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Structural Pluralism for Medicine and Religion 

Structural Pluralism for Medicine and Religion
Structural Pluralism for Medicine and Religion

Michael J. Balboni

, and Tracy A. Balboni

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date: 28 October 2020

A spirituality of immanence has privatized other spiritual traditions in the practice of medicine. This creates social structures that make it increasingly difficult for patients to receive spiritual care from within their own spiritual traditions. Structural pluralism identifies and challenges the hegemony of immanence by imagining an alternative way to practice medicine. This form of pluralism argues for an intermediate space for communal traditions to hold structural space within the deep practices of medicine, thus upholding the tradition-dependent nature of spirituality and spiritual care, maintaining that spirituality in medicine must protect religious freedom against all forms of spiritual coercion, and identifying an incremental and scientific manner to move from the structures of immanence to pluralism. This proposal calls for a gradual unfolding through scientific testing, trial, and public evaluation toward the common good to enhance spiritual care for patients facing serious illness without imposing religion on patients or clinicians.

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