Saturday, December 15, 2007

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer and friend

Schweitzer hospital

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), as a man of religion, could have spent his life writing books about God.

But he decided to help sick people in Africa.

In 1905 he began to study to be a doctor and by 1913 he had set up a hospital in Gabon in French Equatorial Africa.

Sometimes, as a doctor, he was criticised for being old fashioned and bossy, but, thousands of Africans were helped by his hospital.

Louise Jilek-Aall, M.D. wrote (Working with Dr. Schweitzer - Chapter 7) :

"Journalists and visitors, especially from affluent countries, blamed him for running an overcrowded, old-fashioned, and unhygienic hospital.

"When I first arrived, I discovered those statements about the hospital did indeed appear to be true, but it did not take me long before I understood why the Africans nevertheless crowded into Albert Schweitzer's compound instead of going to the half-empty government hospital near Lambaréné village.

"Like most of the so-called 'modern' hospitals that I saw in Africa, the government hospital had solid, whitewashed brick walls, hard cement floors, and large wards with two rows of beds, twenty or more to the room.

"The rural Africans were frightened of an atmosphere seemingly desolate and too cool for comfort. Accustomed as these people were to dark, small huts with the familiar physical closeness of their people, they felt dejected and lonely in bright and spacious hospital wards."

Schweitzer never abandoned his interest in theology and wrote many books on the subject.

Schweitzer believed that the Greek and Indian religions did not concern themselves enough about helping the poor, the hungry and the sick.

Schweitzer wrote: "The only experience the religious mind of the Graeco-Oriental type knows is the longing after the spiritual; but according to the teaching of Jesus men are to be gripped by God's will to love, and must help to carry out that will in this world...Christianity and the Religions of the World

Schweitzer liked Chinese Taoism because it dealt with every day life in the real world and with compassion.

Schweitzer wrote: "Lao Tze ... fascinated me... The Chinese philosophers ... idealize the natural forces at work in the world, and ascribe to them ethical character." Christianity and the Religions of the World

Schweitzer was aware that some of God's creatures eat each other.

He decided that we must do everything we can to show reverance for life.

He wrote: "Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationshipwith the universe."

Schweitzer was not popular with conservative Christians.

Schweitzer wrote in 1934: "All thinking must renounce the attempt to explain the universe. . . . What is glorious in it is united with what is full of horror. What is full of meaning is united with what is senseless. The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive - it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle." (The Christian Century, November 28, 1934). (Reconsidering Albert Schweitzer)
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2 Comments:

Blogger banos_fame said...

Thanks for doing my homework

12:11 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Dear banos-fame,

Glad I could be of help.

Do you have a blog?

- Nona-People

12:33 AM  

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