Friday, 8 June 2012

Don't let your faith be an excuse for stupidity

I'm feeling disturbed after a recent conversation with someone who was discussing a medical situation. "I prayed" she said "and told God that I would accept whatever the consultant said". As it turned out, the consultant - who was obliged to give her patient a choice of care - gave inaccurate information and railroaded the patient into a course of action that was far riskier for the patient but more convenient for the doctor, and which contravened all best practice guidelines including those issued by NICE and the consultant's professional body. The patient was aware of this but chose to ignore it because having told God that she'd do whatever the consultant said, she felt that she'd left things in His hands.

 Leaving oneself in God's hands does not mean checking your brain at the door. Faith and reason are not in opposition. Our God-given brain and intellect carry with them a responsibility to make decisions regarding ourselves and our children in as prudent and well informed a way as possible. I despair at the idea that people may feel that they are putting themselves in God's hands by ignoring the safest option and putting themselves in the hands of a doctor whose motivations may be rather less noble.


  1. There's a good Islamic hadith that expresses this well: "trust in God, but tie up your camel first."

  2. Good point!

    Reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote. "The proper motto is not 'Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,' but 'Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can.'"