Greetings Brethren,

Will humankind ever realize that healing is the will of God? What of the unbelievers and those that don't want to know? There will be two resurrections. One for good and one for bad.

Peace and Love,

Carl Patton writing for the FreedomJournal March 22, 2002 in the year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.




In the name of Jehovah God, Master of the universe, Ruler of the earth.

It is for sure that there is still considerable controversy over the role of medicine and religion. In fact there will always be different opinions about various procedures, practices, and treatments etc. in the field of medicine. However, religion is another realm of thought. Religion is known and unknown. Thus the believers will attest that the unknown is often of much greater importance than the known.

So how can we diffuse this debate? Also should our efforts be directed toward the impact of religion on healing? However, for the sake of clarity we post the following discussion. We will begin by noting the question raised in an article provided in the New England Journal of Medicine, 2000.

This article was entitled "Should Physicians Prescribe Religious Activities?" The opinion regarding this question was rendered by a physician and a member of the clergy. The opinion of both doctor and clergy was: "medicine and religion should be kept as completely separate entities. Therefore, physicians should not get involved in the topic."

Meanwhile Dr. Harold Koenig of the Duke Univ. Medical Center, Dr. David E. Nicklin Univ. of Pennsylvania and Dr. Jacqueline Conner respond to the editorial rendered y Sloan and VandeCreek in the NEJM.

"Dr. Koenig argues that he is concerned that many of his colleagues justify supporting religion and spirituality in their medical practice by holding up and condemning an extreme position."

The extreme position noted by Koenig is that doctors should prescribe religious activities and counsel patients in spiritual matters. Koenig agrees that physicians have no business doing either of the above. However, they could take a spiritual history as part of their evaluation of seriously ill patients.

Meanwhile, a Task Force of the American College of Physicians has suggested several questions and concerns. :

1. Does the patient indicate that religion is important in his or her medical care?

2. Does the patient use religious beliefs to help cope with an illness?

3. Supporting the religious beliefs of a patient does not mean recommending or prescribing. It means to acknowledge, respect, and encourage the beliefs that the patient finds helpful in relieving suffering.

4. Religious beliefs that run counter to appropriate medical care may need further exploration with the patient, the patient's minister or both.

Another view is noted by Dr. David E. Nicklin. Here again we see an attempt not to diffuse the debate but a further effort revealing the positive impact of religion on medicine healing.

Dr. Nicklin argues that "it is not unusual for him to inquire about patients religious or spiritual lives. This is especially noted with patients who are suffering from progressive, incurable, or fatal illness, as well as those struggling with mental anguish or addiction."

Dr. Nicklin expresses a deep sense of care and concern for his patients. Thus it is his practice to ask patients if religion is important in their lives. From his observation and experience the patients that know God describe the comfort and support they obtain from religion and spiritual matters.

In conversations with his patients Dr. Nicklin has determined that some patients have strayed from religion and the church and wish to rededicate themselves. He is willing to discuss these concerns and his diagnosis and treatment. Meanwhile he has had more than a hundred conversations and not one patient has responded negatively. Thus, he has established a mutual base of understanding with his patients.

Dr. Jacqueline Conner, Northwestern Univ. Medical school adds to our discussion. Dr. Connor argues: "If health is viewed as physical, psychological, social, spiritual and moral well-being then it is not true that religion and medicine exist in different domains," as Sloan et al. assert.

Dr. Anthony L. Schuman reveals several contradictions presented by Sloan et al. For example they imply that because religion is personal and private it is not appropriate for medical discourse. "However Dr. Schuman argues that what is more personal and private than the experience of illness.

Dr. Daniel Castro, Dr. Lawrence Loo, and Dr. Debra L. Stottlemyer all concur regarding the following. These doctors dispute the claim that only a minority of patients are interested in having doctors discuss spiritual issues with them.

Meanwhile they note a recent study that found that more than 70% of patients desire prayer with their physicians. They also found that women (83%) were more interested in prayer than men (63%). It was also discovered that the best indication of a patient's desire was the response to a questionnaire item stating, "Indicate how important spirituality is to you."

Cont. Part 103: Does One's Religious Beliefs Determine Medical Care?



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