Modern Medicine: The Hidden Influence of Beliefs and Fears

Olivier Clerc
GreenMed Info
crossed syringes 

© Unknown

Almost imperceptibly, medicine has taken on a saving, or messianic role, the characteristics of which we must examine.

When the Christian missionaries of the last three or four centuries were evangelizing so-called “primitive people”, they believed that they had only to destroy or burn the various cult objects of these people in order to eradicate their religions, superstitions, and customs.

Centuries after the conquistadors tried to stamp out the Inca culture, or the Inquisition tried to stamp out the protestant ‘heresies’, or the similar attempts to annihilate the Voodoo, or the many African and Asian religions, we know that such arrogant high-handedness does not work. These beliefs still continue today, sometimes under different guises, long after the objects of worship associated with them have been destroyed.

This lesson from history is not only valid for primitive people and their religions. It can equally be applied – if not more so – to aspects of our own modern society. Indeed, even a superficial study of contemporary culture will reveal that the supposed secularization of present day society is just an illusion. Even though most people do not conform to the outward show of religious custom and practice – mostly Judeo-Christian in western culture – the beliefs and superstitions remain deeply embedded in their subconscious, influencing many aspects of their daily lives without them realizing it.

And as several sociology studies have shown, the superstitious beliefs that used to be attached to the formal religions have in many cases simply been transferred to other objects, persons or events. The daily evening television news bulletins, watched by millions worldwide in their respective countries, the stars of show business and sport, humanitarian associations, cults and all sorts of other things in modern life, these have now become the new gods we venerate or fear, or the shrines at which we worship or curse, and where we still experience those primitive religious urges and feelings, where we can believe without necessarily having to think or rationalize.


Medicine, then, has become the new world religion. The specific myths, beliefs and rites of Christianity have been unconsciously projected over medicine since Pasteur. As I explain in detail in my book, we can establish a very close parallelism between the catholic religion and modern medicine, although, for lack of space, I cannot go into all the details of each comparison in this article. In brief:

  • physicians have taken the place of priests;
  • vaccination plays the same initiatory role as baptism, and is accompanied by the same threats and fears;
  • the search for health has replaced the quest for salvation;
  • the fight against disease has replaced the fight against sin;
  • eradication of viruses has taken the place of exorcising demons;
  • the hope of physical immortality (cloning, genetic engineering) has been substituted for the hope of eternal life;
  • pills have replaced the sacrament of bread and wine;
  • donations to cancer research take precedence over donations to the church;
  • a hypothetical universal vaccine could save humanity from all its illnesses, as the Saviour has saved the world from all its sins;
  • the medical power has become the government’s ally, as was the Catholic Church in the past;
  • “charlatans” are persecuted today as “heretics” were yesterday;
  • dogmatism rules out promising alternative medical theories;
  • the same absence of individual responsibility is now found in medicine, as previously in the Christian religion;
  • patients are alienated from their bodies, as sinners used to be from their souls.

People are still being manipulated by their fears and childish hopes. They are still told that the source of their problems is outside them, and that the solution can only come from the outside. They are not allowed to do anything by themselves and they must have the mediation of priest-physicians, the administration of drug-hosts, and the protection of vaccine-absolutions.

In other words, there are three layers superimposed inside us:

1) a core of fears, from which we have learned to protect ourselves by covering it with

2) a layer of beliefs, which make us feel safe (even though those fears have not disappeared), this layer being itself dissimulated under

3) an intellectual varnish, a rational facade, which give us the illusion of having transcended superstitions and beliefs, and which shelters us from our fears, keeping us barricaded behind intellectual knowledge.

But in reality, as soon as any unexpected event scratches this varnish, our underlying beliefs and fears reveal their presence and their indirect influence.

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