A Review: “The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America” by Dr. Candy Gunther Brown

 

Dr. Candy Gunther Brown’s book,  “The Healing Gods – Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America,” is essential reading for those trying to understand how evangelicals have come to adopt so many Eastern healing and religious practices from acupuncture to the practice of Yoga.  It is also essential reading for those in Christian academia who are attempting to merge or “integrate” the New Age and Eastern religious based techniques into psychological therapies and wellness programs.

Dr. Brown’s scholarly book dives deeply into the philosophical and spiritual roots of many popular Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) techniques.   She also analyzes the logical and spiritual dimensions of whether  CAM  practices can ever be truly separated from their spiritual origins.  She also documents how science has been used to develop the “evidence base” for these practices and logical fallacies and lack of scientific understanding associated with the adoption of CAM practices by Christians.

As “evidence-based” practices begin to dominate school curricula and the therapeutic community, one would do well to study this book and question the explosion of “mindfulness” based techniques and their grounding in Buddhist philosophy.  To that end, Dr. Brown explores the public policy and First Amendment issues of the integration of spiritually based philosophies and techniques into public schools.

Dr. Brown is a Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University.  She is the author of “Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing,” (Oxford University Press, 2011), and “Testing Prayer:  Science and Healing,” (Harvard University Press, 2012).  She has maintained blogs for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Yoga and the Occult – A Former Witch Speaks Out

Yoga students doing the Shiva Pose – Shiva is the Hindu god of Yoga and the god of destruction

 

 

Below is a link to a great article on yoga by Beth Eckert on her website The Other Side of Darkness.  Her blog piece was just featured on the Charisma magazine website.  Beth not only has intimate knowledge and experience with yoga, but she also understands the relationship of yogic spirituality to witchcraft and the occult.

When will Church leaders begin to take the spiritual origins of yoga seriously!  If they don’t, they will have great difficulty reaching those involved in the New Age and yoga (Hinduism). The Church is so concerned about being “relevant”  that they cannot see idolatry when it is staring them in the face.  Meanwhile, young believers are getting confused as the Trojan horse of “evidence-based” research into yoga and “mindfulness” meditation is seen as scientific support for these practices.

Conducting a randomly-controlled scientific study on the effects of an occult practice does not cleanse it of its spiritual dimensions. Furthermore, most of the research on yoga and “mindfulness meditation” is poorly controlled and fraught with expectation bias effects.   Most studies do not have meaningful controls comparing yoga and meditation to other exercise or cognitive interventions.   However, in a quest not to appear to be anti-science and in some cases “spiritually correct,” many Christian institutions use this research to justify the adoption of the highly questionable spiritual practices and syncretize the Christian faith.  Christian leaders would do well by reading Candy Gunther Brown’s, “Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America,” and Farias and Wikholm’s “The Buddha Pill” to understand the theological implications and the state of scientific research into the practice of yoga and eastern meditation.

Beth’s blog post can be found here.  Yoga and the Occult

The Lord of Yoga prominently featured at the Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland

shiva-hell-house-best

 

My heart grieves for all of those who lost loved ones at the warehouse fire in Oakland.  However, I can’t help but wonder about the prominence of Lord Shiva, the Lord of Yoga, at the Warehouse.  With the association of Shiva, the destroyer god, with so many other symbols of death and destruction at the Warehouse, is it a wonder the fate of honoring these idols would bring?

For more photos of the “Ghost Ship” warehouse see: “Hell House: Dancing with the Devil in Oakland.”

Bob Larson warns mindful meditation is mindless

mindful

From Bob Larson’s Blog:

It’s the new buzz-word of spiritually minded millennials – MINDFULNESS. It can mean almost anything to anyone. The concept was borrowed from yoga, TM, and, of course, Buddhism. Some psychologists have gotten into the act, thinking it’s a drug-free way to reduce stress and become more focused. Spiritually, it’s supposed to be the ultimate path to avoiding suffering and gaining intuitive insight. It also may induce altered states of consciousness. Proponents tout its ability to get us “into the moment,” unconditionally accepting what “is.” There’s no effort to change the way things are, just be “wakeful,” “mindful” and be present with the self. The result is, whether twisted into a yoga position or seated in a Zen posture, transcendence to a place of implicit knowledge and wisdom, of “being alive” to universal consciousness.

If all that sounds to you like New Age psycho-babble, you’re right. It is ultimately based on the lie of Buddhism, that the source of suffering is desire and therefore one needs to escape desire through direct experience of the inner-divine. So much is wrong with this assumption, I hardly know where to start. (For a detailed explanation of the dangers of Eastern Meditation read LARSON’S BOOK OF WORLD RELIGIONS, the section on “meditation.” To order CLICK HERE.) Mindfulness is based on explicit anti-biblical premises. First, to the mindful meditator there is no such thing as objective, immoral conduct known as sin; second there is no devil; third, there is no transcendent moral code; no Decalogue. Even the respected journal “Psychology Today” recommends meditating before an altar with “sacred objects” of one’s own religious tradition. If that’s not idolatry, what is?

Mindfulness usually involves breathing techniques, akin to cultivating chi in Taoism or prana in Hinduism. Stilling one’s thoughts is also crucial, shutting down the mind, and thus the cognitive will. It is in this state of acute awareness of the “now” that Christian precepts are discarded in favor of the energy of the present. In contrast, God has given us our minds and intellects that we might rationally know that He is God. In contrast to the emptiness of mindfulness, Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” That requires concentrative, directive thought, not a mind adrift in the senses of the moment. As Psalm 25:4 says, “Show me Your ways, O Lord, Teach me Your paths.” Don’t discard the intelligent pursuit of truth and exchange it for the awareness of inner self. That self may be demonized by generational curses, or possessed by spirits that entered through personal iniquities. Don’t mindfully feed your inner demons. Expel them in the name of Jesus!