Before moving on and looking at what kind of evidence demonstrates that a particular therapy really does something, it is important to consider the supernatural. According to the Bible, some things, including healing, can happen by supernatural means.
By the supernatural, I am referring to things that happen independent of the normal physical laws of nature. Biblically, supernatural happenings are due to the involvement of the spirit world.
Considering the supernatural is important because there are some alternative therapies like “Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, reflexology, Deepa Chopra’s Aryvedic medicine, Larry Dossey’s healing words and many others”1 with non-Christian spiritual beliefs underlying them. This is also true of a number of alternative therapies that deal with life energies. Practitioners of these therapies say that “true health results from a balanced flow of this energy through the body and unblocked exchange of this energy with one’s environment.”2
For the harvesting of vital organs from bodies that appear to be alive to be considered acceptable, it becomes important to be able to define a person as dead while their body is still “alive.” Taking of vital organs, necessarily, results in the death of the body. To harvest vital organs before a person is dead is not acceptable within biblical Christianity, since the Bible contains commands against killing. See blog posting Vital Organ Donation – The Most Important Question. Biblically, people are body and soul and at death there is a separation of body and soul. For biblical Christianity to accept vital organ harvesting from living bodies, death needs to be declared while the body is still alive. If death is defined by the moment the soul leaves the body, and we can show that the soul can leave the body while the life blood is still flowing, then those who follow the tenants of biblical Christianity can accept vital organ donation.
In my blog posting, titled Alternative Medicine – Important Questions, I commented on how alternative therapies are becoming increasingly common. All therapies can be divided into three groups, those that are beneficial, those that really do nothing, other than costing time and money, and those that cause harm. With respect to seeking out advice on alternative therapies I ask the questions, “Is the advice good?” and “How do we decide?” Then in my blog posting, titled Alternative Medicine – Testimonials Natural History and Secondary Gain, recognizing many seek out evidence a therapy may work before embracing it, I looked at testimonials. Testimonials are kind of evidence commonly used to lend support to many alternative therapies. I addressed the fact testimonials do not prove that a therapy really works. One of the reasons for this is that many problems tend to get better, or at least improve, over time no matter what therapy is applied. This is due to the natural history of many medical problems, which is to improve over time. Next, we need to consider what kind of evidence provides some proof a therapy really does something useful. Before continuing, we need to consider the placebo effect.
Worldview and Ethical Issues from a Biblical Perspective