Medicine and miracles: Cancer and cures.
Albert Einstein offered an insightful metaphor to describe his view of the relationship between science and religion: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." (1) While this metaphor does not resolve all the difficulties of integrating science and religion, it nevertheless affirms a cooperative relationship between these realms of approach to understanding our world and our lives. In the long-standing dialogue between science and religion, an abundance of attention has been devoted to topics in which historical and philosophical realms of approach to understanding our world and our lives meet. Among popular examples can be found the origin of the universe, the emergence of humankind, the source of knowledge, and the nature of free will.
In our own work and conversations, we two authors--one a pastor and one an academic biomedical researcher/teacher--have frequently landed on a more contemporary topic of mutual interest as scientifically interested believers of the Christian faith: the relationship between the human science endeavor of medicine and the human faith endeavor of prayer. There seems to be a much thinner body of literature delving into this area of dialogue. Our hope here is to offer several ideas from our personal viewpoints, especially as refined by valuable discussion. We will focus on a limited sector of human disease, that of cancer, for contemplating how Christians might usefully consider the integrated roles of medicine and prayer in the hope of overcoming this oft-tragic malady.
Receiving the diagnosis of cancer is a common experience for vast numbers of us. Almost everyone has a loved one who has suffered, or is suffering from, cancer of one kind or another. And we all trust in modern medical practice for the most effective possible treatment, yet at the
Michael A. Birbeck serves as the Lead Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. He received his BS in biblical studies from Cairn University, Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and his MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Douglas A. Lauffenburger is Ford Professor of Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biology; and Head of the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.
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|Author:||Birbeck, Michael A.; Lauffenburger, Douglas A.|
|Publication:||Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2017|
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