In the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, there are many features of our modern life that we take for granted. Toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer … and hospitals. Although adequate medical care is still tragically absent in many countries throughout the world, a huge percentage of the world’s population can simply go to a hospital when they need medical attention.
This fact is worth pausing over. For much of human history, it was not self-evident that everyone deserved medical care. For much of human history, human lives were ranked on a scale of value. Medical care was for the wealthy or the important. Not every life deserved to be saved.
The prevalence of the modern hospital is rooted in religion. More specifically, hospitals as we know them were an outgrowth of the early Christian movement.