Who needs the concept of spirituality? Human beings seem to!
BREITBART , M.D.
Well, it's finally happened. I've been attacked in the
scientific literature (Salander, 2006). Well,
just to clarify, it wasn't a personal attack, but rather an attack of
the highest and most noble order: an attack on the scientific rigor of the
conceptual underpinnings of my recent work on meaning and spirituality in
advanced cancer patients (e.g., Breitbart, 2002). To be honest, and a bit less grandiose, it was
not an attack against me alone, but rather a set of critical comments
aimed at a growing number of investigators who have been publishing papers
(a 600% increase over the past 10 years) dealing with religious or
spiritual aspects of life-threatening illness (Stefanek et al., 2005). The critical comments by Dr. Par Salander of
the Department of Social Welfare, Umea University, Sweden, in a recent
issue of the journal Psycho-oncology (Salander, 2006) challenge the need for and the validity of the
concept of spirituality.