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2018 Conference on Medicine & Religion
The 2018 Conference invites health care practitioners, scholars, religious community leaders, and students to address questions associated with the theme, “Examining the Foundations of Medicine and Religion,” by relating its questions to religious traditions and practices. We welcome an array of disciplinary perspectives, from empirical research to scholarship in the humanities to stories of clinical practice.
Over the past century, there have been repeated calls for medicine to incorporate religion or “spirituality”. Some have called for clinicians and clergy to work together in order to care for patients holistically. Others have looked to religious traditions for content to help clinicians practice ethically. Still others have looked to religious communities and spiritual practices to help patients cope with and find meaning in their suffering. Each of these highlights a widespread sense that modern medicine alone cannot help people make sense of and respond well to disability, illness, and suffering.
But on what basis can medicine and religion engage one another? The 2018 Conference on Medicine and Religion takes up this and related questions to explore the foundations of medicine and religion. Is contemporary medicine beholden to philosophical commitments that are rivals to or in harmony with Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other world religions? Do efforts to incorporate religion into contemporary medicine lead to unwanted distortions of one or both? Can contemporary medicine answer questions about meaning and purpose that arise at the bedside? Should religious communities develop their own understandings and practices of the healing arts? Do medicine and religion share foundations on which they can build and work together?
We invite health care practitioners, scholars, religious community leaders, and students to take up these questions and consider their implications for contemporary medicine. The conference is a forum for exchanging ideas from an array of disciplinary perspectives, from empirical research to scholarship in the humanities to stories of clinical practice. The conference encourages participants to address questions associated with this theme by relating the questions to religious traditions and practices, particularly, but not exclusively, those of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.