Religious Perspectives on Human Suffering: Implications for Medicine and Bioethics

Scott J. Fitzpatrick*, Ian H. Kerridge, Christopher F.C. Jordens, Laurie Zoloth, Christopher Tollefsen, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Michael P. Jensen, Abdulaziz Sachedina, Deepak Sarma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The prevention and relief of suffering has long been a core medical concern. But while this is a laudable goal, some question whether medicine can, or should, aim for a world without pain, sadness, anxiety, despair or uncertainty. To explore these issues, we invited experts from six of the world’s major faith traditions to address the following question. Is there value in suffering? And is something lost in the prevention and/or relief of suffering? While each of the perspectives provided maintains that suffering should be alleviated and that medicine’s proper role is to prevent and relieve suffering by ethical means, it is also apparent that questions regarding the meaning and value of suffering are beyond the realm of medicine. These perspectives suggest that medicine and bioethics have much to gain from respectful consideration of religious discourse surrounding suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Bioethics
  • Medicine
  • Religion
  • Suffering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Religious studies

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