The article discusses various world religions and the effects of their belief system on health care. The paper commences by giving a comprehensive discussion on faith diversity followed by a discussion on individual religious beliefs. Various philosophies applied by different Religions are discussed and the effects of such beliefs on the provision of health care. Religions discussed include; Baha’i, Buddhism, Sikh, and Christianity. This is followed by a discussion on various components of healing. Then there is a comparison of how it feels like when patients are attended to by health practitioners from different religious backgrounds and then finally a conclusion.
Health care providers focus on giving appropriate care to patients from different religious backgrounds. Such requires that nurses acquire as much knowledge as they can be based on various religious beliefs and their cultural practices for the purposes of providing quality healthcare. Common “religions often encountered within health care domains are Baha’ism, Buddhism and Sikhism” (Balboni et al., 2007). However, such religions share a number of similarities and differences. Diversity in religions and faith belief systems provides enough challenges within the health care sector. However, health care providers are endowed with the “responsibility of showing acceptance of diversity of various belief expressions” (Balboni et al., 2007). There is a necessity of gaining more insight concerning different religions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’ism, Buddhism, and Sikhism amongst others and various dimensions on dealing with individuals from such diverse religious backgrounds within the hospital setting (Balboni et al., 2007).
Baha’i Faith is one of the religions that most likely can be encountered by health care providers. Their worship system “incorporates prayer and meditation, participating in devotional gathering as well as giving active service to communities” (Balboni et al., 2007). Baha’i believes that the origin of all true healing is God; they also believe in healing sicknesses through treatment by physicians as well as by means of prayers from spiritual leaders (Balboni et al., 2007).
Baha’i Faith considers both spiritual and material prosperity as a vital part of human development. Baha’i believes that Insights drawn from Divine Revelation should be incorporated in the treatment process and at the same time go hand-in-hand with insights from modern science. Such perspective is considered by Baha’i since they believe that the lives of souls and bodies are interdependent based on their very nature. The ideas from their writings uphold personal health with such high esteem since they consider it as a vital component of moral conduct. They promote cleanliness as part of public health and forbid the use of drugs as well as encourage followers on consulting competent physicians whenever they feel ill (Ehman et al., 1999).
Buddhism as a religion is considered to be based on philosophies that entirely explain the way of one’s life (Balboni et al., 2007). Buddhist lifestyle focuses on important life dimensions, such as moral life, and at the same time focuses on meditation and the development of wisdom and understanding. Buddhists usually base their belief system on five basic principles safeguarding a healthy lifestyle. These principles include no harming of animal or human’s life, no alcohol consumption, no stealing, lying, and infidelity. Their main concept focuses on inner healing as a solution to one’s illness since they believe that health is the most important wealth in a person’s life. According to religion, selfishness and greed should not form part of human livelihood as well as materialistic lifestyle.
The Buddhist philosophy focuses on the fact that the whole body represents a special dwelling place for the spirit hence should be accorded great care. According to Buddhists being spiritually focused accompanied by an appropriate diet, physical exercise and meditation reduce the chances of individual contracting diseases. Such dimension when applied by individuals assists in reducing the cost of Medicare within the health care sector. Buddhist faith attributes 70% of healing to quality of mind, followed by proper food and nutrition, and only a smaller percentage of healing attributed to modern scientific medicine. Exposure of the body to harsh natural conditions is believed to provide reinforcement to the entire immune system and is currently applied in the treatment of diseases such as asthma in children from rich families. Research from medical scientists reveals that children exposed to poor environmental conditions were less likely to be affected by asthma and other allergic conditions. As a result, the belief contributes towards the concept of using the medicine only to contain emergency situations (Balboni et al., 2007).
According to the Sikh religion, health and healing are directly related to spirituality since they believe in the intricate relationship between body, spirit, and mind. Within the same line of belief, the body is believed to serve the purpose of housing the spirit, which ultimately connects people with God. Sikh religion majorly believes in meditation, which forms an integral part of daily livelihood from family and on an individual level (Puchalski and Romer, 2000).
Sikhs contain prayers meant specifically for one’s healing and peace, which are provided in form of hymns. Prayer is believed to have powers necessary for acquiring courage, hope, acceptance, and understanding of the deep meaning of illness. According to the religion, God carries out his will on sicknesses either through prayer or traditional medicine. Some believers prefer to accept God’s will rather than follow medical prescriptions from physicians. They are at liberty to combine Western medicine with traditional herbs as well as other available therapies. There are extensive teachings on the destructive nature of illicit drugs, which according to Sikh, should be avoided by all means since they are believed to interfere with body functions, hence detrimental in the process of pursuing godly life. Such beliefs in spiritual healing as being supreme compared to healing from scientific medicine has rendered health care of less significance amongst the Sikh faithful. A higher percentage of their healing is believed to originate from meditation and prayers, leading to less purchase of scientific medicine from the health sector (Puchalski and Romer, 2000).
Critical components of healing, such as prayer, meditation, belief
The act of meditation and prayer are considered of prime value especially in the process of assisting fellow brothers and sisters in attaining higher levels of healing and good health. Concepts of prayer and meditation can be performed in an active form by patients or they may be passive in form of hymns, and these are highly recognized as important aspects leading towards healthy and enlightened life (Puchalski and Romer, 2000). Owing to such consequent results, major practices within the health care domain should grant more attention to the holistic healing of the mind, body, and spirit. Spiritual healing accompanied by good hygiene, a healthy diet, good physical exercises, and deep breathing helps in creating high self-esteem within an individual lifestyle hence making him recognize and appreciate the importance of an empowered life. Complete healing of the body mind and spirit are pre-requisite when it comes to pursuing important goals in the daily life of individuals. Healing in the spirit as mentioned by most religions, demands that an individual embraces in totality supernatural experiences through his spirit hence ignoring the demands of the physical body. However, most of these experiences are extensively dealt with in the physical body. It is an important aspect for individuals to long for recovery from a spiritual perspective. This assists medics in identifying the fact that malfunctioning body organs can be well rectified from the spiritual perspective.
People’s view when under the care of health care providers from different faith beliefs
Religious diversity within health care is inevitable since it depends on cultural background. However, awareness of various religious practices of different groups assists when dealing with their health cases. Patients and families are encouraged to approach health matters with an attitude of cultural and religious humility. It is important to note that approaching health issues with an attitude of cultural and religious competence is detrimental. While attending patients from different religious backgrounds, some aspects should be considered as the basis for evaluating the health of each patient and his or her family. Another area of importance is the language used in the process of discussing a patient’s illness and diseases. It includes the extent to which patients should be open in discussing diagnosis and prognosis. In such cases, there is the necessity of making an appropriate choice on those concerned with making decisions on health within the society, family, or an individual. Various religious aspects, such as the meaning of death, belief in miracles, and life after death, are of great importance during the health care process. Additionally, it is also important to determine people who may be concerned with the issues of examining their bodies. Moreover, it is important to take into account issues concerning age, gender among many others. Also of importance is taking into account political and historical context, such as poverty level, background, one’s status, and ease of access to defined care (Ehman et al., 1999).
Different religious groups have a different belief systems in the provision of health care. Physicians and nurses amongst other health practitioners are expected to be knowledgeable about various patients’ religious beliefs in order to deliver the medical care that would satisfy the patients physically and emotionally. However, “in the process of providing medical care, religious faith and beliefs of the patient should be coupled with scientific medical care for reasons of offering holistic medical care to patients from different religions” (Baluff, 2004). It is important for medical personnel to consider the religious belief of patients in the process of treatment or offering any form of medical care (Baluff, 2004). Christianity, Buddhism, Sikh, and Baha’i belief systems are considered in the event of finding out concrete similarities and differences existing in the process of providing health care. One of the similarities is based on the fact that patients’ recovery and healing process is possible in the event that their mind and body are equally harmonized. At the same time, there exist apparent similarities in the system of health care provision amongst Buddhists and Christians since in both religions; everything revolves around religious practices considered as a major condition to be fulfilled for complete healing to be realized. Most of the religions discussed believe in the power of prayers and meditation as means of attaining wholeness within physical and spiritual health. However, most patients from different religions consider the importance of having faith in prayers and meditation. The two concepts of prayer and meditation are considered crucial especially when considering dealing with current sufferings. Buddhists believe that patients frequently involved in meditation are prone to fewer sicknesses and pain. On the other hand, the concept of meditation and prayers within Christian’s belief system creates confidence amongst patients hence allowing supernatural intervention (Baluff, 2004). However, irrespective of faith background, all religions agree to the fact that good hygiene, physical exercises, good diet both to the physical body and the soul are pre-requisite to good health. Seeking supernatural intervention is ultimate to health since it involves knowing the truth which is fundamental to holistic living (Baluff, 2004).
Spiritual healing can be considered as a self-growth aspect used as means of expanding an individual’s awareness of the importance of the spiritual realm used as means of living a stronger and means of empowered lifestyle. According to Christianity and other religions, the concept of spiritual healing is accessible to everyone regardless of place and time. Christianity believes that healing from the spiritual perspective is based on the application of universal truth which explains the foundation of wholeness and its origin believed to be from God. The majority of the religions adhere to the fact that human beings, in reality, comprises Body, Soul, and Spirit having a physical experience, with God being the originator. All other aspects of human life, such as personality, emotions, and physical body are all extensions of spiritual experiences.
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