As health care professionals, nurses play an important role in caring for patients with different beliefs and religion regardless of their backgrounds. Despite major religious differences, each religion is just as unique and important. Thus, health professionals should assist patients and family members to explain how their religious or cultural values interaction with nursing staff when it comes to treatment. This writer will compare Christianity philosophy to three diverse faiths like Buddhism, Islam and Christian Science in order to understand and equally treat patients with respect and dignity.
Canada passed a Multicultural Act in 1988 which stated “that our multicultural diversity is a fundamental characteristic of our society, an essential part of what it means to be Canadian. ” Buddhism comes from ‘budhi’, ‘to awaken’. Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35. Born to a Royal Family, at the age of 29, Siddhartha Gotama decided to explore other religions in an attempt to find happiness when he realized that luxury and wealth did guarantee happiness. After some years of meditation and studying, he spent the rest of his life teaching Buddhism.
It is a religion that believes in a positive way of life as well as Karma, meaning that the things we think or do in our everyday lives can affect our future and that positive energy heals illnesses. Buddhism does not believe in God as Christians do, instead they pay respect to images and statues of Buddha as a reminder to strive for love and peace within oneself. They do not worship their statues, however when Buddhist bow in front of their statues, it is a symbol of respect and thanks. Buddhism is tolerant with the teachings of other religions.
They have an eight fold path of suggestions which teaches them to leave a more fulfilling life. Christians believe in Jesus Christ the son of God as the only way to eternal life, they believe in the Ten Commandments which guides them in what is good and not so good to do as Christians. Christians believe in life after death and that when one dies Jesus will dissolve individual sins and then grant them permission to heaven. In Buddhism when one dies the belief is that all previous life imprints will separate from the body and moves to a new life. When a person dies, the consciousness which has all the armic imprints from the previous life is supposed to separate from the body and then moves to a new life. Islam is the belief that Allah is their only God. It is a religion developed in the 7th Century in the Middle East which was founded by the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings of as an expression of surrendering to the will of Allah, their only creator. Muslims believe that their faith was revealed by a long list of prophets who were inspired by God. To practice their faith Muslims have to accept five pillars of Islam. The first pillar is to profess that the only God is Muhammad.
The second pillar is to devoting oneself to prayer and worship of which Muslims have to pray five times a day facing Mecca which is also known as the “house of God”. The third pillar is where everyone obligated to pay religious tax. The fourth pillar involves Ramadan, which is fasting every year from dark to dawn whilst refraining from lying, cheating and cursing. The fifth pillar is where one has to pay a pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims’ beliefs about illness or health differ from Christians’ way of thinking. Muslims believe that illness comes as a result of individual sins which can be healed by patience and prayers.
They only eat kosher meals and do not eat pork. When caring for Muslim patients nurses have to respect their privacy. All assessments or touching prior to any procedures may have to be done over the patients’ cultural gown. They believe in total respect of the body after death and do not like autopsies done to the dead body. They prefer nurses to be of the same sex is possible except in case emergencies. Their belief is that one can directly ask or plead directly to Allah without going through someone. They also do not believe that people are created in Allah’s image.
Just like Muslims, Christians believe in the life after death. Muslims have strong family values where children are expected to care for their parents until they die. There is a difference with Christians in culture and respect when it comes to women. Christian believes Islamic women are suppressed, because their women are always covered from head to toe, marry cousins and have arranged marriages. Whereas Muslims think Western women do not cover themselves appropriately, they wear seductive clothing which is unacceptable and are always revealing their bodies to males.
Both sides feel strong about their stance on women. The only way to live together is to accept each other’s differences and understand the deeper values engraved in each culture. Muslims condemn domestic violence which is prevalent in the Western where women have equal rights and at time these causes a lot of arguments when balancing the power of husband and wife. Both religions agree that the relationship between a wife and husband is based on true mutual respect although cheating may be prevalent in the Western world. Christian Science is a religion that emphasizes on divine healing as practiced by Jesus Christ. The Church of Christ, Scientist (CCS), this was founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy (1821-1910). It is one of the known modern cult attracting intellectuals. Christian Scientists do not see any need for salvation in Jesus Christ. They do not believe in sin, eternal life or hell. They believe hell is a self-imposed “mental anguish,” emanating from the guilt of one’s imagined sin. [HJB]. Christian Scientists believe that the cause of all human diseases is all mental and when a person dies, the mind adjusts to another state of consciousness.
In 2009 the Christian Scientists lobbied to include a provision for health care reimbursement for affirmative prayers. It is important for nurses to keep an open mind, and understanding on how to care for people with different religions, cultures and beliefs without stereotyping. Followers of different religions’ believe that their own religion is the best as compared to the others. This also affects the way they should be treatment. When faced with such a situation, nurses have to accept their patients’ religion, rituals and beliefs without abandoning their own strong beliefs.
Patients particularly are grateful for when they notice that care provider is eager to sacrifice their faith preference and to assist the patient look for religious nourishment from their beliefs (McMullen, 2000). In conclusion with the use of the internet, news and technology people now have a more robust understanding of different religions and beliefs. Although at times our patients may believe that we may be more accepting of others faiths than theirs, nurses should strive to keep an open mind and good understanding of the diversity around and treat every human being equally regardless of their background and beliefs.
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