Psychoneuroimmunology and Religion: Implications for Society and Culture
This chapter discusses the biochemical pathways by which spirituality and religious practice exert their influence on health and their implications for medicine, society, and culture. It addresses important and sometimes difficult questions, including how physicians and health care systems should utilize such information in their care of patients, and draws comparisons with social Darwinism and the eugenics movement of the 19th century. The chapter expresses concern about the utilitarian use of religion to improve health or immune functioning. Although the medical, philosophical and cultural implications of psychoneuroimmunology research into the impact of religion on health would appear to be vast and wholly beneficial, it is important to exercise caution whenever we speak of science's human implications.
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