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Religion and Healthcare: Cases of Incompatibility


First, one must note that religion and healthcare often interact with each other due to their connected nature. While healthcare provides care about the physical condition of the body, faith gives the spiritual ways of understanding it. However, their interaction frequently produces unexpected negative results. In several aspects, religion and its traditions can hinder healthcare, particularly by forbidding medicine or morally dragging down the person during the healthcare procedures. For example, according to Hussain, Ali, Ahmed, and Hussain (2018), religion is one of the major personal factors to avoid vaccination, which brings up the negative consequences of certain diseases. Similarly, faith can affect mental health and medical trends, as well.

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To define the adverse outcomes of the faith’s influence on religion, one must use several categories of healthcare that remain actual nowadays. Firstly, it is necessary to speak about controversies in mental health, which is directly related to religion as a psychological management field. Secondly, the implementation of modern medicine drugs can also be hindered by religious interference. It is explained by the fact that religion usually operates on the basis of traditions which tend to avoid the acceptance of modern means of care. Finally, religion interferes with the issues, such as the control of childbirth and contraception for the same reason. Moreover, the faith reinforces the traditions for the matters of marriage, despite the medical recommendations.

The alignment to the religious background, as states, can mentally affect the patient during the medical procedures, in a way that hinders the further success of the treatment. Among the other discoveries, researchers note that religious struggles tend to demonstrate a significant mental health decrease. According to Koenig (2018), the faith issues, especially the thoughts on a negative end in the afterlife, “predict a worsening in mental health outcomes over time” (p. 186). Of course, the relation is clear, since the beliefs about the afterlife, including the fear or, otherwise, the readiness to face the death judgment, worsen the chances of patients during the actual health struggles.

Another side of the issue is the set of rules for each religion forbidding some medicine. Thus, it can lead to human casualties in medical care. As Hussain et al. (2018) state, religions such as Judaism or Islam may refuse to inject the components of the medicine, such as porcine, into their body. A further explanation is provided by the protestant congregations in the Netherlands who could consider even the vaccination “inappropriate meddling in the work of God” (as cited in Hussain et al., 2018). Thus, the interference of faith rules can meddle with healthcare effectiveness by avoiding drugs or their components.

Moreover, the religious teachings, some tracing down through centuries, have established an array of health trades that can seem harmful nowadays. The problem is specifically evident if one uses the rules on childbirth or marriage. Firstly, according to Tomkins et al. (2015), not all religions are sure when human life begins, and, for example, Buddhists,

Catholics and Hindus consider the conception as the beginning. Thus, abortion is usually restricted as an act of sin, even if the fetus possesses inborn defects. Secondly, the contraception itself seems unfavorable in most of the religions, including Buddhists, who, according to the researchers, “oppose contraceptive methods” (Tomkins et al., 2015, p. 1776).


In the end, one should note that religion has an array of doubts and restrictions that interfere with healthcare and can produce a negative outcome. First, the struggles of faith affect mental capacity, which is proven to decrease the effectiveness of treatment in the case of mental diseases. Moreover, some medicine or its specific components may be restricted, like porcine in Judaism and Islam, potentially worsening the community’s health. Also, the rules of religion regarding childbirth and child control often forbid the aborts or contraceptive means by refusing to interfere with what is considered God’s work.

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Hussain, A., Ali, S., Ahmed, M, and Hussain, S. (2018). The anti-vaccination movement: A regression in modern medicine. Cureus, 10(7). Web.

Koenig, H. G. (2018). Religion and mental health: Research and clinical applications. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Tomkins, A., Duff, J., Fitzgibbon, A., Karam, A., Mills, E. J., Munnings, K., … Yugi, P. (2015). Controversies in faith and health care. The Lancet, 386(10005), 1776-1785.

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