Monday, November 7, 2011

Where am I now?

I started this blog several years ago now in my struggle to find the intersection of theology and medicine. But I have never truly articulated the problems inherent to this dilemma. This short essay is another attempt to state the issues I continue to struggle with until now. The first issue and probably the biggest one that I had to contend with is the issue of dualism.

The modern thought of the 18th century thinkers have introduced us to the idea of dualism. Even in this so called post-modern era, the influence of modernism cannot be denied with the extent of its effect. Dualism gave birth to the perception of humans into body and soul. This has ultimately given rise to the perspective of medicine to focus into the bodily realm. Consequently, the soul has been the object of focus in theology. Dualism has therefore led to the separation of theology and medicine as distinct fields. Thus, to have a better understanding in the intersection of theology and medicine is to deconstruct a dualist perspective of human nature.

In my daily patient interaction and discussion with colleagues, I often find it difficult to explain myself because the people around me are still influenced by the dualist understanding of humanity. They often get the idea that my advocacy for the inclusion of "Spiritual History" as part of the medical history comes from my being clergy. To be sure, being a clergy may have influenced me but it is our doctrinal understanding of human nature that guides me to see human holistically.

Similarly, I have continuously struggled in explicating the need for the church to address the needs of the people outside it other than the spiritual domain. I have often been questioned why do I insist on the church having a comprehensive health ministry and not just focus in strengthening Bible Studies and Prayer meetings in the church. While it is important to focus in human spirituality, my Wesleyan tradition have taught me that holistic salvation goes beyond matters of the soul.

My struggle in finding the intersection of theology and medicine may have to take a twist. The intersection may never be there, because theology and medicine was never distinct and separate in the first place.

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