From 300 AD to almost the end of the 17th century advances in medicine were slowed to a crawl. In the Middle Ages medicine actually regressed. Science and study was replaced with superstitious Christian concepts drawn from Biblical inerrancy which credited all cures to God’s hand just as all illness was a punishment of God; or the work of Satan; of demonic possession, etc. God was credited with curing of illness. If one lived or died it was by the hand of God, it was God’s will. Of course, prayer and penance could influence God’s decision as to the out come. A prayer to one’s patron saint could help too.
To propose man’s intervention, to attempt to alter the course of illness or improve ones chances of survival by actual medical application would be an affront to God; a challenge to God’s divine wisdom and plan. It was heresy.
People died young, and unnecessarily. Suffering prior to death was seen as a penance. Surgery was largely limited to bleedings, or tooth extractions by church edict. Dissections in universities were tolerated, but no research could be done. It was ostensibly an anatomy exercise, repeated without questioning or investigation or experimentation. The following is from McDonald’s book:
“A Greek thinker, Alcmaeon of Crotona, had identified the brain as the central organ in the higher activities of humankind around 500 BC, but 2,000 years later Christian authorities were teaching that the brain was merely a phlegm-secreting gland.”
And so it was when western civilization was ruled by The Church. As its grip was slowly loosened the re-birth of research, discovery, experimentation and the practice of real medicine had its resurgence. The discoveries of Celsus, 1400 years prior, began to be reintroduced in the 16th century even while the church retained authority over who could practice medicine and exactly how much latitude the physician had. Still, exorcisms, torture, mortification of the flesh was the Church’s preferred method to expel illness.
The Church’s obstruction of medical science even extended to their condemnation of small pox inoculations as late as the 19th century.
It continues today - constantly obstructing the health and wellbeing of those it claims to love and care so much about. In matters of reproduction, contraception, AIDS prevention it has a death grip on the minds of its most gullible and susceptible followers. Heart transplants are opposed by some Christian sects since it is considered the repository of the soul. Blood transfusions are forbidden by other sects. Medical care entirely rejected by others in favor of faith healing and prayer. The life of an adult woman is seen as secondary to the life of a deformed and near death infant. Stem cell research, which holds perhaps the most promising advancements to human longevity and quality of life in medical history is roundly opposed, and stringently limited because of Christian objection to the harvesting of stem cells from discarded fetuses.
Yet you will hear Catholics touting their religion’s contribution to education, proclaiming Catholicism the seed of the university system. You’ll hear them extol the discoveries of Gregor Mendel, or point to Dr. Christian Barnard’s religious roots as they stake their claim to the title of “enlightened.”
But then, why should they care about the deaths of millions brought about by religious brain washing and denial of reality? Why should Christianity want to see lives made longer on this planet when the promise of an imaginary paradise offers true relief from ones ailments? Why should the relief of life long pain and the ravages of disease be sought when pain is seen as sharing the suffering of Jesus, and disease part of God’s plan? Yet strangely, Popes, and Bishops, Cardinals and Monsignors will spare no expense on medical science advancements to keep their decrepit bodies, atrophied minds and useless existence in tact.
One can only imagine where medical science would be today had not Christianity impeded its progress and cursed mankind with its arrogance and devotion to superstitious stupidity. A pox on them.