“My Pain is Always With Me”
Medicine and Faithful Responses to Suffering
March 29-31, 2019
Durham, North Carolina
Pain haunts human experience and frequently leads people to seek help from medical practitioners. As many as one in four American adults suffers chronic pain. On one hand, relieving pain seems the most obvious of responsibilities for clinicians. “To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always,” the saying goes. On the other hand, pain often seems to defy medical solutions and to bedevil the efforts of both patients and clinicians. What, then, should we make of pain? What are traditioned practices of responding wisely to pain? What role does medicine play in those practices?
Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures and traditions all speak to the experience of pain, why it exists, how it affects an individual and a community, how one might respond faithfully to pain in oneself and in one’s neighbor, and what may be hoped for when pain will not go away. The 2019 Conference on Medicine and Religion invites health care practitioners, scholars, religious community leaders, and students to take up these questions about pain by relating them to religious traditions and practices, particularly, but not exclusively, those of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The conference is a forum for exchanging ideas from an array of disciplinary perspectives, from accounts of clinical practices to empirical research to scholarship in the humanities.