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Friday, 10 August 2012

On New Age Again....and Alternative Medicine

Galen


This is a traditional Catholic blog. I remind people of this, as some commentators cannot understand what that means. It means that anything which is against the teaching of the Catholic Church, or things which have been condemned by the Catholic Church are simply not endorsed.

Much alternative medicine cannot be accepted. It is based on Eastern ideas of the body and soul which are not Western or Catholic. Here is a quotation for my often quoted Jesus Christ Bearer of the Water of Life.


When one examines many New Age traditions, it soon becomes clear that there is, in fact, little in the New Age that is new. The name seems to have gained currency through Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, at the time of the French and American Revolutions, but the reality it denotes is a contemporary variant of Western esotericism. This dates back to Gnostic groups which grew up in the early days of Christianity, and gained momentum at the time of the Reformation in Europe. It has grown in parallel with scientific world-views, and acquired a rational justification through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It has involved a progressive rejection of a personal God and a focus on other entities which would often figure as intermediaries between God and humanity in traditional Christianity, with more and more original adaptations of these or additional ones. A powerful trend in modern Western culture which has given space to New Age ideas is the general acceptance of Darwinist evolutionary theory; this, alongside a focus on hidden spiritual powers or forces in nature, has been the backbone of much of what is now recognised as New Agetheory.
Basically, New Age has found a remarkable level of acceptance because the world-view on which it was based was already widely accepted. The ground was well prepared by the growth and spread of relativism, along with an antipathy or indifference towards the Christian faith


Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine
There is a lot of misunderstanding on the points of alternative medicine. When philosophies of the body and soul do not include or are at odds with the Catholic definition of the body and soul, one cannot take part in those ways of healing. Here is a list of the false and pagan ideas which influence New Age approaches to healing. One must not think a compromise is possible.

Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.(15)

The problem is the definition of power and from where power comes. Catholics cannot mistake personal power for spiritual powers taught in Eastern religions which do not and in fact contradict the traditional Catholic teaching of body and soul. Our soul in individual, unique. We are created in God's Image and Likeness and our soul is created by God at conception with our body. We do not have multiple sources of spiritual power to harness. This is false teaching. 


There is also a false idea that suffering is always bad. One cannot compromise on these philosophies, as one opens one's self up to deceit and possibly demonic powers.
Formal (allopathic) medicine today tends to limit itself to curing particular, isolated ailments, and fails to look at the broader picture of a person's health: this has given rise to a fair amount of understandable dissatisfaction. Alternative therapies have gained enormously in popularity because they claim to look at the whole person and are about healing rather thancuring. Holistic health, as it is known, concentrates on the important role that the mind plays in physical healing. The connection between the spiritual and the physical aspects of the person is said to be in the immune system or the Indian chakra system. In a New Age perspective, illness and suffering come from working against nature; when one is in tune with nature, one can expect a much healthier life, and even material prosperity; for someNew Age healers, there should actually be no need for us to die. Developing our human potential will put us in touch with our inner divinity, and with those parts of our selves which have been alienated and suppressed. This is revealed above all in Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs), which are induced either by drugs or by various mind-expanding techniques, particularly in the context of “transpersonal psychology”. The shaman is often seen as the specialist of altered states of consciousness, one who is able to mediate between the transpersonal realms of spirits and gods and the world of humans.

There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric, others connected with the psychological theories developed in Esalen during the years 1960-1970. 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 etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programmes and self-help groups.(25) The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy.
St. Luke, Physician and Evangelist
Inasmuch as health includes a prolongation of life, New Age offers an Eastern formula in Western terms. Originally, reincarnation was a part of Hindu cyclical thought, based on the atman or divine kernel of personality (later the concept of jiva), which moved from body to body in a cycle of suffering (samsara), determined by the law of karma, linked to behaviour in past lives. Hope lies in the possibility of being born into a better state, or ultimately in liberation from the need to be reborn. What is different in most Buddhist traditions is that what wanders from body to body is not a soul, but a continuum of consciousness. Present life is embedded in a potentially endless cosmic process which includes even the gods. In the West, since the time of Lessing, reincarnation has been understood far more optimistically as a process of learning and progressive individual fulfilment. Spiritualism, theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age all see reincarnation as participation in cosmic evolution. This post-Christian approach to eschatology is said to answer the unresolved questions of theodicy and dispenses with the notion of hell. When the soul is separated from the body individuals can look back on their whole life up to that point, and when the soul is united to its new body there is a preview of its coming phase of life. People have access to their former lives through dreams and meditation techniques.(26)


Modern Science owes it techniques and approaches to the rational, Western heritage.
In this manner, the Catholic Church supports real scientific research. One cannot accept theories of medicine based on another religious perspective.

This is very dangerous.




4 comments:

Matt R said...

On the 'traditions which flow into New Age...:-wouldn't Celtic Christianity be the New Age misinterpretation of Celtic Christianity?
Hmm. This subject intrigues me b/c I'm not 100% sure how to tell between unorthodox techniques to bring peace to a particular patient with very unique needs, and New Age items which are to be avoided.

Supertradmum said...

It is very simple, if something is out side the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the soul, mind and spirit, it is wrong and could potentially lead a person to hell.

Celtic spirituality contains many occult practices, such as getting in touch with spirits of so-called sacred places (not saints), false healers, druidry, shamans, false ideas of the feminine in nature, and many more things. Peace can be false peace and dangerous. Also, this is big business in Europe and parts of the States where people make money on Celtic spiritual objects, all which must be avoided.

Supertradmum said...

MattR, Again, you may not know the occultic backgrounds of Celtic Christianity which go back to the 19th century as a renewal. I am not going to quote the books here, as no one should read them, as these are not only heretical but open doors to the occult.

Matt R said...

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as it appears. I can't believe how many people still accept practices which have specifically been condemned by the Church but remain in common practice among Catholics (Reiki is one example).