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Prince Charles & alternative medicine

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Prince Charles has once again championed the cause of 'holistic remedies', arguing for 'an integrated health care system in which all the knowledge, experience and wisdom accumulated in different ways at different times and in different cultures is effectively deployed to prevent or alleviate human suffering.' (Daily Telegraph 21/10/97).

 

It is clear that there is something wrong with much medical practice today and I would not deny that there may be benefit from some natural healing remedies as opposed to pumping people with pills which often treat one negative symptom and create another one. However there are dangers in 'alternative medicine' and to understand why this is such an important issue for Prince Charles it is worth looking at the history of his involvement in this cause.

 

In 1982 Prince Charles became President of the British Medical Association and wasted no time in using his position to challenge medical orthodoxy and advocate alternative medicine. In a speech at his inaugural dinner as President the Prince said, 'Through the centuries healing has been practised by folk healers who are guided by traditional wisdom which sees illness as a disorder of the whole person, involving not only the patient's body, but his mind, his self-image, his dependence on the physical and social environment, as well as his relation to the cosmos.' The last clause about the 'cosmos' is opening up a dimension which goes way beyond medical science and enters into another realm altogether. The Prince acknowledged this in his speech when he spoke about it being (perhaps) 'God's will' that 'the unorthodox individual' (i.e. himself) is misunderstood and ridiculed 'until his day arrives and mankind is ready to receive his message; a message which he probably finds hard to explain himself, but which he knows comes from a far deeper source than conscious thought.'

 

The Prince is clearly moving into to the realm of religion here and seeing himself as some kind of prophet bringing a hidden revelation which mankind was not ready to receive at the time he gave it, but will be at some future time. It is not generally known that in 1977 Prince Charles went on a journey of spiritual discovery into the wilderness of northern Kenya with the man who was to become his spiritual mentor, Laurens van der Post, founder of the Wilderness Foundation. This organisation specialises in exposing top people to life in the wild with the aim of re-tuning the Western mind set, to liberate its more primitive intuitive side. Van der Post passed on to Charles an interest in the ideas of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist who also spent time living among primitive tribal peoples. Jung came to believe in the 'collective unconscious' which he believed unites all peoples of the earth and is a common spiritual force through which 'God' exists in different religious experiences of people world wide. Dreams, psychic forces and the paranormal are an expression of this force, which can also release healing into the lives of those who know how to tap into it. Western sophistication and rationalism have caused people to lose contact with this intuitive realm which primitive people are able to tap into at will.

 

Van der Post was also a follower of the I-Ching, a book of Chinese philosophy, an interest which he passed on to Charles. This teaches that the human race and our cosmic and earthly environment make up an interacting unity. In this it is believed that the universe is composed of two equal and complimentary forces, yin and yang. Yang is light and positive, and yin is dark and negative. Through the use of the I-Ching, a person can determine a course of action and consult a high form of moral guidance from 'the cosmos.' In fact we would see this as a form of spiritism.

 

It is important to see where Charles is coming from when he advocates alternative medicines. Out of his spiritual encounter in the wilderness he came to a belief that modern medicine must incorporate the psychic, spiritual and paranormal; that much can be learned from ancient alternative religious techniques such as I-Ching, astrology and divination by pendulum. Underlying all this is a belief that all religions are one.

 

Some might object that this is a matter of health and has nothing to do with religion. However even a superficial investigation of alternative therapies reveals that there is a spiritual dimension which taps into forces found in New Age, occult and eastern religious forces. Holistic health methods are frequently found to depend on some form of 'energy channeling.' Many of these treatments claim to 'balance' or 'restore' or otherwise manipulate alleged invisible energies which supposedly exist or circulate within the human body. These energies are frequently associated with the mystical energies of occultic religion: e.g. the Hindu 'prana', Taoist 'chi', shamanistic 'mana', etc. Proponents claim that the real cause of illness is an alleged disorder of this energy's 'natural flow' and that unless the flow is properly restored, health cannot be maintained. In other words in most of the New Medicine, the manipulation of occult energies and health care are inseparable.

 

One example of this is acupuncture, recommended by Prince Charles as an area of  complimentary medicine the NHS should increase its involvement in. Acupuncture is a method of applying stimulation to specific points on the body, usually through needles. Based on the occultic religion of Taoism, its adherents claim to be able to stimulate the flow of cosmic life energy known as 'chi' through alleged invisible channels or 'meridians' in the body. When body organs are supposedly deficient in the proper supply of chi or energy, imbalance is allegedly produced, resulting in disease. Restoring the flow of psychic energy through the meridians is believed to revitalise the body organs and systems, thereby curing illness and maintaining health. When western scientists attempt to separate acupuncture from its underlying occultic philosophy and merely engage in an unspecific needle stimulation, these methods tend to lose their efficacy.

 

Another practice recommended by Prince Charles is homeopathy. This is widely accepted in society today and is based on the work of Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), who was himself involved in the occult. He based his ideas on the principle that 'like cures like' - that the same substance causing symptoms in a healthy person will cure those symptoms in a sick person. Homeopathy claims to work by correcting an imbalance in the body's 'vital force' or life energy. By an almost ritual process of shaking and diluting, homeopathic substances supposedly become powerful energy medicines which in turn either stimulate the immune system or correct problems in the 'vital force' of the body, thereby curing the illness. In fact since most homeo-pathic medicines are so dilute that they cannot possibly exert a physical effect, any success must be due to either 'mind over matter' or some kind of occult spiritual force being released.

 

These are some of the milder forms of alternative health care. Many other therapies exist, often using occult and spiritist practices. For example Reichian therapy involves the use of so-called 'orgone energy' which it is believed is the 'life energy' of the universe. In order to tap into this individuals assume yoga like postures and perform breathing exercises which, it is claimed, increase the flow of energy. Beyond this the goal is to 'expand consciousness' in order to bring a person closer to the unconscious mind which will release power and open up 'the unity and purpose of life.'

 

Many practitioners of alternative therapies use hypnotism, putting people into a trance like condition in which they are susceptible to suggestions placed there by the practitioner, their own inner minds or by evil spirits. From ancient times hypnotism has been associated with the occult, and may relate to the biblically forbidden practice of 'charming' or 'enchanting.' In some cases New Age practitioners or psychotherapists send people back into their supposed former lives in order to resolve hidden emotional or spiritual conflicts which are allegedly affecting their physical or psychological  health. Some practitioners also use 'channeling' to diagnose patient's conditions.  This occurs when someone permits a spirit entity to possess them for New Age  healing purposes. Therapists claim that by permitting spirits to possess and  speak through them, they can attain a wealth of spiritual and other wisdom  directly from spirits who have passed on or who are highly evolved.

 

Underlying all this are a number of beliefs that contradict the biblical view:

 

All is one. The natural world, human beings, the universe are all connected by a universal energy which some call God while others recognise as the collective unconscious.

 

The problem of humanity is ignorance of this power within us. If we know how to tap into it we will experience physical health and spiritual enlightenment.

 

All religions are the same and the practices of eastern religions and animism have a lot to teach us in the West. The Hindu idea of re-incarnation is widely accepted.

 

By contrast the Bible teaches that:

 

All is not one. God created the universe and is separate from his creation.  He can be known through repentance and faith in the Messiah Jesus only. In the supernatural realm there exists also Satan and demon powers who are able to deceive people as 'Angels of light' offering health and spiritual power, but in fact bringing physical and spiritual bondage and destruction.

 

The problem of humanity is not ignorance but sin. If we look within ourselves for 'power' or the 'life force' we may well encounter a real spiritual force, but it will be demonic not divine. The Apostle Paul said, 'I know that in myself there dwells no good thing.'

 

While there is a connection between non-Biblical religions, the faith revealed to Israel in the Tenach (Old Testament) and to the world in the Messiah Jesus is radically different from the religions of the world. It reveals the one way in which we can know the power that created the

universe, the God of the Bible, through the Messiah Jesus who made one perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. The Bible clearly teaches that there is no re-incarnation: 'It is appointed unto man to die once, but after this the judgment.' (Hebrews 9.27)

 

The Bible has a great deal to say about health. When they came out of Egypt God promised the Israelites that if they obeyed him he would be to them 'the Lord that heals you.' (Exodus 15.26). The promise of the Messiah through the prophet Isaiah included his ministry of healing: 'He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.' (Isaiah 53.6) Jesus sent out the disciples to lay hands on the sick as they preached the Gospel and in the letter of James we are told that if anyone is sick he is to 'call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.' (James 5.14-5).

 

There is a spiritual power we can turn to for help in our need. It is not an abstract life force or energy, it is a personal God who knows all about us and cares for us. The kind of therapies described earlier in this article are actually a barrier to receiving from God and hinder his divine power from flowing through us. If we have been involved in them we need to repent and receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

 

I had an interesting experience of the two forces at work in the realm of healing when I visited a member of our church in hospital. He was extremely ill and in great distress when I visited him. As I was approaching the ward I had been disturbed to see posters all over the NHS hospital advertising a 'Psychic fair and holistic health exhibition' that weekend. I prayed for this brother in the name of the Lord Jesus and resisted the demonic spiritual power which had been unleashed in the hospital because of this occult event. As I did so they distressing symptoms he was manifesting subsided and he drifted off to sleep.

 

Another aspect of health from the biblical point of view is that right living gives us better health. It is obvious that drug and alcohol abuse and sexual permissiveness affect our physical health as well as destroying our souls. Less obvious, perhaps, is the fact that unforgiveness and bitterness can affect us physically. It is also a fact that the life style of most people in the West is not one which creates good health. God designed our bodies for physical work not sitting behind steering wheels of cars or staring at TV screens for hours on end. Regular exercise is another way we can improve our health.

 

In the end though we have to recognise that our bodies are in a state of decay, the result of the original sin, which brought sickness and death into the world in the first place (Genesis 3). If Jesus does not come first every one of us will die as a result of some malfunction of our natural bodies. The great hope of the believer is that we will be resurrected and receive a new body which will never get sick, or grow old, but which will live forever with the Lord (1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4-5).

 

Going back to Prince Charles, with whom this article began, it would be much better for him if he returned to the Christian faith he was taught in his youth. His life since 1977 has not been a brilliant advertisement for the spiritual experience he had in the wilderness. Like so many today he is a man adrift spiritually, being blown this way and that and going from crisis to crisis. Sadly the influences he is seeking to bring into the health service and into the spiritual life of the nation are ones which are working for our destruction, not our healing. If he does not change his ways and goes on to become King and head of the Church of England, it will be a disaster for both church and nation.

 

Information from 'The Prince and the Paranormal' by John Dale and 'The Facts on Holistic Health and the New Medicine' by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.

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