Religion and Medicine: Expanding Understandings of Human Flourishing

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2024 | Viewed by 10339

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Classics and Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa, 75 Laurier Ave E, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Interests: Jaina studies; anthropology of South Asia; animal studies; death, dying, grief; contemplative studies; religion and healing; psychedelics and mystical experience; phenomenology
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Interests: mental health and society; transcultural issues in therapy; race and ethnicity; cultural trauma; equity and social justice; healing rituals; anxiety; sexuality; mental health disparities; psychedelics; obsessive-compulsive disorder; drug abuse; racism and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Religion and medicine have a complex and intertwined relationship both historically and in modern times. However, in Western culture, medicine’s sharp demarcation from religion has long been seen as a marker of progress and emblematic of modernity. The Cartesian-inspired conceptualization of the human person as an assemblage of component parts—each of which can be studied in isolation of the other dominated medical research and training beginning in the late nineteenth century. This atomization of illness and its location in the particulars of the body made the connection between illness and the person who is its “carrier” appear tangential, and its connection with the transpersonal—with family, community, environment, and spirituality—all but meaningless.

In recent years, a notable shift has taken place. The narrow conceptualization of health as the absence of disease is giving way to a more holistic understanding of health and healing. Across the globe, diverse societies and cultures are navigating the complexities of healing, both collectively and individually, and some more successfully than others. Within academia, interdisciplinary efforts from a wide range of fields and cultures have been important to help broaden and deepen our engagement with the interplay of religion and medicine and what that can mean for human flourishing.

We seek submissions from those whose work contributes to understanding “medicine” in its broadest terms, inclusive of physical, emotional, communal, spiritual, and ecological well-being, and which recognizes healing as a total experience—at once physiological, psychological, and existential. The scope of this Special Issue on Religion and Medicine will, as a necessity, be broad and seek to include diverse understandings of human flourishing, both historically and contemporarily.

Potential areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transpersonal psychology, spirituality, and wellbeing;
  • Psychedelics and sacred plant medicines;
  • Suffering and meaning in religion and medicine;
  • Religious perspectives on end-of-life care and medical assistance in dying;
  • Postcolonialism, Medicine, and Religion;
  • Hope and healing;
  • Architecture and wellbeing;
  • Suffering and the limits of Medicine;
  • Illness narratives;
  • Nature, animals, and ecological wellbeing;
  • Sacred texts and healing;
  • The role of religion in the history of medicine;
  • Indigenous healing knowledge and practices;
  • Somatic healing modalities;
  • Sacred space, ritual, and healing;
  • Contemplative practices and wellbeing.

Dr. Anne Vallely
Prof. Dr. Monnica T. Williams
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religion
  • medicine
  • spirituality
  • holism
  • ritual and ceremonial healing
  • somatic healing
  • psychedelic healing

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 2268 KiB  
Article
Jain Medical Professionals’ “Reflexive Ethical Orientation”: Adaptive Nonviolence, Multiple Sources of Knowledge, and Concern for Five-Sensed Beings
by Brianne Donaldson
Religions 2022, 13(11), 1123; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13111123 - 18 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2047
Abstract
It is well-documented that patients’ religious characteristics may affect their health and health care experiences, correlating with better health and psychological well-being. Likewise, health care providers are impacted by religious characteristics that affect their attitudes and behaviors in a clinical setting. However, few [...] Read more.
It is well-documented that patients’ religious characteristics may affect their health and health care experiences, correlating with better health and psychological well-being. Likewise, health care providers are impacted by religious characteristics that affect their attitudes and behaviors in a clinical setting. However, few of these studies examine non-theist, non-Western, or Indian-based traditions, and none have examined Jainism specifically, in spite of the high representation of Jains in medicine. Drawing upon a quantitative survey conducted in 2017–2018 of Jains in medical and healthcare fields, I argue that Jains physicians and medical professionals demonstrate a “reflexive ethical orientation”, characterized by: (1) adaptive absolutes emphasizing nonviolence, a many-sided viewpoint, and compassion; (2) balancing personally mediated sources of authority that evaluate and integrate Jain insights alongside cultural and legal sources, and clinical experience; and (3) privileging the well-being of five-sensed humans and animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Medicine: Expanding Understandings of Human Flourishing)
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23 pages, 3871 KiB  
Article
Campus as Sacred Ground: Laying the Foundation for Well-Being
by Marie Clausén
Religions 2022, 13(11), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13111089 - 11 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1440
Abstract
There are accounts of increasing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues among students and staff at many universities, including the University of Ottawa—accounts borne out by official numbers of referrals to mental health practitioners. The causes of these issues are frequently sought [...] Read more.
There are accounts of increasing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues among students and staff at many universities, including the University of Ottawa—accounts borne out by official numbers of referrals to mental health practitioners. The causes of these issues are frequently sought within individuals themselves; the solutions are assumed to lie in therapy, counseling, or medication. In cases where the reasons are sought externally, they are attributed to workloads, interpersonal conflicts, racism, sexism, or financial difficulties. These are all, without a doubt, valid causes for ill health. Could another reason for the seemingly general failure to thrive among staff, faculty, and students on the University of Ottawa campus, however, be connected to the campus itself? It is, after all, a known fact that we are all dependent upon and deeply reactive to our environments. From Vitruvius to Ruskin to Pallasmaa, theorists have made the link between the built environment—architecture—and wellness. Architecture has the power to make us feel anxious, alienated, and unseen, or to increase our sense of belonging, collective and individual identity, sense of place, security, and tranquillity. Sacred architecture appears to play a particularly pivotal role in this—to people of all faiths and none. This paper seeks to explore whether the University of Ottawa could potentially reverse the upwardly trending numbers of poor mental health by creating a sacred-architecture-centric campus that meaningfully and materially honours not only the school’s history and motto, but also its location in the Ottawa valley, on the unceded land of the Algonquin, as well as the current religious and cultural diversity of its students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Medicine: Expanding Understandings of Human Flourishing)
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19 pages, 350 KiB  
Article
New Age Healing: Origins, Definitions, and Implications for Religion and Medicine
by Jeff Levin
Religions 2022, 13(9), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090777 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5761
Abstract
This paper discusses the concept of New Age healing. Its emergence into popular culture in the 1980s can be traced to burgeoning interest in human potential and holistic health in the 1960s and 1970s. These phenomena in turn, were rooted in the appearance [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the concept of New Age healing. Its emergence into popular culture in the 1980s can be traced to burgeoning interest in human potential and holistic health in the 1960s and 1970s. These phenomena in turn, were rooted in the appearance of Theosophy, New Thought, and spiritualism in the 19th Century. Rather than a social movement, or even a singular phenomenon, the New Age is characterized as a hodgepodge of several elements with a characteristic inclination to borrow beliefs and practices from the other traditions and systems of belief and practice. These include mysticism, esoteric metaphysics, the occult, and self-actualization regimens. The rise of New Age healing has sparked converging conservative religious, secular-rationalist, and biomedical critiques of the phenomenon. Since the 1990s, the New Age label has mostly disappeared from popular usage, but associated beliefs and practices have been successful in seeding themselves into contemporary Western medicine and mainline religion, with implications for their intersection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Medicine: Expanding Understandings of Human Flourishing)
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