A friend of mine and a professing Christian wrote that she had done several short term courses in fields of New Age belief systems and alternate healing techniques. To name a few, she had done courses on Pranic healing, Reiki, magneto therapy, Electro homeopathy, Siddha, Yoga therapy and Sutkriyas.
“I understand from holy scripture,” I replied to her, “that Jesus is the only Way to true life not just for this world but for eternity. There is no other method that can give us true and lasting meaning and happiness in life. If Jesus shows Himself to you from the pages of the Bible, suddenly the Bible will become living and dynamic and will really be the voice of God to you. On that day, all other popular therapies, including Reiki and Pranic healing and various “ways” to happiness will fade in the clear light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for that day to come for you.”
I am not an expert on these “sciences,” but at least some, if not all of these, involve spiritual powers. This makes them dangerous for Christians to dabble in. Yoga, for instance, up to a point seems innocuous enough, but after a while it becomes dangerous. The yoga that people are taught in schools and organisations is usually limited to physical exercises, relaxing, and concentrating. I am not sure if it is dangerous at this stage, but certainly becomes so when the concentrating is taken to the next level of transcendental meditation.
Sometimes, these ‘sciences’ are taught along with ancient systems of medicine like Siddha and Ayurveda. I do not know anything about Siddha, but about Ayurveda, I know that the system includes extremely valuable information.
However, like much of ancient Indian scholarship, religion and superstitions were not divorced from science, the ancient sages having had a holistic approach to learning. Ayurveda includes information that is valuable as well as information that is erroneous and even dangerous. The task of filtering out the erroneous has begun with scientific organisations and pharmaceutical companies subjecting the material to modern medical research methodology and stringent laboratory testing. Some companies like Himalaya Health Care have brought out some excellent products.
Over 15 years ago, my brother, a psychiatrist in Texas, had a colleague with some terminal form of liver disease. She had been told that nothing more could be done for her. At that stage, my brother offered to have Liv52, a popular Ayurvedic drug shipped to her from India. My mother would buy several containers of this drug and ship them over to her regularly. The diseased liver healed completely.
Organisations such as American Association for Integrative Medicine and several others across the world are useful for our purposes only upto a point. They may rule out an ancient medicine as dangerous in the light of modern scientific knowledge. However, they are attempting a “multi-disciplinary approach” to medicine to provide “maximum therapeutic benefit” and will not therefore balk at most of the “sciences” I feel are dangerous from a spiritual stand point. In the future, we are in for even more medical confusion. As we move away from the principles that God has laid out for us, we move towards confusion and chaos in every sphere of our lives.
If lay people do short term courses on subjects like the Ayurvedic system, they could endanger those to whom they minister. As a rule of thumb, I accept medication or therapy only from medical doctors of Western medicine. All other systems must conform to the high standards of testing and research of modern science to be usable in our day. I use this rule of thumb in all cases except two, relaxing it for one and making it stricter for the other.
I relax the rule for some simple home remedies. I feel a bowl of chicken soup is good for a cold because my aunt made me some when I was sick and I felt better. This is a very unscientific subjective approach and should be avoided for anything more than chicken soup.
I would be careful about some forms of treatment, even if a medical doctor approved it, if it has something to do with the mind. For instance, some doctors recommend Yoga as a form of exercise to help concentration and breathing. The spiritual baggage that comes with Yoga is not an issue for many doctors, but it is for me. Even worse, psychologists in India often recommend Reiki and Pranic healing. Both of these involve spiritual forces. I have heard of some who tried these therapies, felt better initially but ended up even more deeply depressed than when they went in for treatment.
Most people learn about these belief systems in their quest for happiness and answers. The New Age movement focuses on powers that supposedly lie within our minds in a latent state. People believe that they can draw on these powers to be healthier and happier. Most of them take up this route for a while and give up. Many of those who go on end up with depression and other problems.
To those who have surrendered their life to the Lord Jesus, He offers far more than any New Age system can even promise to offer.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”(Jn 8:12)
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, . . (2 Pet 1:3,4)
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Col 2:8-10)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Eph 1:3)
Surely we have no need to look elsewhere for direction, truth, and life.
Jesus said . . ., “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.