Christian spirituality vs.postmodern relativism


Humans, different religions, cultures and societies, and sectors of the human existence such as health care have varying beliefs and assumptions on which essential elements of life and its determinant components are based. These beliefs and assumptions influence human perception in terms of physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. The Christian perspective on the nature of spirituality and ethics contrasts to the postmodern relativism in health care practice (Funk, 2001).

Christianity displays spirituality and ethics in the concept that individual values and morality in society is based on the need to comply with the teachings of God on equivalent love for one another (Cowan, 2014). The teachings of Jesus emphasize love as the integral value in human coexistence, which in turn shapes the morality and ethics of individuals. Science defines spirituality in a different aspect as the encompassment of the values, morals, and desires, and an individual ultimately loves or yearns to achieve outside the confinements of religious institutions, societal or corporate entities (Sallady, 2010). This set of spiritual alignment is definitive in health care as it dictates the satisfaction patients and performance of health care professionals based on the effectiveness of its incorporation. Despite the spiritual demands of different individuals and societies, harmonization of these ultimate desires is essential in ensuring equality and peace. Health care institutions have to master the dynamics and diversity of spirituality and employ relevant mechanisms to address it for them to be successful (Rolfe, 2000).

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Contrary to Christian spirituality, postmodern relativism focuses on the detachment from existing scientific and spiritual theories, practices and norms and embracing of subjective and self- initiated and specifically customized values in dealing with human problems (Doyle, 2013). This a contemporary concept in health care as it shifts focus from the traditional doctor, practitioner, and institution- reliant framework and majors on the patients’ capability to initiate recovery through alternative practices such as therapy, midwives, acupuncturists, and naturopaths. According to Doyle (2013), postmodernism in health care, unlike Christianity, which levies responsibility to God’s miracles and spiritualistic capabilities, emphasizes on patient’s determinant psychological, physical, and spiritual capabilities with the practitioners serving as overseers or guardians ( Furler & Palmer, 2010).

Scientism is based on the concept of science is the only source of viable knowledge about reality and the universe and that arguments outside the comprehension of science are contemptible and not worth addressing (Peterson, 2006). Supernatural beliefs or other forms of divinity such as religion, spirituality, and New age are popular subjects of criticized by scientism as there exists little to no knowledge explaining nature. Advocates of scientism argue that aspects of human existence and the universe beyond the reach of science are minor, insignificant, and irrelevant hence not worth bothering humans. Scientism is distinguished from science as a worldview that closely aligns itself with science and tries to convince the public to adopt science as their only meaningful perspective of life and abandon beliefs on supernatural and morality oriented world.

According to Crosby (2014), the study the Varieties of Religious Experience, Author William James uses the relationship between man and pets to depict the different universes men and supernatural forces exist. A pet lives in a small closed world with limited reasoning compared to the man who is in total control and reasonable for its actions, which may have implications far beyond its understanding. The author uses this example to depict the small closed and finished world defined by Scientism.

Humanities provide a human understanding which cannot be provided by natural sciences. The social sciences explore humanity and its surrounding from their inner being, life experiences, and behavioral configurations hence giving a more specific perception while the natural sciences measure the functionality of different human aspects such as brain performance cannot quantify social attributes such as consciousness (Crosby,2014).

                                Ultimate Reality

Ultimate reality is considered as something that is supreme, all determinant, the basis, and central power in all reality and is unaffected by the perception, opinion, or knowledge of any subject being.

According to Christian and Judaism teachings in the Bible, God is the ultimate reality and the genesis of all creation in the universe. The religions argue that in God’s great act of love and will he, he created humans, which is perceived as the God’s greatest creation, the earth, the heaven, which is considered as His residence, the ocean and everything else within or outside human contemplation. In Christianity, God is usually referred to as Father depicting the love and wisdom He possesses as the head of the all-natural and spiritual world (Cowan, 2014).

                        The Nature of the Universe

Natural Sciences base the originality of the universe to chance. It is defined as a collection of matter and energy supported by mechanical and geographical forces (Funk, 2001). Christian’s perspective of the universe purports that as a supernatural being, God created the universe out of nothing. The universe was created by God to support and help in the existence of all its inhabitants by the provision of food, oxygen, and shelter. The universe consists of many components, with some been discoverable by man; others are yet to be discovered while others far beyond the understanding of human beings. According to physicists, the universe is in continuous transformation, and its inhabitants are in the constant hassle to adapt to its changes and ensure their survival. In reference to Christianity, God is the supreme ruler of the universe and dictates what happens within its confines.

                               Human Beings

According to science, Human beings are a product of the evolution process. These beings transformed to be the brightest inhabitants of the earth and took control of the other inhabitants and the earth’s resources. The human brain is sensitive to its surroundings and continues to advance and transform its immediate environment to conform to his own good. These creatures are the principal actors in the world and exist with each other on a set of agreed and determined principles and moral standards. Human beings are in constant search of freedom, economically, socially, and spiritually from forces under their influence and partly beyond their control. Some scientism proponents and atheists believe that believers in supernatural forces lack enlightenment and are God’s/gods puppets due to their programmed lives of glorifying an imaginary being.

Christians believe that human beings were created by God in His own image and placed on the surface of the earth and were given responsibility as the overseers of all creatures inhabiting the earth. In return, humans were expected to comply with the super beings set of rules and demands which they eventually violated and given a lifetime punishment, which can only be lifted by glorifying the super-being. Due to this curse, Christians believe that they have suffered economically, socially, and spiritually and can only be liberated by worshiping and paying homage to the super being (God).


Knowledge defines the information database stored in an individual’s brain either gained through education or exposure to different facets of life. The information is rational and trustworthy and may be applied to the benefit of the individual or that of others. Reason, revelation, and instinct are some of the vital basis of human knowledge. Knowledge is the validation of certainty, unlike faith, which is considered as unfounded hope. Some religions associate knowledge with faith, on the argument that faithful individuals receive spiritual manifestations from their supreme beings. Knowledge is an authoritarian asset to human beings as it positively shapes their lives and competency in world ecology.

                             Basis of Ethics

Ethics refers to the moral and value confinement of individuals or society to ensure equality and peaceful co-existence. Ethics are the standards of sociality in communities and consist of a significant factor in law giving, business, and religion. Authority, parents, and religious leaders act as superintendents in ensuring ethical societies. Violations are punished, and while compilers are respected and rewarded. Some communities base their ethical values on the expectations of their super-beings and vividly comply with their demands. Christian ethics are guided by the value of love as the central determinant of their ethics.

                            Purpose of Existence

Most individuals and societies and my belief are that humans exist to better the lives of their families and their communities through continuous acquiring of life skills and improvement fuelled by the desire to build better human experiences of life. Other communities and religions exist to glorify and serve the will of their super being and seek a presumed eternity in the case of their death.


Cowan, B. Steven (2014). The Christian Worldview.

  1. John Doyle (2013). Modern Medicine and the Postmodernist Challenge: Examining the Issues. Ethics in Biology, Engineering & Medicine – An International Journal, 4(3): 185–197.

Donald R. Peterson (2006). Science, Scientism, and Professional Responsibility.

Gary Rolfe (2000). Postmodernism for healthcare workers in 13 easy steps.

John F. Crosby (2014). Against Scientism.

John S Furler and Victoria J Palmer (2010). The ethics of everyday practice in primary medical care: responding to social health inequities.

Ken Funk (2001). What is a Worldview?

Susan Anthony Salladay (2010). Healing is Believing: Postmodernism Impacts Nursing. Originally published in SRAM Vol. 4, No. 1

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