A myriad of techniques to cure illness, such as prayer, divine intervention or the ministrations of an individual healer, have been commonly lumped together as "faith healing.” In this form of cure there is no involvement of medicine, doctors or medicare.
Why should I be aware of this?
Faith healing is totally different from scientific medicine, which relies on observation and research to treat specific illnesses, and from pre-scientific medicine, which combats illness with the use of certain plants and herbs. Advancements in medical science notwithstanding, faith healers continue to rule the roost even to this day.
Throughout history, miraculous recoveries have been normally attributed to faith healing. There are several ancient records of spiritual healing in different periods of time, though with different methods in different epochs. The essential nature of faith healing escaped critical intellectual scrutiny even at that time, as it continues to do today.
How does this affect me?
According to some faith healers, the genesis of all disease lies in the disorder of the mind or spirit. Many others take a more holistic approach and consider ill-health as the complex result of many physical, emotional, and spiritual determinants. This method of treatment makes use of all available means of treatment concurrently, including prayer.
All about faith healing
Faith healing has been practiced from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. There are references to faith healing in the Old Testament and the New Testament Gospels. In the stories of Jesus’ miracles of healing, illness is regarded as the sign of the presence of evil spirits, and Jesus’ power to heal is proclaimed as evidence that God’s kingdom has come in his person.
Miraculous healing is often seen as proof of and work of God. Though none of these healings have stood up to scrutiny, the Catholic church does investigate alleged miracles.
Mysterious healing mechanisms
Where a healer is involved in the cure process, both the healer and patient believe in the healing power of spirits or other mysterious healing mechanisms. Consciously or unconsciously the patient is manipulated into believing that the healer has cured the patient's ailment by prayer, hand movements, or by some other unconventional ritual or product. In faith healing it is not necessary for the patient and the healer to meet, as the processes that occur are said to transcend the usual limitations of space and time.
Science associates this healing phenomenon with faith healers, witches, charlatans and mystics and consigns it in the realm of ignorance, abuse and fraud.
Also an illegitimate approach
Though faith healing is still practiced based on the teachings of the Bible, there is also an illegitimate approach that usually puts people at risk to the point of injury and even death.
Others place unreasonable demands on their followers, unlike legitimate churches, movements, and individuals who do not consider using drugs or receiving proper medical attention as signs of unbelief, insufficient faith, or sin against God.
Energy Healing in Ancient Cultures
In the ancient Hindu system Chakra or energy center is a term used in Pranic, or life energy, healing. An "aura", which a non-physical body consisting of energy, covers our body and is said to have seven layers pertaining to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual as manifested by energy.
Reiki, on the other hand, originated in Japan, represents universal energy brought forth by higher intelligence. Practice of Reiki taps this energy to heal physical, emotional, and mental illnesses.
The recent holistic health movement has given new support to faith healing. Though there is no uniform agreement on the subject, faith healing has begun to enter the mainstream of contemporary attention and discussion. There are increasing number of literature on the healing power of prayers for the sick. There are reports of thousands of believers coming to churches all over the world to receive healing prayers.
One school of thought believes that healing is a natural state of energy. And this healing energy of each being is irrevocably linked to the energy of all other beings. It is believed that the subject of energy can never be dissociated from the subject of healing
- Faith healing was known among the ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed that Asclepius, the god of medicine, might appear in the dreams of sick people who slept in the temples devoted to his worship, and that the god then cured them or prescribed a regimen of treatment for them to follow.
- In the 1980s, a wave of religious faith healers took America by storm. Several Christian ministers were purported to be able to "heal" their flock of debilitating diseases, and the masses bought the whole story, hook, line and sinker.
- In the stories of Jesus’ miracles of healing, illness is regarded as the sign of the presence of evil spirits, and Jesus’ power to heal is proclaimed as evidence that God’s kingdom has come in his person.
- Although it is known that a small percentage of people with cancer experience remissions of their disease which cannot be explained, available scientific evidence does not support claims that faith healing can actually cure physical ailments.
- People who seek help through faith healing and are not cured can develop feelings of hopelessness, failure, guilt, worthlessness, and depression. In some groups, the person may be told that her or his faith was not strong enough. The healer and others may hold the person responsible for the failure of their healing. This can alienate and discourage the person who is still sick.
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- The Power of Healing Prayers for the Sick