Where did hospitals come from? Medical clinics? Orphanages? Centers to treat the mentally ill? Rehabilitation clinics? Did these pop up in China, India, or among the indigenous peoples of South America one day? No. All these great medical institutions that the world reveres and copies…originated in the lands that gave us Western Civilization.
Hospitals came from Europe. The pagan Romans did have something like hospitals for Roman solders, but the first hospitals for civilians originated among the Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire in the 4th century. Saint Benedict of Nursia founded his monastery on Monte Cassino (in Italy) in 529, and there he established a place to take care of the sick. In 580 a hospital was established by Christians in Merida (in what is now modern day Spain). At that hospital everyone was cared for, whether they were Christians or Jews, slave or free.
Monasteries across Europe created hospitals. Muslims later followed suit, but the Christian world eventually built theirs all over the world, in part because Europeans established colonies, but also because Christian missionaries simply believed it was their calling to relieve sickness and suffering wherever there were human beings.
In fact, the idea of charity, individuals voluntarily and attending to the needs of the poor, sick, and disadvantaged, is a concept that originated in the Judeo-Christian worldview which found its home for centuries in Western Civilization.
Out of people’s concerns for the poor, the sick, and the foreigner, grew organizations such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, rescue missions, rehab clinics, orphanages, hospice care, and medical dispensaries in the most remote corners of the world.
Do you like hospitals and the marvels of medical technology and it’s accessibility to multiplied millions around the world? Then you can thank God for producing a civilization that gave us all these blessings. Not a perfect civilization at all, but one that has certainly blessed the world in many undeniable ways.