We need social reflection on the topic of religion to be able to separate superstition, fanaticism, and ignorance from legitimate expressions of religion. In learning about what true religion is, we can benefit from what it can contribute towards the progress of humanity and curb acts of ignorance and fundamentalism that are carried out in its name.
As you progress through medical training, you can often become a bit cynical and jaded, and next thing you know, you start making assumptions when you walk into a room. Unfortunately, we have all been guilty of passing judgment at some point in time. How can we stop ourselves, and others, from passing judgment?
Historically, prejudice of any kind could be freely expressed with few repercussions (emotional, legal, or otherwise) so long as there was a reasonable justification. Religion has often served as the justification, and has therefore facilitated an array of prejudice, from racism to sexism to homophobia. Over time, the use of religious beliefs to justify prejudice has tended to decline, but still persists -- especially when it comes to homosexuality.
In a recent study researchers called doctors' offices in Toronto while playing the role of a person looking for a family physician. Doctors' offices were 58 per cent more likely to offer an appointment if the caller mentioned that he or she had a high-status job than if he or she mentioned receiving welfare.
One of my childhoods was happy. The B&W movies projected on our small TV screen, more often than not, contradicted the drama I was living in my own home movie reels. But there were exceptions. In fact, the images of our television's B&W movies were very real to me. Sidney Poitier was one of those images, and thankfully, he made repeat appearances.