The relationship of religion and health is often misunderstood owing to a tendency to concentrate on the medical model and to ignore the wider context of heath care. A conceptual--as opposed to a historical--examination of this context reveals nine central religious ideas or categories which provide an ethical foundation and heritage for medical practice and health care delivery. These include doctrines of creation; dominion or stewardship; freedom and responsibility; human dignity or sanctity of life; love or compassion; covenant; justice; vocation; and finitude. A discussion of the complementarity of religion and medicine is necessary and should proceed from these shared values and common concerns.
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