Today I was cornered by a patient about my religious beliefs. I’m not sure why she wanted to know so badly but in the moment I made the decision to be honest and tell her that I’m actually an atheist. She found this appalling and when the attending came in it was brought up, I was forced to pray with them (which apparently he does quite regularly) during which time she prayed for me to be saved. Afterward the attending’s advice was for me not to talk to patient’s about my beliefs, and that ideas like mine are really frowned upon. I got the notion that he resented my beliefs as well.
Earlier in my education, a different attending had given a lecture about how it is impossible to be a good physician without God. So far I’ve been asked to pray with patients on 3 separate occasions now (Bible Belt) and it’s not something I had thought about much before this year.
I don’t know how to feel about this. It feels disingenuous to pretend to believe in anything for the sake of appeasing people, but at the same time I’m not looking to create trouble with my patients.
Does anyone have any insight into this? We live in a time where being an atheist is still a rather unpopular thing to be, despite how forgiving reddit may be about it, and I’m trying to make forward progress with my thoughts and actions on this issue.
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