Extra Medicinam Nulla Salus. Medicine as a Secular Religion
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Poznan University of Medical Sciences.
Publication date: 2013-03-21
Polish Sociological Review 2013;181(1):21-38
Ever since sociology emerged as a scientific discipline, its founding fathers have stressed that modernisation will result in secularisation. The belief in the ‘death of God’ as a sine qua non condition for social progress has also been prevalent during the past 100 years and has resulted in the popularity of the secularisation thesis. In contrast this paper argues that religion has not disappeared in the Western World but is being transformed. It is argued that modern medicine reflects the religious heritage of Western culture: its ideology, myths, dogmas, symbols, beliefs, rituals, practices, hopes and fears. Even more, it is a form of secular religion. The analysis is based on functional, phenomenological and cultural approaches toward religion. The paper focuses on three components of the religion of health: 1) its general structure; 2) the morality of health and 3) the Church of medicine.
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