ERIC Number: EJ871141
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 3
Magic, Morals and Health: Plus 40 Years
Young, Michael; Valois, Robert F.
American Journal of Health Education, v41 n1 p18-19 Jan-Feb 2010
In the article "Magic, Morals and Health" the reader is treated to Dr. Warren Johnson's thoughts about health and society, and the role of health educators. If one stays with Dr. Johnson's train of thought, one will find Dr. Johnson is concerned that: (1) A large segment of society tends to base at least some of their beliefs about health on mysticism or religious beliefs/teachings rather than science; (2) Too often health educators do not base their practice on good science, but instead attempt to impose their own moral/religious beliefs on others in the name of health; and (3) If health education is to have a future as a "major academic discipline" it must be based on sound science. Dr. Johnson's concerns, voiced 40 years ago, are currently relevant. Today society is dealing with a number of health related controversies, for example: (1) abstinence education; (2) contraceptive availability; (3) abortion; (4) environmental protection; (5) gay rights; (6) HIV/AIDS; (7) immunizations; (8) living wills and other end of life options; (9) war; and (10) health care reform. In all of these controversies there are people who take strong positions. Often these positions are based on ideology (sometimes religiously based, sometimes not), rather than sound reasoning, good science and accurate information. People have an unalienable right to their own beliefs regarding religion and morals, and religion and health. While people do have freedom of religion, sound public policy and sound health policy, must be based on accurate information and what research suggests is effective for the future. People do not live in a theocracy. Health educators have a professional obligation to present their clients with accurate information. Educators should not twist information in an attempt to make it fit their own religious belief (or non-belief) system or promote their own religious beliefs (or lack of beliefs). However, the authors believe that Dr. Johnson would agree that understanding the background for certain religious teachings that have health implications is important. Dr. Johnson's "Magic, Morals and Health" was written 40 years ago. It was relevant to the health education profession then, but one can also still find some wisdom in it that is relevant today.
Descriptors: Health Education, Religion, Intellectual Disciplines, Public Policy, Social Attitudes, Social Change, Health Services, Moral Values, Social Values, Religious Factors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A