When investigating an alternative therapy, be concerned about those that involve listening to other spirits. But what about listening to an inner guiding voice? Guidance by intuition and inner voices has become more in vogue today than guidance through reason and objective evidence. Postmodernism has contributed to this acceptance with its notion that we all create our own reality, that whatever we believe is OK. But, is it?
Christians may even be attracted to these ideas because of our belief that God reveals his will to us through Scripture and the Holy Spirit. If Christians believe they are being led by the Holy Spirit to practice a certain therapy, should we question them?
If during meditation or visualization someone gets a strong feeling that God is telling them that a certain practitioner can help or heal them, should we say anything more?
Again, Christians must look to the Bible for guidance.
The Old Testament was clear that anyone claiming to have a message from God, that is, to be a prophet, was to be put to the test. “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21–22).
We must evaluate claims. This is especially important when it comes to information received in an altered state of consciousness.
Occult activities and healing rituals have always used a variety of ways to induce meditative states and altered states of consciousness. Through meditation, occultists claim that details concerning what to do during a healing treatment “will soon come ‘intuitively’ to the healer. Do not be afraid to follow your intuitive sense in this direction.”
Deepak Chopra, M.D., one of alternative medicine’s popularizers, encourages people to “experience the effortless way that intentions can get fulfilled, bypassing the ego and the rational mind.”
Larry Dossey, M.D., another popular author, encourages us to trust what we feel led to do even though our unconscious mind may lead us to “violate the values we hold dearest in our aware, conscious life, such as our moral and ethical codes, in order to help us.”
Underlying these ideas are three core beliefs that contradict clear biblical teaching:
- Personal autonomy is of supreme value.
- Humans are innately good.
- Humans are potentially or actually divine.
According to those who adopt such worldviews, meditative practices bring healing by enlightening people about their “true” nature.
Transcendental Meditation (TM), versions of which underlie numerous alternative therapies, claims that “on the level of the Transcendental Consciousness we are Divine already.”
All our problems arise, according to TM, because we don’t realize this. “Although we are all 100% Divine, consciously we do not know that we are Divine.”
Chopra similarly claims that the healthy person affirms to himself, “I know myself as the immeasurable potential of all that was, is and will be. . . . There is no other I than the entire universe. I am being and I am nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I am omnipresent, omniscient; I am the eternal spirit that animates everything in existence.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, according to the Bible. There is one God, one Creator, who is completely distinct from his creation. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
TM misuses the Bible by claiming that God’s statement about himself in Psalm 46:10 applies to all people. To quote TM’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Be still and know that you are God and when you know that you are God you will begin to live Godhood, and living Godhood there is no reason to suffer, absolutely no reason to suffer, Man is not born to suffer.”
Such teaching sounds attractive, as none of us want to suffer. But Maharishi’s view can lead to a constant search for life without suffering. The Bible’s view is completely different — and more realistic.
Peter instructed us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Paul taught that some things are worth suffering for: “Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).
Humanity throughout the ages has sought insight through various meditative practices and altered states of consciousness. Scripture has consistently condemned these practices for at least three reasons:
- The demonic realm is sometimes encountered in these states, which is spiritually and physically dangerous for people.
- Unreliable knowledge is all that can be obtained in these states. The false prophets of Israel claimed to get trustworthy information through visions, trances, dreams, and altered states of consciousness.
Scripture labels the information obtained by these “prophets who wag their own tongues” as “false hopes,” “delusions of their own minds,” “false dreams,” and “reckless lies” (Jeremiah 23:16-32).
These ways of gaining knowledge lead to deception, not true insight. “Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! . . . Their visions are false and their divinations a lie” (Ezekiel 13:3-6).
• Human nature that is good and perfect, if not divine, is assumed by the worldviews depending on intuition and the inner self.
A book on white magic claims that a practitioner “has to learn to do the right thing as he sees and knows it. . . . He must depend on himself.”
The Bible holds that humans are not divine or perfect: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Dependence on the self is the root of humanity’s problems.
You can read more on this topic in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. You can find it here.
Also, citations to all of the studies quoted in this blog are found in the book.
Additional Blogs on Faith-Based Health and Healing:
- Part 1 – What does the Bible say about health?
- Part 2 – What Value Should We Place on Our Health?
- Part 3 – Devout Faith Helps but Does Not Guarantee Good Health
- Part 4 – Can Faith be Unhealthy?
- Part 5 – What Causes Sickness?
- Part 6 – Why God’s Response Isn’t Always to Heal
- Part 7 – Not All Healing is From God
- Part 8 – Illegitimate Spiritual Practices
- Part 9 – Life Energy and Medical Magic
- Part 10 – Medical Characters Condemned for Pursuing Certain Forms of Healing
- Part 11 – Look to the Bible, Not Inner Voices, for Guidance
- Part 12 – Biblical Principles on Which to Base Medical Decisions and The Power of Faith