I read in the news today that the two workers who were helping with the Ebola outbreak in Africa were cleared for release from the hospital. That’s right, these two people survived Ebola. That in itself is awesome, of course. I don’t want anyone to die the agonizing death caused by Ebola. But things that both of these people said upon their release really stuck in my craw.
Kent Brantly, the physician, said, “God saved my life.” Nancy Writebol said, “To God be the glory,” as she left the hospital. And only one thing came to my mind.
Statements and sentiments like this are ridiculous on two levels. First and foremost, God did not save you, science did. Is any rational human being really going to tell me that if these two people had stayed in Africa that they would be cured right now? No. Because if it really were all God’s work, then their location wouldn’t make any difference. What made the difference was returning to a western, first world country and receiving the best science and evidenced based care on the planet. Receiving a brand new experimental drug probably didn’t hurt either. A drug that was developed, by the way, by science–not Jesus. Give some credit where credit is due. It shouldn’t be “To God be glory,” it should be “To Medicine be glory.”
Secondly, how insulting to all the people who have already died from the Ebola outbreak. To insinuate that your survival was ordained by a supreme being suggests that those who died deserved to die in God’s eyes. For what? Why? What is so super special about these two people? They don’t think that those people in Africa who they were treating were doing the best they could do? This attitude is patronizing and condescending to the people you’re trying to help, and especially to those whose lives have already been claimed.
At the end of the day, God had nothing to do with the survival of these two people. Clean water did. Antiseptic did. Being surrounded by trained professionals did. IV fluids did. An experimental new drug did. I’d be willing to bet that if given the same treatment in America, more of the people who died in Africa would have survived as well. So, please, let’s all stop pretending that an invisible man in the sky is deciding who lives and dies for his own reasons and acknowledge who the real heroes are: doctors and scientists.