Abstract — In discussing bioethics and the formulation of neuroethics, the question has arisen as to whether secular humanism should be the sole philosophical guiding light, to the exclusion of any discussion (or even mention) of religious morality, in professional medical ethics. In addition, the question has arisen as to whether freedom or censorship should be part of medical (and neuroscience) journalism.
Recently, I had a conversation with Dr. Z, who you will remember conversed with me on the subject of "America's gun culture." The conversation in fact continued, and the subject of "female genital mutilation" (FGM) came up. This time Dr. Z blamed the three monotheistic religions, particularly the Catholic faith. I thought this edited portion of the conversation would also be of interest and instructive.
Dr. Bill Cummings is a successful executive CEO as well as a former Catholic priest, whose stint in the church over 50 years ago apparently left a scar, or rather a spiritual wound that refuses to heal. Following Dr Cummings' last column, Jim Sandefur of Lizella posted the following comment on the online version of The Telegraph:
The Story of Medicine by Victor Robinson, M.D. The New Home Library, New York; 1943. Bibliographical Notes, Indexed, 564 pages.
Six years ago I was asked to address the Western Society of Neurosurgery comparing the candidates for President Barack Obama and John McCain. I was very blunt, but analytical about both, but my comments about Obama were not well received by the liberal audience. Unfortunately, what I said has come true. But people will forget that also. The same has happened with the socio-economic/political paper I wrote. It has all come true.(1)
I want to thank both Douglas Harden and Dr. Bill Cummings for conducting such an informative and clarifying civil discussion on Catholic Church dogma and cannon law. I appreciate their sharing ecclesiastical knowledge as well as their civility. I'm sorry that this debate went over the heads of some frivolous "opiners," who dismissed it with atheistic contempt. It is an interesting but telling observation that keen observers will notice over and over: Why are atheists so preoccupied with God, denying monotheistic religion, and in deriding people of faith?
Suleiman the Magnificent — Scourge of Heaven by Antony Bridge is an engaging, but not exhaustive, narrative of the major events in the life and times of the great Ottoman Sultan Suleiman (r. 1520-1566). I was not disappointed in this book, which reads like a charming storybook. The tome is at times suspenseful, always informative, and frequently suitably illustrated, including excellent illustrative maps.
The Galleys at Lepanto by Jack Beeching (1982) is a marvelous book, so well researched and mellifluously narrated as to read almost as a fairy tale or an epic romance of yore, elegantly scribed in poetic prose. Foremost among the knights-errant in this tale of chivalry is Don John of Austria, illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and half-brother of the stern King Philip II of Spain. The characters come to life as they are vividly described in the enthralling narrative, thus once begun, the tome is very difficult to put down.
Moghul by Alan Savage, a pseudonym for a prolific British novelist, is a historic novel of adventure, sex, and brutality of epic proportions.
A Time to Betray — The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran by Reza Kahlili is one of the most heartrending and enthralling accounts I have ever read of courage, dissimulation, and personal suffering in the genre of espionage memoirs.
Recent Macon Telegraph articles and Letters to the Editor continue to discuss "separation of church and state," but frankly, many of them miss the mark. Our Founding Fathers, even Thomas Jefferson, meant something completely different in the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution than what liberal pundits are leading us to believe.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”
— First Amendment in the Bill of Rights
The Sale of Indulgences
Since the heyday of Billy Graham in the 1950s to the 1980s, Protestantism has evolved mostly to become silent on secular issues or to speak only to promulgate politically correct (PC) proclamations depending on the trendy issues of the day.
I apologize in advance to those here who have already assiduously learned these Medieval history lessons and find them redundant in their intellectual ordnance. If you already know about the Inquisition, the Crusades — and their historic relationship to Western civilization, please skip this post!
Recently, as if on cue, I have noticed liberal jabs at religion of a peculiar nature. It is as if, from the coldness of his tomb, Karl Marx (photo, below) was inciting these little jabs by his latter day disciples to prop up yet another aspect of his failing communist (socialist) philosophy, a philosophy that refuses to die.
Dr. Jane M. Orient’s emphasis on morality’s importance in medicine (Medical Sentinel, Spring 1997) is characteristically on target. Her reminding us that religion created that morality is also vitally important. But she may err in seeing that morality as based on objective “natural law” rather than on something quite different: objective, religiously- and historically-defined Moral Law.
Is Insufficient Spending the Culprit?
*This article is excerpted from the Foreword of Dr. Prioreschi's latest volume (Vol. III --- Roman Medicine) of his A History of Medicine, released this year.(1)