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Book and Media Reviews
October 4, 2006

Science and Belief

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;296(13):1659-1664. doi:10.1001/jama.296.13.1659-b

Several years ago, a teen at the church I attend was surprised that I was a physician. “How can you be a doctor and believe in God at the same time?” he asked me. I, in turn, was surprised by his question but forgot about it until a few months later, when I was examining an infant exposed to HIV who was in the care of a foster parent. As the parent prayed aloud that I would not find anything seriously wrong with the child, she stopped suddenly and said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” Confused, I asked, “For what?” She smiled, “Here I am talking to God around someone who doesn't believe.” “Oh, I definitely believe in God,” I smiled in return. “Gee,” she replied, “I thought all you people—you doctors—were atheists.”