Religion and Health – from an historical perspective there is evidence that religious practices and belief may have influenced health significantly. Can this be applied today?
Hands down in the past Religion and Health go hand in hand. It is all there, whether or not it was for the best is another story. In our screen cast, the transition of medical beliefs is evident as it changes from a view where disease was from angered gods and sins to then being held by views of philosophy and science. The jump between having healing as chants and prayers to a plain and simple cure wasn’t easy with religious belief sticking side by side as new theories and developments occurred.
I believe that every culture has a supreme being which they place their faith in, there may be more than one or the idea that the supreme leader represents. The idea that faith governs many people gives them a good moral code but also a framework to live by. I believe that in the Jewish faith that it is generally advised that certain animals like seafood (BAR FISH), cant be eaten (many of the seafood like oysters are kind of like parasites which at the time may have been full of bacteria). Meat and dairy cant be consumed at the same time. DIET comes into it. So does the wellbeing of the individual, due to their faith. They were onto something, it was to do with the followers well being, so that they wouldn’t get sick.
This code for diet is popular in many older religions. In Buddhism, it is advised to keep a vegetarian diet, Once again this belief is looking after its followers, trying to help their bodies to health.
Hinduism promotes vegan or vegetarian lifestyles in some areas so does Jainism. Followers of Islam and followers of the Jewish faith are advised to not eat pork because at a time, it wasn’t healthy since they ate essentially rubbish. Both of those religions advocate a specified method of having their food prepared, Kosher and Halal, while also for religious reasons it, back in the ancient times, would have been seen as cleaner.
Religion hasn’t changed, it is seen as a way of protecting it’s followers, over time it’s associations have changed. Most religions advocate the avoidance of Alcohol, once again people simply take it as a guideline.
Bathing is generally something that pops up in religion, It’s the idea usually of ‘being clean from sin’ but also bacteria and harmful things that are around.
In my opinion, most of the ancient religions, while having their belief system that formed a moral code it was also designed to keep its followers healthy. When you are sick in many of the religions around the world today people pray to their god or the leader to heal them and make them better. Exorcisms, still around today, used by the catholic church, the general idea, common in many religions, ‘Expelling the demon’, this demon is usually what is making that person sick. We can see it in cultures all over the world, be it physical sickness or mental.
Pilgrimages to temples are still being made, I hope to one day do the Camino that runs from France to Spain. People all over the world used to and still do flock to one place in the name of their religion or for their health that is believed to improve once there. My own personal want to do the camino is not necessarily to see the saint who resides there, like many others it can be used to ‘find your way’ in life. The power of prayer can be seen when people place their belief so hard in something, it becomes psychological.
“There is no atheists in a fox hole”
I think this is still true, although I admit when working in aged care, I met some people who refused to claim to any belief, but they had given up all hope which was tragic to see, but it wasn’t the belief in religion that they had given up since they never had it but the belief that they would get better.