So her name was Nicole. She was one of the most closed and enigmatic people I have ever met, and she was on my staff. I had "inherited" her, as opposed to hiring her myself. Actually, she was intelligent and articulate, so I probably would have hired her myself if given the chance.
Nicole was a born-again Christian. She was quite vocal about her religious beliefs, even to the point of making her co-workers uncomfortable at times. I wouldn't necessarily call it prostyletizing, but it was pretty close. Nicole had been spoken to by the head honchos more than a few times about this tendency, but since she had been under me, there had been no issues regarding religious beliefs. Until one Friday, of all days.
That morning she came into my office and announced brusquely, "I can no longer work on the cochlear implant study."
I had inherited this particular study along with her as my primary liason.
"Why Nicole?" I asked. "Is there some area of it that is giving you difficulty? Let's see what we can do to get you some help."
"No," she said. "I don't want to be on it any longer because it is against my religious beliefs."
Now this was completely uncharted territory for me. I knew I had to tread carefully, as I did not want to possibly say the wrong thing or offend her.
"What part of it is against your beliefs, Nicole?"
She had been standing over me since coming in to my office, and she suddenly plopped down on the nearest chair. Her entire upper body leaned to me as she explained.
"Well, you see, Gina, it's like this. I think that cochlear implants themselves go against God's plan. God made that person deaf, that was His plan for them. Cochlear implants interfere with the natural order, and I feel wrong doing this study."
I was, to put it mildly, floored.
There was no question in my mind that I would remove her from the study at that point. A healthy skepticism can be fine in research, but to flatly believe there is a facet of the study that goes against your world beliefs can easily taint the results. At least, in the kind of research I specialized in, which is survey research. And of course, the fact that it was against her religious beliefs.
So, I found her work on another project, and she felt better, my superiors felt better. Everyone except me.
I found myself questioning things in a manner I never had before. I took her reasoning and just kept extending it. I couldn't help it. To this day, that type of reasoning vexes me in a way that I cannot coherently explain.
Did it mean that someone who was nearsighted shouldn't wear glasses because God intended them to live their lives with poor vision?
Did it mean that if you were in a serious car accident that you should refuse to go to the hospital because God intended you to be hurt and any medical help interfered with that?
Did it mean that a baby born with a cleft palate should have to live their entire lives with it, since apparently God wanted it that way?
Should we not develop vaccines or antibiotics because you can't get any more "natural" than bacteria?
Does this belief only apply to medial intervention, or does it pertain to any aspect of a person who was trying to change something fairly fundamental about themselves?
At what point does it stop being "help" or "improvement" and start infringing upon God's larger plan for the universe?
I, for one, am of the persuasion that God helps those who help themselves.