Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 329–350 | Cite as

Spirituality, health care, and bioethics

  • Maureen Muldoon
  • Norman King


This article explores the relationship of spirituality to health care and bioethics in terms of the need and efforts of people to make sense of their lives in the face of illness, injury, or impending death. Moving beyond earlier associations with specific religious traditions, spirituality has come to designate the way in which people can integrate their experiences with their sense of ultimate meaning and related values. The holistic model of health care also affirms that one should not simply treat a body in pain, but respond to the suffering of the whole person within his or her full life. A narrative emphasis in ethics also maintains that ethical decisions occur within the framework of interacting life-stories, each of which embodies a certain core vision and set of values. In each instance it is the life stories of people, their lived narratives, that provide a common thread. The telling of these stories and the discernment of the lived spirituality they contain may assist persons in the process of achieving understanding, making decisions, and finding purpose in the experience of illness, injury, or disability.


Health Care Ethical Decision Religious Tradition Life Story Common Thread 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Institutes of Religion and Health 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen Muldoon
  • Norman King

There are no affiliations available

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