We found a fascinating article at New Atlantis about the “medicalization” of everything which Mad readers might find thought-provoking. Joseph E. Davis argues that medicine has pushed its way into daily life, creating “belief in the omnipresence of disorder.” This seems obvious during a pandemic, but he explains that we live in time when the medicalization juggernaut is claiming to be the cure for all sorts of suffering.
Certainly, modern medicine has helped many people out of sickness and trauma. For sure, modern humans need not endure every ailment that plagued our ancestors. But Davis is taking a broader view— making everything a pathology isn’t good for us. He argues that viewing a wide range of human experience as “disorders, illnesses [and] deficiencies” has reduced our ability to cope with the “discomfort, vulnerability, and pain” of normal human life on planet Earth.
Davis thinks the reason we have let medicine invade our lives is that we have a “shrunken anthropology.” He argues that medicalization reduces people to “neurones and chemicals”, and doesn’t countenance the idea that suffering could have a purpose. While Davis seems to locate the antidote for medicalization in the human ability to overcome, Mad Christians know that the sickness which gave birth to all others will always end in death. Maybe the answer is not a higher view of humanity but a sober view of sin.
We don’t have a doctor who is “unable to empathize with our weaknesses” but a Great Physician who knows the depths of human suffering. Yet he lived as a man and gave his life for mankind. While sickness and distress will be part of our sojourn here on earth, the Psalter contains many prayers of saints gone before, wearied with illness and petitioning God for healing and relief. Hold fast to your confession, receive the balm of his body and blood, be refreshed as you remember your baptism. This life is a passing dream, the fullness awaits us in the Resurrection.
He is risen. You are paid for and he won’t be long anyway.