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Different religious groups have different belief systems in the provision of healthcare. Health care personnel, such as doctors and nurses, should be aware of the religious beliefs of their patients to effectively deliver medical care. In provision of medical care, religious faith and beliefs of the patient is incorporated with the scientific medical care in offering a holistic medical attention to the patients. In this regard, the medical personnel should take into the consideration the religious belief of the patient in the course of offering medical care to the patient. In this paper, Christianity and Buddhism belief systems are critically reviewed to determine the similarities and differences in the provision of health guided by the fact that healing occurs when there is a balance between the body, mind, physical connections, spirit and emotions.
Throughout the interviews, it was found that there were similarities in belief system between the Buddhism and the Christianity in the provision of healthcare. The two religions, laid great emphasis on the religion practices for one to attain healing. In addition, both religions believe in the power of prayer and meditation for one to get well. As such, patients affiliated to these religions have faith that through prayers and meditation they can be relieved of their suffering or sickness. According to Buddhism, a patient who practices meditation undergoes less suffering and thus meditation instills confidence in the patient, which is an important component of healing. On the other hand, meditation and prayers among Christians creates confidence in the patients that God will heal them (Ashcroft, Dawson & Draper, 2007).
Another similarity between Christianity and Buddhism in respect to death is that both religions views death as not being the end but the beginning of another life. Christians believe that when they die, they will go to heaven if they had lived according to the will of God while on earth. Buddhists believe in rebirth after one dies and thus the patients perceive sickness and death as a stage in life where every person has to go through. Therefore, it was reasonable to conclude that patients in both religions see death not as the end but as a start of new life. Another similarity that exists between the Buddhism and Christianity is the moral precepts in Buddhism and commandments in Christianity. These moral codes in both religions help the patient to make choices on medical care given to him or her. In both religions, procuring abortion is seen as murder and hence condemned in both religions. This is especially because of the belief of existence of a supernatural power responsible for giving life and thus, the only taker of the same (Young & Koopsen, 2006). In Christianity for example, they believe that God is the creator of life and hence, any murder attempt is strongly condemned.
The interview too revealed significant differences between Christianity and Buddhism in respect to provision of medical care. One, the most significant difference was that unlike Christians, the Buddhists' medical care system attaches lots of significance to the practices of yoga and meditation. The yoga practices are aimed at conferring self confidence and optimism that enables the patient to reduce suffering which he/she is undergoing. On the other hand, the practice of yoga is not a component of the Christian religion like it is in Buddhism.
Due to the evident critical components of healing albeit different for both religions, such as prayer, meditation, belief and yoga, health care professional ought to consider the various belief systems to best attend to the patient's needs. In holistic medical care, medical personnel must take care of all aspects of the patient which includes the body, the emotions and the spiritual aspects. Doctors and nurses should ensure that that they offer all necessary support that is required for the healing to occur. In this respect, it would be wrong to overrule that the beliefs of the patients do not have an effect in the healing process of the said patient. For example, Christians attach lots of importance to prayer and therefore, it is critical to their healing and physical wellbeing. This is because they believe that when they pray, their faith in God will aid in their healing process and restore them to good health. Thus, prayer creates confidence in Christians thus making their pain more bearable. On the other hand, meditation and yoga is important for the patient who believes in the Buddhist faith. This is because it makes the patient believe that they have control over the present and the future and that they are solely responsible for their own happiness and well-being. The confidence created in patients observing yoga and meditation in return, makes the pain bearable and in addition to facilitating the healing process.
The paper points out some areas that require critical thought. This is because chances are there that the doctors and nurses may be affiliated to different religions. However, when there is collision of interest, the interest of the customer must prevail as long as it does not undermine the healing process or contrary to the healthcare ethics. In this regard, medical professionals who practice different faiths from what their patient professes should be conscious with the faith of their patient in offering medical care. To offer holistic care, the medical professionals need to understand the diversity of their patients that they are offering medical care. Therefore, they should have an open mind to take into consideration the faith of their patients in providing medical care. In addition, they should be in a position to comprise with their faith and embrace the faith of their patients in an effort to facilitate healing process which the ultimate goal for both parties. The doctors must be committed to taking care of all aspects of the patients and not only physical aspect but also emotional, spiritual beliefs of the person.
This has been supported by various research studies that consistently proved that faith of the patient plays a fundamental role in healing process. Meditation, for instance, in Buddhism, has proved to have medical significance especially to heal psychological disorders like depression (Kliewer& Saultz, 2006). In conclusion, it is of essence for the health providers to let it go of their faith and incorporate the belief of the patients in medical care. The patients may come from diversified faiths and beliefs and since faith is known to have significance in the health of the patient, it should thus be respected in the heath care realm. . The different religions should be considered by the providers of health for them to give holistic treatment to their patient. If the patient sees this in the doctors and nurses, they would be confident in the health provisions and that speed up the healing process. This is because when health care providers understand and respect the different beliefs of their patients it creates the necessary atmosphere for healing. This can be accomplished by allowing their patients to exercise their faith for instance praying, fasting, even meditating, allowing people to visit the patient as part of therapies together with scientific medical care. Incorporating patient's faiths and religious beliefs is therefore critical to the healing process and should thus be adopted by all health care providers.