Essay On Faith Healing
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Faith healing is a method of healing in which a believer seeks divine intervention through praying to heal a particular ailment or condition. Since time immemorial faith healing has been used by believers who adhere to different religions to heal diseases. The process of faith healing involves laying of hands on the sick person or visiting holy places such as shrines. The practice is, however, more common among Christians as compared to other religions such as Islam. Faith healing has been used to heal different life-threatening diseases such as cancer, AIDS, growth disorders, anemia, defective speech, deafness and blindness among other numerous illnesses. According to William, ‘‘the whole force of the Christian religion, therefore, so far as belief in the divine personages, determines the prevalence attitude of the believer, is in general exerted by an instrumentality of pure ideas’’(43).
1.Christians belief in faith healing
The ideology of faith healing has widely used by Christians to cure several illnesses as well as disorders.
a) New Testament
In the New Testament, there are different accounts of the power of prayer in the process of healing diseases. For example, in many instances, Jesus taught people that prayers could heal various diseases. The disciples of Jesus also healed many people through praying in Jesus name. These biblical accounts also denote that through the death of Jesus, Christians can be healed if they pray in His name. Christians, therefore, pray in the name of Jesus believing that a divine intervention will occur to end the suffering brought by different illness.
Moreover, Jesus healed many people through prayer to God, and He taught his disciples to heal diseases through praying. Modern Christians who believe in the power of prayer has been visiting holy places such as shrines to pray. The healing that occurred was the evidence that faith existed among the believers.
The Catholic Church believes that healing can take place through divine intervention. Intercession occurs on behalf of the sick by praying through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name o Jesus Christ. The names of the saints are also invoked during prayers so that healing can take place. There are several instances that miraculous healing has occurred through faith healing in the Catholic Church. For example, many healings have been reported by those who prayed through the name of Pope John Paul II as well as other saints. Moreover, several Catholics have received miraculous healing after visiting various shrines in Jerusalem (Anderson 157).
c) Charismatic movements
The Pentecostal movements have also embraced faith healing. Many cases of divine healing have been reported to have occurred during the evangelical meetings throughout the world. Evangelical leaders such as Benny Hinn used divine healing to cure numerous illnesses. For example, according to Csordas, faith healers such as Kathryn Kuhlman were reported to have healed several people including a woman with spinal cancer in 1967.Such healings made the faith healers to gain large numbers of adherents across the world. Moreover, in 1955, another faith healer, evangelist Jack Coe claimed to have healed a young boy from polio (128).
d) Christian Science
Christian Science relates faith healing to the perfection of God’s creation. The ideology argues that divine healing can only occur if the sick recognizes that what God created was spiritually fulfilling. This ideology has received a mixed reaction from different people who have divergent opinions.
2. Islam belief on faith healing
Over the years, Islam has also adopted faith healing to cure different diseases. According to Muslims, the Quran has healing powers that can be used to cure ailments. One way of conducting divine healing is through reciting the Quran under an olive oil or water. The ritual is believed to invoke a spiritual power that will then initiate the healing process. The practice has been used extensively to cure numerous illnesses among the Muslims. Several instances of faith healing have been reported by Muslims faithful, for example, during the annual Pilgrimage to Mecca, the sick have been healed. These healings have made Muslim faithful to attend the pilgrimage in large numbers (Bloch 13).
The sick person, according to Islam faith, then drinks the holy water or olive oil. The practice is believed to cure the illness through spiritual intervention. The practice is widespread in the Muslim world. The sick can either receive immediate healing or gradual healing depending on the faith of the individual. Such human practices have become controversial since some people do not believe in the power of divine healing.
Moreover, it was found out that even people with the same religion had divergent views on the issue of faith healing. Some faithful believed in spiritual healing while some people did not believe that spiritual healing could be used to cure diseases.
Different Studies have revealed that the use of intercessory prayer could not cure a heart problem. A patient who had undergone a heart surgery failed to heal even faith healing ritual. The presence of a healer also did not have an effect on the healing of different illnesses.
The scientific investigations also found out that most of the people who have attained higher education did not believe in faith healing. They also believed that human actions did not have a great impact on the healing process. However, some highly educated people believed that spiritual healing could cure ailments provided the victim had strong beliefs in the presence of a supreme being.
The studies also found out that most women believed in the effectiveness of faith healing as compared to men. However, the gender differences were not significant. The women who believed in miraculous healing were mostly strong adherents of various faiths such as Christianity and Islam.
Ironically, the studies found out that most of the old people did not have a strong belief in spiritual healing. The aged people also could not relate the healing of different illnesses and the presence of a divine power invoked during such rituals (Wuthnow 225).
Despite the findings of the various scientific studies, faith healing is still commonly practised in many religions. The studies resulted in numerous debates on the effectiveness of faith healing in the treatment of diseases. People of different religions have divergent opinions concerning spiritual healing. Some people believe that faith healing can be effectively used to cure diseases while other people believe that scientifically approved medicine should be used to treat diseases.
Those who have a strong belief in faith healing were likely to abandon the use of medicines to cure diseases. Those who were already under drugs for a specific illness did not continue taking the drugs hence resulting in adverse health complications and even death.
4. Benefits of faith healing from religious perspective
According to the religious perspective, faith healing has brought tremendous changes in lives of Christians worldwide. Faith healing leads to healing from different diseases thus results in restored health. Spiritual healing has led to the cure of different diseases that cause pain and trauma to Christians. When a Christian undergoes healing, he or she can continue with the daily activities since the pain no longer exists. There have been several cases of faith healing. For example, According to Roe, Dale and Shannon Hickman believed that through praying their sick infant son received healing in 2009. The couple who were members of Followers of Christ church did not seek medical attention. Also in 2007, two members of Followers of Christ Church, Carl and Raylene Worthington believed that their sick daughter would receive spiritual healing. The couple prayed and fasted as they waited for spiritual intervention to occur.
Faith healing also leads to spiritual nourishment among Christians. When a Christian has healed through spiritual healing, he or she will continue to seek spiritual nourishment through prayers. Spiritual nourishment is important in the growth of a Christian since it make a Christian to feel closer to God (Gerrard 237). Christians who have spiritual nourishment may also feel the need to make positive reforms in their lives and become better people in the society.
Faith healing can also make a Christian to develop a strong faith in God. Christians who have undergone spiritual healing are likely to develop trust in the presence of the Supreme Being. Moreover, faith healing can make those who did not believe in the power of prayer to change their perceptions (William 189). Faith healing has made many Christians become strong adherents who constantly seek divine intervention.
Faith healing can also make other Christians spread the word of God to other people. Those who had witnessed spiritual healing are likely to engage in spreading the evangelical word, a deed that is important among Christians. In the contemporary society, there has been a rise in people who use faith healing to cure diseases.
Faith healing has made Muslim faithful to feel closer to Allah. Spiritual healing results in seeking the ways of Allah as well as doing the things that are by the teachings of Prophet Mohammed. Most of the people who have received spiritual healing usually strive to seek the true way of Allah (Galanter 330). Faith healing has also made most Muslims to visit holy places in different parts of the world.
Faith healing can also make a Muslims adopt moral behavior by the teachings of the Quran. Muslims, who have witnessed faith healing, are likely to make positive reforms in their life. Moreover, faith healing has resulted in massive number o adherents from other religions. Many people have also joined Islam. This scenario has occurred due to the presence of faith healing that has been happening among Muslims.
Faith healing has also resulted in the belief in Allah and Prophet Mohammed. Muslims believe that Allah initiates spiritual healing. Hence during the prayers, the name of Prophet Mohammed and Allah are invoked. When healing occurs, the Muslims believe that Allah has manifested His presence. Faith healing is usually carried out through reciting of the Al-Fatiha that involves invoking the name of Allah and Prophet Mohammed. Many adherents, therefore, have gained a strong belief in the presence of Prophet Mohammed as well as Allah.
5. Critics on faith healing
Faith healing has received criticism that elicited mixed reactions from people of different religions. There are two major ideologies that have been used to criticize faith healing. The first ideology is the Placebo effect that argues that a sick person may get healed from a certain disease through their strong beliefs rather than through the practice of faith healing (Finkler 180). Moreover, a healer may assist a sick person to get healed but it is not the spiritual healing process that leads to the cure of the disease but the healer’s belief that the healing is going to take place. Proponents of this ideology have suggested that spiritual healing does not lead to the cure of different ailments.
Another ideology that has been put forward to prove that spiritual healing is not effective is the post hoc ergo propter hoc. It states that a person can get healed when the healing occurs independently and not initiated by the spiritual healing. However, the healing processes depending on the body’s natural ability
Faith healing has also negatively affected the use of conventional medicine in the treatment of diseases. This is due to those who believe in spiritual healing fail to seek medical care. Such people would rather seek spiritual healing that they believe will provide spiritual nourishment.
Some people have been reported to claim falsely to have healed the sick through faith healing. Some preachers have used spiritual healing to mislead the people into believing that they can heal the sick. Such situations have caused severe effects on the health of the sick person (Onyinah 120). Those who are claimed to have received healing of a particular illness will, therefore, stop using conventional drugs, and the disease may cause adverse health effects or lead to the death of such victims.
Another aspect that has made faith healing to receive criticism is through extortion of money or favor by those who claim to cause spiritual healing. Some healers are known to ask for money before initiating the process of faith healing. In most cases, the spiritual healing fails to cure the disease, and the victim continues to suffer from the disease.
In conclusion, the effects of faith healing have tremendously changed the perception of people on the use of scientific medicines for the treatment of diseases. Faith healing has enabled humans to understand the relationship between God and different human experiences and how people develop spiritual habits. People can develop moral and spiritual habits gradually through regenerative change (William 157). Some people believe that faith healing is an effective and divine method of healing the sick. However, other people believe that spiritual healing is not an effective way to cure illnesses and that the use of medicines that have been approved by doctors should be used to cure diseases as opposed to the use of faith healing. Most scientific research has revealed that the faith healing process did not provide evidence on how different people received.
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