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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
mind, medicine, faith

mind, medicine and faith

science is finally figuring out that what's "all in your head" really is all in your head, and that perceptions created in your head result in physical manifestations—not that you can conjure up a Jeep Cherokee by imagining one—but you can alter the course of illness or recovery. (and when it comes to benefits, feeling good beats a new car any day of the week)

does this push God into the junk heap of failed remedies? no. rather, it pushes the limits of how we allow God's incredible creation to work.

it pushes the limits of our faith: which prayer requires more faith? "God, i beseech thee to heal me if it be thy will" or "God, grant me the faith to believe that within me lies the power to heal?"

yes, that second prayer quickly slides us into territory that contemporary Christianity shuns: Are we saying that humans have the power of God? That we are God? That illness is a symptom of not-enough-faith?

If we accept on faith that we are created by God, can we not also accept on faith that God has given us this gift of self-healing?

What if the belief that humans have the power to manipulate their own healing through the mind is not any less Christian than the belief that only God can heal?

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posted by Don't I Know You? at 6:58 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/22/2006 11:45:00 AM, Blogger caz

    I don't think Christianity has a problem with the idea of "mind over matter", so to speak. We may not use the same language, but even ultra-conservative Christians believe they have the power to will themselves into self-discipline and righteousness. If sin is a "sickness", isn't that basically the same belief system - the power is within us to overcome/heal?

    The scary territory remains, whether it is faith in God's healing or faith that God gives us the power to heal, where is the grace for those who suffer?

  • At 8/23/2006 09:31:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    where is the grace for those who suffer?

    I agree - this is the bigger issue.

    I have a serious dairy allergy. It isn't a life-threatening reaction, but I can and do get pretty sick when I unintentionally eat foods with dairy products in them.

    A family friend once told me that my allergy is all in my head and that I could eat anything I wanted if I would only have enough faith.

    I tested his theory (although I made sure that I didn't consume enough to really hurt myself) and....yeah. It didn't work. At all.

    My mom had similar struggles with her asthma when she was young - I think she even felt a little guilty for taking medicine for it instead of trusting God even though she had a hard time breathing without it. And even though she had three small kids to consider at the time.

    So I don't know. I do believe that God can heal us.

    And, yes, our minds do have more influence over our health than has been previously thought.

    But I also believe that there are times, for whatever reason, when healing doesn't come. Even if you really want it. Even if you pray and believe.

    This doesn't mean that the person without healing is a sinner or that God is angry with them.

    I don't know why some are healed and some are not. I wish I did - maybe it's suppose to be a mystery in this age?

  • At 8/23/2006 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    My belief is that certainly there are impacts that our mind can make in healing. Faith and trust of God is very important and can be for believers a great comfort within an illness etc. However, I personally believe that God has created us with intelligence, wisdom, opportunity, and options. He provides people, medicine, alternative ways of healing. I guess I am a both person. I don't have a problem with Faith, prayer and seeking God within a struggle. If my child is sick I will seek all areas of option and pray to God for his guidance and help. There are people that are very faithful that are not healed and there are people without faith that are. Like so many things there are too many variables involved. Each story is it's own, and there probably is not an exact way to approach healing. I believe each person has to weigh the options, the illness, the circumstance and continue to trust God within each.

  • At 8/23/2006 05:18:00 PM, Blogger lydia

    I guess I am a both person.

    Yep, I think this is a good example of a both/and situation - i.e. it doesn't have to be one or the other. We can have both.

  • At 8/23/2006 08:28:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Yup, I'll throw my hat in for both/and, too.

    In the biblical narrative, both first and second T.'s, I see the Trinity so creative and out-of-the-box in who, why, when, where and how when it came to healing people!

    I think Jesus loved the gift of healing! Perhaps He was surprised himself sometimes in the ways His Father worked it out! I think Jesus would have liked our phrase, "Whatever works!" ... all with a smile, of course!


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