Science, Religion & Healing

Explaining to people how science, religion and healing intertwine can be both difficult and touchy. Everyone has their own beliefs based on their upbringing, location, knowledge and overall mindset. What is life and death really? Does the spirit reincarnate after death in which there is eternal life? Comparing science and religion can be difficult at times because most of the time they are addressing separate issues at hand. For example, science is a classification of intelligence about the world and its nature where on the other hand, Christianity is about God, virtues and the afterlife. Hence, theses are two different themes, which can make them difficult to compare. Science is a study of the natural world, not the supernatural. When it comes to healing, the mind, body and spirit are essential for clean and well-adjusted individuals. As I stated in my blog post last week, the idea of treating certain illnesses through natural remedies such as western medicine, acupuncture, vitamins, exercise, diet and so forth, not only is good for the body but plays an extremely profound role on the mind and spirit as well, which contributes to certain religions such as Christianity. All of these acts also play a major role in keeping the brain and cognitive processes healthy. According to an article I recently read, “Although food has classically been perceived as a means to provide energy and building material to the body, its ability to prevent and protect against diseases is being recognized…Diets that are high in saturated fats are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction.” (Gomez 2008) Religion and healing come into play in terms of trusting one another without a distorted belief system. This is very similar to living healthy and robust. Certain religious ideas promote diets and overall well-being. Many people in the U.S. were terrified of MSG but the Chinese weren’t concerned over it. They explained it as just a sodium salt from seaweed with little detriments. I personally still have some doubts about MSG, which is why I eat it sparingly.

According to the Western and Eastern approaches to medicine article, “If a certain type of healing is to be considered medicine, then the interpretive part of this relies solely on the laws of nature for its interpretations. With non-medical healing, the interpretative part may be based on numerous, that is, on the existence of spirits, gods, ancestors, or a single god.” (Unschuld 6,7) As explained in this quote and in the article, science and religion both have an influence in regard to healing. The emergence of healing in China and the laws of nature was also mentioned which relates to what I brought up earlier. Although China developed a new social order in the eight century, the unification of China succeeded that in regard to the Qin rule. The emergence of kingdoms brought authority during social changes, which brought stability and order. This was the lead in the right direction of medicine, ideas, & laws, which paved the influential road for China.

Whether it has to do with treating cancer or chicken pox, it all comes back to the idea that science, healing and religion nearly intertwine all the time whether we realize it or not.

Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. “Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience Nat Rev Neuroscience 9.7 (2008): 568-570. Web. 22 July 2016.

Unschuld, Paul. What is Medicine? Western and Eastern Approaches to Medicine. Chapter 2 (pp. 6-7) “Medicine or Novelty Appeal”

2 thoughts on “Science, Religion & Healing

  1. You demonstrated very well how Science and Religion both intertwine in the process to treat diseases. However, I believe it’s important to point out that in different times and different geographic location you have changing emphasis based on the scale for the use of science and religion for a source of treatment. I like to lump religion as a representation for social mechanisms for healing. A type of healing that focus on the disease in the context of the community instead of seeing a disease as solely something wrong with the biology of a person. One point I want to elaborate on is the shift in modern times to an over-emphasis on science as the only and most important tool we have to treat the patient. You pointed out how these two systems come together and intertwine in many ways for treatment. I want to point out that while they do intertwine ideally, these two factors also clash sometimes. Unfortunately a strong overemphasis ,in western medicine, on the science aspect only of treatment, has resulted in very mechanical and technical approaches to dealing with patients. While this has its benefits, neglecting the religion side of things has drawbacks. Physicians need to take in these factors to treat the patient fully. This is the move I believe aspiring physicians should take.

  2. Hi Matthew! I found it interesting the way you showed the difference between science and religion. They really are two separate things, so it gets tricky when using both to explain one thing, such as healing. I agree that the religious or spiritual part of healing is important and that it can help a great deal. I feel as if people either believe strictly in science or strictly in religion. When really, I think parts of both are needed to efficiently find the best options. I also liked the quote you used about Western and Eastern medicines. It’s funny to me how so many people recognize that there are two approaches to medicine, scientific and spiritual, but almost never talk about them coexisting together. I definitely do not believe that all of the medical advancements we have made through science are worthless, or that they can cure everything. I think it will take time for physicians to find the balance between both perspectives. Then they will have to learn how to treat each patient as an individual to find the best treatment for them, whether it is more scientific or religious. This change will take a while; these medical practices have been the norm for so long. Also, like you said about how China disagree sabout MSG’s compared to America, the healing process will always differ across cultures just like everything else. Healing is a tricky thing and I agree that no matter how dangerous the illness, both perspectives continue to intertwine. Good luck with the rest of the class!

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