The Secrets of Healing

The secrets of healing have long been known but it’s taken science a long time to catch up.

There’s an old story about a group of eminent scientists climbing the mountain of knowledge. They scramble up to the top of a steep slope, only to see an even higher peak in the distance. They climb the next peak, only to see yet another beyond that. They climb that and….. guess what? There’s yet another. Finally, exhausted, they pull themselves over the final rock, only to be greeted by a group of healers and metaphysicians who had been sitting there for centuries!

This analogy was not lost on Einstein. ‘Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place,’ he wrote. ‘It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.’

Every year, while most scientists continue to circle the base of the mountain, some climb a little higher. Enormous advances have been made in the last couple of decades, some of which has yet to reach the general public.

Healing and Consciousness

The healing methods applied in societies throughout history have always been closely related to the consciousness of those societies and its individuals. They have depended on how they saw the nature of the human body and its relationship with the environment in which we live. At some point in history, humans woke up to the fact that they could do something to heal themselves when they were injured or ill, and not merely alleviate discomfort. Previously, like the animals, they would have crawled into a cave or clearing and waited until they felt better before leaving it – or died.

Then at some stage those early humans realised that even death could be postponed by applying certain healing methods. They discovered that certain plants could help and that healing ceremonies and rituals could speed up the process. The earliest healers were shamans; evidence of shamanic healing goes back over fifty thousand years. Shamans studied the relationship between humans and their natural environment. They tried to harness the laws of nature to initiate health and bring about healing.

Around two and a half thousand years ago, healing became more scientific. The Greeks, worshippers of the healthy body and surely one of the most progressive and cultured of all ancient societies, began using a more systematic approach based on observation and reason. They used animal and human dissections to improve their understanding of how the body functions. By New Testament times, Greek doctors already had a good idea of the functions of the main organs and had mapped the circulatory system.

As early Christendom sank into a deep mistrust and contempt for the physical body, the next great era of anatomical research in the West took place when Muslim doctors added to earlier knowledge and explained the workings of the muscles and digestive system. I say ‘in the West’ because on the other side of the world, the Chinese were already far ahead in their healing techniques.

In the Middle Ages and beyond, Western medicine remained largely in the grip of the Greek physician often referred to as the ‘Father of Medicine’, Hippocrates, and his followers. This led to some strange practices. Hippocrates believed that there were four types of fluid in the body, which needed to be in perfect balance if health were to be maintained. So, for example, if you had a fever, you had too much blood and would be subject to leeches and other purging methods to reduce blood levels. The patient would often be so weak afterwards it would take weeks to recover. Bizarre? Yes, but won’t some of our 21st Century medical practices seem equally bizarre in the future?

In the past three hundred years, great strides have been made in the medical field – yet almost every great pioneer in most fields of medicine was ridiculed by the ‘experts’ of their day. Some of the great pioneers were accused of ‘humbug!’ and called ‘quacks’ by their contemporaries.

Today, in the early years of the 21st Century, global medicine is in the group of one particular school of thought, a view of the body perpetrated by those who see humans mainly as thinking machines ruled by our biochemistry. I say ‘global’ because even societies, like China and India, with rich healing traditions of their own, are succumbing to the power of the pharmaceutical mega-businesses that straddle the planet. But the medical/pharmaceutical establishment will one day give way as a new holistic paradigm is rising. They are so worried that they spend huge sums specifically to discredit holistic medicine, discouraging the public from ‘wasting’ their hard-earned money on ‘unproven’ healing systems and techniques. Anything outside the realms of chemicalised, mechanized, industrialised medicine is roundly condemned.

Medical history is like a parade of innovators who were far ahead of their time and dismissed as cranks in their day. Some lived long ago; some are still alive today. To appreciate them requires the willingness to critically all our beliefs about healing. We must forget what we’ve been told about what can be healed, what can’t be healed, who can heal, who can’t heal and how healing takes place.

The healing methods employed in any society say a great deal about its beliefs about what humans are and how we relate to the universe. All too often we go round in circles as we head up the mountain of knowledge. As T.S. Elliot pointed out:

‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.5.2019

Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

Science and Christianity

Christianity has always had an uneasy relationship with science. Many scientific discoveries have appeared to question the very basis of this religion.

The problem for Christians is that some of the statements in the Bible are just plain WRONG. For example, at the time the Genesis creation stories were written, the Hebrews believed that the Earth at the centre of the universe, it was flat and covered by a dome above which were ‘the waters’. Occasionally the dome leaked (it rained). The sun and stars were fixed to the inside of the dome, and below the ground was the place of the dead, portrayed by the ancient Greeks as Hades.

It’s hardly worth stating that we know better now.

In the Middle Ages, scientists were harshly treated for publishing theories which were perceived to contradict Biblical teachings. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) published an astronomical model in 1543 which had the sun at the centre of the universe and the Earth and the other planets rotating around it. He did not attract the censure of the Catholic Church at the time, but Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) was not so lucky a century later when he propounded a similar view. The church declared his findings false and contrary to scripture and forbade him to promote his theory.

Galileo later defended his views in his ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’, which angered the Pope and the Jesuits, both of whom had supported him up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, found guilty of heresy and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took 359 years to rectify this wrong. In 1992, Pope John Paul ll acknowledged in a speech that the Catholic Church had erred in condemning him.

For several hundred years, science and religion staged an uneasy standoff. Scientists avoided making contentious statements about religion and vice versa. Then came Charles Darwin, the author of ‘The Origin of Species’. He was declared ‘an enemy of God’ for daring to advocate a theory that refuted the church’s view of creation. Even so, he never lost his belief in a creative force behind the universe. He wrote, ‘When I wrote The Origin of Species, my faith in God was as strong as that of a bishop.’

Some pioneers of science had no difficulty seeing science and religion as compatible. Albert Einstein was viewed as a heretic by the church, yet he had a profound belief in a universal mind, spirit or creative intelligence that transcended the universe and was beyond our comprehension. He and many others, including Sir Isaac Newton and the ‘Father of Quantum Mechanics’, Max Planck, shared a sense of humility and awe at what they discovered in the natural world and gave the credit to this creative intelligence.

Nowadays the church is more comfortable with scientific research. The Catholic Church, for instance, employs ordained scientists to investigate such diverse subjects as the big bang, epigenetics and global warming, but their starting point is always the Bible teachings. They seek to fit the data to the Bible teachings, not find the best explanation that fits the data. We are without doubt gaining a greater understanding of how the material universe works, but are no nearer to understanding why the universe is as it is than were the ancient Hebrews or Greeks.

©David Lawrence Preston, 12.6.18

Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

Front cover 201 things

One Source of Everything?

Today, many scientists believe that we cannot dismiss the notion that there is but one source of everything. For example, in December 2004, a professor of astrophysics from Cambridge University, a man who has spent a lifetime studying the origins of the universe, made this astonishing statement on television:

‘We cannot discount the possibility that the universe and everything in it was created entirely for our benefit.’

Is it possible that the next great scientific discovery will be proof that the universe was brought into being by one all-pervading intelligence that this maintains balance and harmony in the universe? Some leading scientists – including Albert Einstein –  believe so.

For example, when asked about his religion, Professor Einstein replied:

 ‘I do not believe in a God who maliciously or arbitrarily interferes in the personal affairs of mankind. My religion consists of a humble admiration for the vast power which manifests itself in that small part of the universe which our poor, weak minds can grasp.’

Awe inspiring!

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.1.18

Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

 

Explain this to a 6 year-old!

Professor Albert Einstein said that if you can’t explain something to a six year-old, you don’t understand it yourself. So here are six things you can ask your Christian friends and colleagues:

  1. How does the execution of a Jewish prophet and healer nearly two thousand years ago save me or you from the consequences of our sins?
  2. How is it possible for a son to have been created at the same time as his father (as the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and Nicaean Creed insist)?
  3. If there really is an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-loving G_d, how come so many of the beings supposedly created in its image experience such abject poverty, ill-health and suffering?
  4. Is it possible not to believe in a virgin birth and bodily resurrection and still be a good Christian?
  5. Since the gospels make it perfectly clear that Yeshua (‘Jesus’) promised his followers that the kingdom of G_d would arrive within a generation, how come it still isn’t here?
  6. How can we trust the gospels as factually accurate when there are no contemporary sources corroborating the implausible events they describe, and only four known contemporary references to Yeshua outside the New Testament? Are they not works merely of wishful thinking and supposition?

Good questions indeed! AND I HAVE YET TO HEAR CONVINCING ANSWERS!

©David Lawrence Preston, 29.8.2016

Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

Front cover 201 things

201 facts for discussion and debate.  Balboa Press, 2015