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What role, if any, should religion have in healthcare?

The role that religion plays in the field of healthcare has been debated over (delete
over) countlessly and (insert still)remains inconclusive. With greater evidence of
religion playing an advantageous catalyst in healing and more scientific research
studies being carried out proving that religion can aid in the healing of patients and
people in general, has lead to more acceptance of this phenomena. Even though
religion itself, due to its vast context is difficult to put a clear cut definition on, the
idea of it is something we all intuitively understand. This may vary from person to
person, and across cultures also, however, it has meaning in our lives and plays an
aspect different to each of us. In my response, I argue that religion acts as a
medium for improvement in ones health, however, it shouldnt be the sole
consideration when treating somebody. We constitute of our thoughts and beliefs,
so, even though many may think that treatment is solely physical and the patient is
separate from their problem has a very impersonal take on health care. In the field
of science, this can often be the case. In cases of major accidents, traumas,
epidemics and crisis people often turn to religion for support, comfort and this
also aids in providing everybody affected as well as their families a sense of
belonging even in times of great distress. In Koenigs Religion, Medicine, and
Health, the example of Mrs. Harris passing away with a religious hymn
exemplifies the peace that faith provides and the solace it offers to the heart.
Various religious practices such as reading religious text or simply sitting with your
legs crossed and meditating are known for their destressing properties. Stress is
known to be a major influence on and have a strong correlation with the patients
immune system, their mental health and in turn, their responsiveness to
medication. Religious activities include giving to others, practicing altruistic ideas,
feeling a sense of purpose to everything you do and its scientifically proven that
such acts release greater dopamine in the body, leading to lesser chances of
depression and anxiety. We may say that religion heals us as a result of placebo
effect, however, in times of danger to ones health, this placebo effect can ail the
patient and their family. Often times, certain treatments conflict with a patients
belief system and this acts as a prominent issue however, other times, it can act as a
medium of connecting with the patient, improving the treatment they are receiving.
In fact, according to Malcolm Gladwells Blink, patients often file malpractice
lawsuits as a result of improper primary care or ill treatment. Due to the increasing
dependence on technology and in some cases, shortage of either supply of medical
professionals or time constraints or simply the increase in patients at the hospital,
doctors may be negligent with patients. Religion can act as a joining force in times
like these, helping us to understand the patients needs and wants, thereby, catering
to their needs leading to greater recovery. In a world filled with varying cultures,
knowing ones background and religion can strengthen the bond between doctors
and patients, as well as their surrounding social groups that act as their backbone.
Showing people that we respect their beliefs proves that you actually care about
them improving quality of life.

-Organizational religiosity provides support to people that do and dont have families. Involving
in church related activities that include fund raising and giving to others increases happiness.
(scientifically proven that when we give others things we release more dopamine than if we do
things for ourselves)
-Practices conducted in isolation such as meditation=reduces stress=better immunity. Reading
religious scriptures, listening to calming religious music or just scriptures or lighting candles can
help you destress.

-Spirituality=to find purpose=purpose means lesser chances of depression, more happier, more
healthier, more responsive to medication and stuff

-personal and private beliefs not tied to organized/institutional worship. Consequences are
happiness, good mental health, purpose and meaning, feelings of awe, love and wonder, etc

-Clinicians need to find common ground with patients to connect with them and thus provide
better primary health care and cater to their needs leading to greater recovery.

In time of fear and anxiety you turn to religion.

Could just be placebo effect however it has also aided in musculoskeletal pain according to a
study.

Differences in culture also affect how much dependency on religion. Stricter- Islam. Greater.
Christianity- less.

Age affects- older age groups= more religious=more involvement=greater satisfaction.

For children, eventhough they may not, but it provides parents relief to pray and have faith on
their childrens behalf. Social Support

Greater religiousness leads to more ethically correct behavior. Even thought this may be
subjective, however, its the influence of their learnings, eg. Not hurting others, not driving
under influence. Less criminal behavious. Less stds-less promiscuity. Less alcohol abuse and
drug abuse.
When losing people, helping others, controlling oneself and having peace. Less negative
behavior-less stress.

Sloan, Blind Faith, p3-14; 207-229; 241-260 (Bb)


With greater advances in tech, med is becoming less personal and so religion can
aid in gapping that bridge.

Nongbri, What Do We Mean by Religion? in Before Religion, p15-24