Science and religion is ongoing controversy that will remain in society as people’s beliefs are tested and trialed. Science is a belief that if it cannot be proven, then it does not exist, and that all other beliefs that cannot be proven are merely false (Clark, 2015). This can create many tense moments when someone’s loved one is in a hospital and maybe the end of life for them. Their faith is tested and many turn away from God and ask, “Why are doing this to me, what did I do to deserve this?” As stated, doctors are not saviors and they cannot heal all people, therefore to accept and understand the process may bring religion closer to the individuals (Meliaender, 2013). Medicine has been more scientific than it has been religious in modern day, but more like older days, medicine has made a come around to become a more holistic approach to caring for individuals, which also includes religion in the practice. I believe that there is a balance between science and religion when caring for patients. If a patient or family member wishes to have a sentimental item or belief within a picture, rosary, or specific items, then the medical staff should honor those wishes as it will create a calming effect over the family to allow the medical professionals to care for the patient.
The perceived tension between science and religion stems from William Passavant’s description of the differences between the roles of deaconesses and nurses in 1899. Passavant defined the care provided by a deaconess as eternal service, providing care through love, and caring for the body to reach the soul (Shelly & Miller, 2009, p. 21). He defined the care provided by a nurse as service for financial compensation, with a motive based on a system rather than love, and a concern for the present welfare of a patient instead of their eternal future (Shelly & Miller, 2009, p. 21). The tension between these two concepts with regards to nursing care is ironic because regardless of the foundational discipline under which a provider has earned or accepted the responsibility to care for the ill or injured, the primary goal is the same; return the patient to the best state of well-being as physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually possible. Although the primary goal is the same, the philosophical and cultural differences between science and religion have the capability of pushing each discipline further from the other. With a scientific approach lacking a spiritual focus and a religious approach lacking a pathophysiologic focus, it is evident that a combination of the two is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for our patients.