1- I can totally see where there would be tension between these two, especially in today’s world. I am no expert on religion or science for that matter, but I do feel like some of the tension is unnecessary. I feel that the two can work to benefit our patients by balancing them with the needs of the patient. Let’s take my kids for instance, if they were sick with some known treatable disease there would be no other option in my mind to treat them with science and medicine that has been proven to work. I wouldn’t only pray for them to get better and not do anything about it, but I would pray for them and do whatever was necessary to help my family deal with the stress and worry of a child being sick. Here we have used them both to our benefit and they each serve a different purpose and effectiveness. Thanks again for your post!
2-My perception of the tension between science and religion is founded at first glance and then not when looked at more closely. Science and religion can coincide in health care if respected for their own strengths and limitations. I feel that a healthy balance of both can benefit our patients providing different needs when they’re needed. I have seen with my own eyes CRP markers drop in an infant receiving antibiotic treatment and I have also seen an infant that wasn’t supposed to live by scientific probability actually make it and thrive with prayer being the only obvious intervention. So, trying to single out one over the other as more effective than the other seems less beneficial than trying to work them both in when the patient requires such help.
I feel that science is good for some of the more usual cases and things we feel we can help with its information, and I also feel that we can use religion to help a patient with their mental aspects of healing. We can quantify an improvement in a patient through lab levels and such, but it’s hard to do the same with religion and how a patient uses that tool as comfort or however they use it in their lives. “Some observational studies suggest that people who have regular spiritual practices tend to live longer. Another study points to a possible mechanism: interleukin (IL)-6. Increased levels of IL-6 are associated with an increased incidence of disease. A research study involving 1700 older adults showed that those who attended church were half as likely to have elevated levels of IL-6. The authors hypothesized that religious commitment may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview” (NCBI, 2001). In this example we see the benefits were surveyed to be founded, but the exact workings aren’t exactly known. The great thing about science is that usually we have some tangible results that are repeatable and there’s safety to be found in that. The great thing about religion is that we can have faith in whatever we believe in and that’s all that’s needed. It’s our faith and belief that drives the comfort in religion.
I understand how people will want one to win over the other and I feel that it depends on the person and how they view it. I feel that there doesn’t need to be this tension because they both can serve separately but benefit the patient when both are utilized. If you have multiple tools in the box, why not use a variety of them and pick whichever is most appropriate for the task at hand? Each tool has their own specialty and doesn’t mean one has to be better than the other or tension between the two, they just need to work for the purpose they’re intended.
Puchalski, C. 2001. The role of spirituality in health care. Retrieved from:
3-I was able to develop a greater understanding of the tension between science and religion based on the article, the role of spirituality in health care and the lecture notes this week. I have always believed in God and often pray in silence for my patients or families in the Peds ED. Many times, it will be for something as small as obtaining an IV on a patient that has been deemed a “hard stick.” However, what I refrain from doing is addressing my patients’ spiritual beliefs throughout their stay. My thoughts include “what if they don’t believe?”, “will they be offended?” Today there is often tension in any conversation. Politics, healthcare, beliefs in God, what to post on your social media account, etc.. Everyone has an opinion but verbalizing that opinion can cause tension with your closest family member. Specific to healthcare in the West, scientism and relativism has exacerbated the perceived tension between scientism and religion (“Worldview Foundations of Spirituality and Ethics”, 2018) . If we base all healthcare beliefs off scientism and relativism, there is no room for hope or belief that God (or the patient’s higher power) has any room for preforming a miracle or comforting the patient in their time of need. As Puchalski (2001) said, “Healing can be experienced as acceptance and peace with one’s life. This healing, I believe is at its core spiritual.” Patients need to understand the science and reality behind any diagnosis, whether acute or chronic. However, they need the opportunity to heal as a whole person which includes their spirituality. “It is critical that we as physicians and health care providers listen to all aspects of our patients’ lives that can affect their decision making and their coping skills” (Puchalski, 2001).
I believe that it is important to have a balance between science and religion without the tension. One were our patients can express their spirituality and we can be honest with our professional knowledge and offer our presence and compassion at the same time.
Puchalski C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) , 14 (4), 352-7.
Worldview Foundations of Spirituality and Ethics. (2018). Retrieved from https://lc-ugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html?operation=loggedIn#/learningPlatform/loudBooks/loudbooks.html?viewPage=current&operation=innerPage¤tTopicname=Worldview Foundations of Spirituality and Ethics&topicMaterialId =a52bac38-a38a-4edc-8747-efe8f3c85261&contentId=6775b54b-52b8-4bb1-b4de-a5bd34e39a90&