1. The remedies are produced from the animal, vegetable or mineral kingdoms. Many, taken in sufficient dosage are poisonous. The first principle is for these remedies, poisonous or otherwise, to be matched to the symptoms in disease of what would be poison symptoms had a large dose been taken. This principle is known as 'let likes be treated by likes'. The term homoeopathy is also from the Greek homoios meaning "similar" and pathos meaning "state" or "condition". It is well known that different individuals, although exhibiting symptom common to all sufferers of certain diseases or infections often show individual bodily symptoms and mental states. Often warmth or cold or pressure aggravates or relieves; symptoms are sometimes worse at night or at different times; some patients are allergic to foods, etc. etc. In an effort to treat the patient as a whole individual, when remedies are matched well to the mental and other secondary symptoms the results are often amazing. In the case of mismatching there is a limited or no effect at all. You will recognise the 'holistic' principle here which causes homoeopathy to be often lumped into the same category as New Age therapies.
2. The second great principle of homoeopathy is for the remedies to be highly diluted. Taken in minute doses they apparently stimulate the body to either resist the possible infection, or fight the infection if it is present. I said "apparently" because homoeopathic remedies are diluted and therefore are quite unlike modern synthetic drugs which themselves destroy bacteria. And their beauty is that because they stimulate the body's natural healing capabilities they therefore do not lend themselves to encouraging bacteria to become drug resistant, neither do they promote unpleasant side effects which can be more grievous than the complaint they are treating. Neither are they addictive in whatever quantity taken.
But, in all this some Christians believe that they have a problem.
IV. WHAT IS THE "PROBLEM"?
I have in front of me two publications dealing in considerable detail with the supposed dangers of Homoeopathy. They are:
a) Homoeopathy investigated. A scientific and historical examination by A D Bambridge. (Referred to as ADB). Booklet published by Diasozo Trust.
b) Healing at any price. Chapter six 'Homoeopathy - cosmic energy in bottles'. By Samuel Pfeifer MD. (Referred to as SP). Published by Word (UK) Ltd.
The "troubles" fall under two headings:
i) Hahnemann was a Freemason, and the age in which he lived was rife with occult practice. Our authors connect him with this scenario.
ii) The residue of the remedies after dilution is very low. Because of this it has not been possible to scientifically determine exactly how they work on the body. Therefore, on the one hand it is commonplace for the medical profession to be sceptical concerning homoeopathy which has not formed part of its formal training. On the other hand it is an easy let-out to say that its success is from the occult, which is what is assumed by certain Christians. Among some Christians there is almost a neurosis concerning the presence of the occult in today's culture.
Let us examine these two stumbling blocks to our authors.
V. AN ANALYSIS OF THE ABOVE PUBLICATIONS
i) Hahnemann was a Freemason. This is undisputed. In case anyone does not know, it must be understood that whatever lip service Freemasons may give to sympathy with Christianity, the higher degrees are so riddled with the occult as to be totally blasphemous and antichristian.
SP does not lose the opportunity to point out that Hahnemann referred to Jesus as the "arch enthusiast" and that he was an admirer of Confucius (p.68). No doubt the majority of Freemasons today would share his viewpoint.
But what has this viewpoint of Hahnemann (or any other scientist or doctor today) got to do with his research and its results? Absolutely nothing, unless we wish to believe that his research results were of demonic origin. This is claimed by ADP but there are hallmarks associated with occult communication, and homoeopathy has none. I provide a little more detail on this matter below.
Are we today to say that because a man is a Freemason he cannot be a reliable scientist? I would not regard Hahnemann or any Freemason as a reliable guide on spiritual matters, but to say that this must affect their science is nonsense.
Our authors point out that in his Organon of Medicine he uses terms such as 'imbalance' 'vital force' and 'harmony with the universe'. No doubt this was the language of the metaphysicians of his day, of whatever system. He was simply using the general ideas of the age, in the absence of any more scientific explanation. Moreover, we must remember that in the age in which he lived science was not governed by a materialistic world view. Beyond the pale of Christianity it often was pantheistic.
But more than that, our authors suggest a historical connection with the occultic religion of ancient Egypt to which we have already referred. What is the truth? According to the Papyrus Ebers, an Egyptian document, the history of healing goes back to at least 1600 BC. The art was, as would be universal at that time, connected with the priesthood and temple worship. As to what may have been revealed supernaturally is anybody's guess. But how on earth a historical connection can be implied between ancient Egypt and the early 19thC homoeopathic medical discoveries I fail to see. The only connection is our authors' presuppositions, in other words the connection is in their minds.
But ADB nevertheless believes he can be specific. He points out that Paracelsus lived in the area several hundred years before Hahnemann. He was a spiritualist and therefore believed the spirits were important in nature. He was interested in healing, and produced many herbal and mineral remedies and doing so 'added...occult divination to them.'
ADB believes that homoeopathic principles were not new to Paracelsus for 'it is supposed [by whom?] that the principle of 'like cures like' was first propounded in Egypt or Persia.' He continues 'He [Paracelsus] spent some time in both these countries studying the methods of healing, which we can assume were in some degree [another greater or lesser assumption] derived from astrological and mystical beliefs and practices.
Says ADB, '...it seems [assumption] that [Hahnemann] was profoundly influenced by Paracelsus.'
For Christians, what a damning CV for the father of Homoeopathy!
True, ADB is honest enough to say that '...when asked, Hahnemann denied having even heard of Paracelsus...', but he nevertheless chose not to accept Hahnemann's word, for he continues '[but] it is generally acknowledged [favourite expression to give force to a weak case without giving specific details] that homoeopathy has, in some way [quite unsubstantiated or explained how], evolved from the alchemic principles laid down by this 16th century Swiss mystic.' (p.2).
He continues p.3. 'The vital force that Hahnemann was referring to probably arose [another unsubstantiated assumption] out of the Ayurvedic system of healing...This Hindu influence...Hahnemann was a Deist [belief in a Creator God who then opts out of his creation]...believed he was instructed by this overall creator in the elements of homoeopathy...'
ADB's conclusion on this is 'If [the 'if' of a conclusion, not the 'if' of uncertainty which I believe it should be on the lack of hard evidence] then Hahnemann was instructed by a god...I believe that Hahnemann was deceived by a lying demonic spirit...' This would only be true if he engaged in 'automatic writing' or some other device, of which there is no evidence. Moreover the occult as a source of information is unreliable and unpredictable Is our author suggesting that Hahnemann was provided a complete pharmacopoeia with all the testings pre-worked?!! I would understand the case to be parallel to that of any Christian who believes that God helps them in their work or any other endeavour.
There is therefore no substantiated reason, other than in the minds of the opponents of homoeopathy, to believe that the knowledge of homoeopathic remedies was occultly derived. They were identified by Hahnemann by investigation and experiment, and later physicians who, as I have said, dosed themselves with the poisons and observed the results.
Yet, on this type of worthless foundation of assumptions both ADB and SP write pages ad nauseum purporting to prove the connection of Homoeopathy with the occult and the East.
One would think that it was ever only prescribed by back street practitioners, and they make no acknowledgment that there are a number of homeopathic hospitals of national importance in this country which were funded by the NHS from day one, and that all doctors practising in these establishments and in every other homoeopathic practice had the same training as any other GP, plus the extra course devoted to homeopathy.
May I suggest that literature on the subject such as we are considering be read in a more critical and less prejudiced light?
2. The residue of the remedy after dilution is very low. This is the second stumbling block. It is so that after dilution very little, perhaps only a molecule or two, or even none of the original tincture would be in the patient's medicine bottle. This is not true of the lower more commonly used dilutions, but it is true of the higher dilutions used by doctors to treat chronic conditions. We confess that we do not know the mechanisms used by the remedy to promote the healing in either dilutions, but it is quite illogical, totally unscientific and an easy cop-out to conclude tht the answer is in the occult. Is it not the case that the more we know of the wonder of God's world, the more mysteries appear needing to be solved? Is that little white pill of our earlier experiment such a villain?!!
Hahnemann's explanation of the curative effects of his diluted remedies was according to the language of his age - basically just observational science. According to ADB (p.4) Hahnemann says, '...elicited the vital spirit of the plant or mineral without all the poisonous effects.' But whatever the explanation, it would not give the remedies their curative effects if there were no basis in science
This process of diluting in stages with shaking (succussion) is important. As a layman I would have thought the reason for this was so that thorough dispersal and mixing of the molecules throughout the liquid was achieved, and also that it provides a measurement of strength after dilution. Not so SP.
He latches on to the fact that apparently Hahnemann, in explanation of this process of dilution and succussion says '"...Shaking (or potentiating) releases dynamic energies..." - via the living human hand he is "laying hands" on the sick." (p.63). In other words, says SP (p.64) 'Hahnemann believes that through shaking...a cosmic vital force is transferred to the homoeopathic solution.' As I have just said, however Hahnemann described the source of effectiveness, it would not give the properties their curative effect. SP is suggesting a scenario every bit as idiotic as I described at the beginning of this paper.
In any case, today, shaking is done mechanically, as ADB describes (p.8). So it has no significance at all - other than being part of the demonisation of Hahnemann by our authors.
They show, also, not a little arrogance in asserting that the principle of higher dilutions (i.e. less remedy) apparently being even more powerful than the lower dilution is contrary to all known practice - '...in opposition to the natural laws found in God's creation. I must conclude [says ADB] that the overall concept...has been concocted by forces which are contrary to God.' Dealing with powerful synthetic drugs, as doctors do, one can understand their viewpoint, but 'spiritualizing' it makes our authors hidebound prejudice even more bizarre. They also identify what probably are some inconsistencies in the effect of remedies on certain symptoms or personalities, and on this basis "rubbish" the whole system. (e.g. ADB p.16)
But again, this is arrogant. With all the problems associated with modern drugs (who can forget thalidomide?), I would have thought a little humility would have been more becoming. Moreover, although the principle of immunisation and vaccination are not really parallel with homoeopathy, are not small quantities of infection introduced to stimulate resistance and natural immunity?
There is little that I can say on what, I fear, is almost akin to a neurotic view of some Christians of the presence of the occult in our culture. To such, no amount of reason or balance or trying to understand the situation will help. Such personalities, rather, feed upon our authors' materials, and this rebuttal of the alleged occultic character of homoeopathy will cut no ice with them.
But for the sake of those whose minds are not closed I would like to say a little on the modern practice of homoeopathy.
VI. MODERN HOMOEOPATHIC PRACTICE
To repeat what I have already said, bear in mind that from the first day of the National Health Service, homoeopathy was accepted as a bona fide form of medicine. In fact there were, and still are homoeopathic hospitals throughout the country operating as part of the NHS. Moreover, doctors with homeopathic qualifications have undergone the same training as their non-homoeopathic colleagues. But they have undergone additional training. We need look no further for a reason that so few doctors take this course, having already completed an extensive qualifying training already.
It is true that many non-homoeopathic doctors view with scepticism homoeopathic medicine. But scepticism is very common among all professionals in all disciplines where there is a lack of knowledge and experience outside well worn and tried practices and principles. It is only now that many doctors are setting aside their prejudices and referring their patients to chiropractors and osteopaths because traditional methods are crude and often ineffective compared with the results obtained by these complementary therapies.
Homoeopathy is very effective when applied as complementary to normal surgery or other therapies where these are needed, as is the case in NHS homoeopathic hospitals. Also, these hospitals are able to alleviate many conditions for which conventional medicine has no treatment. Syndromes are cases in point.
Some of our opponents (SP p.81) allege that we have to have "faith" in our remedies. It is important to remember that the system is equally effective when given to infants and animals. Where does that leave the requirement for "faith"? Anyway, if folks have no "faith" in their aspirin or other tablets why do they take them?
In conclusion, it is interesting, after all the denigration that has been heaped by our authors on homoeopathy and its founder, to find that they both admit that it is successful! Says SP 'There is no doubt that homoeopathy is successful' (p.76). And ADB says '...the number of quite substantial cures achieved by homoeopaths is too large...'
ADB also admits that in the treatment of certain diseases homeopathy has a better success rate than conventional medicine. That a success rate can be statistically analysed surely does not suggest the involvement of the demonic which, as I have said, is in its very nature erratic, unstable and unpredictable? But apparently ADB has no doubt as to the source of its success - '...initiated (and maintained) by what I believe to be demonic agencies.' (p.16). Is he trying too hard?
Do our authors not know of the considerable ramifications of the homoeopaths in the NHS? Or of the many doctors in family practices who prescribe homoeopathic medicines? Are all (or any?) of these inspired and activated by demonic powers? The very idea shows the value that may be put upon much of their evaluations.
SP has no doubt either as to the success of homoeopathic medicine (p.79). He offers the whole range of possible explanations from confidence in the doctor and the prescription (a placebo effect), to the psychosomatic dimension or a new diet or lifestyle (better food, rest etc.) No doubt, when such are used, as complementary to homoeopathic or even traditional medicine, they will have their effect. But they do not discredit the one medicine more than the other. And, of course, he suggests the most likely reason for its success - the occult! If that is true, the Devil is doing a remarkable job of healing; apparently better than the medical profession in some areas. But is it possible that there is a scientific effectiveness of the remedies? Never!
VII. THE REAL OCCULT DIMENSION
I believe that part of the "problem" for Christians is that seeing local holistic health clinics often advertising Eastern mystical sources of healing, because they include homeopathy in their stock-in-trade their perception is that all of it, including the homoeopathy is occult. But such practitioners have always offered homoeopathy. They know its benefits, along with other herbal remedies. With their medicines they use occult diagnostic techniques such as pendulum swinging, iridology, etc. These New Age practitioners also write books. Our authors have picked up all this and have assumed, through naivety, ignorance and prejudice, a connection between all this and homoeopathy as confirming the essence of homoeopathy also being occult. Have they never seen or taken notice of any homoeopathic pharmacopoeia or diagnostic reference volumes written by physicians with similar training to themselves (if they are doctors)?
But there really is no reason for Christians or any other person if it comes to that, to fall foul of occult practitioners. The correct course is to have a letter of referral by your GP to a homoeopathic hospital if your condition is chronic and conventional medicine is not as effective as you would like, or perhaps it is destroying you? You may have to be firm about this, bearing in mind that your GP may be sceptical. Alternatively, if you write to a homoeopathic hospital for a list of privately practising homoeopathic GP's they will send you one. At least a consultation will give you an idea as to whether your condition can be effectively treated by homoeopathy or not.
VIII. USE HOMOEOPATHY WITH CONFIDENCE
SP asks 'Why do Christians need to bother with these remedies?'
The answer is that they are reasonable in price, very gentle and easy to select for many common ailments - chill prevention, sprains, inflammation, teething in infants etc. etc.
One of our children received great help for asthma in her infancy from the London Homoeopathic Hospital, and my wife also for arthritis and migraine. We have both used these remedies domestically for nearly forty years with great success. And we live, and, (we believe) move in the Holy Spirit also.
Most pharmacists now have an excellent range of homoeopathic remedies together with inexpensive books describing their uses. Read a little about it. It may save you many long waits at your local surgery, at least, and provide relief or cure without unpleasant side effects.
So, yes, let us "try the spirits" as our author's suggest, but let us not naively, nor neurotically see demons where there are none. Neither let us persist in a self imposed ignorance which gives rise to gullibility when such things are suggested.
Said Paul to Timothy, "...God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Tim.1:7.
But best of all, look to the Lord for healing. Or, even better, believe for good health from him. But if we do not receive healing from him and the Lord has permitted us (as apparently was the case with Timothy) with a weaker constitution, then let us use means, of which homoeopathy is among the best. May I, at this point, say how much I esteem doctors and the medical establishment - even the NHS! I would not wish any criticism I have made of modern drugs, which is well known apart from anything I have said, or my reference to the opposition of physicians to medicines other than those in their pharmacopoeias to be interpreted as opposition to any orthodox medical science or procedures. But that modern medicine has its limitations is well known, and I only wish to commend medicines, which in the sphere in which they best operate, are undoubtedly better than synthetic drugs.
Oh! By the way. That aspirin, or what-have-you. Make sure who it is who prescribes it. If it is an occult practitioner, it may have more occult connections than a hospital full of homoeopathic remedies!
That homeopathy is not occult is disputed by many Christian writers on New Age themes, for example:
Homeopathy – NEW AGE
A system of medicine rooted in occult ideas that was developed by Samuel Hahnemann. It claims to manipulate the "vital force" of the human body by transferring the power of homeopathic medicines that have been potentised by a process of dilutions and succession (vigorous shaking with impact).
Source: A Brief Dictionary of New Age Terminology, by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph. D., http://logosresourcepages.org/Occult/na-dict.htm
See also HOMOEOPATHY-DAVID L BROWN http://ephesians-511.net/docs/HOMOEOPATHY-DAVID_L_BROWN.doc.
Another example (this writer cites my web site; see the lines in dark blue colour):
Is Homeopathy Evil?
By Michael H. Brown, February 2012
CONFUSION REMAINS OVER VATICAN STUDY THAT LISTED HOMEOPATHY, CHIROPRACTIC AS NEW AGE
Back some years ago the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue came out with a document about the New Age.
It was called "Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: a Christian Reflection on the 'New Age’," and in it was a passage saying that "advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of 'bodywork,' (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch, etcetera), meditation and visualization, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music, or colors, reincarnation therapies, and, finally, twelve-step programs and self-help groups."
It was, to say the least, eye-opening; to many, it was also perplexing: no further rationale or explanations were given for listing most of the practices. Particularly surprising was the mention of acupuncture, homeopathy, nutritional therapies, and twelve-step programs (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous -- which often holds meetings in Christian, including Catholic, churches). Had the council simply decided not to delve into depth on each subject, or were the members simply unfamiliar with the details such practices (and thus not prone to expand upon each)? Was the council referring only to some in the above fields who stray (as seen in advertisements)?
We have had previous articles on the acupuncture debate. Most recently, viewers have questioned the citing of homeopathy -- whereby a small amount of a substance that causes symptoms of a disease is given to someone based on the belief that a substance that in large doses will produce symptoms of a specific disease will, in extremely small doses, cure it. (For example, if the symptoms of your cold are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy, says a website devoted to it.) The remedy is taken in an extremely dilute form; normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.
Is this -- is homeopathy -- truly occult? Or just alternative medicine? Doesn't the Bible mention herbs?
What perhaps caught the Vatican's attention is the fact that, according to Wikipedia: "Homeopathy is a vitalist philosophy that interprets diseases and sickness as caused by disturbances in a hypothetical vital force or life force. It sees these disturbances as manifesting themselves as unique symptoms. Homeopathy maintains that the vital force has the ability to react and adapt to internal and external causes, which homeopaths refer to as the law of susceptibility. The law of susceptibility implies that a negative state of mind can attract hypothetical disease entities called miasms to invade the body and produce symptoms of diseases."
"Life" or "vital" force often brings to mind Eastern concepts of ch'i (or ki) -- a supposed energy or aura around people -- and this indeed meanders, in the view of many, into psychic phenomena. One expert, Erika Gibello, who, "as a pharmacist and Catholic retreat preacher, secretary to the International Associations of Deliverance and Exorcism in Rome," has thus described homeopathy as "soft occult."
We don't pretend to know the mechanics of life. On the "other side" of the veil, when we die, we may all be profoundly surprised at many things. There are certainly spiritual aspects to disease (otherwise, Christ would not have healed by casting dark spirits out). Others have written to us describing beneficial effects -- as we also have heard from those who say they were helped by acupuncture or chiropractors. Indeed: there are good Catholics (even prominent ones) who are chiropractors. Here we also get into magnetic therapy.
But we must be very cautious with the esoteric.
While many chiropractors stick with what seems similar to sports medicine (manual physical therapy), others stray into realm of the metaphysical and many chiropractors adhere to the philosophical principles that retain vitalistic qualities. "Early chiropractors believed that all disease was caused by interruptions in the flow of innate intelligence, a vital nervous energy or life force that represented God's presence in man; chiropractic leaders often invoked religious imagery and moral traditions," says the encyclopedia.
And so we get back to that "life force," which you also hear about in certain martial arts and which is involved in acupuncture (which seeks to remedy flows of unseen energy).
Says a defender: "Though some homeopathic doctors definitely employ the occult philosophies of Yin-Yang, many do not. Homeopathy is a method of treating disease with small amounts of remedies that, in large amounts in healthy people, produce symptoms similar to those being treated (a very effective form of natural medicine). For example: What do people do when they have the flu? They have teary eyes, sinus congestion, etc. A homeopathic solution would be to eat some hot peppers or onions. No kidding! When I get a cold, I eat Mexican food and hot-sauce. It works for me.
"When our daughter received homeopathic treatment, it was strictly of a medical nature. Now if you go to the same doctor with a stress disorder or hot-temper asking for help, you might be presented with occult doctrines (which could just as easily be said of any doctor). If you go to any 'normal' doctor with an emotional problem, you're just going to be sent to a Godless psychiatrist, who will send you to a neurologist, who will just put you on drugs. Many believers have been brainwashed into believing that all forms of natural healing are wrong. Folks, natural healing is the best way to go!"
There is even a "Christian's Guide to Homeopathy."
When does "natural" (which is certainly good) turn into the "occult"?
Says a site dedicated to praying against the New Age has one prayer that goes as follows:
"Recognizing the occultism and esotericism in the philosophies and practices of New Age errors that have infiltrated Holy Mother Church, and compromised the eternal salvation of many souls which include priests and nuns who practice and propagate eastern meditations [name them: Transcendental Meditation, vipassana, yoga, zen, etcetera] and alternative medicines [name them: acupuncture, homoeopathy, pranic healing, Reiki, etcetera.], we pray to You:
"New Agers believe that You are an impersonal, amoral, evolutionary force within the universe; but You are a moral, personal Being, who is the all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present Creator of the universe.
"New Agers believe that we, humans, are the apex of evolution, having unlimited potential, giving self-awareness to the 'Divine Life Force,' depending on our own 'intuition' and capable of guiding the process of evolution; but we know that You created us in Your image and likeness as personal, rational, moral beings."
Commenting on it, Pope John Paul saw the "New Age" as "one of the greatest threats to Christianity in the third millennium."
Adds a non-Catholic fundamentalist: "Many homeopaths use radionic pendulums (to detect and analyze human 'energy fields' and to occulticly 'douse' for answers to questions) and astrology in their diagnosis. They also communicate with spiritualists in their search for cures."
That we know to be errant. Some even assert a link to Freemasonry. In fact, the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), was a Mason.
But, again, not all use overt occult methods. We'll have to ask you to help us discern the rest of it.
The question is: when does something become New Age?
There is another question:
If it is bad, what about such practices and their wide use in convents and retreat centers run by nuns?
There, as we have reported before, it is rampant.
[See also: Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: a Christian reflection on the 'New Age, New Age Makes Huge Inroad Into Retreat Centers Operated By Catholic Nuns Infiltration of Catholic nuns http://www.spiritdaily.net/newageinfiltration.htm, and A defender and A detractor]