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Medical Profession Quotes

The Wisdom of Paul Tournier, MD.

Paul Tournier, born May 12, 1898, in Geneva, Switzerland, was a clergyman and poet. He was educated at the University of Geneva, where he received an Dr. Paul Tournier : Medical Profession QuotesM.D. degree in 1923. Tournier became deeply interested in Calvinism and the Reformed faith in his post-university years, along with his extensive involvement in civic and medical groups. As a result of his interest in religion, he began to delve more deeply into the relationship between medicine, counseling, and spiritual values. For a period of time, he seriously considered giving up medicine for counseling but decided instead to combine the two, breaking away from the pattern established for psychiatry by Freud.

He became a prolific writer of books dealing with these subjects. Among the best-known are The Healing of Persons, translated from the 1945 French edition in 1965, and English translations of The Meaning of Persons, 1957, A Doctor's Casebook in the Light of the Bible, 1960, Guilt and Grace, 1962, and The Whole Person in the Broken World, 1965. 

Selected Quotations

The fact is that in denying the reality of sin, by giving people to understand that a fault of character is due to the malfunctioning of an endocrine gland, or by calling some impure temptation a “psychological complex,” science destroys man’s sense of moral responsibility. The present state of the world shows where that leads.

This is the state of modern medicine: It has lost the sense of the unity of man. Such is the price it has paid for its scientific progress.

Many ordinary illnesses are nothing but the expression of a serious dissatisfaction with life.

Sickness may be the solemn occasion of God’s intervention in a person’s life.

Every day doctors have to deal with people who are worn out and unable to stand up to the life they lead. They generally assert that it is impossible to alter the way they live, and sincerely believe that their overwork is the product of circumstance, whereas it is bound up with their own intimate problems. It is ambition, fear of the future, love of money, jealousy, or social injustice that makes men strive and overwork, invent all sorts of unnecessary tasks, keep late hours, take too little sleep, take insufficient holidays, or use their holidays badly. Their minds are over tense, so that at night they cannot sleep and by day they doubly fatigue themselves at their work.

The doctor who can no longer find time in his day for prayer and the inner life, time to prepare for his day in the presence of God and to seek His will for his patients, cannot bring to them the spiritual climate that is necessary if they are to open their hearts to him. Driven on by his devotion to the needs of his practice he leads a fatiguing and unsatisfying life in which only more and more rarely does he find those peaceful moments of intimacy when he can provide what the patient most expects of him.

The world does not need a new medicine: it needs doctors who know how to pray and obey God in their own lives. In such hands medicine, with all its modern resources, will bring forth fruits in abundance. 

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