Alternative therapies based on “life energy” use principles just like those generally attributed to magic. Although “magic” is difficult to define concisely, magical practices do have common features. Magic involves specific techniques or rituals by which people attempt to manipulate supernatural powers to meet their immediate needs. How should Christians respond?
Practitioners of energy medicine claim they can manipulate a supernatural force using certain techniques to bring about healing or relaxation.
- Healing is demanded by practitioners of magic. “There is never anything humble about the requests addressed to supernatural agents.” Incidentally, this leads us to have great concern about Christian healers who demand healing from God. This contrasts with the way Christians are encouraged to humbly make requests of God yet trust in his will.
- Healing is guaranteed when magical instructions are followed precisely, or so it is claimed. “In magic a ritual is performed and if it is correct in every detail, the desired result must follow unless countered by stronger magic.”
- Present-day desires of the individual are the focus in magic, not the long-term needs or goals of the community. When magic doesn’t work, it can still do harm. It wastes precious time, time that could have been used to seek proven, effective remedies. A cancer continues to grow. Diabetes and high blood pressure go untreated. Pain lingers.
An even bigger problem arises when magical practices do work. Long associated with occult traditions, many of these practices can lead people into all sorts of entanglements with evil spiritual beings.
Kurt Koch, a Christian theologian and an authority on the occult, recounts many stories of people being healed by alternative therapies without knowing of the occult connections.
One young man went to an iridologist, someone who claims to be able to diagnose and treat illnesses by examining the irises of people’s eyes.
Soon afterward, this young man recovered completely from his illness. But then he noticed some disturbing changes. Every time he tried to enter a church, he experienced physical pain.
The same thing happened whenever he tried to read a Bible or sing a Christian hymn. He rapidly became severely depressed, started abusing drugs, and eventually had a complete emotional breakdown.
Certainly, not all iridologists (or alternative practitioners in general) are connected with the occult, but this particular one seems to have been.
We acknowledge that this story has all the limitations of testimonials that we describe elsewhere in our book. But it fits the pattern of stories in which people inadvertently received an occult healing and paid for it with their emotional and spiritual health.
Be suspicious of any practitioner who claims he or she can accurately diagnose illnesses by “extraordinary” means or who knows things about others through some “amazing” intuition.
Those powers, if real, must come from somewhere. Chances are they are supernatural powers.
Great caution and discernment are necessary to ensure they are not occult powers.
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