Christian Perspective of Spirituality and Ethics in Contrast to Postmodern Relativism
There are many different views on spirituality and ethics discussed in the context of health care, but now it is important to contrast the perspectives of Christianity and postmodern relativism regarding these concepts. People’s spirituality is expressed with reference to their values, views, beliefs, and traditions that are associated with the understanding of the meaning of life and that influence their actions. According to the Christian perspective, the nature of spirituality is in a person’s focus on the sense of living through relations with God. On the contrary, according to postmodern relativism, which rejects the idea of objective truth and focuses on subjective perceptions, spirituality is related to the process of developing a person’s inner world (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). In health care, the Christian vision of spirituality influences healthcare providers’ and patients’ decisions regarding palliative care and a coma. The principles of postmodern relativism influence decisions regarding individual treatment plans because their key focus is on patients’ subjective perceptions.
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The Christian perspective of ethics is associated with the idea of objective morality. Thus, truth is objective, and there are stable views regarding what is good and bad, and what decisions and actions are ethical and what is not. In contrast, postmodern relativism is based on the vision that the idea of right and wrong actions is relative, and the truth is subjective. The judgement whether some act is right or wrong depends on a concrete situation relative to other factors. In the sphere of health care, physicians and nurses need to focus on the beliefs of patients when proposing different treatment options and plans (White, 2020). Some types of treatment can be ethically inappropriate for Christians as they believe that God cares fully for them. The followers of postmodern relativism are more interested in outcomes than in morality.
Scientism and Arguments
Scientism is the view, according to which knowledge about the world can be obtained only through science. As a result, scientific tools can limit what can be known about the world around. Thus, real knowledge is science-based because things need to be examined and known scientifically (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). However, it is important to understand the difference between science and scientism because scientism as a philosophical view explains not nature but scientific instruments and associated limits of scientific knowledge. These characteristic features of scientism provoked the development of the arguments against this view.
The first main argument is that science cannot provide overall or profound knowledge regarding all objects and phenomena in the world. Thus, not all of the phenomena can be tested scientifically to be proved as existing ones. Science is limited in its tools for examining aspects related to people’s spirituality and emotional relations. Furthermore, it is also impossible to test the good and bad and apply scientific knowledge to these concepts (Bogue & Hogan, 2020; Burnett, 2018). Therefore, the limits of science do not allow for discussing scientism as a working philosophical perspective.
The second argument is that scientism appears to be rather self-refuting. The reason is that, according to the main premise of scientism, everything needs to be supported or tested by sciences to be discussed as existing or true. Nevertheless, the effectiveness and concepts of scientism itself cannot be examined or supported with the help of science (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). As a result, science cannot support the appropriateness of scientism as a philosophical model. Thus, these discussed two arguments are the basis for critiquing scientism.
Personal Perspective and Worldview
I am inclined to share the view that the ultimate reality has two forms that are close to Christians and people who share different views. Thus, for me as a physical being, ultimate reality is what I can see, feel, and touch around me, and surrounding world objects are real if I can feel them. For me as a spiritual being, the ultimate reality is in the divine, and the borders of this reality are not limited by the physical world and processes in it (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). Therefore, according to my vision, ultimate reality unites the physical and spiritual objects and concepts in one universe because I cannot perceive human beings as having only the physical nature or only the spiritual nature. Therefore, I believe they live in a reality that addresses both their spiritual and physical needs.
The Nature of the Universe
My view of the nature of the universe is similar to my view of ultimate reality as I believe that the physical world was created as a result of the impact of some divine force. The whole universe should be considered from the perspective of the physical world as well as from the perspective of the spiritual world. In this context, I am inclined to share theists’ views as it is stated by Bogue and Hogan (2020). The reason is that I believe in the existence of the physical or material universe along with the presence of the Spirit of God and some non-material entity in the life of people.
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A Human Being
From my point of view, a human being is the result of biological processes, the start of which was done by the divine. There were some forces that cannot be explained from a scientific perspective as they are non-material that made human beings appear and develop. In this context, I continue to believe that the physical and spiritual nature of a human cannot be separated during life, but the afterlife is associated with the further existence and development of a human soul (“Literary Styles in the Bible,” 2018; “The story of the Bible,” 2018). Depending on the religion which is followed by a certain person, it is possible to explain the existence of a human being from the perspective of God’s actions, Allah’s actions, or Brahman’s activities.
Knowledge can be viewed as the complex of views, ideas, and facts about reality and the world that can be examined and comprehended by people. The process of the development of the world demonstrates that people obtain certain knowledge gradually, and they use science in order to explore unknown areas. As a result, the areas for exploration seem to be limitless, but the existing knowledge is rather limited (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). I believe that the source of knowledge has both physical and divine sources because people can gain some knowledge as a result of exploration, but they also can invent or know something as a result of insights. I am inclined to state that, in many cases, these insights are of a divine nature, and they help to learn more about the reality and universe.
The Basis of Ethics
My views regarding the basis of ethics are based on the combination of atheistic and theistic ideas. On the one hand, there are certain rules and principles of objective reality and universal ethical laws. The reason is that there are some views of the good and the bad that are understood by everyone, and these ethical laws are based on the centuries of people’s coexistence (Bogue & Hogan, 2020). Furthermore, there are also principles that are based on spiritual writings that help to regulate the world in terms of making people’s interactions more ethical. Finally, I also accept the possibility for people to assess each situation separately because there are many cases when ethical dilemmas are observed, and the rightness of decisions depends only on the context and outcomes.
The Purpose of Existence
My purpose for existence is to serve other people through my interactions with them and my activities as a healthcare provider. I believe that by helping and serving others, I can achieve the highest purpose of honoring the divine forces. My goal is to contribute to changing the lives of people with which I interact, work, or communicate for the better (“Faith and spiritual decision-making in health care professions,” 2020). I believe that the primary goal is not only in serving God but also in serving human beings. However, I will be unable to help others if I cannot help myself. Therefore, my purpose of existence has several levels: living a full and joyful life according to the laws of morality, developing effective and fruitful relations with close people, serving the needs of people with whom I work in healthcare settings. Thus, making the life of patients better, I will worship God.
Bogue, D. W., & Hogan, M. (2020). Foundation issues in Christian spirituality and ethics. GCU Digital Resources. Web.
Burnett, T. (2018). What is scientism? The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Web.
Faith and spiritual decision-making in health care professions. (2020). GCU Digital Resources. Web.
Literary styles in the Bible. (2018). The Bible Project. Web.
The story of the Bible. (2018). The Bible Project. Web.
White, N. (2020). Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in health care. GCU Digital Resources. Web.