Religion is a set of specific beliefs and practices agreed upon by a group of people or sects. Nurses need to be aware of individual patient’s beliefs and practices and be able to respect them and at the same time provide the care needed to those patients without interfering with their faith. In writing this article the writer looked up three religious faiths which he has come across as he practices nursing. The three religious faiths are Wicca, Muslim and atheist. In gathering the information, the writer compared these religions with his own beliefs as a Christian.
Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity: Final Draft
The United States of American has become a small village altogether. It’s the melting pot of all diversities and cultures from all over the world. The United States is the most diverse nation in the world, both culturally and spiritually. Although Christianity is still the most dominant, most adult Americans have adopted other religions beliefs different from their parents. According to Forum on Religion and Public Life survey done in 2010, studies indicate the number of Americans claiming no affiliation with any form of religion is rising. Among adult aged between 18-30 one out every four state their have no affiliation with any faith. (Statistics on Religion in America Report — Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2010). With such a great diversity of both faith and culture, nurses at the bedside care need to be more aware of their own faith and spirituality. Although religion training is not needed, for nurses to be able to offer care to their patients, the nurses are needed to be well informed of different type of faiths. In order to provide non biased care while still maintaining their own beliefs and practices. Wicca
Wicca is defined as a form of witch craft. It’s a religion that has been around for many years but the faith was made more popular by a priest named Gerald Garden in the 1950’s. For many years, this religion was known as witch craft before popularly becoming known as Wicca (“Neopaganism and Wicca – ReligionFacts,” n.d.) The Wicca religion does not have set rules or regulations to be followed during sicknesses and healing process. The resort to a supernatural “power” being during sickness or healing. Those beings are referred to as gods and goddesses (Sabrina, 2001) Wiccans talk to their higher beings through chants and use of poems to draw and excite the deity. They also use spells and circle casting when seeking for help and healing for the illnesses (“Neopaganism and Wicca – ReligionFacts,” n.d.).
The Wiccans believe in order to keep themselves healthy they have to align themselves with the moon and the four seasons and as well as becoming one in nature. Wiccans consider themselves to be true healers and hence don’t regularly seek physician’s advice for their sicknesses. When they do, they follow and consider the physicians opinion and health advice. They do take the advice seriously in order to get cured and stay healthy. The Wiccans believe in re incarnation and they believe the person facing death has their soul going through different incarnation states to become a new born witch (Sabrina, 2001). The Wiccans do not have a building of worship. They gather outdoors so as to become aligned with nature in order to practice their beliefs and religious practices (“Neopaganism and Wicca – ReligionFacts,” n.d.)
Islam is a religion that believes in the existence of one God. Unlike the Wiccans who believe in many gods, the Muslim god is called Allah which means “the only one”. Muslim is the closest religion to Christian faith. At some point, they even share the same prophets. The name of their god is Allah. Every Muslim lives in existence of Allah and all they do is to please Allah. Their religious practices follow a set of rules that one needs to perform in order to be right with Allah. They do have to perform prayers or Salat five times a day. Prior to the prayers, individuals must physically wash with water to cleanse themselves of all impurities (Sardar, 2007). Muslims use prayers, rituals, to please Allah so as to remain in optimal health believing that healing is a spiritual issue. In times of sickness and illness, Muslims are very supportive of their families and very protective of each other.
They readily seek medical advice and physician advice is considered and followed. In their illness, they allow health providers from different faiths to provide their expertise and care (Sardar, 2007). Muslim believers state that their religion (Islam) is the only true religion of the world and all people should join them. This is indicated sometimes by how they interact with other people and especially health care workers. They try to avoid any talks or discussions leading to issues of faith. Muslims also are very particular about who is taking care of them during illness (unless in a dying situation). Male Muslim patients prefer a male health care worker and vice versa (Curtis, 2008)
This is a form of religion that believes that there is no god. Unlike the Muslims and the Wiccans, the Atheists believe in no existence of a supernatural being or power. They believe that all healing comes from within and is biologically aided by the body. Although they do not believe in god, atheists believe that one should become one with nature. Atheists perform meditations and prayers in order to align themselves with nature. According to them, family members are the greatest support system during sickness and illnesses (McCormick, 2010) Atheists who readily seek medical advice and treatment during illnesses have no preference of who the health care provider is in terms of faith and religion. They believe that the health providers should only stick to physical healing and no person should try to bring spiritual care to them. Christianity v/s the others faiths.
In comparison to the above three faiths, the Christian faith believe in one God, it’s a mono-ethic religion. Having said this, Christian philosophy has evolved through the years, although their still have some extremist in this faith that have not embraced the modern technology. Christianity is the only religion has so many sects among itself. Some of those sects believe in supernatural healing and do not seek medical help, while other believes new technology is the work of the devil while others have embraced the modernism. In comparing Christianity with other religions we find that there are certain similarities and differences. But in all religion seek to bring connection between the person and the deity they believe in. I would be wrong if I were to say Christianity was superior or this faith was superior to other faiths. Spirituality to me is more than just a religion, but a way of life.one of the greatest goal is the relationship I experience with Jesus as my savior. This is the force that drives me to help other people regardless of their backgrounds or faith beliefs.
Curtis, E. E. (2008). The Columbia sourcebook of Muslims in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press. McCormick, M. (2010). Atheism. New York: Oxford University Press. Neopaganism and Wicca – ReligionFacts. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/neopaganism Sabrina. (2001). Exploring Wicca: The beliefs, rites, and rituals of the Wiccan religion. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books. Sardar, Z. (2007). What do Muslims believe?: The roots and realities of modern Islam. New York: Walker & Company. Statistics on Religion in America Report — Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://religions.pewforum.org/reports