Should a Christian Use Homeopathy?

Someone asked me if a Christian should use homeopathy. She was concerned, because a friend told her it was an anti-Christian practice. The question kind of surprised me, since I had never even considered it before and, to be honest, didn’t know much about homeopathy. Off the top of my head, I replied that I didn’t think it mattered one way or the other, but it would be interesting to look into scripture to find any kind of reference to this idea.

As I do many times, in starting a search relating to an unfamiliar subject, I first go to a good dictionary to make sure I fully understand the meaning of the topic. Homeopathy (Greek: homoios ‘like’ + patheia ‘suffering’) is a system of complementary medicine in which disease is treated by minute doses of natural substances, that in large quantities, would produce symptoms of the disease.1

I had no luck in finding any relationship in scripture to this definition, but I’ve learned from experience that just because I can’t find something immediately, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I started what I call reverse research; learn all about the subject throughout history and then see if anything pops up that could lead backward to answering my biblical question. So, I proceeded down the rabbit hole, not knowing where it would go.

How Did the Practice of Homeopathy Start?

The first stop on my adventure led to a German man, Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), better known as Samuel Hahnemann, who is considered the founder of homeopathy in the late 18th century. He was a pretty smart fellow, mastering several languages and graduated with an MD at the University of Erlangen. Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the state of medicine in his time, and particularly objected to practices, such as bloodletting, which was harmful. He claimed that the medicine he had been taught to practice sometimes did the patient more harm than good. “My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines,” he wrote. “The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice in the first years of my married life and occupied myself solely with chemistry and writing.”2

He closely followed the research of a peer, Austrian physician Anton von Störck, who claimed that the toxic effects of ingested substances often broadly paralleled those of certain diseases.3 Following up on this work, Hahnemann’s research led to a more generalized medicinal “Law of Similars.” He devised methods of diluting the drugs he tested in order to relieve the toxic effects and claimed that these dilutions, when prepared according to his technique, were still effective in alleviating the same symptoms in the sick.4

Basically, Hahnemann created the alternative doctrine of “like cures like,” which claims a substance that causes symptoms of a disease in healthy people, could cure the same in sick people,5 when used in minute doses. And this idea has some merit, after all, since that is similar to the concept of modern vaccines, “a preparation of live microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms, that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.”6

Although it is well known that Hahnemann followed the work of his peer, Anton von Störck an Austrian physician, he was, otherwise, very secretive about his research, never divulging his sources. Early in his career, he spent several years cataloging a rather large and ancient library and it is reasonable to believe that he read many of the manuscripts that were of interest to him, since he was proficient in several languages, including Greek and Latin. Books by Hippocrates, Paracelsus, and van Helmont would have been too intriguing to go unread.

The Greek physician, Hippocrates, known as the greatest physician of antiquity and the father of medicine,7 believed “let like cure like.”8 Paracelsus was a Swiss physician, alchemist and astrologer who stated that “if given in small doses, what makes a man ill also cures him.”9 Van Helmont, a Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician, is largely remembered today for his ideas on spontaneous generation.10 He was a mystic and alchemist, but also partook of the new experiment-based learning methods.

New Directions

Now the trail to answering my question was to branch off into new directions – research into Greek medicine, alchemy, astrology, and mysticism. I’m beginning to see why I was asked the question “should a Christian use homeopathy?” Its history included pagan practices including the supernatural, superstition, and magic. In fact, a Christian cohort suggested I stop my investigation at this point, but I was persistent in getting the full truth of this homeopathic practice.

Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) was a famous anthropologist and is noted for stating that “human belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion, in turn replaced by science.” Myth and religion were his areas of expertise.11 He wrote, “magic rests on two fundamental principles: first, that ‘like produces like,’ [or] effect resembling cause; second, that ‘things which have once been in contact continue ever afterwards to act on each other.’ The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity and the latter that of Contact or Contagion. From the one, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it in advance; from the other, that whatever he does to a material object will automatically effect the person with whom it was once in contact.” Frazer goes on to explain how this magic was used world-wide to bring harm upon people, as well as to bring protection upon them. It really caught my attention when I read that he called the practices based on the Law of Similarity as Homeopathic Magic.12 Did Frazer crib the word “homeopathy” from Samuel Hahnemann’s writings?

Now, I was born and raised in New Orleans, a place known to be tinged with the practice of Voodoo. One of my favorite jazz songs, by Oscar ‘Papa’ Celestin (1884-1954)13 and his New Orleans Jazz Band, was about a Creole practitioner of Voodoo, named Marie LaVeau. Part of the lyrics goes like this:

She made gris-gris with an old ram horn,
Stuffed with feathers and shucks from a corn.
A big black cat urn and catfish fin,
Made a man get religion and give up his sin.

Voodoo was used to either help people by using potions or injure people by using a voodoo doll. To those who really believed – it worked. Frazer explained that this type of magic, by other names, was known to sorcerers in many lands throughout history (and, even today): India, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Australia, Africa, as well as the Americas.14

Getting Close

Actual song lyrics suggesting a relationship between magic and religion, indicates that I could be on the correct path to answering my question, but there is still not a clear connection. Saying modern homeopathy is wrong, because it has pagan origins, would be like saying the same about Christmas, Easter, Halloween, baptisms, birthdays, wedding ceremonies, or a trinity of gods. OK, maybe there are real issues with only some of those, but you get the idea. My thought is that it is necessary to investigate the issue, before passing judgement.

James George Frazer also wrote that he called the practices based on the Law of Contagion as Contagious Magic which, he said, “is the magical sympathy which is supposed to exist between a man and any severed portion of his person, as his hair or nails; so that whoever gets possession of human hair may work his will, at any distance, upon the person from whom they were cut.15 It was the homeopathic term “magical sympathy” which triggered a memory of a similar term used by biblical scholar Michael S. Heiser.

In an article titled “The Healing Serpent,” Heiser talks about the words of Jesus: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14–15, NRSV). He indicated that this is a reference to Numbers 21:4–9, when the Israelites complained about being punished for their lack of faith and they asked Moses to intercede for them. “God relented and instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. Anyone bitten by a serpent would be healed by gazing at the bronze serpent.”16

“In part, the answer to ‘why a serpent?’ is found in the ancient practice of sympathetic magic — the idea that a person afflicted by an object can be cured or delivered by an image of that same object. In the absence of sophisticated medical knowledge, ancient cultures sought cures for physical ailments or perceived curses by such means. We can find several examples of this ancient medical approach in other places in the Old Testament” (also see: 1 Samuel 6:5–18; Exodus 15:25; 2 Kings 2:21).17

Bingo! We have our link. References related to homoepathy practices do, indeed, appear in the Bible. Of course, God doesn’t encourage the practice of magic, but since the Israelites were always getting into trouble for their failing faith and not following his rules, he knew that they were familiar with such magic and used this situation to show that only Jehovah can truly protect and deliver them. We have made a connection to homeopathy in the Bible, but we have not discerned the proper way to answer the question: should a Christian use homeopathy?

While Paracelsus dealt with alchemy, astrology, and maybe, some magic along with his medicine, Hippocrates was different, “he believed that diseases were caused naturally, not because of superstition and gods. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.”18

Samuel Hahnemann, like Hippocrates, felt the need to remove the metaphysical, mystical, and supernatural elements of previous homeopathic practices and strictly adhere to the protocols he established with his research. Besides drugs derived from plant and animal sources, he “showed almost as strong a love of mineral, metals, and acids, dozens of which appeared in his meteria medica, as his great forebears Paracelsus and van Helmont.” He was more interested in discovering the specific relationships of certain medicines to certain diseases, to certain organs and tissues. He wanted to do away with the old methods that weren’t proven by research. He wasn’t interested in the influence of the stars, or of evil spirits, or witchcraft; he was including himself among the elite of the medical establishment finding the old ways of no value.19

Conclusion

No doubt, Hahnemann was very secretive about his research and medical sources only because he didn’t want anyone to know how many of his ideas and conclusions came from the writings of wizards and sorcerers, which would taint his medical position. Basically, he kept the scientific knowledge gained through research and experimentation and disposed of the mysterious and supernatural origins, speculations, and practices, thereby stripping out the fantasy and saving the science. Because of this, it is accurate to say that Hahnemann is the founder of modern homeopathy.

So, let’s answer the original question: should a Christian use homeopathy? My personal answer is, sure, if they want to – I see no Christian problem with someone approaching this avenue of problem solving, because it is not anti-Christian in modern practice. Since I am not a medical doctor, it is suggested, of course, one should check with a medical professional first, to inquire if there would be any harm in applying this approach to your particular situation (important: see disclaimer in Notes).20

Copyright © 2018, Dr. Ray Hermann
OutlawBibleStudent.org

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References & Notes

  1. The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  2. “Samuel Hahnemann,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 12 June 2017), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hahnemann
  3. “Anton von Störck,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 15 November 2016), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_von_St%C3%B6rck
  4. Ibid., #2 above, (Hahnemann)
  5. “Homeopathy,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 31 July 2017), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy#History
  6. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Wester, Inc., 2003).
  7. Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, (USA: Funk & Wagnalls, Inc., 1986), vol. 13, p. 119.
  8. “Greek Medicine and Holistic Healing,” (retrieved 30 July 2017), http://www.greekmedicine.net/history/Greek_Medicine_and_Holistic_Healing.html
  9. “Paracelsus”, (Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 2 August 2017), https://www.britannica.com/biography/Paracelsus
  10. “Jan Baptist van Helmont,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 June 2017)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Baptist_van_Helmont
  11. “James George Frazer,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2 August 2017), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_George_Frazer
  12. Frazer, James George; Gaster, Theodor H., (Eds.), The New Golden Bough: A New Abridgment of the Classic Work, (New York: Criterion Books, 1959), p. 7.
  13. “Papa Celestin,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 25 June 2017), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_Celestin
  14. Ibid., #12 above, (Frazer)
  15. Frazer, James George, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940), p. 38.
  16. Heiser, Michael S., “I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible,” Bible Study Magazine, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), p. 131.
  17. Ibid., p. 132.
  18. “Hippocrates,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 19 July 2017),
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocrates
  19. Morrell, Peter, “The Secretive Hahnemann and the Esoteric Roots of Homeopathy,” (homeoint.org, retrieved 3 August 2017), http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/articles/esoteric.htm
  20. Author’s notes: (1) This is my standard qualifier or disclaimer, since I am not a medical doctor and do not offer medical advice in any manner. (2) This article is about someone asking for my religious opinion about an alternative medical practice that they thought may be contrary to Christian thought. It is my opinion that homeopathy is not anti-Christian in modern practice, but my opinion is not a suggestion, directive, or encouragement to try any alternative self-medication technique.
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23 thoughts on “Should a Christian Use Homeopathy?”

  1. In response to Ginger and her comments and concerns. Radionics is not Classical Homeopathy, but there are Homeopaths who use Radionics in their practice. This does not make it wrong or magic – It is so frustrating when people jump to conclusions. Everything is made up of energy and vibration – regardless of whether you can physically touch it!! Hello tuning fork, hello ultrasound, MRI just for a start. There is enough evidence to prove that preparing remedies by imprint works. What do you think about Hahnemann having some very sensitive patients just sniffing a remedy because that is all they could handle?

    People are so quick to demonize, put down, destroy what they don’t understand. Homeopathy has been under fire since its beginning and it won’t stop till Jesus returns again – for 3 main reasons – in an age of making things more concentrated, this art and science uses dilution and it’s hard to wrap ones head around how that can be effective, which brings the second point – trying to prove exactly how something works before you will accept it and the third – IT WORKS so wonderfully when applied properly and is very inexpensive and that enrages drug companies and doctors who make a lot of money from medicines.

    The AMA (American Medical Association) in the USA was created in direct opposition to Homeopathy – with the intent of destroying it. And with the USA going after control of Homeopathic remedies now – radionics may have to be used as the only method of being able to access them.

    When you have studied the Organon, then you can legitimately speak about it – otherwise you are speaking from ignorance and fear. And Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone and that everyone and everything is God. A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc. Homeopathy is not Pantheism. I implore you Ginger and anyone else – do your proper research before you throw around these accusations – you make people like me suffer and scare others who can benefit from Gods medicine. Sigh………

    Reply
    • It is appreciated that you have taken the time to read this article and share your thoughts. I guess, just as acupuncture is not classical medicine in the western world, radionics is not classical homeopathy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. I have neither tried radionics, nor studied the applications, so I have some doubts.

      But I will admit, I felt the same way about homeopathy, until I studied and tried it. In Ginger’s comment, she implored me to review my thoughts. So, not long ago, while having cramps in my leg, I experimented and found that a homeopathic remedy was a better treatment than a conventional one. Radionics and homoepathy are both considered alternative medical approaches, but many people seem to be helped by such methods.

      And I believe you are correct, electromagnetism and vibration are the rule in this universe, rather than the exception. Even classical physics is slowly changing to accommodate that fact.

      I also agree that the basic reason behind why these alternative methods aren’t acceptable is greed. Follow the money, right? The elite of this evil world can’t make money on anything that is cheap or free. Nikola Tesla couldn’t get help with his free energy project, because you can’t put a meter on something and sell it, if it is free. Likewise today, corporations and governments made hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin hard to get during this so-called pandemic, because the pharmaceutical industry can’t make money on those cheap drugs. Their only interest is in making money, not helping people.

      As for me, while pantheism (Spinoza) and the Organon (Aristotle) are popular thoughts in classical philosophy and logic, I am most comfortable in my classical Judeo-Christian view of God, the world, and the universe (visible and invisible).

      Reply
      • Thank you Ray for your thoughts and sharing. I would seek to clarify and understand your statement of the Organon coming from Aristotle. The definition of Organon is “An instrument for acquiring knowledge: an instrument for acquiring knowledge specifically : a body of principles of scientific or philosophical investigation.

        It is true that Aristotle’s collection on the 6 works of Logic was called the Organon by his followers, however I am speaking about Hahnemann’s “Organon of the Medical Art” which went through 6 editions throughout his life as he learned and experimented and researched healing.

        I also follow the classical Judeo-Christian view. I am a classical Christian along the lines of the Waldensians and Reformers and I am a classical Homeopath. It is a discussion for another time as to the influence of the ancient Greeks (including Aristotle and Plato), Persians, Babylonians on Judeo Christian beliefs. If Christians truly knew how much those religions have seeped in and been adopted as traditional Christian absolutes, they would be SHOCKED (or should be).

        Reply
  2. I do not agree with your findings. I personally witnessed the magic behind this. I went to a Christian Homeopath. She began to make her own remedies right in front of me. It was a small wooden box with 2 cups and dials. She placed one pellet in a copper cup and the one she wanted to copy in the other. There were 10 dials of frequency of which she changed based on her books instructions for the remedy to copy. She pressed a button for 10 second and claimed it transferred. It was NOT from any herbal source. It is all energy and vibrations which is new age lingo and basically pantheism. I implore you to review this again.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment and for your concern. It sounds like the device you describe is a ‘radionic remedy maker’. This type of device has been sold since the 1930s, in one form or another, and sellers imply it will duplicate, reduce, or increase homeopathic formulas, among other magical things. The machine supposedly imprints energy patterns on solids or liquids, or some other pseudoscientific explanation.

      I have never seen a scientific explanation of how it can work and sounds like a con to me. But there are plenty of people that believe in it and will swear it works. Maybe it is magic, like voodoo. If someone believes hard enough that it works, maybe to them it does.

      If someone has that kind of belief, maybe they should put that faith in Jesus Christ, instead of an electronic machine assembled by someone who has making money as an incentive.

      Reply
  3. Homeopathy is a God given gift to humanity and I have personally witnessed lives saved through this wonderful healing method. Ie, acute asthmatic attack reversed in 30 seconds after ambulance had been summoned and many other instances too numerous to mention. Since God is not responsible for bad actions but rather only the good and beautiful, each time I see the beauty and simplicity of this amazing gift then I can only be reminded of the goodness of God and his creations.
    I am blessed to be able to practice this Medici in his name.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for this research! I am considering homeopathy school and a close friend told me her reservations about it. As a Christian, I’d never thought of it as anything other than a medicine. I interpreted the “vital force” as our God given ability to fight infections. I had never even contemplated it being “magic.” So I was concerned when my friend brought this to my attention.

    I will read the book you mentioned “God is a Homeopath.” Hopefully it will help me make my decision on studying homeopathy.

    Reply
    • It is nice to hear that this article was of benefit to you. Homeopathy is medicine and is respected in many parts of the world, if not so much here in the United States.

      As for magic and miracles, they are only the results obtained by processes of which we do not understand at the time. Most of the common technology in use today would have been thought of as magic and miracles just two hundred years ago. Everything on earth was given to us for our benefit (Psalm 115:16); the knowledge we learn should be used to help people. I hope you find comfort in you chosen field of education.

      By the way, to find out more about Moses’ serpent on a pole, a recent article explains more about that event and how it foreshadowed Jesus on the cross saving the lives of humanity.
      “A Study in John 3 — and that Snake on a Pole Thing,” https://outlawbiblestudent.org/a-study-in-john-3-and-that-snake-on-a-pole-thing/

      Reply
  5. Further to my research about “is Homeopathy biblical”, I happened upon a book written by an Australian Christian Homeopath named Gerard Bocquee called “God is a Homeopath” 2012. ISBN # 978-1-4797-5128-0
    I ordered it and just finished reading it and what a wonderful help to explain certain points and remind us that the Homeopathic law of “Like cures Like” is straight from the bible. I need to read it again. Just thought you might be interested. I rarely find books on natural therapies that are written by born again believers.

    Reply
    • Thank you for mentioning this source concerning biblical homeopathy. I’ve received several emails about my article and I’m sure many people will be pleased to know of this book. Although I can’t promote such sources, it is nice to know such books with a biblical perspective are available for those that are interested.

      Reply
  6. As a born again Christian, RMT (Reg Massage Therapist) and Homeopath I thank you for this article. It brought up the interesting point about the bible and a Homeopathic relation that I did not know about.

    It is not easy at all serving Jesus amidst the Natural Health world and some of it’s admittedly strange practices and beliefs and the backlash I get from other Christians. Having been recently reprimanded in my church about this issue and the ability of water to retain the imprint of the initial material substance, I started to do more research and happened upon your website. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment and I am happy that this article helped you. I’m sorry that you had a hard time at your church over this subject. I, too, have been criticized many times over “supposed” un-Christian ideas, all of which were later proven to have some biblical basis. I constantly ask God to guide me in learning about the true “reality” of his created world in which we live.

      Reply
  7. I guess like a lot of things if you believe in it, it works. A sugar pill will help as well as a drug, if you believe it.

    Reply
  8. I was always told that homepathy was a magic so I was afraid to try it. I might give it a try now. A friend at work swares about how it helps. Wont hurt to try I guess.

    Reply
    • That’s exactly the point. Homeopathy can’t hurt because it is vibration. The right vibration inspires the body to remember that God created bodies to heal. A remedy with a vibration that doesn’t match the suffering is like trying to get a C tuning fork to vibrate from a D note. No harm done.

      Reply
      • I’ve never investigated this, however I read somewhere that if everything is vibration, then sickness is vibration. Therefore vibrations can be a form of medicine that can heal. If it is suggested that like vibrations can be a remedy in healing, it seems to follow the same logic as homeopathy. Thanks for the thought.

        Reply

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