“Modern Medicine and the Deathly Hallows:” Latest Article by TMC alumnus Dr. Brewer Eberly

TMC alumnus Dr. Brewer Eberly recently contributed an article as part of a series on the nihilism of modern medicine for the Theopolis Institute. In it, he argues that while the diagnosis of modern medicine as nihilistic is correct in some ways, his experiences as a family medicine resident reveal the beautiful in-breaking of the kingdom of God in some of the ugliest places of medicine. He begins:

“Death is modern medicine’s epistemology, metaphysic, and ethic.[i] I first came across Jeffrey Bishop’s provocative argument as a medical student. Now, as a resident physician, I’m wrestling with Kimbell Kornu’s rich extension of Bishop in his Theopolis Conversation Starter: that because death is modern medicine’s stillpoint, modern medicine is also nihilistic.

I want to note upfront that I’m largely convinced by the work of Bishop and Kornu. These are thinkers I respect, and I’ve found their arguments incisive, powerful, and correct.

However, as I’ve tried to share Bishop’s work (and now Kornu’s) with fellow residents, medical students, and even pastors, I’ve noticed a disconnect. As Leithart gestures, there is a practical culture of healthcare far afield from the language of Foucault and Heidegger, in which talk of a nihilistic medicine comes across as exaggerated and fatalistic. Medicine does not feel death-centered among most patients, most of the time….” Read the entire article.