Functional explanations have come from many

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Medical Terminology for Health Professions
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Chapter 14 / Exercise 3
Medical Terminology for Health Professions
Ehrlich
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to define ourselves and making the world and life comprehensible to us. Functional explanations have come from many disciplines. One version of the functional explanation is based on sociology. Pioneering work in this area was done by French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858–1917). He proposed that humans cannot live without organized social structures, and that religion is a glue that holds a society together. Surely religions have the potential for creating harmony in society, for they all teach social virtues such as love, compassion, altruism, justice, and discipline over our desires and emotions. Political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell concluded from a survey of religiosity in the United States that people who are involved in organized religions are generally more generous toward their neighbors and more conscientious as citizens than those who do not participate in religions. 6 The role of religion in the social process of identity formation at individual, family, community, and national levels is now being carefully examined, for people’s identification with a particular religion can be manipulated to influence social change—either to thwart, moderate, or encourage it. Biology also offers some functional reasons for the existence of religion. For instance, John Bowker, author of Is God a Virus? , asserts that religions are organized systems that serve the essential biological purpose of bringing people together for their common survival. To Bowker, religion is found universally because it protects gene replication and the nurturing of children. He proposes that because of its survival value, the potential for religiosity may even be genetically inherent in human brains. Medical professionals have found that religious faith is good for our health. Research conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health at Duke University found that those who attend religious services or read scriptures frequently are significantly longer lived, less likely to be depressed, less likely to have high blood pressure, and nearly ninety percent less likely to smoke. Many other studies have indicated that patients with strong faith recover faster from illness and operations. Many medical studies have also been done on the potential of prayer to heal illness, but results have been mixed. However, meditation has been proved to reduce mental stress and also to help develop positive emotions, even in the face of great difficulties. Citing laboratory tests of the mental calmness of Buddhists who practice “mindfulness” meditation, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama points out that: Over the millenniums, many practitioners have carried out what we might call “experiments” in how to overcome our tendencies toward destructive emotions. The world today needs citizens and leaders who can work toward ensuring stability and engage in dialogue with the “enemy”—no matter what kind of aggression or assault they may have endured. If humanity is to survive, happiness and inner balance are crucial. We would do well to remember that the war against hatred and terror can be waged on this, the internal front, too.
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Medical Terminology for Health Professions
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Chapter 14 / Exercise 3
Medical Terminology for Health Professions
Ehrlich
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