Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nursing, Belief, Religion, Health, Therapy, Christians, Medicine, Faith

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/01/04

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Abstract

The cornerstone of the nursing profession lies in the process of healing and bringing the sick back to good health. Faith plays a central role in the healing process of patients. Therefore, it is important for nurses to grasp the essence of different denominations of faith of patients. Christianity and Buddhism have many common and divergent aspects applying to the healing process. It is important for the nursing profession to be aware of the nuances of the Christians’ and Buddhists’ faiths, so that the patients’ spiritual beliefs are given due consideration while providing medical services. This consideration of faith and spiritual wellbeing would only serve to heal patients faster.

Introduction

Individuals vary in the religion they profess in life. Each faith has its unique belief systems. Many of such beliefs are linked to concepts of life and death, birth and rebirth, and of the permanence or impermanence of the soul. All these concepts about life have a bearing on the healing process of the sick. Therefore, it is imperative that the nursing profession possesses knowledge and proffer respect, accommodation and acceptance of diverse expressions of faith. For instance, Christians believe that their body is the temple of God, and they are supposed to take care of it as part of His creation. Similarly, Buddhists too believe that taking care of the body is mandatory for wellbeing. Such beliefs show that Christians’ and Buddhists’ faiths are convergent in the approach to health care in many ways. This essay, therefore, seeks to compare the faiths of Christians and Buddhists within the overarching framework of providing healthcare to patients.

Comparative Analysis

Christian perspective
The Bible contains many stories of Jesus, the Son of God, healing people of disease and illness. Therefore, Christians believe that God possesses healing powers to nurse the sick to health. They believe that God can heal people through different avenues so long as they pray to Him and have faith in Him (Hanson, 2015, p. 202). Despite this, they usually accompany the prayer with a visit to the doctor as another form of remedy. Christians believe that the healing from God is only possible if people have faith in Him. For this reason, they count their faith as the basis upon which their prayers for healing would be answered (Swartley, 2012, p. 56). In case their prayers are not answered in time, they rely on God’s comfort from the Bible while continuing to hope that the healing would materialize one day.
Next, Christians are against the practice of abortion and consider it as an act of evil. Ostensibly, they believe that the act is contrary to God’s Commandments, which states that one should not kill. As having an abortion leads to severe complications in the body and could even lead to death (Hanson, 2015, p. 200), Christians consider abortion as a practice that threatens the body, which is a temple of God. Furthermore, getting rid of the unborn child would mean ending a life, which is contrary to the conception that every life carries with it God’s unique plans for it to progress in the world. Christians draw support for their anti-abortion stance by quoting that in the Bible, God knew Jeremiah before he was interwoven in his mother's womb, suggesting that aborting him would have interfered with God’s plan for his life (Hanson, 2015, p. 62).
In addition, Christians are against the practice of sexual communion amongst the unmarried and adultery amongst married persons. They believe that engagement in these sexual acts could lead to complicated diseases such as HIV, syphilis and so on which would weaken the body, leading to chances of frequent illness and possibly death (Coulter, 2014, p. 200). While the Bible does not decry the consumption of alcohol and smoking as acts of sin, Corinthians 6:19-20 stresses that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. As alcoholism and excessive smoking lead to diseases such as lung cancer, hallucination and poor eye vision, interfering with health (Hanson, 2015, p. 107), some Christians tend to avoid alcohol and smoking in order to retain their bodies for the abode of the Holy Spirit.

The Buddhist Perspective

Buddhists believe that one's health is mainly controlled by what goes on in one’s thoughts and in the daily interactions one has with the environment. Therefore, the body can be healed from disease only if an individual gets rid of negative thoughts (Hanson, 2015, p. 133). According to Buddhists, the sick should be given a quiet and peaceful environment so that they are able to meditate and seek help from the Buddha. Because meditation and prayer require the mind to be fully functional, Buddhist patients remain averse to medications that have the potential to alter their mental state.
The Buddhist approach to medication is complicated. Buddhists believe in the power of concentration and meditation to communicate with God to receive the blessings of healing. In this process, Buddhists rely on other members of their faith for support (Young & Koopsen, 2012, p. 58). On the same note, the Buddhists believe that mental illness and physical injuries would heal with time as one ages and passes through different stages of life, birth and rebirth. In essence, their faith in healing is not based on a particular medical intervention but on the notion that concentration, mindfulness and meditation would bring cures and healing. Furthermore, when people get sick, Buddhists are as interested in the investigation of the cause of the disease as in its effects. Thereafter, they would opt for the most optimal solution for healing (Hanson, 2015, p. 65). This indicates the Buddhists’ holistic approach to healing, their belief in the timelessness of life and their equanimity to deal with long lasting disease. Lastly, Buddhism prohibits the consumption of alcohol and the practice of infidelity. Buddhists aver that by avoiding alcohol and infidelity, they would preserve their bodies from debilitating diseases such as lung cancer and sexually transmitted infections (Coulter, 2014, p. 300).

My Spiritual Perspective on Healing

According to me, every faith and religion has a way of providing healthcare to its members in a number of ways, depending upon religious and cultural affiliations, which in turn rely on meditation and prayer (Hanson, 2015, p. 100). However, I think that it is the doctors and the medicinal men who are able to treat diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases. Prayer and faith of would only assist in comforting the patient and giving him peace of mind as he tries to recover. For this reason, doctors should treat those who are sick as they wait for the healing process through prayer and faith (Hanson, 2015, p. 69). I think the healing process should be something evident and practical that takes place while faith and prayer serve to reduce the patient’s anxiety and give him a sense of composure. Consequently, there could be a balance in which God could be trusted for healing while the patient simultaneously received medical treatment (McSherry & Ross, 2012, p. 62). This follows from the Bible, which states that healing can be attained if one prays and has full faith in God despite the situation. In most cases, Christians do pray but repose little faith in whatever they have sought from God. Despite prayers, people can die. Therefore, it is essential that medical assistance be given to patients separately to save their lives (Coulter, 2014, p. 190).

Common Spiritual Components of Healing

Both Christians and Buddhists have certain common beliefs concerning their spiritual matters (Coulter, 2014, p. 70). First, they believe in prayer as a mode of worship and devotion when communicating with their gods for a particular request and need. For instance, Christians believe that prayer is the only medium through which they could communicate with God for healing (Hanson, 2015, p. 37). Similarly, Buddhists resort to prayers by chanting when they seek divine intervention to determine the cause of a particular illness.
Secondly, both the Christians and the Buddhists have a system of clergy that assists the sick by performing various prayers to beseech God for healing patients. Christians have church elders who offer prayers in faith on behalf of all the sick who need healing. Similarly, Buddhists have a team of clergy that alone has the mandate to chant and invoke the Buddha to come to the aid of the sick and to heal them (Hung-Lin & Yeh, 2014, p. 30).
Thirdly, meditation is an important and essential component of healing for Christians and Buddhists. Christians meditate on God’s word when sick so as to receive solace and peace of mind from their healer (Coulter, 2014, p. 110). On the other hand, Buddhists believe that through meditation, patients would be able to acquire positive thoughts to help them recover early. Lastly, Christians and Buddhists do not fear death, and handle patients’ bodies with care and affection in case they die. Buddhists perform certain vital rituals for the dead to signify how much they value the body (Hanson, 2015, p. 66). Similarly, Christians take care of the patients’ bodies after death even though they believe that the soul has departed from the dead body.

Handling Patients with Different Spiritual Beliefs

For nurses to handle patients with various religious beliefs, they have to know the patients’ spiritual beliefs to be able to address the patients’ requirements. If nurses were aware of patients’ spiritual beliefs, would be able to handle the patients’ problems with empathy and understanding (Coulter, 2014, p. 120). In essence, nurses should have enough knowledge regarding a particular person’s belief system when it comes to treatment. As a result, they would be able to handle patients optimally without interfering with their religious customs and traditions. For instance, if a nurse were aware that a patient was Buddhist, he would know that the patient was strictly a vegetarian. Similarly, the nurse would know that a Christian patient would not take meat on Fridays (Hanson, 2015, p. 17).
On the same note, the nurse would be able to respect the patients’ faiths and beliefs despite their physical inadequacies owing to illness. Notably, the nurse would be able to provide the patients time to pray and meditate during the course of their treatment (Hanson, 2015, p. 67). Nurses would become aware of religious rules that dictate patients to be treated by a nurse of similar sex and under the supervision of a family member. If nurses were aware of the nuances of their patients’ religion, the patients would become emotionally comfortable and draw heart to recover from their physical illness faster. Moreover, when a nurse from a different belief system treats a patient, the nurse could bring a divergent perspective to the question of faith and healing (Coulter, 2014, p. 140). For instance, the nurse could counsel the patient to seek medical attention frequently from an expert and avoid relying on spiritual beliefs alone. This would help in preventing death, which might have been the result had the patient relied on faith alone to cure himself.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that there is diversity in religions and faiths across the globe village. Some of these beliefs are common when it comes to the perspective of healing whereas others differ. The Christian view seems to be common and dominant in the West compared to the Buddhist perspective, which is predominant in the East. As a result, the different caregivers need to respect and understand their patients’ spiritual faiths to create a peaceful atmosphere for their medical treatment. The patients’ faith could be harmonized with medical protocols by giving them time to pray and allowing them to receive visitors, which may include priests and clergy. Therefore, there is a need to embrace patients’ spiritual beliefs in order to provide better and conducive healthcare.

References

Coulter, A. (2014). Engaging patients in healthcare. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.
Hung-Lin, T., & Yeh, P. (2014). Religion as an investment: Comparing the contributions and volunteer frequency among Christians, Buddhists, and folk religionists. Southern Economic Journal, 73(3), 770.
Hanson, S. M. H. (2015). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research.
McSherry, W., & Ross, L. (2012). Spiritual assessment in healthcare practice. Keswick, England: M & K.
Swartley, W. M. (2012). Health, healing and the church's mission: Biblical perspectives and moral priorities. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic.
Young, C., & Koopsen, C. (2012). Spirituality, health, and healing: An integrative approach. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett.

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