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Religion and the Social Clinic

How Churches, Mosques, Temples, and Synagogues Could Serve as Social Clinics

With Members Serving as Social Clinicians

For centuries, the world’s great religions have played major roles in teaching preferred values and healthy individual behaviors. Each religion has endeavored to help people improve as individuals and as social beings. For example, Christian churches have encouraged people to emulate the behaviors of Jesus Christ, and Islam has discouraged Usury and has encouraged social behaviors that are sensitive to the poor. To a lesser extent, the great religions have provided guidance regarding preferred ways for societies to organize and collectively behave, particularly economically.

Despite the efforts of the world’s major religions to improve human behavior, we now find the world to be seriously ill—not just the world’s people, but the earth itself.

Why has such serious global illness developed, despite the guidance provided by the world’s great religions?

Perhaps the world’s religions have failed to adequately address the root cause of the world’s present illness—the unfortunate economic model that has dominated and controlled global society for the past 200 years, or more—i.e. the Capitalist Economic Model. Has the Christian church, for example, critically examined the premises and principles upon which capitalism is based? Has the church adequately addressed the unhealthy, un-Christian behaviors that capitalism promotes, up-regulates, rewards, even requires? Has the church adequately spoken out against the unhealthy consequences of the Capitalist Economic Model? Has the church been willing to advocate an alternative economic model?

Have religious groups and their individual members been serving as Social Clinicians? Have they been seeking the root cause(s) of the world’s serious illness? Have they been eliciting and listening to the chief complaints of Humanity and the earth itself? Have they been carefully taking a complete history, auscultating the earth’s lungs and the hearts of Humanity. Have they been palpating the underbelly of global civilization? Have they been testing hypotheses? Have they been formulating a list of the most plausible explanations for the world’s illness, ultimately deciding on the most likely root cause and the best remedy, all the while reassessing their conclusions and actions as they proceed? This is the disciplined problem-solving process used by good physicians in the Medical Clinic. It is also the problem-solving process that good Social Clinicians can use in the Social Clinic.

To what extent have Churches, Mosques, Temples, and Synagogues been serving as Social Clinics and encouraging their members to serve as Social Clinicians? What if members of the world’s religions were to fully serve as Social Clinicians? What if Churches, Mosques, Temples, and Synagogues were to be viewed not just as places of worship, but also as Social Clinics—places where people would not only worship, but bring problems of society for careful, rigorous evaluation?

What if these religion-based Social Clinics were to critically evaluate the hypothesis that the root cause of the world’s present illness is the current economic model (Global Capitalism), and that the solution is to replace the Capitalist Economic Model with a Public Economy Model? Would these Social Clinics conclude that the Public Economy Model encourages the very same individual and group behaviors that their religious teachings espouse? Would they conclude that the Capitalist Economic Model encourages the very same individual and group behaviors that their religious teachings warn against? If so, would they not feel obligated to advocate for peaceful replacement of the Global Capitalist Economic Model with a Public Economy Model? Would they not encourage, for example, a Collaborative International Network of Unique National Public Economies?

What if each of the world’s religions, serving as Social Clinicians, were to come to the above conclusions? What if these religious groups were then to jointly announce those conclusions and collaboratively work towards the replacement of the current economic model with a healthier model (e.g. the Public Economy Model)? Would that help to remedy the world’s present illness? Would that help people, individually and collectively, to become the better human beings that their religious teachings encourage? Would that help save the earth itself? Simultaneously, would that help to re-juvenate and give deeper meaning to the efforts of organized religion—e.g. to the historically great Christian denominations that have been suffering from dwindling memberships in recent years? Simultaneously, would a collaborative effort among the world’s great religions to serve as Social Clinics and Social Clinicians help reduce religious tensions among peoples?

Perhaps the most powerful , practical, and efficient way to successfully address the world’s present illness would be for Churches, Mosques, Temples, and Synagogues to collaboratively serve as Social Clinics, with their members serving as Social Clinicians.