Ye Of Little Faith

Ye Of Little Faith

Alternative medicine is a well-known concept which is societally accepted as occurring throughout everyday life. Alternative medicine may be understood as “any range of medical therapies that are not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession, such as herbalism, homeopathy, and acupuncture. However, there is a distinction made between “alternative medicine” and attempted medical treatments which are motivated by religion. The distinction leads to the term “faith healing” which can be understood as “healing achieved by religious belief and prayer, rather than by medical treatment.” In this paper, I will discuss the stigma attached to the notion of faith healing.
First, I will elaborate on the concept of faith healing as more than just healing purportedly through spiritual means as a plea for divine intervention. This term is commonly used to explain the communal prayer and ritualistic gestures which are intended to solicit the divine entity or presence to intervene and cure illness or disability of the focus individual. However, faith healing is not given the same acceptance or merit as other forms of alternative medicine, instead being classified as a form of “pseudoscientific magical thinking”. This term in itself gives insight into the dismissive nature of common opinions towards faith healing, since “magic” is defined as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.”
Faith healing is incorporated in certain sects of Christianity or Pentecostalism; the communes are formed around this belief in faith healing. One such example of these sects is known as the Followers of Christ, based in Idaho. In the article I have chosen to write this blog about, the author attributes the deaths of twelve children from the year 2011 to faith healing. This article states that faith healing should be to blame and that criminal charges should be laid against the supposed “healers”. However, this cannot be done due to legal red tape in Idaho which allows for religious exemptions to felony or misdemeanor charges involving children. The article goes on to discuss how a recent attempt to pass a bill regarding changes to the religious exemption law, so as to allow for criminal prosecution of faith healers, failed to go forward.
In my opinion, this article does nothing more than perpetuate negative stigma towards faith healing and undermines the constitutional right of freedom of religion. Progress towards a world free of religious racism is constantly being set back by articles like this. The fact that this article was even published provides individuals with ammunition to berate and harass the members of the Followers of Christ. Not only does article and its supporters lay siege to a peaceful sect of individuals seeking to heal those with illnesses and disabilities, it implicates them as criminals and, worst of all, child killers. The fact that this article suggests that these faith healers would be implicated in a court of law, if it weren’t for the religious exemption, is a gross attack on the laws which have been put in place to protect religious rights and practices. If the bill were to pass as law, it would likely be the first stone falling in an avalanche which will end in the destruction of religious protections. Furthermore, it would set a precedent which would allow for the government to dictate which treatment must be used for any illness or disability, forsaking the autonomy of the individual. I thus conclude that “faith healing” should be incorporated into the categories recognized under the term “alternative medicine” so as to allow for its recognition as a legitimate form of healing not stigmatized by society.


One thought on “Ye Of Little Faith

  1. I find I disagree with the main argument of your article that says faith healing should be considered an alternative medicine. What I do agree with is that a person of legal age should be able to refuse any type of treatment for his or her own illness and not need a reason, even if it means certain death. What I do not agree with is that someone should be able to refuse treatment for his or her child. If refusing treatment means certain death or suffering for a child, that treatment should be considered mandatory no matter what the legal guardian believes. The example about the death of the 12 children given in this blog is what should be considered as a crime. These children could have possibly been saved by medical treatment, but were not provided with it because it went against their legal guardians religious beliefs, therefore these legal guardians are, at the very least, partly to blame for the loss of life and should be treated as such.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s