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Pain and Religion 

Pain and Religion
Pain and Religion
Pain: Dynamics and Complexities

Daniel M. Doleys


The suffering that accompanies ‘pain’ often brings up the issue of its ‘meaning’ or purpose. The religious implications of the geocentric and heliocentric view of the universe as well as the mediocrity principle and its impact on science are reviewed. References to pain and the manner in which it is treated in the Christian, Hindu, and Jewish religious is discussed. By virtue of the pain associated with circumcision, it has posed grave concerns for many of the Jewish faith. Certain animals and their ‘rights’ are held in high regard in the Jewish and Muslim religion. Rules safeguarding the slaughter of these animals are based on the concern over inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering. The willingness of many in different cultures to inflict pain in the name of religion is illustrated. The topics of mortification, self-flagellation, and stigmata are discussed. Science has made an attempt to define and quantify religion and spirituality. Research on the role of beliefs, pray and attitudes is summarize. In some cases neuroimaging has shown activation of the ‘pain matrix’ to be associated with certain beliefs and religious behaviors.

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