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World Religions From A Healthcare Perspective - Essay Example

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The issue of determining the exact correlation between the American Indian religious traditions and their impact upon the healthcare provision for American Indian patients is complicated by the specific character of American Indian religious practices…
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World Religions From A Healthcare Perspective
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, proceeding from the information included in this chapter, it may even be claimed that there is no such thing as a unified American Indian religion whatsoever. This is supported both by the incredible diversity of tribal groups and nations among American Indians and Alaska Natives, and, on the other hand, by the absence of the organized religion (in the Western sense at least) among many of these peoples. The painful history of relations between the US Government and various Indian tribes had its brunt on the state of the healthcare provision to the American Indians, among other things. While the Indian Health Service (IHS) was established in 1955 to provide primary and comprehensive health care to the American Indians, many of the latter reside in metropolitan areas which lie outside the field of the HIS competence. This complicates the situation with regard to health care provision and creates significant discrepancies in respect of the interrelations between the IHS and conventional healthcare providers, on the one hand, and the traditional tribal elders, on the other. When speaking on the subject of the specificity of American Indian religious traditions, it is necessary to observe that the practitioners of American Indian beliefs have a significantly different concept of the world than those of theistic religions. Unlike linear concepts of the proceedings of the world inherent in the latter, the American Indian belief traditions assume the circular development of the world, which is aimed at perceiving the world as a harmonious whole. Subsequently, the centre of this whole is construed as a state of peace and balance, including peace of mind, which informs the general understanding of the world in Indian religious traditions. Therefore the idea of healthcare provision in American Indian tradition is directly intertwined with the notion that the surrounding world is infused with spiritual energy that may be embodied in particular healing substances such as some herbs. In practical dimension, this means that the concept of healthcare in American Indian worldview is directly connected with the idea of healing by nature’s aid and that of connection between the spiritual and physical health of the patient. Therefore the taking into account of such complexities is absolutely necessary when dealing with American Indian patients. 3. Hinduism The essence of Hinduism as a set of religious practice lies not so much in the regulation of the practitioners’ beliefs than in the regulation of the latter’s behavior. In reality, Hinduism can scarcely be characterized as a unified religion arising out of the certain consensus, as the majority of its practitioners belong to different sects and sub-cultures. Nevertheless, there are some common tenets that bring different strands of the Hindu religion together. On the one hand, Hinduism is characterized by its reliance on the preceding, Vedic tradition that emphasizes the importance of ritualistic devotion to the gods, the maintenance of the devotee’s duties before the social structure and the world in general, the existence of the complex cycle of life and death, where the souls of the ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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