As health care providers we come from diverse backgrounds of cultural and religious beliefs, we have different perspectives on faith and healing. However, the nature of this profession places us in direct contact with people of different faiths, religion, cultural backgrounds and differing philosophy on faith and healing. It is very important that health care workers avoid being judgmental, biases and prejudices and focus on the need of the patients regardless of whether or not we agree with their view point on faith and healing.
In order to provide holistic care, it is equally important to understand religious background and faith practices and how it impacts patient’s health. Many people describe faith and healing differently, but study show that regardless of faith and spiritual conviction, they tend to use prayer, meditation, cultural and spiritual rituals, faith, spirituality and religion as critical aspect of the healing process. They may have differing approach and viewpoints in terms of how perceived or receive care, but the fact is that in my experience, people with faith tend to heal faster.
Meriam Webster defined faith as “a strong belief in someone or something, a belief in the existence of God” on the other hand, healing is defined as “to make whole; to cause an undesirable condition to be overcome”. In this the author going to explore three deferent religious faith and their approach and perspectives to faith and healing; this paper will explore each faith’s perspective to healing and their similarities and differences to Christian faith.
A look scientology faith: founded in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard, the basic belief is that the experience in this life or in the past life is engraved in the brain as series of “engrams” that are triggered when one encounter similar situation, this can lead to inappropriate and self-defeating behavior (Hamilton, 2010) the religion aims to clear this negative experiences and bring out the positives that is essential and spiritual.
Their spiritual perspective on healing is focused on dealing with the condition of the mind and the spirit can have impact on the physical, so they often combine physical healing with spiritual healing, with the understanding that the physical that in the presence of physical illness, the spiritual aspect of life can be affected, so they tend to try to eliminate physical illness first, as they tend to see themselves as spirits rather than body (Hamilton, 2010)
HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 3 The critical components of healing with scientology is touch, feeling, and minimization of noise and speech during times of illness. With touch, the “assist” or minister gently touches parts of the sick person’s body and ask for verbal confirmation that they can feel the touch. This is done respectively until the person can verbalize relief. They appreciate very minimal of noise during illness as they belief that spoken words have power as one being hypnotized.
They are very optimistic and believe they will have better outcome than the doctor may predict. Even in the face of terminal illness, they do not view it as a great calamity, as they belief that the end of one life is the not the end of another and it is very important that the healthcare providers know and respect their wishes. (Hamilton, 2010) it is important to them that Health workers stay positive, eliminate noise and respect their wishes.
In similarity to Christian belief, the issue of laying on hand (touch) is very common in the Christian faith as well as great optimism and believe in divine healing.
However, the difference is that this is done in conjunction with prayer- a humble request to God to bring about what he knows best in a particular situation( Mathew 6:25-34,NIV). In the Christian faith it is believed that absent in the body means present with the lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) they also believe that the “Assist” though an agent of healing does not actually do heal the body, rather the healing is done by the spirit. In similarity to the Christian faith, though pastors and ministers are used as agents by God, God is the one that actually do the healing. (Hamilton, 2010).
The other faith the author going to look at in the paper is the Bahai faith: founded in 1844 they come from nearly all nationality, ethnicity and religious background and are said to be the second widespread religion in the world (Hollins, 2009) the main theme of this religion is that there is one God and that all human beings belong to one race, they view humanity as a HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 4 global society. They believe in holistic approach to health; individuals spiritual, physical, emotional are all required in order for an individual to be healthy.
Perspective on healing: they believe that sick people should seek the help of a competent provider for medical treatment; they believe in using a dual approach to healing- that sickness can be cured through means of prayer and use of medical treatment. (Hollins, 2009). The critical component of healing in the Bahai faith is prayer, spiritual books and symbols such as picture of nine-pointed star in their hospital room as well as fasting and seeking the advice of a competent provider.
The similarity exist in the Christian faith, in that, healing is central to the gospel as healing the relationship between mankind is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Chris, a great portion of His ministry was dedicated to healing the sick; He healed all kinds of people: the blind, the lame, the deaf even those who had fevers and many chronic illness (Luke5:20, New International Version)
The Christian faith believe in healing by faith and recovery is expected to happen quickly, but if not, the person should seek medical care as it is of the believe that physicians and healthcare providers all help the healing process(Balogun,2011)
In contrast, while a Christian may reach for objects such as the cross, picture of Jesus, Mary or one of the saints. The Bahai will reach for spiritual book, or a picture of the nine-point star. In addition, they do not have a spiritual leader pray over them; in contrast, the Christians may request that a clergy member such as a priest or pastor would visit the sick and sometimes anoint them with oil or holy water.
The Bahai may allow spiritual leaders from other faith to visit the sick and read to them from spiritual books such as Bahia sacred writings, bible or Koran (Hollins, 2009). When handling sacred objects, it is important to Bahia patients that they are handled with respect and spiritual needs and dignity should be supported. HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 5 Lastly, the author is going to explore the Sikhism Faith: founded about six hundred years ago, it originated in the Punjab, in the north of India.
They believe in one God as the ultimate healer (Hollins, 2009) they believe that God work through medicine and that the benefit of Healing is greatly enhanced through meditation and chanting God’s name.
Spiritual perspective on healing: the Sikh faith permits almost all aspect of medical care, however, cutting any hair is considered disrespectful, for the baptized Sikh, the articles of faith are to be worn at all times, the nurse has to be aware that the patient may feel embarrassment if asked to remove these objects of faith. During times of sickness, they pray to seek God’s help and obtain peace and healing and this can done as a morning and evening ritual with such activities as prayer and bathing.
They may consider illness to be the will of God and that God is merciful and caring. In the Christian faith, it is possible to see illness as a way of God trying to get their attention or an act of chastisement depending on the person’s personal perspective. Personally, I do not believe that God causes illness to come to us, rather, he may allow certain adversities that may come our way as He matures and grows us as vessels of honor.
The critical component components of healing is meditation, as it is said to boost immunity, prayer and may recite or listen to sacred hymns for spiritual and spiritual health and nourishment.
It is considered disrespectful to place sacred objects such as head covering on the floor, it is also important that prayer times are not interrupted by the healthcare staff. (Hollins, 2009) The similarity with Christianity is that they believe in miraculous healing through God and that God can use the healthcare provider as a healing agent and are not objected to receiving medical treatment. However, they believe that shaving any hair is disrespectful and patients may resist shaving hair if indicated for a procedure. In contrast, this would not be the case with a Christian .
HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 6 patient as they do not tie any particular spiritual or religious importance to shaving of hair. Christianity teaches that it God’s will for us to have good health (3rd John: 2, NIV) and he promises us long life and healing for our sickness (Mark 16:17-18, NIV). In exploring all of these religious faiths, one thing stands out, all believe in healing through God and that God is also able to heal them through medicine and advanced technology.
One of the most critical needs of mankind is the desire to be healed and enjoy good health. In the eyes of God, all of His children are equal and have equal privileges to enjoy a life, free of sickness and disease. With most the different faiths, the commonality is that God uses means to heal; medical science works with the laws and provisions of God, they apply this knowledge to make people well.
The healthcare field is a mercy ministry and God has positioned all of us for the purpose of helping His children heal. In researching the various faith, I have a stronger affirmation of what I already know; that all human being are created by God and that healthcare providers are tools in God’s hands and are to carry out their duty as a ministry: being God’s hands and feet.
In my experience, patients view healthcare providers who are able to provide unbiased care as respectful, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable. When healthcare providers are competent and aware of differences, they are in a better position to provide well rounded care. I have gained a new perspective in the importance of sacred objects in relations to faith and belief, the importance of spiritual assessment as a critical part of initial and ongoing interventions of the nurse and all health care providers.
Also, that Christians are not the only faith that believe in praying for divine healing- this realization will help me feel more comfortable to offer prayer to patients regardless of their faith base. I used to think that the scientology faith is all about science, but am blown away by the notion that their faith and practice is more spiritual HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 7 in nature; and how spoken words can be viewed as offensive.
This will change how I relate to this faith group especially in spoken words; to choose words carefully. Further, I will recommend to my peers the importance of self-leaning through online resources as it was an eye opening experience to see that every single faith-base has a website and resources to assist healthcare providers. As healthcare providers, we still need a lot of awareness through education with regards to spiritual aspect of care.
It is important that we understand where the patient is coming from in terms of spirituality and faith, we are knowledgeable, and we are more empowered and better prepared to provide holistic care to our patients.
HEALTHCAREPROVIDER FAITH AND DIVERSITY PEER 8 References Balogun, M. O. (2011, July 9th).
Christian Faith and Health. Faith and Health conference. Retrieved from www.slideshare. net/christian-faithand healing-by-prof-m-o-balogun Bible Commentaries. (). Retrieved 9/27/14, from www. biblehub. net/searchconcordance. php? q=satchel Bible Hub. (). Retrieved 7/10/14, from http//www. biblehub. com/john/16-33. htm Hamilton, L. (2010). Scientology and Healing.
Retrieved 10/5/2014, from en. allexperts. com>religion/spirituality>Scientology Healing The Spiritual Dimension: healing Perspectives… Retrieved from https//nursece. com//healing-spiritual dimension Hollins, S. (2009). Religions, Culture & Healthcare (Second Edition Ed. ). Abingdon, Oxon Ox141AA, United Kingdom: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.