Atheists Exist, And Some Of Them Are Nurses Too

A while back, there was an article written by Christina Feist-Heilmeier titled “No Nurse is an Atheist”. Like many people who read it, I was outraged by the numerous claims in this article, namely things like this:

Just as there are no atheists in fox holes, there are no atheists in nursing. If by chance there may be some atheistic nurses in existence, I have never met one personally.

There is also the disgusting insinuation that all good nurses are religious and go to church.

And nearly half of the article draws from the supposedly inspirational figure of Mother Teresa, who was undoubtedly a massive fanatic, fundamentalist, and fraud of the Catholic Church. She believed that suffering was a gift from God. Her “compassionate nursing” composed of taking stolen money given to her by dictators like the Duvalier family in Haiti. She spent the millions of dollars she received building “homes” for the sick and dying–places that had horrendous facilities and nearly no medical treatment. And as Christopher Hitchens says, “Mother Teresa was not a friend of a poor. She was a friend of poverty… She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women, and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”

But I was very impressed and inspired by the responses to this article. Atheist nurses (yes, there are LOTS and LOTS of them) spoke up against this kind of explicit marginalization and demanded to be counted. They explained carefully their passion for the profession, their love of serving other people, and their ability to be Good Without God.

Here are some of them.

I’m an atheist pediatrician and I know numerous atheist physicians and nurses. My life is not empty. It is much more precious and beautiful to me now than it ever was when I had some imaginary friend and afterlife to believe in.

I give good care because I am smart, well educated, and because I care about my fellow man. It rewards me in THIS life – it’s not intended to impress some imaginary friend so that he may let me into his country club when I die. Which is the more noble motivation? And seriously, after having met and worked with several christians, I’m pretty proud to say I’m NOT one.

I became an atheist about 2 years ago, but the level of care I give my patients has not changed at all. Why? Because of such things as empathy, and compassion which come from within, not from any holy book.

My best friend is a nurse, AND an atheist. But she doesn’t go around telling people at work she is an atheist, for fear of being ostracized by fellow nurses like you.

I’m a proud US Army veteran, and was just accepted to graduate nursing school. I am also a proud atheist.

Yet another atheist nurse here who knows many, many other atheists in our line of work. Compassion does not require faith, and coping and renewal do not require prayer or church.

I have been an atheist my entire nursing career and despite your ignorant assumptions it has been very rewarding. Religion is not the sole basis for morality, empathy or compassion. I take pride in caring for my fellow humans and I do it without the crutch of religion.

There are atheists in fox holes and in the nursing field. My brother is an atheist in a foxhole and I am an atheist nurse. Perhaps you’ve never heard of humanism.

My sister in law is a nurse and atheist…she is even working on becoming a “humanist” chaplain so she can comfort those in need, without being religious.

There are many many atheists in honorable professions. We help other people because we want to. We serve with dignity, with respect, and with responsibility because that’s the right thing to do. We strive to better ourselves, and to treat all people equally. And no, we don’t do it because of religion.

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Posted on March 31, 2012, in Humanism, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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