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 but explains the 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.


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