Cooperative Study of Different Belief Systems and their Approach to Health Care Abstract

Cooperative Study of Different Belief Systems and their Approach to Health Care 1

CooperativeStudy of Different Belief Systems and their Approach to Health Care


Religionhas been one of the major influential codes of conduct for mostsocieties in this world. For thousands of years, people of a specificreligion saw themselves as part of a higher truth and, therefore,view themselves as the elite select of the society. As people beganto interact more, different religions were met, and as the technologywas enhanced, some even began to question their religion. Currently,most people have heard about other religions beyond theirs and mayhave even mingled with people from other religions while picking up afew tidbits of information. With all these knowledge, tolerance ishighly encouraged. People might differ in their belief system, butdeep down human beings are all the same and therefore, there shouldbe no need to disregard someone’s views or opinions. In thehealthcare department, different religions tend to come together dueto the different type of people that tend to meet. Be it a patient, ahealthcare specialist or even a member of the supporting staff,everyone tends to have their belief system. This calls for extremelevels of tolerance so as the required assistance can provide for theone in need. The following essay will aim to study two differentreligions which are Christianity and Buddhism. The two faith systemwill be compared on their principles when it comes to providinghealthcare (McSherry, 2006). They will also be studied to determinetheir different or similar stands when it comes to the worldviewquestions. These questions are:

Whatis a prime reality?

Whatis the nature of the globe around us?

Whatis a human being?

Whathappens to a person after death?

Whyis it possible to understand anything at all?

Howdo we know what is right and what is wrong?

Whatis the meaning of human history?

Allthese questions will be answered with an aim of understanding eachbelief system in an unbiased way.

BothChristianity and Buddhism are religions that have been around forthousands of years. Christianity is mainly viewed as a westernreligion whereas Buddhism is mainly viewed as a religion of the East.Each of the belief systems has its story of how it originated theprinciples and guidelines that they follow and eventually the goalthe individual in each religion would achieve upon following all thedoctrines that are taught. The major similarities between these twobelief systems are the sanctity of life (Macdonald, 2013). Theirteachings do not condone the taking of human life at all. The originof each religion is separately discussed below for deeperunderstanding.

Christianitybegan as Judaism. Based on the religion’s holy book, the Bible, theChristians believe that the universe and everything in it was createdby God. They firmly believe that nothing can exist if it did notcome from God. The Bible further tells the story of the fall ofhumankind. This was through disobedience by the first human beingswho were created in the image of God, Adam, and Eve. The two had beengiven a beautiful garden to stay in called Eden in which they were incharge of everything. The only rule God had given them was that theywere not to touch the fruits of the tree positioned at the center ofthe Garden. Unfortunately, the devil in the form of the snake temptedEve, and she ate the fruit convincing Adam on the process. Upon Godlearning of their misdeed, He grew angry and chased them away fromthe garden. With this act of disobedience, suffering, sickness, painand physical death came into the world. After the story of creation,the Bible keeps talking of the many years that followed wherebyhumanity had fallen away from the ways of God and how they keptwondering aimlessly with not much purpose. However, God was still seton renewing human beings, and He did so through sending andeventually sacrificing His only son for the sins of the world. Jesuswas on earth for thirty years, and he gave many teachings whileperforming miracles along the way. Most of these teachings are thepinnacle truths to the teachings of Christianity. After Jesus wascrucified, died, rose again then went back to God, His Father theChristian religion grew beyond imagination. The outcome for thebelievers is that if they live by Jesus’ teachings, there would bethe second and the true believers will be taken to heaven. Judaismhad mainly focused on the Ten Commandments that had been given to theIsraelites. Christianity however, focuses on the summation of thewhole commandments into only two rules, “Loving your God, with allyour heart, with your entire mind, and with all your soul and lovingyour neighbor as you love yourself.” This is the whole principlebehind Christianity.

Buddhism,on the other hand, involves the teachings and practices that weretaught by Buddha. From ancient texts, Buddha at first was a very richprince in Northern India and was then known as Siddhartha Gautama.This prince was used to a lavish and wealthy lifestyle. He washowever banned from ever stepping out of the castle gates. This wasbecause his parents had heard a prophecy that said if their son wereever to step outside the castle, they would lose the kingdomentirely. However, Gautama used to sneak outside the castle walls.The first time he exited he saw an old man. The second time he snuckout, he saw a very sick person. The third time he saw a dead person.This made him question his existence, and he ran a way in the questfor the truth. The truth he was seeking was why people age, grow sickand die (Swinton, 2001). After many years of wondering around hefinally found the truth a state that is commonly named as nirvana.After this, he began teaching anyone he could find what he hadlearned and soon he had many disciples. The main teachings ofBuddhism revolve around five basic laws that are: no killing(especially human life), no stealing, no sexual sins, lying isprohibited, and intoxicating substances are not allowed. All thepractices of Buddhism seek to give one a good health and a sobermind. They believe that when all these doctrines are followed, theultimate enlightenment known as nirvana can be achieved in theirlifetime. All the members of this religion thus shun all forms ofluxuries and deny themselves all comforts so as to achieve this astheir founder, Buddha (Ratanakul, 1999).

Provisionof Healthcare

Christianityteaches its members that caring for the sick and elderly is theirduty. For Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as you love thyself.”(Mathew 22:39). This makes them provide dutifully sufficient care tothe best of their abilities. When it comes to medical treatments,Christianity has embraced almost all of the practices. However,abortion is an act that they cannot tolerate as they believe thatlife begins as soon as conception occurs. This comes from what Godtold Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you beforeyou were born I set you apart I appointed you as a prophet to thenations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). This makes Christians view abortion asmurder. They as well do not condone euthanasia as they see thattaking human life should only be left to God.

Buddhismteaches on helping others from suffering. This, therefore, means thatmembers are very willing to help the sick and the elderly. They toohave no qualms with using modern forms of medical practices as longas they view it as helpful. However, they normally prefer not to useanesthesia as they see it as a form of an intoxicant (Shelly, et al.1999). When it comes to abortion, they see it as a murder of theunborn life. This is because the teachings of Buddha give sanctity toall forms of life. Euthanasia also goes against their principles asit entails cutting off life.


Whenit comes to the worldview questions, Christianity and Buddhism tendto have some dissimilarity that will be shown below.

Whatis the prime reality?

Forthe Christians, the prime reality is God. They see Him as the SupremeBeing and Creator of everything. Nothing that is or has ever been canexist without Him. They view God as such a powerful being that it ishard to describe Him. In Exodus 3:11, God speaks to Moses and says,“For I am who I am.” This just shows how powerful Christians seetheir prime reality, who is God.

Buddhismdoes not believe in a singular God or any creator in such sense. Theysee that everything in the world happened due to some series ofsteps. These steps have no origin as they are all somehowinterconnected. They, therefore, have no prime reality (Macdonald,2013).

Whatis the nature of the globe around us?

TheChristians see the world around them as beautiful and perfect. Forafter God had finished creating everything in the world, He saw it asgood. They, therefore, see the world around them as a form of God’sperfection and His great wonder.

Buddhismviews the world as a form of order that is interconnected witheverything around them. They do not term the world as a materialentity rather than a set of laws that led to the way things are.

Whatis a human being?

Christianityfirmly trusts that human beings were created in the making of God. Itsees that human beings were placed on this earth to be like demigodswhose main responsibility is to care over the world.

Buddhismbelieves that human beings are not relevant. They are just a part ofthese natural set of laws. They, however, believe that they have tofollow these laws in agreement with one of their principles, karma.They believe that every action or decision they make will ultimatelylead to the same results. Do good and good will happen to you andvice versa.

Whathappens to a person after death?

Christiansbelieve in life after death. They believe that if they truly followthe ways that Jesus Christ taught them, they would ultimately beresurrected during his second coming, and they would all go to heavenwhere they will live forever without all this pains and suffering ofthe world.

Buddhismbelieves in the self-enlightenment that happens in one’s lifetime,nirvana. They see life as short and insignificant and therefore,they ought to focus on healthy living so as to live a fulfilled life.Through this, they believe to achieve nirvana.

Whyis it possible to understand anything at all?

Christiansbelieve they were created in the image of God therefore they aresome reflection of Him. This makes them feel that since God isomniscient, which means all knowing, they are therefore able to knowa few things about their world and themselves.

Buddhismemploys tremendous sacrifices and patience for the quest of the trueenlightenment. They, therefore, do not believe human beings have theability to know anything at all.

Howdo we know what is right and what is wrong?

InChristianity, knowledge of what is right and wrong is obtained fromthe bible. This is mainly through the Ten Commandments. Any act thatmay break these commandments is considered as being wrong (Swinton,2001).

Buddhismdetermines what is right from wrong by the five rules or guidelinesthat its members strictly adhere to. Anyone who goes against such isconsidered to be wrong.

Whatis the meaning of human history?

Christianitysees the human history as a long journey where humanity had strayedfrom God’s path and was trying to find its way back.

Buddhismhas no concern with human history as they view the human race asinsignificant in the order of the universe.

Crucialregular components to all religions on healing, such as prayer,meditation, belief, etc.?

Mostreligions or beliefs believe in the power of supernatural powers.This makes them believe that with enough faith and prayer, healing ofany diseases can occur. Most of these religions believe in miraclesas well. Faith is, therefore, the common component of all thesereligions. This is the unquestionable conviction that whatever theyhave aimed to occur will come to pass (Bülow, 2008).

Whatis important to patients of the faiths when cared for by health careproviders whose spiritual beliefs differ from their own?

Patientsof faiths normally want the health care providers to respect theirbeliefs even if the health care givers do not share the belief. Thismakes them feel that they are not disregarded even in their state ofhealth (Ratanakul, 1999).


Inmy case, I believe that healing starts with the patient. I believethat great mental strength can achieve a lot in the body. If thepatient focuses on getting well, pushes themselves to eat more evenwhen they have no appetite, then healing can easily be achieved withhelp from modern medical practices. I have learned that differentreligions have their concepts and belief when it comes to everythingthat happens around us. This is important in that I can now tolerateand understand anyone’s belief. This is a very vital quality thatall health care providers require.


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Macdonald,J. J. (2013). Primaryhealth care: medicine in its place.Routledge.

McSherry,W. (2006). Makingsense of spirituality in nursing and health care practice: Aninteractive approach.Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Ratanakul,P. (1999). Buddhism, health, disease, and Thai culture. Across-cultural dialogue on health care ethics. Waterloo, Ontario,17-33.

Shelly,J. A., &amp Miller, A. B. (1999). Calledto care: A Christian theology of nursing.InterVarsity Press.

Swinton,J. (2001). Spiritualityand mental health care: Rediscovering a`forgotten`dimension.Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

TheHoly Bible