Faith Healing Essay
There are certain aspects of sicknesses and illnesses like sexually transmitted diseases and even cancer that aspire expensive medical procedures and attention. Most illnesses don’t even provide a cure, leaving most patients hopeless and creating a new fear for them. Patients can often be restricted with the cost of being cured because it makes them vulnerable to use less expensive methods that promise a cure, like Faith Healing.
Faith Healing is “healing through spiritual means. Believers assert that the healing of a person can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability.” Faith Healers often start from a young age and there are some famous Faith Healers in the Philippines that do their healing around the world and not just their country. There was a Faith Healer in the Philippines whose name was Fernando Suarez. He was a priest who performed his Faith Healing methods throughout the world and not just in the Philippines. He started his journey of Faith Healing when he was only 16. At this point in his life he stumbled upon a crippled woman and in retrospect he felt sorry for her, so he began to pray beside her. As he was encountering this woman, he spoke about feeling the woman’s bones grow in her body. He had this strange feeling that God provided him with the gift of prayer and healing, and so he began gathering thousands of people that hoped to be healed from their disease someday.
One of his many successful cases of healing was in fact his grandmother when she was told that she only had 24 hours to live. He prayed and prayed over her constantly and she was miraculously healed after a few days. There are many successes to Faith Healing as a whole, but there is a bigger picture to all of this. Not everyone that has been healed by Fernando Suarez, in fact there were a few deaths in his practices and several were rushed to the hospital. Faith Healing has many negative effects on human beings as well being that the medical attention needed acts as it is substituted by Faith Healing. There have been several reports from people dying because their church and groups went on to tell them that they have been healed of their diseases and that stops them from taking their medications. There are many faith healing groups that actually charge a fee for their faith healing maintenance. Most people that subscribe to Faith Healing are sometimes not even healed even though they pay and fee.
There are two sides to Faith Healing, bad and good. Faith Healing might be positive to some people, but when subscribing to the service of it, caution must be looked at as well. Faith Healing can often times be an illusion and instead of actually healing the person, it can take the life of him or her. So many ask the question, what is the reality of Faith Healing? One thing that is definitely of certain is that we are not able to cure people of the drive that they contain to Faith Healers until they have certain truths. Faith Healing doesn’t really have any negative affects because when being healed it can’t get worse. There’s really only one negative affect, being that these practitioners are scamming you and taking your money for their own good and the patient gets nothing out of it. In fact there are many different ways of healing and patients often test Faith Healers with their different ways of healing and practices. Most Christians actually believe that the healing comes from their savior, Jesus Christ, and all of his apostles as they answer their prayers.
The placebo affect can be associated with the act of believing in a cause or somethin, however it does not completely cure the person. For example, when someone is told that he or she has been cured or can be cured, the placebo affect comes into play because this then makes them feel more confident, but sooner or later it tends to fail as seen in tests and practices. Expenses may also increase if patients make the decision to find medical help later. In certain illnesses like cancer, patients often make the decision to receive medical help because of how severe the illness can be and especially in later stages. As this is all happening it makes it harder to cure the patient and it could have been all prevented had they been searching for medical attention in the first place. Statistics actually provide evidence that Faith Healing can in fact not substitute for medical help. There have been studies that have shown that children died because of the illness and that their parents didn’t seek medical attention for them. Miracles can still occur even if receiving medical help.
It has been shown that families pray and are cured because they are receiving medical attention as well as being healed by faith. As for “faith,” first of all, we hear no mention among these faith healers of an objective faith. They stress the faith of the one being or wanting to be healed and claim that it was in view of the faith of the sick persons that Jesus and His apostles accomplished their cures. With this interpretation of the word “faith” they conveniently are able to explain away their frequent failures. The Gospel record, however, tells an altogether different story. Examples are, the Centurion, Matthew 8, whose servant was healed. Though the Centurion believed, the Scriptures say nothing concerning the faith of the servant before he was healed. In Mark 9 we are told that the father believed, but, again, nothing is said about the son who was healed. John 9 clearly tells us that the blind man did not even know who Christ was, and yet he was healed. What about Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off and which Jesus restored? Did Malchus believe in Jesus? Hardly.
When the disciples complained to Jesus that they were not able to heal at certain times, did Jesus blame this on the unbelief of the people? A glance at Matthew 17, 14-21 shows that Jesus blamed His disciples for their lack of faith. Miracles of healing as well as other miracles done by our Lord and His disciples were performed as a sign, “Not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” I Corinthians 14, 22. God never was limited to confirm the Word by the attitude of those on whom He would work His wonders. If the healers of our day are so limited, as they freely admit and urge it strenuously to explain their failures, then their power cannot be of God. Furthermore, if we pay close attention to their use of the word “faith,” we soon perceive that “faith” amounts simply in the belief that God is able to perform a miraculous cure through this particular healer, thus hoping for a mental attitude of trust in the healer’s power. This, surely, is not the substance of faith as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
O, yes, these people, at least many of them preach about Christ’s atonement, etc. Such preaching of theirs is, however, immediately linked up with their teaching that as Christ died to save us from sin, so He also died to save us from sickness and that, unless we believe in His power to heal physical sickness, we do not accept Him as our personal Savior. The phrase used is: “A double cure for a double curse.” Let us now examine this type of faith. The Apostle Paul carried the affliction of a “thorn in the flesh” to the Lord in prayer. Thrice he prayed that the Lord would remove it. The Lord simply, answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12, 9. Did that mean that the Apostle did not have a genuine saving faith? Or, what about Luther, who suffered from frequent gall stone attacks and migraine headaches? Was his faith insincere and not unto salvation? Now, in regard to their teaching concerning sickness. They do not believe that sickness could be a visitation or that by means of it God may wish to discipline His children to the end that they glorify Him whose strength is made perfect in weakness.
To this these so-called faith healers will not assent. They teach that sickness is contrary to God’s will; that God in His love actually does not want people to suffer but that it is the devil and sin which cause sickness; and that when Satan has been cast out of a person and sin has left him, then there is no reason, if he has the right faith, that he should not be healed. If our salvation depended on that type of faith, who could, who would ever be saved? Not even the faith healers themselves could hope to be saved; since they, too, must some day have a fatal, final illness. Must man then despair of his salvation if he does not get well again? No, we believe, as the Scriptures teach, that sin has also brought every imaginable misery upon the human race, including that of diseases; but we also believe, as the Scriptures teach, that sickness or physical infirmities are not the result of a specific sin, as John 9 clearly teaches in regard to the man who had been born blind. Consequently, the above-mentioned teachings of faith and of diseases as taught by the self-proclaimed divine healers are anti-Scriptural, leading to despair, and a doctrine of Satan.
If such Men and women who teach and profess such false doctrines appear to have the power over diseases; we may correctly assume that their power is not of God. This brings us to the third point. Is there, then, such a thing as faith-cure? Why not? But we shall not and dare not call it divine healing in the sense as it is used by the so-called healers. If these people should happen to perform what might properly be called a miracle, the power that works them is not from above, but from below. But even the devil does not seem to cooperate with them any too well, because, in most instances one cannot find the miraculous element present. Have you ever heard of these people restoring a missing limb or giving eyesight to one who had been born blind or raising some one from death back to life? In the majority of cases there is an absence of the truly supernatural element. Then, just what kind of cures do they affect, if any? We all know of the interaction of the soul and the body, both in sickness as in health. These interactions are some of the greatest mysteries of human philosophy whose reality, however, no one can deny.
In this connection we need only remind ourselves of the effect, which joy, hatred, worry, jealousy, and the like emotions have upon the body and mind. Likewise, we also know that there is a subconscious working of the mind and the nervous system, which effects a healing. Call it “mind over matter” if you wish. There are any numbers of ailments, which respond to this type of healing process. Physicians tell us that somehow the mind pours the lymph around a broken bone, draws off poison into canals, seals up abscesses with a firm wall, marshals blood cells to attack invading germs. Doctors claim that rheumatism often disappears by self-elimination and that tuberculosis often heals itself. A sudden scare may be just the touch-off necessary to send a bedridden patient back to his feet. People who had lost their hearing or their sight by an accident often regain these senses after or during an exciting experience.
Aware of this, the healers often resort to artificial excitement in order to obtain results; and then they claim that it is a special power of God vested in them. And then, there is the power of suggestion, which is the secret to nearly 90% of the successful cures of the healers. All of this applies with double force when the disease was caused by the mind or in the nervous system. This is called a form of hysteria (not to be confused with hysterics). Hysteria, it is claimed, can stimulate every known complaint so that the symptoms of the disease appear while the disease itself is not present. In other words, it is possible for people to experience paralysis, heart disease, the worst forms of fevers and the like; but, a complete physical check by a reputable physician will reveal no disease present. Surely, when such are cured, we cannot think that a miracle, in the generally accepted sense of the word, has taken place. In many cases a patient of this type is helped the moment he is given a medicine or an injection which in itself contained no curative drug whatsoever.
Placed in a hopeful state of mind, having implicit confidence in the doctor, the medicine, or the “healer,” such a person soon is on the way to recovery. The point is, no miracle has taken place. Often it merely is a matter of asserting willpower and overcoming fears. When fear is removed, the nervous system begins to relax and again has a chance at trying to restore what had been lost. Faith healers resort to every known trick of the trade to effect their cures, especially on the power of suggestion. We also must keep in mind that the faith healers who claim success, nevertheless, do not attempt to cure any and every kind of ailment. For example, have you ever heard of their restoring amputated limbs, or of raising the dead to life, or proving their immunity to snake-bite—all of which are among the signs following them that believe as credentials of the truth of God’s Word. Occasional attempts at some of these signs on the part of would-be healers invariably end up in failures.
Finally, let us now take a brief look at the methods and manner employed by the “healer.” From the first-hand reports of those who watch the TV showing of the rituals and services of these “faith healers” one can draw some worthwhile conclusions. The preliminaries to their healing services are not a mere side show. They are a necessary element. These include: the singing in unison of swing-style sentimental religious songs, the coming to the forefront of people who claim to have been healed and now give public testimony of their cure, the prayers hallelujahs, praise the Lord, the clapping of hands and shouting, still more singing, a sermon on faith (by the healer himself or herself); and, not to be forgotten, the special emphasis on the necessity of the right faith, the faith that believes that God will help them only if they trust in the power invested in the healer; and then, the warning that unless they believe this, they might be damned and not even able to get forgiveness of sins. All of this is a highly essential part of the healing program.
It puts the people in the proper mood; for, whoever can be helped by the power of suggestion, might be helped. Yet, even in this area the records of such cures are very thin. Some time ago a careful investigation brought to light that 90% of the patients could report no change different from the ordinary course of the disease. What about the 10% which claimed to have been healed? If you have taken note how the “healers” have gone about their work, you will have become aware of the many psychological preparations without which they could not have accomplished a thing. Nowhere in Scriptures do we find Jesus or His disciples resorting to a technique whereby their hearers would or could become emotionally “wound up” to the extent that they became more receptive to a miraculous cure. In other words, the so-called healers could have accomplished the game without resorting to religion (were it not for the fact that they knew that their audiences expect “religion” to do the trick, and, to salve their conscience).
As far as such diseases are concerned where tissues and organs of the body have broken down, there are no reliable records of success. If they really could cure any sickness or human ailment and truly had the well-being of mankind in mind (as they claim),why would they not do as Jesus did: enter the hospitals and cure the hopeless cases; or, go to a leper colony and heal the lepers, as Jesus did? What about the numerous, voluminous testimonials which claim success even in cases of hopeless victims of diseases? Investigations have proved them to be as false as the healers themselves are dishonest and false. It has been discovered that a number of such false claims of these healers turned out to be cripples who were lifted on their feet and urged and helped to stagger a few steps while people cheered, only to be carried out as they came in—no, not even as they came in: with hope and “faith;” now they left in despair. Since they had not been cured, their faith was at fault and they were in danger of eternal damnation.
To what conclusion must a Christian come as he stares these facts in the face? Is it not this that this entire healing craze is a trick of the devil to draw people away from God’s revealed plan for our Salvation? It surely is obvious that God never has and never will confirm His Word by having false prophets perform signs and wonders from heaven. As has already been stated, the false doctrine of these practitioners consists in their unbiblical teaching concerning faith and concerning human sickness; and, their false practice is that of resorting to “quack” methods, to the power of suggestion with the claim that it is by the power of God. In short, theirs is the false practice of dishonesty and deception. It is the Church of Rome which revels in and seems to play on the superstitious “nerve” of its peoples.
Let no true Bible-believing Christian be deceived by the claims of such who do not have their redemption and salvation at heart. Whatever is not in full harmony with His Word and does not redound to His Glory is not of God and therefore must be avoided. God still heals, but not through such who misuse and falsify His Word. From an economic perspective, whether people pray or not, and whether it works, should never be used as a new form of business. Prayers are a personal way for individuals to create some kind of spiritual connection with God, and it should be left at that. It would be quite disturbing if any religious institution, or any institution for that matter, decided to take advantage of this phenomenon and actually start charging for the healing power of prayers and faith. It just doesn’t seem right.
A particular mind-set or belief about one’s body or health may lead to improvements in disease symptoms as well as changes in appetite, brain chemicals and even vision, several recent studies have found, highlighting how fundamentally the mind and body are connected. Placebo treatments are more powerful if your doctor believes in them. They are also more powerful if the doctor tells you so. The placebo effect works even when people know they are taking a placebo. How much better might they work if the patient believes God is behind the cure.
Scientists have repeatedly found that patients with strong religious beliefs fare better. The explanation isn’t necessarily God’s all healing power, but instead the power of belief. Individuals who believe in God avoid many of the self-destructive emotions that reasonably derive from terminal illnesses. They believe a positive outcome is inevitable. Many atheists who have “hoped against hope” have experienced similar benefits. The human mind is more closely connected to the body than Western medicine often recognizes.
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University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 14 October 2016
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