Reading Scripture to a Patient (from an Atheist) - page 3

by julianp

4,185 Views | 23 Comments

So I managed to break my own rule without thinking about it until halfway through. I have a resident who is a JW (Jehovah's Witness). He's tried to talk to me about god several times but I just brush it off. I've been DF'd... Read More


  1. 0
    If it pains you to read it to him, then tell him you don't have the time right then and there and ask someone else to do it. If he knew your background, he wouldn't want you reading to him anyway since it would be uncomfortable for the both of you. Have some spine and either suck it up and do it or get someone else to.

    It never fails to amaze me how this religion is bashed fairly frequently. There are innumerable threads about how horrible JW are.FWIW, they are no more a cult than Mormons, Lutherans, Mennonites, etc.
  2. 1
    Its an awkward position to suddenly need to confront our personal spiritual hangups while trying to do the right thing and help the patient. Once in my clinical rotations I had a patient, extremely ill, no family in the US, and dying. One day after I finished cleaning her up and changed of bedding the patient gripped my arm and asked with tear filled eyes and a shaky voice, "could I pray for her?"

    I was in a dilemma, what do i do? how do you pray with or for someone when one doesn't regularly pray and cannot remember what the words were. I couldn't run off and look for my professor to ask her what and how to pray and nor could i convert to a devout believer on the spot and I did not want to lie to a dying person. I told her the truth that I told her that I was not particularly religious, didn't know the words, rarely prayed but would she like me to sit with her for a few minuets. I sat with her quietly, each left to our own thoughts, I was thinking is this ok? wow this isn't something school prepare me for, I was the least qualified person in the building to be doing this, what else can I do to ease her suffering. Then after I ashed her if she would like a priest come visit her because hospitals can get access to those. She did. I told her nurse and also followed up on it after lunch, they had sent for a priest to visit the same day. Later I stopped by her room to say good bye she thanked she was crying me and that it meant a lot to her that i prayed with her. You see to her me just sitting with her was praying and me I well sat with her and did alot of thinking about all sorts of stuff and tried to do my best to ease her suffering the only way i knew how.

    I keep my own beliefs to myself and could care less if another thinks that I should convert or not. If its something that clearly gives a patient peace by hearing their scriptures and I have a few minuets whats the harm. I get sermons yelled at me by street preachers all the time does that make me a convert?
    Last edit by Inori on Aug 30, '12
    tenjuna likes this.
  3. 0
    I'm just wondering where you folks all work that you have time to read scripture to the patient every day? I don't! We do have customer service representatives and CNAs who have time for that sort of thing. There are also chaplains we can call. And if the patient is asking for evangelical purposes, I have absolutely no time for that!

    That said, the Bible is interesting from a historical standpoint, even if you're an atheist or agnostic. I'm sure that scripture from other religions would be interesting as well, and IF I had the time and IF the patient were incapable of reading it himself, I'd probably go along with it.

    Proselytizing? I have no time for that, whether it be a patient, colleague or visitor.
  4. 0
    I am a longtime Christian. If a Muslim handed the Qur'an to me and asked me to read it, and I KNEW he/she was doing it for the sole purpose of getting me to convert...I would do it, and hopefully I would have enough respect for this person to not be holding back laughter. That is, as Ruby pointed out, if I had time...


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