," said Lawrence O. Gostin ("AIDS law expert"). More than 2,000 lawsuits have been filed since the epidemic began.

"A recent analysis of 310 court cases from 1991 to 1996 found several trends emerging. Among them:

* "Health care institutions may restrict the practice of HIV-positive professionals in order to protect patients against the risk of transmission.

* "HIV-positive health professionals must inform patients of their HIV status.

* "Insurers may cap coverage for AIDS treatment and deny coverage to people who test HIV positive prior to enrolling.

* "Schools may distribute information about AIDS, though courts differ on whether schools may provide condoms."

"One of the hottest issues in AIDS litigation today is whether a patient or health care professional who believes that he or she has been exposed to HIV-infected blood -- but still tests negative for the virus -- can recover damages for mental distress.

"To date, the courts have mostly said 'no.'" (American Medical News, August 12, 1996, p. 4)

Commentary: None.

Bonehead of the Month Award

"Men and women are needed ... to serve as role models for young mothers and boyfriends in an effort to motivate post-partum awareness-building to help improve self-image, develop a sense of belonging, and provide a support network for teenage mothers." (Messenger, a Bulletin by Catholic Health Partners, January 9, 1997)

Commentary: Whenever you think that the church cannot go any deeper into the promotion of immorality, it does. Here, the goal is to "support" young men and women in their proven fornication!


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