I find Mansfield et al.’s (2002) piece on the intersections of faith in God, healing, and meaning of illness interesting for two reasons. First, Mansfield et al.’s revelation that faith and religious beliefs represent important variables in patient’s healing process is intriguing. They found that: “Many people in this region of the Southern Eastern United States (80%) believe that God acts through medical doctors to cure illness. Almost 9 out of 10 African Americans in this region see physicians as instruments of God’s will” (Mansfield et.al.2002, p.406). As illustrated in the quotation, faith in God is central in healing among Christians.
As a Christian, I could not agree more with the authors. Among the Christian community, it is a norm to state that “God willing, or by his Grace”, coinages that represent our faith in the power of God to make all things possible.
Second, I find the piece interesting because of its similarity with emerging trend in Nigeria. The proliferation of Pentecostal churches in the Eastern, and South Eastern part of Nigeria, fundamentally influences people’s faith and perceptions about healing. For instance, preliminary results of a literature review of religious factors that influence people’s behavior to unhealthy behaviors found faith in God as an important variable (Work in Progress).
Based on these, I could not agree more with the authors that: “Regardless of whether there is faith factor and irrespective of whether the physician can be or should be convinced of it, there is value in broadening the biopsychological model to include the spiritual” (Mansfield et al.2002, p.406).Biopsychosociology is the concept that a combination of biological, psychological and social factors play fundamental roles in human function with respect to illness. In the context of biomedicine, it would mean listening to the social, psychological views of patients.