Most U.S. Doctors Surveyed Believe in God

A survey examining religion in medicine found that most U.S. doctors believe in God and an afterlife - a surprising degree of spirituality in a science-based field, researchers say.

In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine, reports Beliefnet.

"We were surprised to find that physicians were as religious as they apparently are," said Dr. Farr Curlin, a researcher at the University of Chicago's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

"There's certainly a deep-seated cultural idea that science and religion are at odds," and previous studies have suggested that fewer than half of scientists believe in God, Curlin said Wednesday.

A previous survey showed about 83 percent of the general population believes in God.

The study is based on responses to questionnaires mailed in 2003. It is to appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and was released online to subscribers earlier this month.

Dr. J. Edward Hill, president of the American Medical Association, said religion and medicine are completely compatible, as long as doctors do not force their own beliefs on patients.

Belief in "a supreme being ... is vitally important to physicians' ability to take care of patients, particularly the end-of-life issues that we deal with so often," said Hill, a family physician from Tupelo, Miss.

Religions among physicians are more varied than among the general population, the survey found. While more than 80 percent of the U.S. population is Protestant or Catholic, 60 percent of doctors said they were from either group.

Most U.S. Doctors Surveyed Believe in God and Afterlife (Beliefnet 22/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
International Federation of Catholic Doctors
Catholic Medical Association of the USA
Catholic Health Australia

Catholics back freedom of conscience for doctors in US states (CathNews 23/4/04)
Medical students urge doctors to talk to patients about faith (CathNews 31/10/03)

23 Jun 2005