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When providing care to patients who come from a variety of backgrounds with numerous different faiths, understanding basic traits of a patients faith or culture enables providers to give quality health care. However, often times there is a lack of understanding coming from the…
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Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity: First Draft Qi Ci Huang Grand Canyon HLT-310V Foundations of Spirituality in Health Care RobertVaughan (Instructor)
May 31, 2015
Abstract
When providing care to patients who come from a variety of backgrounds with numerous different faiths, understanding basic traits of a patients faith or culture enables providers to give quality health care. However, often times there is a lack of understanding coming from the providers in regards to a patients faith as providers often look at the patients physical body but not their spiritual body. In order to explore the importance of the spiritual body two faiths with opposing views will be analyzed and compared with each other, Christianity and Buddhism. The result of this paper demonstrates how important the spiritual body is for both of these faiths although neither have anything else in common. In conclusion, although varying religions do have different rituals or prayers they all agree that a healthy spiritual body is required for a healthy human being.
Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity
Providing optimal health care is what every health provider strives to do. In order to provide this holistic care, providers will need to view the person as the whole – body, mind, spirit and emotions. In other words, to provide the optimal health care that every patient deserves, health care workers must work with patients to achieve a proper balance in the patient’s lives; physical, emotional and spiritual (Shelly & Miller, 2006).  All patients must be viewed as a person and not a disease. They are individuals with both a physical and mental health. However in order to provide this type of care health care, providers must be knowledgeable about the various different faith expressions and be able to accept the diversity among the varied faiths as all patients providers offer care to will be from numerous different backgrounds. As a consequence to develop insight in providing a most holistic care this paper will explore two different perspectives, Christian and Buddhism, and compare each of them relative to their different belief systems and their implications of these beliefs on health care.
To compare the two different perspectives, both of the perspective’s worldview must be clearly defined. Defining the basics of the worldview will require 7 elementary questions: What is prime reality, What is the nature of the world around us, What is a human being, What happens to a person at death, Why is it possible to know anything at all, How do we know right and wrong, and lastly What is the meaning of human history (Shelly & Miller, 2006). 
Beginning with the Christian perspective, the prime reality within the Christian worldview is that an absolute God exists (GCU, 2015). The implications of this statement means is that since an absolute God exists, this God is self-sufficient or in order words, God lacks nothing and as a result the thus God is eternal and will not change. Next, the belief that God created the universe answers the second question regarding the Christian perspective (GCU, 2015). The nature of the world around the Christian perspective is that the world is predictable and orderly as this universe was created. As a result, any disease an individual may have will be regarded in relation to the wrath of God as he is the one that determines faith. As a result, faith may be used as a treatment to certain illnesses. The subsequent question is answered again with the belief that man is created in God’s image (GCU, 2015). This means that a human being is created to reflect God’s nature who is rational furthermore this also gives an association that man is given dominion over creations by God. When a person dies, according to the Christian view that individual will head to either heaven or hell where they will live eternally and as a result although the physical body dies that individual’s spiritual body is eternal ( Devine, 2007). The next question is answered from the previous response, since man is created in the image of God and God is a rational being then it is easy to conclude that man is also a rational being capable of understanding the world around him. Morality is determined through the teachings of the Bible and in addition it is important to understand that since man is created in God’s image, then all people must be respected and honored. Lastly, the meaning of human history is to remember that mankind is fallen (Meynell, 2014). According to the Christian perspective, human history serves as a reminder that man is sinful and that those who have power are highly susceptible to corruption (Shelly & Miller, 2006). 
For the Buddhism perspective, their prime reality is that there is no existence of a personal creator or Lord. Contrary to the Christian belief that an absolute God exists, Buddhist believes that the universe operates by a natural power and law without a divine command (Muesse, 2002). Hence the external reality around the universe according to Buddhism is that a set of natural power and law operates the world they live in. As a consequence Buddhist believe that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle free of diseases a human being must always be in balance with nature. In cases where diseases occur, it is thought that unbalance of the human body and mind was the cause of this illness. A human being is therefore not designed with respect to the image of God but is composed of the body, feelings, emotions, and consciousness. The human being is a cyclic existence according to Buddhist and as a result although an individual may die they are will also be reborn within the six realms of existence (Mc Grath, 1998). In defining the human being, consciousness was one of the factors that composed a human being and as a result the consciousness of the five senses is what allows individuals to understand anything at all. Morality of Buddhist is composed of five precepts that should be followed: Kill no living thing, do not steal, do not commit adultery, tell no lies, and lastly do not drink intoxicants or take drugs (Mc Grath, 1998). Finally, Buddhist do not believe in having a proper meaning for human history due to their support of the cyclic existence. With this perspective they view that there is a continuous cycle of repeated births and deaths, a circle. As a result there is no beginning or end. Hence Buddhist believe gaining knowledge in human history is a waste of time because a man’s task is to liberate himself from the present and not the past (Radu, 2011).
Comparing the Christian to that of the Buddhist perspective there appears to be quite a number of differences (Schmidt-leukel, 2003). For example, Christians believe that there exist an absolute God who created the universe and everything within it, whereas Buddhist denies such an existence and argues that the universe simply operates by a natural power and law without a divine command. The consequences of the two contrasting views impacts the differing party’s opinions on illnesses and diseases. In the Christian perspective due to their belief in such an absolute existence the presence of disease or illness is also created by this absolute existence as well, hence in order to treat a disease one, once pray to this existence. Whereas in the Buddhist perspective due to the rejection of such an absolute existence, these followers will try to determine what is unbalanced within their body or mind in order to treat a certain disease as they believe there is a natural power and law. Hence, Buddhist believe that it was the violation of these natural power and laws that lead to an individual obtaining a disease. However, one similarity among the two different perspectives is the approach they both use in regards to healing. Both perspectives may depend on prayer and meditation to cure a particular notice. Although their reasoning for doing these actions may be different, they both believe that spiritual health is as an important factor to their health as their physical health. In the Christian view it may be their soul whereas in the Buddhist view it is an unknown consciousness (Schmidt-leukel, 2003).
In providing care to patients of faiths that are different to the health care providers, providers must be knowledgeable about the basics of the patient’s faith in order to respect the patient’s decisions (Shelly & Miller, 2006).  Such decisions may be related to dietary constraints, having sacred objects such as amulets or portraits of saints nearby, or even sacred time for prayer or rest. Understanding the basics of the patients’ particular faith will enable health care providers to provide a more universal care as providers will include their spiritual health within their treatment as well. One of the key skills in providing such care when caring for a patient with a different faith is to listen. Listening enables the provider communicate properly with the patient to understand the patient’s desires as they go through this turbulent time. Furthermore, it rids the assumptions a provider may have in providing for a patient with different faiths (Shelly & Miller, 2006). 
In conclusion, although the Christian and Buddhist perspective have large difference in regards to their beliefs, however there does exist common components that both the religion regard as a necessary tool in order to treat diseases. This common component is caring for the spiritual body. While the Christian perspective believes it is the prayer that helps heal the spiritual body whereas the Buddhist perspective would argue that it is the mediation that heals the spiritual body both religions recognize the important of the spiritual body in regards to an individual’s wellbeing (Shelly & Miller, 2006). My own spiritual perspective on healing is that the spiritual body should be prioritized as highly as the physical body. Having a calm and relaxed mind will enable the patient, provider, and family a great start for the treatment of a particular disease. In order to achieve such a state there may be an array of different approaches to do so while some patients may depend upon prayer others will use meditation. As a result, it is critical for providers to understand the basics of a patient’s faith. I learned while doing research on both perspectives is that different faiths will approach healing one’s spiritual health in different ways. However, both of the faiths that I have researched upon agreed that an individual’s spiritual health is just as important as one’s physical health. Accordingly, I would argue that in order to provide the highest quality care to patient’s health care providers must provide care for the patient’s physical and mental health.
Comments
The paper has good concepts related to religious diversity. However, the paper lacks a lot in proper sentence construction. One of the common problems is omitting commas, making sentences lose the intended meaning. Also, there are long sentences that span three to four lines. An ideal paper should have one or two line sentences.
The structure of the paper may also be revised. The paper would be clearer if the author has subtopics that clearly indicate the content of each section. Each idea should also be in its on paragraph. For example, the Christian and Buddhist perspectives should be separated and not discussed in the same paragraphs. Such a move will make the paper more coherent and presentable.
The paper offers sufficient citations to support the arguments. The arguments in the paper effectively support the thesis of the paper.
References
Bufford, R. K. (2007). Philosophical Foundations for Clinical Supervision within a
Christian Worldview. Journal of Psychology & Christianity, 26(4), 293-297.
Devine, S. (2007). Christianity, science, & postmodernism. Stimulus: The New Zealand
Journal of Christian Thought & Practice, 15(1), 28-33.
Grand Canyon University (GCU). (2015). The Christian Narrative and Spiritual
Diversity. Retrieved from https://lc-
ugrad1.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html?operation=loggedIn#/learningPl
atform/loudBooks/loudbooks.html?viewPage=current&operation=innerPage&cur
RentTopicname=the Christian Narrative and Spiritual
Diversity&topicMaterialId=55a6e8bb-4280-4901-802f-
134d6302fb99&contentId=791c6218-6fc8-44c4-bde7-a7466d6feb77&
Mc Grath, P. (1998).Buddhist spirituality-a compassionate perspective on hospice care.
Mortality, 3(3), 251-236.
Meynell, H. (2014).Philosophy and the Christian Worldview: Analysis, Assessment and
Development. Heythrop Journal, 55(1), 170-171.doi:10.1111/heyj.12064-45.
Muesse, M. W. (2002). What Does It Mean to Lead a Spiritual life? A Buddhist
Perspective. Retrieved from
http://www.explorefaith.org/steppingstones_SpiritualLife_Buddhist.htm.
Radu, L. A. (2011). The Buddhist Philosophy and the "Problem" of Suffering. Scientific
Journal of Humanistic Studies, 3(4), 39-46.
Schmidt-leukel, P. (2003).Buddhism and Christianity: Antagonistic or Complementary?
Studies in World Christianity, 9(2), 265-279.
Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A.B. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldview for
Nursing (2nd ed.). Downers   Grove, IL: IVP Academic Read More
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