Alternative medicine remains a controversial issue. Do these medicines actually work and do they embrace an Eastern religious system? Should Christians be involved with alternative treatments? How do we evaluate a particular practice that is unconventional?
Responding to Alternative Medicine
Each branch of alternative medicine needs to be assessed individually to determine its effectiveness, scientific basis, mode of action, safety, underlying worldview and links with the occult.
New Age Paranoia?
The form of vitalism that is at the base of all energetic healing models is not the biblical view. Rather, it is rooted in an “emmanational” philosophy that is closely related to pantheism. According to this view, the “life force” is the very essence of God, radiating outward from the Divine Center as the inner reality and vitalizing principle of creation. Thus the universe becomes intrinsically alive (its essence being “spirit” or “intelligence”Thus Christians have every reason to be cautious concerning phenomena that has had a long and strong connection to the realm of occultism and paganism.
Are Yoga & Christianity Compatible?
For many in the West, yoga is simply a system of physical exercise, a means of strengthening the body, improving flexibility, and even healing or preventing a variety of bodily ailments. But if we inquire into the history and philosophy of yoga we discover that, much more than a system of physical exercise for health, Yoga is an ancient path to spiritual growth.
More To Yoga Than Meets The Eye
The most popular yoga offered in one's local Recreation Center is Hatha Yoga, so-called physical yoga involving numerous yoga techniques called asanas. These asanas appear to the uninitiated to be mere stretching exercises. The more fully initiated realize that yogic asanas are worship postures to Hindu deities. They also know that North Americans are not quite ready yet for the full truth about the religious identity of yoga. There is no Yoga without Hinduism.
Many Christians recognise there may be specifically spiritual issues involved. This article attempts a Christian assessment of hypnosis in the medical context and deals briefly with the use of hypnosis for entertainment.
For Christian and non-Christian physicians alike, homeopathy is a controversial issue in the rapidly expanding field of alternative medicine. This article aims to define homeopathy, outline existing evidence for and against its effectiveness, and explain the reasons for the controversy amongst Christians.
Proponents state that ayurvedic medicine originated in ancient time, but much of it was lost until reconstituted in the early 1980s by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Its origin is traced to four Sanskrit books called the Vedas-the oldest and most important scriptures of India, shaped sometime before 200 B.C.E and is believed to be of Divine origin ... was communicated to the saints and sages of India who received its wisdom through deep meditation.
As Christians we should be concerned about possible spiritual harm. By associating in whatever way, however remote, with a therapy perhaps permeated by non-Christian or even anti-Christian ideology, are patients not at risk of spiritual harm?
The martial arts are a topic of much confusion and misunderstanding today, especially within the evangelical community. Views range from those who claim the Asian martial arts are wholly incompatible with Christianity to those who say the two naturally blend. Is the "Dragon" (Satan) finding a new entrance into our society and even the church through the popularity of the martial arts? Before arriving at a balanced conclusion on the matter, the vast differences separating the various arts must be considered. At the very least, a fundamental understanding of their historical roots, traditions, philosophies, and goals is necessary.
Applied Kinesiology (AK), Touch for Health (TH), Behavioral Kinesiology (BK)
The invoking of life energy, especially in the spin-offs from applied kinesiology, throws critical thinking to the wind. Therapists who use such techniques have strayed far from the mainstream of objective knowledge about the human body. Their "science" is based on conjecture, subjective impressions, unreliable data and, most importantly, the precepts of Taoism. They stand separate from the scientific community. We challenge anyone who is involved in this therapy to take a hard look at its origins, its underlying assumptions, and its supporting evidence (or lack thereof).
In most examples of this New Age kinesiology the practitioner speaks during the procedure, asking the “body wisdom,” the “energy,” the Being, the “subconscious,” the Divine Within, the Innate, or some other similarly identified entity somehow different from the client’s actual person to provide information about the client. The implication is that there is something existing apart from the person which can be addressed and influenced through “applied kinesiology.”