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We argue that the use of publicly funded medical facilities for patients who are waiting for a miracle amounts to discrimination against atheists, agnostics and advocates, of faiths that do not accept miracle claims. The only exception is when this use can be justified by considerations that demonstrate that waiting makes it more likely that a miracle will occur and will aid the patient's recovery. Such justification can be grounded on considerations of faith or of reason. We consider both possibilities and suggest conditions of acceptability for both. In arguing this way, we steer a middle path between discrimination against atheists, agnostics, and advocates of faiths that do not accept miracle claims--miraclism--and a failure to respect religious belief.

Original publication

DOI

10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31815a9a09

Type

Journal article

Journal

South Med J

Publication Date

12/2007

Volume

100

Pages

1259 - 1262

Keywords

Humans, Knowledge, Prejudice, Religion and Medicine, Spirituality