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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 159–173 | Cite as

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
Original Paper

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.

Keywords

Suffering Religion Medicine Bioethics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott J. Fitzpatrick
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian H. Kerridge
    • 2
  • Christopher F. C. Jordens
    • 2
  • Laurie Zoloth
    • 3
  • Christopher Tollefsen
    • 4
  • Karma Lekshe Tsomo
    • 5
  • Michael P. Jensen
    • 6
  • Abdulaziz Sachedina
    • 7
  • Deepak Sarma
    • 8
  1. 1.Centre for Rural and Remote Mental HealthUniversity of NewcastleOrangeAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM)University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Bioethics, Science and SocietyNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of South CarolinaColombiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Theology and Religious StudiesUniversity of San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  6. 6.Moore Theological CollegeSydneyAustralia
  7. 7.Ali Vural Ak Centre for Global Islamic StudiesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  8. 8.Religious StudiesCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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