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Why Medicine Should Resist Immanence 

Why Medicine Should Resist Immanence
Chapter:
Why Medicine Should Resist Immanence
Author(s):

Michael J. Balboni

, and Tracy A. Balboni

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199325764.003.0013
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date: 24 August 2019

This chapter outlines four reasons why medicine should resist a spirituality of immanence as its chief love. First, this spirituality is incongruent with the beliefs of most American patients and their experience of serious illness. Second, a spirituality of immanence fails the test of religious pluralism, an essential characteristic of medicine in the twenty-first century. Third, this spirituality enables and encourages impersonal social forces, including bureaucracy, market forces, and the technological imperative, to affect how medicine is conceived, practiced, and experienced. Finally, immanence is creating a professional socialization with negative clinician outcomes, such as burnout. The argument especially focuses on the impact of immanence in creating conditions for impersonal medicine and its subsequent impact on clinician socialization. Apart from partnership with traditional religions, medicine is helpless to resist impersonal forces overtaking the patient–clinician relationship.

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