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Is Religion Good for Your Health?Some doctors believe that medicine should be interested in whatever helps people heal. This makes recent clinical research suggestings religious commitment brings health benefits doubly challenging.
Illustration by Marcia Klioze Hughes/The World & I |
"The skill of the physician lifteth up his head, So that he standeth in the presence of princes. God has created medicines out of the ...
Religion: The Forgotten Factor in Health Care
This past year has been dominated by discussions and debates
about how best to undertake health-care reform. In the past
few decades, health-care costs in this country have
skyrocketed. In 1940, health care absorbed $4 billion, which
constituted a mere 4 percent of the GNP. By the early 1990s,
however, health-care costs had ballooned to more than $800
billion, or approximately 13.4 percent of the GNP. Experts
predict that these costs will continue to climb and by the
year 2000 will total over $1 trillion--more than 15 percent
the GNP. ...
Measuring 'The Forgotten Factor'
The inexorable escalation of health-care costs is increasingly
exercising the attention and concern of governments worldwide.
Health-care systems that have performed effectively in the
past are typically showing signs of severe strain under rising
costs. This problem is universal, and not special to the
United States, and it is one for which any major relief would
be of profound international significance. ...
Neglecting 'The Forgotten Factor'
You would think that approaches to healing, care, or cure
demonstrate success would be embraced by physicians,
researchers, and care-givers. Certainly this would be the
if there were few risks of side effects, and quite likely it
would also be the case if such approaches cost little. ...
The Future of 'The Forgotten Factor'
In a time of cost containment in American health care,
clinical programs in pastoral care are a likely first target.
In fact, anecdotal reports abound indicating that hospital
chaplains are fighting to survive against tough odds. Hospital
administrators ask what proof there is that pastoral care does
any real good. Clergy are thus put on the defensive because
the empirical studies of benefits are few and methodologically
limited. As a general rule, studies by pastoral-care
organizations have been unsophisticated, and qualified medical
researchers have had "better" things to study. The few
national centers for the study of religion and health seem
more interested in theological reflection than in social
scientific analysis. ...