Science in Christian Perspective



Philip, B. Marquart, M.D.

From JASA 8 (June 1956): 19

John A. Schindler, M. D. was a medical classmate of mine. Now that he has written a best-seller, "How To Live 365 Days a Year", I can see in this recent work the same painstaking, systematic, methodical person who learned his origins and insertions with me many years ago. He shows in a clear and popular manner how the emotions can play upon the organs of the body in real, not imaginary symptoms.

The author has done an admirable job of popularising the field of psychosomatic medicine, and showing how unwary husbands tend to pay in their wives' doctor bills for their own lack of love and understanding for their families. He shows so clearly that psychologic symptoms are neither "put on" nor are they "all imagined in the mind", but they actually produce bodily changes which may even turn into organic diseases, such as ulcer. Dr. Schindler is not a psychiatrist, but is practicing as the specialist in internal medicine in a small town clinic. Since he is practicing in a small community in which he had lived all his lif e, it is understandable that he knows the life histories and the family histories of his patients in a way that would not be possible in a large city practice.

Dr. Schindler does not in any way try to tear down the faith of his patients and one may easily add to his facts the truth of Scriptural faith, but it is obvious that he has left "religion" out of all consideration. I can understand his neglectful attitude toward "religion" since none of the local churches have any life. Yet there is -a highly conventional advocacy of decency and ethics and a rejection of Freud and of Kinsey, in no uncertain terms.

I stopped at the author's home at Eastertime but did not f ind him at home. Since that time I received the following in a letter from him:

"Dear Phil:
"It was very nice to get your letter and to know where you are and what you are doing. It was nice to find out that you are a psychiatrist with both feet on the ground.

"I quite agree with you that for some people joining one of the organized churches seems to be of some benefit, but on the other hand, there are great many who find in it only increasing insecurity and frustration. In our practice we find that the clergy have a larger percentage of emotionally induced illness than almost any other vocational class, and we often see theological problems mixed up in people's troubles.

My own feeling is that there is a vast difference between religion and theology, and that theology has been a bad thing for the world."

What a pity that we Christians should give such an impression! Nevertheless, we feel that this book has much to contribute to Christian thinking, with much less danger than many psychology books.