O level Notes : FRS - Religious Beliefs And Chronic Conditions
Chronic means a condition that is persistent and comes with time and generally lasts for more than three months. Religions have showed mixed feelings towards people with chronic conditions. Conditions with chronic illness due to diseases such as HIV and AIDS remain a challenge to treat and are associated with high health care.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Definition of chronic conditions
Chronic means a condition that is persistent and comes with time and generally lasts for more than three months. Religions have showed mixed feelings towards people with chronic conditions. Conditions with chronic illness due to diseases such as HIV and AIDS remain a challenge to treat and are associated with high health care. Examples of chronic conditions include; cancer, epilepsy, Blood Pressure, heartache, Arthritis, Diabetes, Asthma, HIV and AIDS among others.
An individual’s religion may be one such factor that can influence the experience of chronic illness. The role of religious beliefs during critical illness cannot be underestimated as religion provide ways of coping with illness and in some cases, religion can be of no help to chronic conditions. This includes the following:
- lead to tolerance of the disease.
- enhance relaxation or reduces stress associated with illness.
- help to reduce the negative consequences of chronic health conditions through prayer.
- spiritual support is conveyed by care from congregations, religious counselling and forgiveness practices, and assistance from pastors and hospital chaplains.
Indigenous religion and chronic conditions
Causes of chronic conditions in Indigenous religion have a supernatural origin, they do not come naturally. Diseases are not just a physical condition; they are also a religious matter. Good health comes after one is spiritually upright as a means to please other mystical forces that may cause illness. Chronic conditions in Indigenous religion can be avoided by having a good relationship with spirits who control people’s lives. Indigenous religion followers have different beliefs on people with chronic conditions. These are;
- Chronic conditions are caused by breaching natural laws. Restoration of this law through confession and performance of rituals and in most cases payment of fines will help to restore, maintain and correct human disorder.
- Failure to fulfil human obligations can result in chronic conditions.
- Human actions and activities that breach stipulated moral codes in society result in chronic conditions. For example, unfaithfulness in a marriage.
- Chronic conditions can be as a result of the disturbance in the relationship between man and his social environment or from forces directed by witches, wizards, sorcerers, evil spirits or angered ancestors because of infraction of totemic principles.
- People do not just suffer from chronic conditions by chance, it is believed to have its origin in a primary supernatural cause.
- If a person becomes ill with chronic conditions it implies that the spiritual world will have removed their protective powers as punishment. Corrective rituals should be carried out to appease these spirits to get the protection once again.
- Consultinga diviner for the cause of an illness is the beginningof a healingprocess and the restoration of health in an individual.
- Chronic conditions are as a result of punishment for disobedience of God’s command.
- Diseases are viewed as a result of sinful behaviour or ethical shortcomings.
- The wellbeing of an individual is a gift from God, so He is the one who cures and heals the sick.
- At times chronic conditions are viewed as a sign to test one’s faith for example Exodus 4 vs 6-8
- Proper nutrition is viewed as primary for health. Certain prohibitions are given on diet and failure to abide by such laws could result in one suffering from chronic diseases.
- Chronic conditions can either be a blessing or curse among Muslims.
- As a blessing, falling ill might be Allah’s blessing in disguise preventing one to pursue a dangerous path that can prove harmful to one’s life.
- Muslims believe that Allah is just, therefore whatever situation a believer finds himself in, he knows there is goodness and wisdom embedded in it.
- Diseases may befall on an individual because of disobedience. Through this way it can be a punishment for disobedience.
- Diseases are a result of an individual’s sin or parent’s sins. Chronic conditions come as punishment.
- As a way of testing one’s faith, God might allow one to suffer from a disease. Despite the situation one finds himself or herself in, it should not shake one’s faith. God alone has power to heal the sickness.
- The Second Advent will bring with it an end to diseases, so chronic conditions are temporary.
Positive influence of religious beliefs
- Religious beliefs enable followers to maintain a good relationship with the deities.
- Religious beliefs give an understanding as to the cause of the disease and seek assistance on the healing process.
- Religious beliefs provide with it solutions to chronic conditions.
Negative influence of religious beliefs
- Religious beliefs pave way for discrimination in society, for example if it is because of sin or disobedience.
- Some chronic conditions only require traditional herbs to cure and some might have no cure resulting in death.
- People might have mixed feelings on people with chronic conditions. Instead of showing sympathy others feel that justice was done on such people.
- Some African Initiated Churches forbid their members to visit clinics and hospitals for treatment of chronic illness thereby causing death of people and continuous spread of chronic diseases.