This blog intends to provide some balance in the religious debate by providing a counterpoint to Billy Graham's religious advice. On his website http://www.billygraham.org/ he responds to readers' questions by quoting from the bible. I am attempting to respond to those same queries by resorting to reason and rationality.

I must acknowledge a debt here to Jeff Hope who started in this vein but who has unfortunately taken a hiatus. His blog is http://atheistsanswer.wordpress.com/. Jeff has inspired me to continue.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too Much Altruism

QUESTION: Today's comes from KJ...
"I work in the emergency room of our local hospital, and to be honest, I'm about burned out. I get very discouraged because most of the people who come here are here because of their own bad decisions -- too much drinking, drugs, fighting, you name it. We patch them up, but two weeks later they're back. Why bother? Should I change careers?".

You obviously have a job that is more stressful than most. Also you obviously have an altruistic streak whereby you get fulfillment from helping others, but are getting frustrated that your efforts are not making any difference. How long has it been since your last holiday? If it has been a while then take a long break and see how you feel upon your return. If you've had the usual number of breaks recently then you may be ready for a change in direction. Recent research has shown that people such as paramedics have a significantly higher rate of burn-out and mental health issues. How do your co-workers fare? It may be time to move on. What else could you do? Are there any medical roles where you get to use your skills in an environment where you'll be more readily appreciated? Think carefully. You only get one life. By all means help others, but don't waste all of your life in sacrifice for others thinking that you'll get some reward after you die. This is unsubstantiable delusion.
Above all don't ask yourself "what is the right thing to do in this situation?". How many times do we ask ourselves that very question? And how often are we unable to find an answer? We are actually asking ourselves the wrong question. There is no right answer. Life is not black and white. There are different courses of action that have different outcomes for different people at different times, and a lot of the outcomes cannot be seen from where we are now.


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