Healthcare Providers and Spiritual Diversity

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Healthcare Providers and Spiritual Diversity 10

Healthcare Providers andSpiritual Diversity

Patrick M. O’Brien

Grand Canyon HLT-310V| Foundations of Spirituality in Health Care

November 28th, 2015

Whenspeaking of spiritual diversity, many western people are aware of avast number of different religions. According to “ReligionStatistic Geography”,there are at least 4,200 different religious groups that they havedocumented. Although there are many different groups in the world,this analysis will focus on the comparison of two differentreligions. The two religious groups in comparison will be theChristian faith and the Buddhist faith. Brief overviews of bothreligious groups will be provided. In an article published in theDaily Sun, it was reported that Christianity was the most popularreligious group with over 2 billion followers (Bill, 2002).Buddhism was ranked at number five with 360 million followers. Thepurpose of this analysis is to better understand other religiousgroups in regards to healthcare delivery. This understanding can helpto provide better insight into our own values and beliefs.


Whatis Christianity? “Christianityteaches that there is only one&nbspGod&nbspinall existence and that God made the universe, the Earth, and createdAdam and Eve.”(Slick). This religion believes that God created man in his image.Image is used metaphorically it is supposed to mean God and hisvirtues.image means the likeness of God`s character and rationality.Christiansbelieve that people should be respected since they resemble God.every person is worthy of respect and honor because of this image.Based on this belief, it is clear that the Christians do not believethe formation of the body from the cells into a whole person withemotions. Lastly, this highlights the fact that Christians believethat we did not evolve through random processes from a single-celledorganism into rational, emotional beings.


Whatis Buddhism? “Buddhists do not believe in creation and the originof the universe, but rather believe that people face suffering andtry to alleviate the suffering. The main teaching of the Buddha doesnot focuses noton philosophical speculations about a Creator God or the origin ofthe universe, noron a heaven world ever after. The Teaching, instead, is centered onthe reality of human suffering and the urgent need to find lastingrelief from all forms of discontentment“ (&quotWhatis Buddhism&quot). The Buddha said, “The urgentneed of our existence is to find a lastingrelief from recurrent suffering which robs us of happiness and leavesus in strife” (&quotWhat is Buddhism&quot).

Theteachings of Buddhism are based on four truths. The Buddhists firstlybelieve that all people face suffering. Secondly, they believe thatthe cause of the suffering is craving. Thirdly, the Buddhists believethat the suffering has an end which is the enlightenment. Lastly,Buddhists believe that there is a fourth truth which is peacefulenlightenment achieved through the middle path. The central teachingof the Buddha, around which all other teachings revolve, is the “FourNoble Truths”. The first truth is that all forms of being, humanand otherwise, are afflicted with suffering. The second truth is thecause of this suffering whichis craving, born of the illusion of a soul. The third truth is thatthis suffering has a lasting end in the experience of enlightenment,which is the complete letting go of the illusion of soul and allconsequent desires. The last truth states peaceful and blissfulenlightenment is achieved through a gradual training. Training thatis given on the path, which is called the “Middle Way” or the“Eightfold Path”.

PrimeReality: Christianity versus Buddhism

Christiansgive God priority in everything that they think or believe because“God is the supreme being to whom all things are subject” (Col1:1-18). In the Buddhist faith, they do not believe in a god. Theirprime reality revolves around a system of Kamma. Kamma means actionthere is good and bad Kamma. The Buddhist faith believesthat there is no heaven or hell. In addition to that, they alsobelieve there is no such thing as a soul.

Whatis the Nature of The World Around us? Christianity Versus Buddhism

Inthe Christian faith, the world wasiscreated. It is not just by chance. It creates the link between humanbeings and God. It is an open system created in order to operate in auniform manner and effective course. In Buddhism they do not believein creation. Buddhists believe in millions of universes and inuniverse cycles.

Whatis a Human Being? : Christianity Versus Buddhism

Christiansbelieve humans are a spiritual essence comprising both of the bodyand the spiritual element. These two are linked by spiritual beliefs.The social atmosphere determines the nature of human beings. They arenot just subjects of evolution, but they are also made in the imageof aGod. In Buddhism, followers believe in a system of checks andbalances called Kamma. Buddhists believe that humans do not havesouls. They believe that life’spurpose is to find enlightenment.

WhatHappens to a Person at Death?: Christianity Versus Buddhism

Deathseparates the soulsfrom the flesh. It is a point of transition that prepares a humanbeing for an afterlife. The spiritual state then re-emerges when thetime is right. “This spiritual state survives as long as theresurrection of a human being takes place” (Genesis 35:18). TheBuddhist faith believes in rebirth. Buddhists do not believe in aperpetual conscious transcendence i.e. the persistence of a soul.Instead, they believe in reincarnation – as a separate newconsciousness.

Whyis it Possible to Know Anything at All ?: Christianity VersusBuddhism

Historyand social interaction are sources of knowledge among human beings.People are born of familysystems which are tied to certain beliefs. These beliefs have aspiritual and historical connection. According to them, those beliefsare right. When events conflict with what they believe, their beliefsbecome truths. Knowledge can also be obtained by interacting withpeople and sharing experiences. Buddhist followers believe inmeditation and prayer. Meditation is how they seek enlightenment.Enlightenment is obtained though living, loving and putting good“kamma” in the universe.

Howdo we Know What is Right and Wrong? : Christianity Versus Buddhism

Christianitybases what is fundamentally wrong utilizing the bible’s teaching.Society judges what is right and wrong through interaction,experience, history and personal beliefs. The Buddhist faith believesthat a good wholesome person can do a bad deed and still be good aslong as the amount of good deeds out weighsthe bad. In the same regard, they believe a bad person is capable ofgood deeds. However, if they have done more bad deeds than gooddeeds, they are fundamentally bad.

Whatis Human History? : Christianity Versus Buddhism

Inthe Christian worldview, one could look at this as a philosophicalquestion. It has been discussed and debated among human history’sbrightest intellects. A broader, more widely accepted and often askedquestion, is: “what is the meaning of life”. In the Christianfaith, one would believe that the creator, God, holds the purpose. Inthe Buddhist faith, the objective of life is to align and balance thekamma from past lives with your current life. The goal of this effortand practice is to learn lessons from your past and improve yourcurrent life.

CommonComponents in Religion Related to Healing

Whatis prayer? “According to the Bible, prayer is communication withGod. Interestingly, there are only 105 references to prayer in thewhole Bible. Jesus taught his followers how to pray in Matthew 6 bygiving the disciples a specific prayer ” (Shelly, 2006).” Different faiths and cultures connect with their God or gGodsthrough meditation or alternative forms of praise. In the Christianfaith, followers must pray to worship and praise their Ggod.Prayer is not to be utilized only in times of despair. The researchon meditation by Wallace in 1972 revealed that mediation hasadvantages such as relaxation due to reduced loss of oxygen. “Inthe US, in 1972, research by Wallace on the physiological effects ofmeditation drew much attention. This research stated the followingeffects of meditation: Deep relaxation as a result of a drastic dropin oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide emission. The researchAalsonoted a drastic drop in respiratory rate. Wallace also asserted thatmeditation enhanced electric skin resistance, therefore enhancingrelaxation. Lastly the study documented a rapid increase in electricskin resistance, signifying a state of deep relaxation” (Oshita,2013). Prayer is used often now by even non-religious groups. Prayeris typically positive in nature. If we look at the 2006 book “TheSecret” in summary, it states that we control our destiny with theenergy that we put in the universe. This is often referred to as thelaw of attraction.

Factorsto Healthcare Delivery

Inthe western culture, there are many different religious groups. Notwo patients are the same and their different religious affiliationsonly further differentiate their needs in healthcare. A JehovahWitness (JW) patient may refuse blood transfusions.“JW is a denomination of Christianity founded in the USA in 1872.Presently, more than six million followers believe in the New Worldtranslation of the Bible. One of the many doctrines adopted by JW isthe prohibition to take blood or blood products into the body by anyroute, and was based upon its own interpretation of certain verses ofthe Bible (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11–14, Acts 15:20,29), whichsome might interpret as a warning against the consumption ofblood”(Wong 2012).

Anotherissue to providing health care is if the healthcare team struggleswith personal decisions made by patients because of their religiousor cultural beliefs. An example is in Africa. Kenyans have varyingviews with regards to marriage and therefore when the f=governmentallowed polygamy, it attracted immense opinions and ideas. This wasmainly because the husband does not have to consider the views of thefirst wife after consulting her. “Kenyans have many approaches tomarriage, and in March their government consolidated types under onelaw. One change has drawn the lion’s share of attention legalizingpolygamy for men—even if the first wife protests”(Wasamu 2014). Polygamy is a highly controversial issue that manywestern people find a tabooand it does not follow the teachings of the ChristianBible.

Whencompleting this assignment, many different things crossed my mind andmy practice. I typically try not to get overly involved with religionas I feel that it can be an area of contention. However, I see valuein prayer. Although I personally do not believe in organizedreligionfor me, prayer is putting positive energy into the world. When itcomes to caring for patients, I have always believed in respect andunderstanding of others and of their own person beliefs. When itcomes to healing, I believe creating an environment of love andcaring is more important thaenanything else. Providing the patient with love, encouragement andpositive feedback can result in amazing outcomes. The Buddhistsbelieve in the power of meditation. There are proven clinicalbenefits from meditation. I personally believe in the use ofbreathing and meditation to help reduce stress that is induced fromcaring for the terminally ill. The analysis of the two differentgroups has allowed me to have a deeper understanding and respect forthe two different faiths as well as a better understanding of how toprovide care.


Bibles,F., &amp Store, C. B. (2000). King James Version.

Slick,M. (n.d.). What is Christianity? Retrieved November 28, 2015, from

&nbsp&quotWorldReligions Religion Statistics Geography Church Statistics&quot.Retrieved&nbsp28 November&nbsp2015.

Bill,F. (n.d). Religion by the numbers. Daily Sun (Warner Robins, GA)

Whatis Buddhism. (2011, April 4). Retrieved November 29, 2015, from

Oshita,D., Hattori, K., &amp Iwakuma, M. (2013). A Buddhist-basedmeditation practice for care and healing: an introduction and itsapplication. InternationalJournal Of Nursing Practice,19Suppl 215-23.doi:10.1111/ijn.12040

Wong,D. S. (2012). Blood transfusion and Jehovah`s Witnesses revisited:Implications for surgeons. SurgicalPractice,16(4),128-132. doi:10.1111/j.1744-1633.2012.00612.x

Wasamu,M. (2014). Polygamy and pews: churches call bill unbiblical, butChristian politicians push it through. ChristianityToday,58(4),19.

Shelly,J., &amp Miller, A. (2006). Calledto care: A Christian worldview for nursing(2nd ed.). Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic/InterVarsity Press.

Byrne,R. (2006). TheSecret.New York: Atria Books .

Critiqueof the paper

Thisis a well written paper that has provided deep insights regarding thedifferences between the Christianity and Buddhism. It is clear fromthe paper that Patrick has conducted sufficient research regardingthe two religions. Patrick has provided an analysis of variousaspects such as meaning of life, human history and what is right andwrong with regard to both religions. This is a clear indication thatPatrick conducted a lot of research. The organization of the paper isalso perfect with subheadings which are clearly indicating what theauthor seeks to discuss underneath. Additionally, Patrick used simplesentence structures which ensured that the paper’s message was notonly clear, but also direct.

Despitethe paper being clear and to the point, Patrick made numerousgrammatical errors as shown in the comments within the paper. Therewere various instances where Patrick forgot to put spacing betweenwords. Patrick also forgot to put full stops on various instances.One aspect that came out clear is that Patrick did not proofread thepaper after writing. Overall, the paper was well written and providesa good analysis of the two religions.

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