Many people have lost faith in established medicine. In recent years, alternative healers have come up with many different proposals for achieving wholeness and health. Their offers are for everybody and claim to be able to relieve all diseases and defects. These types of treatment are tried and used by many people, because "maybe it will help, and it will probably not do me any harm, will it...?"
Persons who offer alternative treatment are a varied lot, but many of them are influenced by an oriental world view. Opposed to this is the Christian view of humanity which has influenced our classical view of health and disease in a crucial way.
This page will help you to:
Make critical and sensible estimates of offers of alternative treatment.
Consider your own views about health and disease.
Make choices concerning traditional and/or alternative treatment that are based on your own view of humanity and life.
You Are Not a Vegetable – You Are a Human Being!
Consequently, you should not surrender to another person's treatment without critical thinking based on our own analysis.
Make an effort to obtain answers to the following questions from the person who treats you, no matter whether it is a doctor of a healer.
Why does your treatment work?
How do you make your diagnosis?
Are you using an "energy" when you heal?
If so, where does it come from?
Where did you learn about healing?
Who is your master and authority?
Are there any side effects of the treatment?
Physical and mental?
Spiritual and religious?
What is my role in the treatment?
Do I have a responsibility myself?
Is it my own fault that I have the disease?
Can something good come out of it even if I don't get well?
What do you mean by health? What do you mean by disease?
Are they real or are they illusions?
Does health and disease have a wider perspective and meaning?
Does my disease have anything to do with God and faith?
What does death mean?
Does death have a reality?
What does it lead to?
The Premises Behind the Seven Questions
This is based upon many very different religious presuppositions, especially an oriental world view.
The practitioners are usually self-taught or they have an education that is not officially recognized.
The practice of medicine is based upon scientific research and subject to public control e.g. the National Health Service.
It uses only authorized personnel with an officially recognized education.
The Oriental World View
"Man is the architect of his own fortune," and you cannot assume other people's destiny (karma). In the final analysis there is no difference between good and evil, for everything is the same and constitutes a wholeness without differences (holism). What is important in this view is not to change the outward conditions. It is the interior perception, the spiritual consciousness that is important.
The Christian World View
In Christianity, people have a responsibility for one another (individually) as well as socially. One has to choose between good and evil and form one's own opinion. One "does not always do the good," and we must therefore learn to forgive each others mistakes and guilt and care for one another. Evil in the world is an actual reality and must be actively opposed.
The Oriental View of the Aim and Destiny of Humanity
In the East, the meaning of being human is to develop into divinity, and this development takes place through an endless number of rebirths (reincarnation) on the way through the eternal cycle of the transmigration of souls. We therefore control our own destiny and must develop on our own road as a soul that constantly changes body, in the same way as others change clothes. There is no relationship with God, for you are becoming god yourself. This evolutionary idea is based one's own justice and merits.
The Christian View of the Aim and Destiny of Humanity
In Christianity, the meaning of being human is to live in loving care of others. For one is not a life unto oneself, but finds the meaning of life outside oneself, in God and in other human beings. This relationship with God rests on faith and obedience—not on merits and self-righteousness.
The Oriental View of Health and Disease
In Asia, health is obtained through knowledge and receptivity to the cosmic energy. Health is achievable and it is linked to spiritual perfection and the inner divinity of each person. Health is also the result of one's karma from previous lives. Consequently, one does not owe anything to anyone; each has deserved his or her health and success. Disease is provoked by disharmony and a lack of balance in the energy system. This is due to bad actions or a wrong way of life in the present or previous lives – so it is one's own fault. One can, however, pay off the bad karma by suffering and disease, thus making way for a better karma in the next life.
Restoring this balance is consequently the road to health, and may be achieved by yogic exercises, change of diet, massage, etc.
The Christian View of Health and Disease
In Christianity, health is a gracious gift of God. It is an expression of God's daily creation of life on earth. Disease is on the one hand an expression of the incomprehensible reality that evil represents. On the other hand, people are of course able to inflict disease on themselves. In either case it may cause despair. This despair may open a door to the deep dimensions of life and make the community of faith and hope and love with God the final solution.
The Role of the Therapist in the Alternative System
The alternative therapist in various ways offer help to re-create the balance in the energy system, and to use the life energy to attain higher consciousness. The alternative therapist is often seen as a person who is able to transmit energy to his clients, who consequently become dependent on his or her power. Some o the alternative healers behave as masters and gurus representing divine powers.
The Role of the Therapist in the Established System
Mutual human relationships, social interactions, etc., are important factors in both the promotion and the curing of disease. Doctors and nurses are specialists whose task is "to sometimes heal, often relieve, always comfort."
The Oriental View of Suffering and Death
In oriental philosophy, suffering is an illusion we must simply get rid of. Through higher consciousness we can supposedly take ourselves out of the nightmare of suffering; life contains no problems if you are able to look through it. Death is also an illusion. It is only the beginning of a life in another time at another place and in another context of cause and effect. Jesus may often be spoken of as a teacher and a master by New Age healers, but he is no more God than other people, especially other masters, gurus and healers.
The Christian View of Suffering and Death
Suffering and death are a part of the human condition. Without suffering love would not have as much meaning, and without death, redemption and eternal life could not be attained by humans. Suffering and death are a road that God himself walked in the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can walk that same road in good company and with faith and confidence. Death is our ultimate concern, for it involves being called to account for one's life. And it reveals Christ in the new reality of resurrection beyond time and space and the chain of cause and effect.