Why Is Religion Important To Culture

Culture, spirituality, religion and health: looking at the big picture

In: Medical Journal of Australia, volume 186, number 10, page S54.||doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01042.x Published on the internet on May 21, 2007. Human health is derived from a variety of elements, including material, social, cultural, and spiritual. In addition to physical exercise and sleep, we are physical creatures with material need for healthy food, clean air and water, and suitable housing, among other things. We are also social beings that require the support of our families, friends, and communities in order to thrive.

And we are spiritual creatures who are telepathically connected to our environment.

A background in the social determinants of health and well-being, particularly cultural factors, is used to inform this article’s argumentation.

Because of this, it is believed that cultural change may be productively investigated on a big scale of global influences influencing whole civilizations, rather than on a small scale of culture as local knowledge altering the everyday lives of people and groups (the approach favoured by anthropologists).

  1. Intuitively, but not necessarily consciously stated, spirituality is a sense of being linked to the environment in which we live that is fundamentally intuitive.
  2. My primary goal is to demonstrate how macrocultural influences such as materialism and individualism may influence the manifestation of the spiritual, including religion, in order to have an impact on health and well-being in society.
  3. Religious belief and practice have been shown to improve health and well-being, but some parts of this link have been challenged in the past.
  4. 5-8 All of these elements may be found in other places, albeit more difficult to come by; religions “package” many of the components of health and well-being in order to make them more available to the general population.
  5. Ultimately, being connected and involved, and being suspended in a web of connections and interests, is what brings about a sense of wellbeing.
  6. There are many interconnected sources of well-being, and the linkages between sources and well-being are frequently reciprocal, with one source being able to compensate, at least partially, for the absence of another.
  7. 9 Things such as employment, family, friends, interests, and desires are all things that are close to their personal life.

There is also the amount of identification with a nation or ethnic group, as well as with a particular community or group of people.

Spirituality is the most comprehensive and profound type of interconnectedness.

As the sole form of meaning that transcends people’s personal circumstances, social condition, and material world, it is the only kind of meaning that can sustain them through the trials and tribulations of mortal existence, as well as the joys and sorrows of life.

People’s susceptibility rises as a result of a lack of significance that extends beyond themselves.

Alternatively, the imbalance might go the other way, with the desire for meaning and belonging leading to the complete enslavement of one’s own being — as in religious fundamentalism or patriotic fanaticism, for example.

Examples include the fact that persons who are socially isolated die at a rate that is two to five times higher in a given year than those who have strong links to family and community.

2 The fact that the link between religion, health, and well-being is so complicated is the driving force behind a never-ending dispute among scholars concerning religion’s health consequences.

11Others argue that once all mediating elements have been taken into consideration, there should be no such relationship.

More than that, the primarily statistical connections on which the relationships between religion and health are founded just scratch the surface of the importance of spirituality in one’s life.

In her vast writing on spirituality, Tacey believes that “spirit” plays a critical but mostly underappreciated role in human flourishing, and that secular cultures have failed to grasp the meaning of the term, let alone recognize its ability to nurture and transform.

15,16 It is the interaction between two opposing parts of human existence — the individual and the social — that results in social integration (of which social support is a by-product).

According to Durkheim, social institutions such as family and religion play a crucial role in tying individuals to society, maintaining a “firmer grasp” on them, and assisting them in emerging from their “condition of moral isolation.” 17 Religion is influenced by cultural factors.

I’ve already written on their impact on health in another context.

Individualism has always been focused with liberating the individual from societal restrictions, notably that imposed by the Church.

Individualism is becoming increasingly dangerous as it is becoming increasingly related with the concept that we are self-sufficient and independent of others.

In establishing relationships and meanings, values serve as the framework for determining what is important, true, and right.

2,9 Based on current knowledge of welfare and Durkheim’s theories of social integration, most cultures have tended to encourage values that emphasize social duty and self-restraint while discouraging values that promote self-indulgence and antisocial behavior.

Vices are characterized by the unfettered fulfilment of individual wants or the submission to human flaws, respectively.

Many levels of religion and its embodiment of the spiritual are being impacted by the cultural impact of materialism and individualism: the decline of mainstream Christianity in Western countries; the rise of “New Age” beliefs, which are often individualistic and consumeristic; and the counter-trend towards increasing religious fundamentalism, where strict adherence to the literal truth of sacred texts results in an excessive amount of power being ceded to religious authorities.

  1. Cultural influences, on the other hand, do not only alter the exterior “form” of religion; they also alter its internal structure.
  2. 18,19 The result may be religious reform and compromise, including a higher tolerance for consumerism and self-gratification, so lessening the need to choose between “God and Mammon” in the first place.
  3. For example, when it comes to religious belief and observance, Americans distinguish themselves from the people of other developed countries.
  4. The country is a religious island in a sea of secularism in the developed world, and it is the only one to do so.
  5. 21 In spite of their religious beliefs, Americans have not been shielded from the surge in teenage suicide, which has been one of the most significant unfavorable health trends in Western countries over the past 50 years (but now improving in many of the countries that saw the largest rises).

No relationship existed between suicide and the importance young people placed on God in their lives, but there were strong, positive relationships between suicide and several different measures of individualism, including young people’s sense of freedom of choice and control over their lives, according to the study.

  1. And the effectiveness of religious belief in this regard may be dependent on the manner in which it is explained and practiced.
  2. They can have an impact on the way the spiritual is expressed, notably through religion.
  3. Another metaphor is that of religion as a jar or jug, the spiritual contents of which can be ruined or polluted by other religious or philosophical traditions.
  4. However, my argument here is that as spirituality dwindles, religion’s social relevance is weakened because its transcendental component is lost or misunderstood, as is the case with modernity.
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In spite of this, the spiritual impulse is still strong, and there is evidence that, between the “old Church” and the New Age, new expressions of spirituality are emerging that transcend, rather than confront, the powerful individualizing and fragmenting forces that characterize contemporary Western culture.

  • The Jewish prayer book, Gates of Prayer, represents the essence of what religion, as an expression of the spiritual, has to offer: it offers: Religion is more than just a belief in an ultimate reality or in an ultimate ideal.
  • that what is highest in spirit is also deepest in nature.
  • that the things that matter most are not at the mercy of the things that matter least.
  • Western civilization, with its emphasis on individual consumption and self-gratification, contradicts this ideal, at the expense of one’s health and well-being in significant ways.

The restoration of a more powerful spiritual component to one’s life will be critical in turning around the current circumstances.

Does religion shape culture, or does culture shape religion?

Is it more accurate to say that religion shapes culture than that culture shapes religion? Some believe that religion, like cinema, shapes culture and, in turn, is shaped by culture, and that this is true. Other others believe that religion and culture are intertwined. Religion and culture are inextricably intertwined. Both have the ability to enter our life. Religion and culture both influence social conduct and have an impact on our value system. Religion aids us in our search of pleasure by providing guidance.

Most of us believe that our religion is the sole genuine religion, yet truth may not have been a role in our decision to follow it.

In the ancient Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna makes the following observation: “These are the disciplines of the physical body: chastity, truthfulness, continence, and nonviolence.

The disciplines of the mind are calmness, kindness, stillness, self-restraint, and purity of heart and thought.” We posed the following question to our panel: Does religion influence culture, or does culture influence religion?

Faith should shape culture

The Rev. Bryan Smith, senior pastor of Summit Christian Church in Sparks, Nevada In the event that religion is a man-made construct, it will be influenced and moulded by cultural factors. The dominant culture of the day will have a significant impact on the focus, aim, and criteria of any given religion. Religions are no exception. This viewpoint is flawed because it focuses the emphasis on man creating God. When God, on the other hand, begins what a relationship with Him and worship of Him looks like, faith is transformed from impotent religion into a source of profound and lasting life transformation and hope.

Due to the fact that God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), we should allow Him to mold our cultural landscape.

This results in the blind leading the blind as our society is fashioned by our shattered aspirations and longings that are diametrically opposed to God’s purposes.

Both are the case

Kenneth G. Lucey, emeritus professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Nevada The answer to the question depends on how the word “or” is intended to be used. Between two options, logicians identify two unique meanings of the word “or,” which they distinguish as follows: (namely the exclusive sense and inclusive sense). When neither of the alternatives can be true, the exclusive “or” is employed (for example, asking whether a number is odd or even.) The use of the inclusive “or” allows for the possibility that both choices are applicable.

When it comes to the question at hand, I feel it is right to remark that both possibilities are correct.

But, more importantly, we can all agree that traditional faiths have had a significant impact on the development of human societies. In fact, some civilizations are virtually indistinguishable from the faiths that predominate in them.

Religion shapes culture

Sherif A. Elfass is the president of the Northern Nevada Muslim Community. The way individuals behave is shaped by their religious beliefs, but when they depart from these beliefs, the way they behave is shaped by their cultural beliefs. Islam, for example, arrived in the Arab Peninsula and dramatically transformed the culture of the region. Arabs were fiercely loyal to their respective tribes. They used to battle for years about inconsequential issues back in the day. Fathers used to bury their daughters alive in order to avoid embarrassment.

It was Islam that brought about these changes: pride has been relegated to religion alone, fraternity has been exhibited among the people, and respect for women and their rights has been created.

For example, in Saudi Arabia, women were not permitted to drive for a long time, despite the fact that this had nothing to do with Islam.

Religion and culture speak to each other

Culturist and author Lauri Anne Reinhart, director of laity ministry development leadership for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno, says that culture is a method of communication. Culture and religion influence and communicate with one another in a variety of ways, whether adversely, constructively, or somewhere in between. In a worldwide religion such as Christianity, one of the difficulties is determining if doctrines, practices, or ceremonies vary from one another. What is universal or timeless, and what may be altered or modified based on the society in which we live?

For example, when Christianity comes into contact with a society in which polygamy is the norm, is it possible for a person to be both a polygamist and a good Christian?

When a society considers white to be the color of death, should all priests be required to dress in white on key feast days such as Christmas?

The chicken or the egg

Reno Buddhist Center’s resident priest, Matthew T. Fisher, explains his vocation. Buddhism is a religion that has flourished in a wide range of cultural contexts throughout history. The support and expression of Buddhism as a spiritual system of knowing may be found all along the old Silk Road, from the westernmost monastic temple in the Sinai Peninsula to the easternmost monastic temple in Siberia. The capacity to adapt local cultural norms while yet maintaining the substance of the Dharma is the key to Buddhism’s ability to thrive in a variety of civilizations across the world.

Stability is required in a religion’s fundamental characteristics in order for it to resist both huge and minute changes brought about by cultural integration.

Buddhism has been outlawed as a counterculture in India (under the Mughals), China (under Mao), and Japan (under Meiji) at various points in history, yet it has survived in small areas or the “underground” until the right moment to re-emerge.

Religion, it is possible, is the substance, while Culture is the exterior form.

Culture and religion are compatible

Micheal L. Peterson is a media specialist in the northwest Nevada region. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a religious organization that was founded in 1830. Religion does not shape culture, and culture does not shape religion, for the most part, either. Religions frequently retain congregations in a number of different nations, each with its own culture and traditions. The exception occurs when a religion wants to govern many elements of its adherents’ life, rather than merely their religious principles, as part of its mission.

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Nonetheless, Samoans are Samoans, Russians remain Russians, and so forth.

Religion is fundamental

Swami Vedananda is a Hindu monk who lives in India. Examples of both procedures may be found in the following documents: Religion has an impact on culture, and culture, in turn, has an impact on religion. In the end, it comes down to establishing which of the two appeared on the global stage first and which may be considered a significant contributor to the progress of mankind throughout history. In general, the scriptures of each religion are seen by its believers as being the essential basis, or the foundation, of their own faith.

Those biblical or religious foundations serve as the foundation for all subsequent traditions, habits, and instincts of believers of any religion; in other words, all that goes into forming the culture of adherents of any religion is constructed atop that scriptural or religious foundation.

Influence flows in both directions

Karen A. Foster is a preacher of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno, Nevada. Religion and culture are inextricably connected, and one has an impact on the other. Culture is shaped by religion in part because people who adhere to a religious belief are actively involved in the enactment of the culture in which they live; they do not dwell in a state of void. In the same way, because religions and religious groups exist inside a certain culture, the culture influences religious beliefs and practices in the same way.

The movement grew out of African American churches in the South, and this religious foundation was extremely important to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Another example of religion influencing society is the existence of blue laws, which are still in effect in some regions of the United States and restrict commercial and retail activities on Sundays.

Sunday becoming secularized and no longer being observed as the set-aside Sabbath day it once was (and the resulting abolition of blue laws) is an example of culture having an impact on religious practices.


Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer is a practicing Jew from New York City. Religion and culture are inextricably intertwined throughout human history. Religion has always been a significant impact to culture. The Middle Ages, for example, were a time when religion regulated everything from where to live and work to who to marry and even what to dress. Religion regulated the social-political structure and determined what constituted “justice” in society. Religion has become less of a motivating element in modern times.

From liberal to conservative Judaism, popular culture has imposed significant outside pressure on religious institutions to be dynamic and develop in order to remain relevant.

Today, we may explore a wide range of cultures, some of which are religious in nature, while others are not.

Extremely orthodox Jews have typically become more isolated as a result of their refusal to accept modernity as a reality.

Three examples of religious influence

Reverend Stephen R. Karcher is the presider of Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in New York City. Religion frequently has an impact on culture. For example, in most of the ancient world, the wealthy were not required to assist the poor, and their gods were also not interested in assisting the destitute and impoverished. The Jewish people were the first to introduce the concept of community duty into the globe, which was then embraced by Christians who held the notion that God has a special care for the impoverished.

As a result, hospitals were established, which were named after the virtue of “hospitality.” After all is said and done, the institution can trace its beginnings back to Christianity.

They are mostly shaped by each other

  • Pastor of Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, Reverend Stephen R. Karcher Religion has a strong influence on culture in many instances. To provide an example, in most of the ancient world, the wealthy were not required to assist the poor, and their gods had little interest in assisting the impoverished. The Jewish people were the first to introduce the concept of community duty into the globe, and it was later embraced by Christians who held the conviction that God had a special care for the impoverished. As with medicine, the ancients practiced it, but Christianity would later modify that practice by infusing it with the values of charity and generosity. In the same way, Because of this, hospitals were established and called after the virtue of “hospitality.” At long last, the institution can trace its roots back to the Christian faith, as previously stated. It was born in monastic contexts, where it articulated a Christian vision of the world and a belief in a God who created everything with purpose and order, and who intended for humans to develop into and participate in his life as a result of their faith.

Religion and Healthcare: The Importance of Cultural Sensitivity

Return to the Blog Articles|Posted on December 29, 2020|Category:Articles When faced with adversity, each person has their own method of dealing with it and retaining optimism. In times of illness, many individuals turn to spirituality for solace, and many others find their spiritual core in religious institutions. The World Religion Database includes information on 18 major religion groupings found around the world. Scholars believe that there are around 2,400 different faiths in the world. Many people feel that spirituality and healthcare are inextricably intertwined.

In order to offer proper treatment, healthcare practitioners must be aware of the ways in which religion influences the experiences of their patients.

An advanced degree in spiritual care, such as a Master of Science in Spiritual Care, can assist individuals in pursuing professions as chaplains in the medical industry, for example.

How Can Religion Impact Healthcare Experiences?

Diverse religious and spiritual views can have an impact on patients’ experiences as well as their decisions about their medical care and treatment. Individuals may approach medical concerns in very different ways based on the teachings and traditions of their own religions. When it comes to the interaction between religion and healthcare, cultural sensitivity is critical to consider. Many people’s identities are shaped by their race, culture, ethnicity, gender, or religion, among other characteristics.

Consider the following material about religion and healthcare from a book released by StatPearls Publishing, Cultural Religious Competence in Clinical Practice, which provides information on religion and healthcare.

Catholic Religion and Healthcare

Patients who are Catholic are likely to think the following:

  • Individuals are required to attend Mass on a weekly basis. The administration of the Sacrament of the Ill by a priest is mandatory for sick people. It is against the law to have an abortion, and artificial birth control is forbidden. Donations of organs and blood transfusions are both permissible

Jehovah’s Witness Religion and Healthcare

Patients who are Jehovah’s Witnesses are likely to think the following:

  • Refusal of blood transfusions should be encouraged. Abortion and artificial insemination are strictly prohibited
  • Yet, Contraception is considered appropriate. Eugenic euthanasia is permissible, but organ donation is not

Seventh-Day Adventist Religion and Healthcare

Refusal of blood transfusions should be voluntary. Abortion and artificial insemination are both prohibited; yet, A woman’s right to choose is acceptable. It is allowed to donate organs but not to euthanize;

  • Birth control is entirely up to the individual, and abortion is strongly discouraged. It is allowed to do an autopsy and donate organs. We reject the practice of euthanasia. When someone dies, they enter a condition of unconsciousness that they remain in until the coming of Jesus Christ. Healing can occur as a result of medical treatment or supernatural intervention.
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Mormon Religion and Healthcare

Abortion is discouraged, and birth control is a personal choice; nonetheless, It is acceptable to do an autopsy and donate organs No one should be forced to end their lives. To die is to enter a state of unconsciousness that persons will stay in until the return of Jesus Christ. It is possible to be healed by medical or supernatural intervention.

  • Transfusions of blood and organ donation are both permitted
  • Doctors are employed by Jesus Christ in order to treat the sick. Those who are sick should be blessed by the elders of the church. We reject the practice of euthanasia.

These are only a few instances of religiously based medical choices that exist today. In addition, patients from a variety of different religious traditions have distinct ideas about medical procedures and treatment alternatives as well. There is a wide range of religious views and cultural origins among patients who contact with healthcare providers, typically during times of tremendous shock or loss. That is why healthcare workers should be culturally competent and mindful of their patients’ needs.

Professionals in the healthcare field might investigate practical methods of being culturally competent, such as studying the languages and cultures of the key patient groups that they serve.

It may be impossible for healthcare providers to know exactly what each patient wants, but they should be aware of cultural and religious preferences and have open talks with their patients about what they need and want.

Honoring Religion in Healthcare

Just a few examples of religiously based medical choices are shown below. Medical practices and treatment alternatives are also seen differently by patients from a variety of other religious traditions. There is a wide range of religious views and cultural origins among patients who contact with healthcare personnel, typically at times of tremendous pain or loss. Therefore, healthcare personnel should demonstrate cultural competency and understanding when working with patients and clients. People’s cultural, social, and linguistic roots should be acknowledged and supported by those who are culturally and socially proficient.

Their patients who have immigrated from other nations might also benefit from studies into the social and cultural norms linked with their new home.

In addition, chaplains and members of the cultural diversity team can provide counseling to healthcare personnel.

Pursue a Career in Both Religion and Healthcare

Chaplains serve a significant professional function in that they help to strengthen the interaction between religion and health-care delivery systems. In their time of need, chaplains provide spiritual support and counseling to patients, and they may help patients from all religious and ethnic backgrounds who rely on spirituality for comfort. If you are passionate about assisting others and have a desire to work in a field that bridges the gap between religion and healthcare, discover more about how AdventHealth University Online’sMaster of Science in Spiritual Caredegree program will help you become a board-certified chaplain.

  1. Sources: “Influences of Religion and Spirituality in Medicine,” published in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics.
  2. “Culturally Sensitive Communication in Healthcare: A Concept Analysis,” Collegian, December 2007.
  3. The Importance of Cultural and Religious Competence in Clinical Practice Swedish Nomad’s “Largest Religions in the World (2020)” is an excellent resource.
  4. Physician Density is the number of physicians in a certain area.

Studying Religion in Culture – Religious Studies

Chaplains perform a significant professional function in that they help to strengthen the interaction between religion and health-care delivery. In their time of need, chaplains provide spiritual support and counseling to patients, and they may help patients from all religious and ethnic backgrounds who rely on spirituality for support. If you are passionate about helping others and have a desire to work in a field that bridges the gap between religion and healthcare, discover more about how AdventHealth University Online’s Master of Science in Spiritual Caredegree program will help you become a board-certified chaplain.

In nursing, interpersonal communication is important to success.

Should Clinicians Challenge Faith-Based Institutional Values that Conflict with Their Own?” The American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics published an article on this topic.

Publishing by StatPearls, Clinical Competence in a Multicultural and Multireligious Environment A list of the most significant religions in the world as of 2020, compiled by Swedish Nomad.

Organisation mondiale de la santé (WHO), Physician Density is a measure of how many doctors are available. A database of religious beliefs from all across the world.

Religion in Context

A long-standing connection exists between the study of history and the study of religion. Many faiths consider the simple act of studying history to be heretical; while, for other religions, historical thought is an essential part of religious practice. Religious discussions are impossible to have without taking into consideration its numerous history. To begin, what exactly is religion? Are you talking about a religious belief system, a collection of cultural values, a series of ceremonial activities, or a source of personal identity?

  • Or is it all of these things happening at the same time?
  • Depending on the groups and individuals that respond to these questions, the answers to these questions might differ over time and space, and even within a single time and space.
  • Religious identities have always been a matter of personal preference as well as an instrument of social control.
  • Religions have always been a fundamental part of human history, in all locations and at all ages, and they continue to be so in our own day.
  • Historically, historians are particularly interested in the historical contexts in which religions first emerged and then developed, and in particular, how religions evolved as they were introduced into different cultures.
  • What has changed about them over time?
  • What was the cause of the emergence of religion?
  • What is the motivation behind those who fight in its name?
  • Is religion a matter of personal preference?
  • Political?
  • Abbas Amanat, Paul Bushkovitch, Carlos Eire, Valerie Hansen, Kathryn Lofton, Ivan Marcus, Alan Mikhail, Samuel Moyn, Stuart Schwartz, David Sorkin, Harry Stout, and Anders Winroth are some of the faculty advisers.

American Culture

A long-standing relationship exists between the study of history and the study of religion. A number of faiths consider historical research to be heretical; but, for other religions, historical thought is an essential component of religious practice. Religious discussions are impossible to have without also considering the various different histories that have shaped religions throughout history. Let us begin with a definition of religion: Which of the following best describes it? A belief system, a collection of cultural values, a series of ritual activities, or a source of personal identity?

Do all of these things happen at the same time?

Rather than transcending earthly existence, what is its proper function?

As a tool of emancipation and coercion, religion has been used in both instances.

In the course of history, religious institutions—which have been controlled by males and, more rarely, by women—have grown in cooperation with and opposition to political power at various periods.

Their contributions to knowledge, art, and technology are among the most important in history.

Is there a relationship between different religious traditions?

The links between religion and culture, politics and economy are discussed in this chapter.

The reason for its persistence is unclear.

What is it about its name that causes others to refuse to engage in combat.


In the classroom, Yale’s historians, who teach about all of the world’s religions from antiquity to the present, address a wide range of basic concerns about human existence.

Abbas Amanat, Paul Bushkovitch, Carlos Eire, Valerie Hansen, Kathryn Lofton, Ivan Marcus, Alan Mikhail, Samuel Moyn, Stuart Schwartz, David Sorkin, Harry Stout, and Anders Winroth are some of the faculty advisors.

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