REFLECTIONS ON RELIGIOUS DOGMATISM IN THE CARE OF DYING AND BEREAVED PEOPLE
Keywords:Bereavement, chaplain, Christian, dogmatism, dying, fear, freedom, fundamentalism, hospice, mortality, religion
Faith and religious beliefs provide comfort and support for dying people and for those who are bereaved. In facing death and loss people find solace in a framework of familiar beliefs and religious practices. However, when religious thinking is restrictive, or when dogmatism is imposed, religion can cause fear and distress, thus making the process of dying and the journey of bereavement more difficult rather than easier. The author argues that religious and non-religious people should be freed from concepts and ideas which cause such distress and fear in order that true feelings are accepted and worked through. Rather than struggling with this only when the stresses of dying and bereavement are apparent, such a process should begin in religious thinking and in religious communities, when people are well, and when religious beliefs and practices can be shaped to help people face the reality of their own mortality.
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