Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Warning To Christians About Homeopathy

Posted by Christine Pack

The idea of mystical essences imbued into nature isn't a hard sell to New Agers. After all, the New Age mindset already embraces a panentheistic worldview, which means that they believe some form of Divinity is "in" all the stars, the galaxies, the planets, in zebras, rocks, mountains, oceans, snakes, plants, humans, etc.  This concept of "Divinity," however, is far from the Christian understanding of the God of the Bible, and can mean that this animating force comes from a monotheistic god (somewhat similar to the biblical God) or from multiple gods (polytheism), or it can also simply serve to describe some kind of vague force often nebulously described as an "energy," "vibration" or "essence."

With this worldview in mind (a worldview, that is, that developed in the east outside of the scientific method that was developing in Christian nations in Europe and America in the west), it's not hard to see that eastern methods of health treatment (which I hesitate to call medicine, as they don't employ scientific methodology) would develop along distinctly different lines. The overarching view in eastern medicine, which stems from their panentheistic belief that "God" (or some concept of "Divinity") is "in" all things, is that the human body is born into a state of perfect alignment, wholeness and health, and that illness is just a result of some element no longer being in alignment. This is obviously in distinct contrast to the Christian worldview, which is that illness is a result of humans living in a broken, fallen world, and that until Christ returns to institute his kingdom, there will be suffering, illness and disease in this life. By saying this, I don't mean to imply that people shouldn't care for their bodies to the best of their ability (they should). But, Christians should not resort to using pagan medicine that has occultic spirituality at its core when their bodies begin to break down. Until we are in heaven, ALL of us are inhabiting bodies that, at some point or another, are going to begin to break down. Out of the eastern mindset and worldview, we have many alternative forms of treatment, but here are just a few:
- Aromatherapy
- Yoga
- Reiki
- Acupuncture
- Acupressure
- Cranial sacral massage
- Rolfing
- Chakra therapy
- Cupping
- Iridology
Which brings us to Homeopathic, an alternative treatment that was not strictly speaking developed in the east, but was created with the underlying beliefs and philosophies of the eastern mindset. Homeopathy was created by a Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who began his life's work as a formally trained doctor in Europe. At one point in his life, Hahnemann began to eschew the western methodology of testing and observing data for more eastern ideas of treating the human body. Hahnemann wrote a series of medical journals entitled The Organen of the Healing Art, and it was in the fifth volume of these journals that Hahnemann began to introduce metaphysical concepts outside of the western scientific method construct. He also began to write in terms of "vital energy," a concept better associated with the eastern world, Panentheism and Taoism.

For Christians desiring to learn more about the background of homeopathic remedies, and how they were developed, please consider reading the free, online e-book Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery Tour by Steven Ransom. (** Please note that if you click the preceding link to the book, the book will automatically begin downloading **)

Magical Mystery Tour documents the beginnings of homeopathy, a very popular alternative treatment that once only existed on the fringes of the culture, within the New Age movement, but has now become mainstreamed, and is sadly even being embraced by Christians today. (As noted above, while Samuel Hahnemann was the developer of the homeopathic theory, a man by the name of Edward Bach came along later and systematized Hahnemann's theory into what is known today as the Bach flower remedies, pictured above.)

While homeopathic cures are often discussed and treated as if they are medicine, they are not. They're quackery, plain and simple. Sugar pills and water. It's modern day snake oil. And yet, because this area is not regulated by the FDA, all kinds of outlandish claims can be made of the asserted (but non-existent) curative properties of homeopathy.

Since I have been observing many in the Christian community accepting and embracing the claims of homeopathy, and since the focus of the Sola Sisters ministry is primarily to warn about false teachings coming into the church, I am therefore making a warning to the church at large about the unscientific, untested claims associated with Homeopathy. I am also warning about the unbiblical belief system out of which Homeopathy was developed. To begin with, I think it might be prudent to simply consider the scientific method, and why it is so valuable. According to the article The Foundation of Modern Science Is The Biblical Worldview by R. Totten, Christian writers Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton have written an excellent book entitled The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy, which explains in detail that the scientific method for study has its origins in Christianity. Does this not make sense to us as Christians? That our good and loving God gave us minds, which He obviously desired for us to employ as we navigate our lives? We are not animals, who navigate by instinct; we have minds with which we are able to critically evaluate and assess data.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30, my emphasis)
From the article by Totten:
Human Minds can Discover and Understand the Natural Order - The Bible teaches that man is made "in the image of God," which means (among other things) that man is personal, creative and imaginative, and able to "step back" (transcend) and rationally analyze and develop knowledge about many realities of nature and existence. 
But in contrast, in his book, The Grand Tradition ('69), J. Needham --an expert on Chinese culture-- maintains that the Chinese (who developed most of the 'alternative treatment' methods popular today) never developed modern analytical science, because they did not think there existed either a definite understandable order in nature, nor the human ability to figure it out. To the Chinese, whatever order did exist in nature "was not an order ordained by a rational personal being, and hence there was no guarantee that other rational personal beings would be able to spell out ...laws which he had previously formulated" (p.327). 
On the other hand, in Christian Europe, scientists did have such a guarantee, because they believed that a rational and orderly Creator had made everything --including man as a rational personal being. The resultant outcome is that, to a meaningful extent, man can "think God's thoughts after Him", and thus understand much of the rationally logical order of nature......
We are never, at any place in Scripture, exhorted by God to turn our minds off and live by impulse or instinct. In fact, just the opposite is true: God gave human beings minds with which to assess and evaluate data via proven scientific methods, thus setting us apart from the animals. Have we all forgotten our 9th grade science lessons on "the gold standard"? (Please see the attached article, The Scientific Method and Why It Matters, if you would like to be refreshed on your high school basics of the scientific method for testing hypotheses.)

The scientific method is something that should not be disdained by Christians. The scientific method employs reason, facts and quantifiable data. And yet, so much of the alternative medicine realm eschews the scientific methods by which we are able to evaluate information in an orderly, repeatable fashion in favor of hunches, impulses and even mystical feelings. So when you hear claims by the alternative medicine community that this or that treatment is scientific, check it out for yourself, using the gold standard, to see if that is in fact, true. But I can assure you right now that the "science" associated with homeopathy (and a great deal of alternative medicine in general), is not really science, but is based almost entirely upon anecdotal accounts or upon studies funded by alternative treatment advocacy groups. The "scientific" studies that are pointed to as "proof" of claims made by alternative practitioners are rarely, if ever, long-term, placebo-controlled trials done on humans. And let's not forget that the human body is not a controlled environment in the same way that a petri dish is. By that, I mean to say that a substance that works in a petri dish to kill cancer cells (gasoline, antifreeze, etc.) might not do so well in the human body.

Below is an excerpt about Edward Bach and how he came up with his flower remedies:
Edward Bach (1886-1936),
creator of Bach flower remedies
Bach came to the conclusion that humanity could be divided into twelve main emotional groups or 'world types' and he listed them as follows: 
- Feelings of inner torture and restlessness
- Impatience with others
- Feelings of discouragement
- Known fears
- Extreme fear
- Highly-strung and unable to relax
- Desiring isolation
- Weak, easily dominated personality
- Lack of confidence in own judgment
- A possessive and selfish attitude
- Daydreams who have little interest in life
- Indecision and mood swings 
Bach's spurious 12 point hypothesis was the turning point in his life. He gave up his London practice and spent the next four years wandering the countryside, searching out the special flowers and plants he believed would be the positive correspondents to these twelves negative emotional types. But the manner in which Bach carried out his 'field work' was far from orthodox and revealed the complete eccentricity, even the madness of the man and his methods. 
The process of identifying a 'healing' flower would being with Bach first of all working himself into an absolute frenzy of whatever one of the twelves 'types' he was seeking to heal. In a state of inner torture or extreme fear, he would then wander the countryside, approaching various flowers and shrubs until he 'sensed' a particular plant was helping his frenzy subside. (Writer and Bach Remedy proponent) Nora Weeks notes the following:  
“Through his finely developed sense of touch he was able to feel the vibrations and power emitted by any plant he wished to test.... Some would have a strengthening, vitalizing effect on mind and body; others would give him pains, vomiting, fevers, rashes and the like.”  
That Bach could induce vomiting, fevers and rashes by merely touching the petals of the mimulus or marigold mirrors the extreme behavior of (homeopathic theory developer Samuel Hahnemann) who was able to record a staggering 174 physical and mental symptoms just through eating a single sliver of green pepper. And now here was Bach building his own castle in the sky and doing so by the same, quite extraordinary powers of imagination. 
Bach led a nomadic life during (the years he was formulating his remedies) and he would often stay in different places across the UK for weeks at a time, returning to his lodgings quite late in the evening, dishevelled, muddied, bloodied and completely exhausted from the day's manic 'field experiments'. With twelves emotional states to heal, Bach eventually arrived at twelves different flowers known as the 'twelve healers'.......Bach's methods of preparing his medicines (from the twelve healing flowers flowers he had isolated as the 'healers') was equally bizarre. Nora Weeks again on her master's next flash of inspiration: 
“The thought flashed into his mind that each dewdrop must contain some of the properties of the plant upon which it rested and that the heat of the sun would serve to draw out these properties until each drop was magnetised with power. The resulting remedies would contain the full, perfect and uncontaminated power of the plants.” 
Bach experimented by floating various flower petals in a glass bowl filled with clear stream water, leaving these concoctions in direct sunlight. The sun's rays would 'charge' this flower-water mixture and after roughly four hours, the resulting potion was deemed to be 'impregnated with magnetic power.' 
Like Hahnemann, Bach believed his medicines were being powerfully spiritualized by (his preparation) methods.
(SOURCE: Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery TourSteven Ransom) 
My questions for Christians, after reading the above account are these: are Bach's theories, methods and preparations scientific? Do they seem compatible with the Christian worldview? Let's remember, again, that God gave us minds with which to reason things out, and that includes the use of the scientific method for testing substances, as opposed to going by mystical feelings, hunches, guesses, or impressions (which was how Bach developed his remedies).

Also, when I look at the list of 12 emotional types that Bach came up with, I can think of lots of Scripture that addresses those weaknesses in humans, none of which involve floating flowers in stream water and allowing the sun to spiritually imbue the essence of those flowers into the water in order to magically free the affected individual from those weaknesses. Christians should call sin "sin," and should address their areas of weakness biblically: through accountability, Scripture memorization, Bible study, prayer, etc. That takes relying upon the Lord and the power of the Holy spirit for wisdom, strength and diligence. There are no magical remedies for sin, but thankfully the Bible does gives us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
"(Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
Big Pharma has its problems, and I get that, but I just want to caution all the Christians I'm observing jumping on the hate-big-Pharma bandwagon (which originated in the New Age among quack practitioners with snake oil to sell, by the way) that Big Pharma has its uses. I'm sure that all of us can think of family members of ours whose lives have been saved by Big Pharma. My husband is currently under long-term treatment with medicine developed through scientific methods. The treatment is saving his life. I had an illness in my 20s that would have killed me if I had not had access to antibiotics. But above and beyond even that, what I'm really wanting to caution against is an embracing of supposed medicinal items that have been developed through mystical or even demonic means. When I read about Edward Bach, I'm sorry, but it seems to me that at a bare minimum he was mentally unbalanced, and at worst, perhaps demonically possessed. Why would any Christian want to use a treatment that came from a man who was mentally unstable and/or possessed by a demon? A deeper question to ponder is this: what does the Bible have to say about Satan and his demon deceptions? does he have our best interests at heart? or is he out to steal, kill and destroy, whatever that looks like?

 Personal Accounts of Problems With Homeopathy 

After recently posting on the unscientific nature of homeopathy, I received an email from a friend who wrote about a close family friends of hers who had been very negatively affected by a homeopathic doctor. This doctor had received a Doctorate in Homeopathy from Hahnemann University, a school named after the founder of the homeopathic movement, Samuel Hahnemann. This doctor, who has been so heavily influenced by the homeopathic principles developed by Hahnemann, claims on his website to have had positive results in treating AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and arthritis. And yet in reality, my friend attested to me that this doctor had unsuccessfully treated a woman for cancer of the femur (she died a very painful death within the year), as well as a young wife and mother of 4 who had breast cancer, and who also died within a short period of time. I was also told that this doctor had treated numerous other people who have not done well despite his public claims, and that the doctor had been put out of fellowship for errant doctrine and fraudulent business practices.

Please understand that I am NOT saying that all who go into homeopathy have evil intent or wrong motives. Not at all. This doctor in question might have the best of motives. But these homeopathic practices that these doctors are basing their practices upon are based on unscientific methods.

I think it should also be noted that, according to Walter Isaacson (author of a biography on Apple founder Steve Jobs), Jobs had regrets about pursuing alternative treatments for his cancer for such a lengthy period of time before making the decision to have surgery. Jobs, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2003, died in 2011. (online source)

Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers For The New Age (CANA), a friend and former New Ager (and frequent contributor here), has also written an excellent article on the occultic roots of homeopathic medicine, linked here: Homeopathy, The Occult and Beyond.

photo credit: salimfadhley via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery Tour  (Free, online e-book exposing the unsubstantiated claims [both currently and historically] made about many "natural" remedies)

Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse In Healthcare (Sola Sisters/Marcia Montenegro)

Update: Ingrid Schlueter Interviews Marcia Montenegro and Christine Pack (Crosstalk at VCY America 4/26/11) to Discuss This Show- you may listen here
The Scientific Method and Why It Matters

The Biblical Worldview Is The Foundation of Modern Science

 John Ankerberg Resources and Articles