Paula Stähler

+49 381 498 - 8471
Universitätsplatz 5, 18055 Rostock

Salvation and Healing in the Conflict of Power of Interpretation between Religion and Medicine

The research project highlights the relationship of salvation and healing as a potential conflict of power of interpretation between the systems of religion and medicine. In an essential area of human life – health and illness, healing and well-being – different systems find themselves in opposition, each one of them offering powerful but disjunct interpretations. Thus, recurring to the same phenomena, self-evident interpretations become questionable. Consequently, the systems get into conflict. The project examines the interpretation of illnesses and their causes, of health, healing and salvation as seen by different protagonists (physicians, alternative practitioners, healers, ministers, patients). In completion to that, an empirical study analyses the influence of religious affiliation or religious orientation onto the posed questions. Different interpretations and their power are not only present in explicit semantics but also in performance. For instance, the idea of „healing“ is more than the medical term and religious interpretations are possible. Considering performance, not just questions of professional responsibility and the separation of disciplines but also the role that certain protagonists and mechanisms play for individual recipients in their plausibility structures are reviewed. I assume that there are complex correlations between belief systems and the preference for certain treatment modalities or concepts of medicine. Furthermore, I suppose that the motives for the (lack of) confidence in academic or alternative medicine can be interpreted in a religio-theoretical manner.