If you were to believe many of the devout atheists, Christians have made and continue to make no contributions to the advancement of medicine. In the atheist's version of the Christian faith, followers of Jesus must reject both sin and science.
Thankfully, the caricature of the science-hating Christian put forth by Richard Dawkins and others evangelistic atheists is as real as the Flying Spaghetti Monster some have used in an attempt to lampoon God.
If you needed further proof, Hannah Gay gives you all that you need.
Dr. Gay is a missionary turned doctor, an unassuming Bible drill teacher who just became a medical rockstar, as her treatment plan appears to have functionally cured a child of AIDS.
While her work is grounded in hard science and empirical data, it also flows from her faith in Christ and compassion on those hurting.
Many atheists may have been shocked to find out a Christian was the one to discover the medical breakthrough, but fighting against diseases is entirely Christlike. After all, Jesus spent much of the limited time He had here on Earth curing people of sicknesses.
Jesus' healing work was not random or happenstance. It was intentional, introducing the arrival of the Kingdom, letting everyone know that the restoration process had begun.
Christians are to pray for and work toward the realization of God's Kingdom on this planet. Jesus taught us to pray that God's will would be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Sickness is not part of God's creation and will not be included in Heaven. It only came about after the fall. Sin brought sickness into this world. The Savior sought to remove it, to reverse the curse that we invited here.
Gay's work is God's work. Fighting against AIDS and other life-threatening diseases reflect the will of our Father.
Those Christians, how many there may have been, in previous generations who believed that working to cure certain diseases like AIDS was attempting to undermine God's judgment didn't understand God, His Kingdom and the work He has placed us here to accomplish.
One cannot welcome both God's Kingdom and sin's curse. Those two can never permanently coexist. Where God's Kingdom is present, the curse of sin is being vanquished, including ailments in our bodies.
Obviously, there is more to the work than simply seeking a cure for physical illnesses. We are, most importantly, called to proclaim Christ as the only remedy to our spiritual death, but that does not preclude us from contributing to the end of other aspects of the curse, like specific diseases.
As a missionary in Africa with her husband during the height of the AIDS epidemic there, Gay saw the need for both – physical and spiritual healing.
Followers of Christ should recognize death as an enemy and anything that brings it about as an accomplice worthy of our raging against it.
True and proper Christian theology encourages any and all medical and scientific advancements that encourage a healthy life, provided those advancements are obtained through ethical means. Destroying one life to help another life is not the manner in which God would have us look to the realization of His Kingdom.
Fighting and curing AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's and every other disease is not contrary to the Christian faith. On the contrary, it should be a goal of it.
In working to end AIDS in children, Dr. Hannah Gay is striving toward the advancement of God's Kingdom, just as she was on the missionary field. May every Christian similarly work in the power of the Holy Spirit to reverse sin's curse and redeem God's creation in the test tube and beyond, wherever He may lead.