Compounding the error of conflating spirituality with religion, many persons, including many religious persons, tend to view religions as primarily groups of people who adhere to a variety of strict moral codes. It is not uncommon, for instance, for house officers who are asked to describe a case in which religious or spiritual issues are at play to present a case of a moral dilemma involving a conflict between the patient's religious beliefs and “scientific” medical advice. Taylor has described how historical forces in the West have succeeded in “taming” religion by reducing its social function to the maintenance of good moral order in the secular state.31 The primary function of religion, however, is not to provide a moral code but to mediate an encounter with the sacred. Given that encounter, behavior changes. Religious communities interpret together how their shared answers to the foundational spiritual questions of meaning, value, and relationship ought to affect the behavior of adherents to that faith. Subsequently, religions do tend to prescribe and proscribe many behaviors, including, importantly, many medically related behaviors. Spirituality does provide a motivation to act morally, a context for cultivating a life of virtue, and a perspective by which to view the affective and interpersonal contours of a moral life. Nonetheless, religion and spirituality are far more comprehensive than the moral code with which they are associated.32 For example, an Orthodox Jew may refuse to authorize discontinuation of ventilator support for his wife not simply because it is part of his moral code, but because he belongs to a community of believers who equate breath with the spirit that Yahweh breathed on the chaos before creation and the life Yahweh breathed into the nostrils of the first human being, Adam. If one is fully to appreciate and respect a patient's religiously motivated moral code, one must understand that the moral code is secondary to the patient's underlying spirituality and religious sense.