The world would be so much easier if it everything were black and white and there were no grays. Life is easier to comprehend when everything follows the rules of being 100% good or 100% bad.
Gray areas are difficult to handle and difficult to understand. Unfortunately, the world is filled with gray areas and faith healing is filled with gray areas. As in any issue containing gray areas, people tend to gravitate toward one extreme or another. Leaving out the gray makes thinking easier to deal with, but gravitating to one side blinds people from seeing the truth found in the other side.
This post is not so much about the teachings of Faith Healing; but it is more about the consequences that such teachings have on people. In this post, I would like to look at the good and the bad consequences of faith healing.
HOW FAITH HEALING HELPS PEOPLE
There are times when faith healing has worked for people. I believe this even though I write against it as a whole. But I do believe that there are people who really do get healed because they “claim” healing. The reason I hold to this opinion is because I know the human body is designed to react to our emotions and our thoughts.
For example, we know that the body reacts to stress. People who easily stress out are more prone to heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, gastrointestinal problems and Alzheimer’s disease. These are diseases that are often brought on by feelings and fears we have.
Being depressed can lead to eating disorders, headaches, irritable bowl syndrome, and sleep disorders and thinking negatively as a habit can cause heart disease.
What we say to ourselves and how we react to life matters to our health, but people who face disease can have a difficult time being or staying positive. Many people fall into deep depression, complaining and loneliness when faced with disease or sickness.
It is without question that our bodies react to the way we think, the way we talk and the emotions we hold on to.
Faith healing tells us to keep the negativity back and start telling ourselves that we are healthy. In some cases, this is the medicine that is needed to bring one’s body back to health or at least keep a better attitude in one’s suffering.
Reading the testimonies of people who were healed by different famous healers, I do find many people who have improved their quality of life even if and when they were not completely healed. So someone with flat feet says that even though his bone structure has not changed, he is no longer in pain after a Kathryn Kuhlman healing takes place in his life. Even though I can’t be sure he is not claiming something that does not exist, as I can tell, it is within the realm of human possibility.
Making the Best Decisions
No doctor knows everything. Sometimes some doctor will say or give the wrong advice based on what he or she knows. The medical community has come a long way in the past Century or two, but it still has a long way to go. Even the best doctors can and do make mistakes from time to time.
Reading testimonies of people healed by faith healing, I found a case where a doctor wanted to amputate a man’s leg in order to save a certain man’s life, but the man’s wife did not let the doctor amputate because she was claiming by faith that his leg and his life would be saved. In the end she was right, his leg and his life survived. She made the right decision, and if I were her husband I would be thanking God as well as the doctors and nurses who previously saved my life.
There will be many of these types of testimonies out there that are published on Faith Healing websites, and for those people, I am happy.
FAITH HEALERS ARE LIKE CASINOS
It’s a Gamble
I listen to people who tell me how much money they make at casinos. One coworker tells me he won $400 this past weekend, but I ask him how much he spent before he won $400. I hear silence and he moves on to another subject.
A TV show records a high roller who plays blackjack and loses some $4 million dollars. He is depressed until he walks outside and sees that the casino bought him a new Harley motorcycle. He lights up and feels great. I am sure he went home and told all his friends that the casino gave him a Harley, but never mentions losing millions of dollars.
Faith healing evangelists are like that. They capitalize on the few who are lucky enough to find health. Faith healers are like casinos focusing on and boasting of how much people win under their care, but make no mention of the many losses that take place under their roof.
THE BAD SIDE
Some people do win in casinos. Some win big! But most people do not. In fact, some people lose their homes and/or their marriages. Casinos don’t mention that, but we know it happens.
Faith healing ministries don’t talk about the people who die under their teachings. They ignore the stories of children who die because their parents hold back insulin, claiming complete healing. They won’t tell you that a 2 year old child died of Pneumonia because the Pennsylvanian parents refused to take their child to a doctor due to their conviction that their faith would heal their child. One church member in their church summarized the teaching, “You either trust God or you trust man.”
The internet is filled with such testimonies of faith failures.
Besides death, there are many diseases that increase because of faith healing. At Kenneth Copeland’s daughter’s church, the measles became a national concern in 2013. Throughout the whole nation, children were immunized against measles and it was thought that measles was no longer a threat in the U.S., but a large group of children got measles in Copeland’s church. Why? The Copelands preferred faith healing over medical doctors and giving children shots. As a result, their church was the epicenter of a national health concern and a measles epidemic. In 2013 faith healing was proved to be a failed experiment and medicine proved a much better cure for measles. When their folly became national news, the Copelands set up a center for their church to get shots.
When I was in the faith healing movement, I didn’t know about all the deaths, but I knew about the failures and those failures were attributed to people’s lack of faith. As long as I stayed healthy, I was able to feel and believe that my faith was strong; but when I got sick, I felt like I was failing and I felt that failure deeply.
My best friend after High School was Ray. Ray and I went witnessing on street corners, at parks, at concerts, and just about anywhere people were. Ray and I were good at leading many people to Christ. During one night of witnessing, on the steps leading up to a Jacksonville, FL concert venue, Ray singlehandedly led ten young people to Christ and convinced them to throw away their drugs and cigarettes on the spot. Ray was gifted in evangelism, and I learned a lot from him.
Eventually, I moved to others cities and I no longer kept up on our relationship, but I always remembered our many adventures together witnessing. I contacted Ray about 25 years later on vacation in Jacksonville, FL with my wife and two girls. We got together, talked and reminisced. My kids loved him, but something was different. After initial greetings and updates, I realized that Ray was a broken man. He had recently discovered that he had type two diabetes and his church told him that he should be healed. They told him that his lack of faith was the problem. His church did not honor him at all for his gift in bringing people to Christ or for his dedication and zeal for Christ. Instead, they looked down on him for lacking faith and having diabetes. It broke Ray’s spirit. Ray was a better man and a better Christian with more faith than any of them.
A few years later, I found out that I had type 2 diabetes. Did I lack faith? No. I ate poorly and got what I deserved – I think I knew all along that someday my eating habits would carry consequences. When I found out I had diabetes, I changed my diet and began taking the pills my doctor gave me and Praise God! The diabetes are under control! In the area of diabetes, I am victorious and I praise God for the 21st Century medicine as well as His care in directing me to a good clinic.
In Milwaukee, WI a teenage girl lay sick in he hospital as two different groups of Christians came in to talk to her. The first group was from the local faith healing church. Those kids told her she should not be in the hospital and that she should be healed if she had faith. When they left she cried because she could not get better.
Hours later another church group came who had no clue what to think of healing. They talked to her, prayed with her, and told her that they looked forward to her recovery. When they left she felt revived.
Faith healing may heal some, but it is a cruel taskmaster for most.
There are some diseases faith healing can help with. Those diseases are primarily ones that can be helped with a better attitude or by some kind of placebo.
When doctors suggest cutting off a limb or some other drastic measure, even though in most cases they are right, in some cases they may be wrong. In these cases, faith healing may provide the right direction for a patient to take, overcoming doubts and providing the best solution.
Someone who used faith healing and benefited from it will oftentimes be convinced that faith healing works for all people in every case and winning in this lottery creates a zealous believer passing on his/her joy for all to see.
In reality, faith healing is a gamble, providing a small group with great benefits while destroying most of the others (and providing a huge profit for the house – the evangelist). For all the good that faith healing has done or can do, overall, it has done far more damage than good.