Can The Christian Faith Be a Real Source for Spiritual Healing?
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, "Have mercy on us, Son of David." When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord." Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith be it done to you." And their eyes were opened... (Mat. 9, 27-30a).
There are many such stories in the New Testament about miraculous healings. For some people in the postmodern world those are just legends or unbelievable tales. For others it is an old manner of writing about some great person or a wise teacher who was speaking about morality and eternal theorie, so that's why you have to understand it just "symbolically." Yet, for some of us these healing stories are testimonies about the almighty strength of non-doubtful faith.
In the above-mentioned different positions you may find three people: an atheist, agnostic and believer. Let us first look how they try exactly to find treatments from their diseases.
Atheist and Healing
You have got your knowledge. You know everything about this life, or at least almost everything. Whenever you need any additional information you can get it easily from your "trustful" sources. When you are sick you go just to "professionals." You are sure that they can solve your problem, because it is just a "physical pain." Indeed " usually they find the reason. You get some chemical tabs or special advices and in couple of days you are completely fit. So you are lucky and self-assured again. But what if the whole procedure doesn't help? What if your "professionals" cannot find the reason? They may say that your problem isn't repairable any more. How about the message, which tells that your disease will shorten and very soon end up with your life? What do you do with this kind of knowledge then? First time in your life you don't know where to go...
Agnostic and Healing
You cannot understand the people who are 100% convinced in what they say. Sometimes you think that these people are too arrogant or brainwashed. You believe that it is not easy to believe. You spent some nights thinking about " what is the truth? The only sure answer that you have found in yourself says: "There is no sure answer." Usually you don't worry when you feel a pain, because you don't know exactly where it does come and what can it bring. You are not used to run for every "little staff" to doctors. But one day your pain grows. You speak about this with some specialists, but you don't believe them, because you believe that nobody can be a "specialist." So you go on alone with your pain. You don't like to think about it too much. You are not scared, because you can't imagine what will be the consequences. But your main problem is " that you are generally unhappy. Your life is still before you, but you don't want really to live with "this kind of life."
Believer and Healing
You have been with atheist children in your school. You had many agnostic friends when you left your school. Now you don't know who really you are. There is still so much that you have to learn about this world, people around you and yourself. But you know one thing " you are looking for it. May be you are on the wrong way, may be you are still "blind," but you don't get down. When you have a problem you don't cry, drink alcohol or consume drugs, because it doesn't help. You are sure that there is a reason why all these happens with you, even if you cannot see it. You meet doctors and you know, that they are also human beings like us. So they can help us, but they can be also wrong. But even if you don't get the best results, you will not loose your trust. Your trust is not in people, chemical tabs or new medical solutions. Your trust is in Somebody who stays much more above. God. He has all solutions. He is the solution. The question is: "How can I get nearer to Him?"
These three general definitions show how different the people in their hearts are and how differently they may think and behave themselves during critical periods of their life. But can our "spiritual condition" seriously react on the process of healing? Does it matter if I am an atheist or a Christian? Has it any influence on my health? And how it's possible that my "mental ideology" plays any role on my "physical condition?"
About Illnesses and Spiritual Healing
Not only religious leaders but also many famous psychologists have mentioned several times about the positive/negative influences of our thoughts and fantasies on our body. Even such scientists like Z. Freud, E. Fromm and C. Jung wrote, that our mental condition could play absolutely a huge role in bringing healing or in increasing the level of physical illness.
For ancient Romans and Greeks it was " the heart, for Christians " the spirit, and for modern psychologists " the psyche. Actually it doesn't matter how do we call it. The point is, that human beings are not constructed just from material staff (i.e. meat, bones, blood). There is something "more" in us and it can have an important contribution on our physical condition! Those who have seen some mentally ill persons will understand what do I mean.
Freud wrote about such psychical illnesses, that these patients are like "dreaming while awaked." In Jesus' times the people in Israel were saying that there are "demons in their spirits." Pagan nations believed, that "gods have stolen their minds." Any way, it's clear that from the very early times people have recognized these kinds of problems. That means, that there were always different ways and approaches to help humans to stay healthy in both " physical and mental " conditions. And when somebody where getting seriously ill there were always Shamans, Gurus, Brahmas, Priests, Rabbis and Psychotherapists, who were trying to heal his body/soul with their traditional spirituality.
Christian Faith as a Source
Atheist would say that Christianity could be just an illusion and self-deception. Agnostic will look and say nothing. Those believers who have experienced the unbreakable power of faith cannot find easily the necessary words to explain how their life was changed after they have followed Christ.
It is really difficult to describe what is the spiritual power, because you don't see it, rather " feel. The only way to perceive it a little bit it is to see how real followers of Christ act and live. Of course there are lot of "pseudo gurus" now who declare that only they have the key to Christian truths and so on. But you don't have to look on their words or capacities, rather on actions. If you will look carefully than you will find those who live simply according to the commandments of God and with this " reflect Jesus. And you will find the peace and happiness of Christ in their eyes, which is greater then any state's position, university degree or public glory.
How can somebody get it then? Apostle Peter would say to you: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit..." (Acts 2-38). But agnostic may ask: "Isn't it too theoretical?" Yes it is. During the history of Christianity there were long periods of "scholastical indoctrination." Jesus never wanted that. He preached us the way of living, which is based on love! That means he never created any transcendental ideology. He has lived with people - who were sick, poor, and guilty - and loved all of them. In order to be a Christ you will have to do the same.
What about the source for healing? Will our eyes also be opened? Our hearts healthy? Our bodies fit? Well, I would repeat for you the question of Jesus: "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
Dr. Harut Harutyunyan, Ph.D. in Theology from University of Munster.