Food & Drink Magazine

Is Religion Harmful to Children? A Prominent MD Rethinks Jesus.

By Rachelmariestone @rachel_m_stone

Dr. Paul Offit was pretty sure that religion was harmful to children.

But while writing his newest book on medicine, the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine was surprised by Jesus.

Offit says he always had moderate respect for religion but started to doubt when, as a young attending physician, he saw five children die within 10 days during an outbreak of measles in Philadelphia in 1991. At the center of the epidemic were children who were unvaccinated in accordance with their parents' radical brand of Christian belief.

A professor of pediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania, Offit has been branded as "Dr. Proffit" by anti-vaccination activists. In previous books, he has defended vaccinations, challenged the now widely discredited autism-vaccine link and sharply criticized the alternative medicine industry. When he published "Autism's False Prophets" in 2008, he didn't go on book tour because had received death threats.

Having seen children die because of their parents' religiously-motivated neglect - including the use of religious exemptions to vaccination, Offit began to read and to appreciate new atheist writings, including books by Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. As he began writing his new book, " Bad Faith: How Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine," he assumed that he would arrive at similar conclusions: that religion was too often the culprit in preventable deaths, and that it was best left behind.

{continue reading at The Washington Post to learn about how Dr. Offit Changed his mind about Christianity.}


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