Tom: Thanks, Gary. We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church, and this week we’re discussing holistic medicine. It’s one of the names used for alternative medicine.
Now, Dave, we’re not medical doctors. We’re not nutritionists, and other than you being into garlic and my penchant for fruit and vegetables, we’re not what anyone would call experts in this area. And furthermore, this program – that is, the purpose of this program, as you know — is to encourage biblical discernment among Christians. So people are asking: “What are we doing discussing herbs and exotic solutions to what ails us?”
Dave: Well, we’re not really trying to give advice as to what kind of nutrition a person should adopt. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about an encroachment from this field into the area of the spiritual.
Dave: In other words, as we mentioned already, I think, you would see a triangle – mind, body, spirit – for the sign for holistic medicine. Holistic, “h-o-l” could be spelled “w-h,” and it sometimes is: whol- it means, “the whole person.” So instead of the doctor or nutritionist or whoever it is dealing just with the body, now they want to get into the whole person, and that includes the soul and the spirit. Well, what qualifications do they have for dealing with that, and what is their basis of truth? The Bible deals with the soul and spirit of man. It deals with his spiritual relationship with God. And the relationship with God is what is important about spirituality.
Tom: Again, our concern here is for spiritual discernment. Now let’s say an evangelical has a particular physical problem. They go to their doctor, and the doctor recommends some form of alternative medicine. Now, Christians might say, “Well, wait a minute – I’m going to a doctor; he’s trying to solve my problem. What’s the problem with that?”
Dave: Well, we have to define “alternative medicine,” and they don’t really define it. In other words, it’s just an alternative. What it is is an alternative to physiologically, scientifically, medically based analysis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Tom: Not that that’s always going to solve the problem, but at least it’s something more objective than the very subjective spiritual concepts you’re going to receive, right?
Dave: You could get into real problems with a medical doctor, because there are medical doctors who are quacks, or there are some who are sincere, and maybe they understand, but they make mistakes. But at least you’re not in the area of the spirit. But when you get into alternative medicine, so-called—holistic medicine—then you’re dealing with some kind of a force that is indefinable. It’s not scientifically analyzable, if that’s a word; you can’t analyze it scientifically, you can’t explain it scientifically, but it works, and there’s some power there.
Now, let’s talk about herbs for a minute: a lot of the herbs are chanted over, they are prayed over, they are part of the world of the occult. It doesn’t mean that an herb might not be good, but one of the problems with herbs is the FDA, for whatever good they do, the FDA has no jurisdiction, there’s no analysis; there have been no experiments—scientific experiments. It’s pretty much hearsay: “Well, I heard that this helps, and that, and so forth, and let’s try it . . . ”
Tom: It’s testimonials.
Dave: . . . and it could be helpful, it may not. So, just from that standpoint, forgetting any spiritual side to it, I would suggest some caution. But getting into things like acupuncture, or biofeedback. . . . Biofeedback has been called the “yoga of the West,” and it’s basically the same thing as yoga. And what you are learning is how to somehow control the autonomic functions of the body. In other words, your body supposedly controls the heart rate, the blood pressure, and you could . . .
Tom: The breathing. . .
Dave: Right, and you could adjust that by nutrition, a proper diet – a wrong diet could raise your blood pressure, a proper diet might lower it, and so forth, within limitations on that. But there are certain physiological factors involved in your genes and so forth. When we start to control that mentally, and we learn how to do it . . . For example, the yogis – some yogis can go into almost a state of suspended animation. They can be confined to a very small area with no oxygen and last for quite a while. Stop their heartbeat entirely, or put it down to a very low level. Now, first of all, I don’t think that’s natural; secondly, by what power are they doing this? Well, they claim . . . the goal of yoga is to reach a state of consciousness where you realize that you are god; that you can escape time, sense, and the elements, and reach the state called moksha . . .
Tom: This is through self-realization, and people are familiar with that term I’m sure.
Dave: Right. And so now, if – and this is definitely spiritual – the books on yoga by the great yogis would tell you that you are contacting spirit entities when you chant a mantra. The mantra is the name of a Hindu deity, and you are calling upon this deity to possess you. The yogis will warn you about kundalini. They say it’s a force in the shape of a serpent coiled at the base of the spine, and when you reach a certain state it springs forth, and the books on yoga will warn you [that] you should have an expert guarding you, you know, and guiding you in this situation. And it is a religion; it is a religious practice of Hinduism. So when they call biofeedback the “yoga of the West,” then that ought to cause some concern on my part.
Furthermore, we have done experiments . . . it seems to a large extent, at least, to be a placebo. Moreover, you practice biofeedback to get rid of your migraine headache, and you manage to do that, and you get something else in its place. I think that we have to have some caution in this area. In fact, I would be more than cautious, I would avoid it.
Tom: Right. You see, again, an evangelical, somebody who’s a Bible believer, goes to a doctor; they receive some kind of alternate approach to dealing with their symptoms or their problems, and our concern here is that even though this may work to some degree, as they begin to get into what they’re doing or understand it a little bit more, they may not recognize that they’re being led away from biblical truth. To begin with, a whole view of reality . . . now, almost all alternative methods, alternative medicine, approaches, and techniques have a view of reality that’s contrary to the Bible. They’re not talking about a transcendent God who is the Creator of the universe; they’re talking about a mind, a power, a force out there. They’re talking about spiritual energy that moves throughout their body that can be controlled either through acupuncture or acupressure and so on. So, Dave, my point here is that they’re picking up some baggage that’s contrary to truth, to reality, and that’s our concern: that they’re being drawn away from biblical truth because they have a problem they’re trying to get solved, whether it be medical or mental or whatever it might be.
Dave: Well, let me quote someone that I guess we probably have quoted before, but I don’t think we’ve given this quote . . . Michael Harner – he’s one of the world’s leading anthropologists, and he happens to be a practicing shaman. Shaman, by the way, is the new word for witch doctor or medicine man; it’s adopted internationally by anthropologists, and he is a practicing shaman. And listen to what he says: he says, “The word ‘holistic’ is a euphemism for witchcraft.” He says, “The burgeoning field of . . . ” (so this is not you and I as critics; this is a believer in this now . . . ) “The burgeoning field of holistic medicine shows a tremendous amount of experimentation involving techniques long practiced in shamanism, such as visualization, altered states of consciousness, aspects of psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, meditation, positive attitude, stress reduction, and mental and emotional expression of personal will for health and healing. In a sense, shamanism is being reinvented in the West precisely because it’s needed.” Now, when the man tells you that the field of holistic medicine is a reawakening in the western world of shamanism, of witchcraft, things that witch doctors have practiced for centuries, and they attribute this to spirits that they contact, then I think that our concern is well-founded.
Tom: Mm-hmm. You mention in the book – you address a man named Deepak Chopra. Let me give you some of the quotes of how he’s viewed around the world: Time Magazine admiringly calls him the “emperor of the soul.” The London Daily Telegraph calls his New York Times bestseller Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, “brilliant and exhilarating.” The Washington Post calls it “dazzling,” and The San Francisco Chronicle, “enlightening.” Now, he’s one of the latest of the holistic gurus. He has a medical background, he received his medical training in India, he did an internship and residency in the US, and he became Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital in the early ’80s.
So, Dave, he’s got scientific credentials. That makes him more credible. Then he goes with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and TM, and he begins selling Ayurvedic medicine, which is the ancient healing method of India and Hinduism. And then he writes a book on how to prevent aging, which is a – you know, that’s a hot item in this country, the “forever young” America, which is really a major carrot at the end of the stick for Americans. This was very attractive. He appears on Oprah and becomes a household name and a multimillionaire. But, Dave, what is he really selling?
Dave: Well, he’s selling Hinduism, basically. He is a Hindu; he believes that the individual self (that’s Atman) is identical with the universal self, Brahman, and that we really are God, that we really are eternal beings, and that somehow we’ve been caught in this delusion – maya, it’s called in Hinduism – and we have been deceived into imagining that things are not as they really are, and if we can just reach this state of consciousness, we don’t have to die. We would never be sick, we would never age – that maybe is something that people would like to latch onto as a hope, but common sense would tell you that it simply isn’t true. Deepak Chopra is aging. He’s not going to live forever. He’s probably not going to live any longer than anyone else. He was involved very heavily with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as you said, in transcendental meditation. Transcendental meditation, again, is Hinduism. It’s basically yoga. It’s not what it claims to be, and yoga passes itself off in the Western world as being good for health. In fact, in the East, it’s a technique for dying, for escaping this world. He is presenting, really, Hinduism.
Tom: Right. So he…but interestingly, he has an MD. I mean, he’s a qualified medical doctor, but he’s no longer in the medical field, right? He’s in the spiritual field.
Dave: Well, at least he’s mixing the two, and he can use his . . .
Tom: Yeah, but, Dave, doesn’t one deny the other? I mean, isn’t this maya, isn’t this illusion that he’s saying all of our problems are created by . . . you know, it’s illusion, negative thinking, all of these things.
Dave: Well, the Journal of the American Medical Association has not been very happy with some of his things. And he has, for example, been passing off Ayurvedic [unintelligible], and trying to get people into this . . . What it is is mind over matter, okay? Really, “What I am is what I think.” Now, there is – we’ve discussed this before – there is some basis up to a point for that. Remember? Solomon said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” So if you are of a happy disposition, your digestive system will probably work better, and if you’re optimistic, you know, two people of equal ability on the tennis court, probably the person that is confident that he’s going to win will beat the person who is out there and is already defeated in his mind and thinks he’s going to lose. So there is some validity to this. But it’s not going to make you live forever. It’s not going to cure you of cancer . . .
Tom: Or of a broken arm.
Dave: That’s right. But these people in holistic medicine, they think that we can completely transform ourselves by our minds, that there is some force within us, and if we learn how to tune in and manipulate it . . . this is the universal consciousness, some of them would call it. This is the Tau of the yin and the yang, or what . . . It comes by various terms, but it’s something that can’t be defined scientifically.
Tom: Dave, let me interject this: one of the most, I think, misquoted scriptures is from Solomon – you mentioned Solomon earlier – you know: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Now, that’s not what the scripture says, is it?
Dave: No, it’s not. The situation there is Solomon is warning his son – he says, “When you go to eat with a ruler – you’re going to be king one day, and you get out in the world of politics, and this rival king or whatever he is, you know, he may pat you on the back and pretend to be your friend, but really as he thinks . . . ”
Tom: “As he,” not “as a man.” It’s not a general statement.
Dave: Right, “as he thinks in his heart, that’s what he really is.” Not what he says, but what he thinks. So this is not telling you that you can make yourself whatever you want to be by your thoughts; it’s simply saying that what a person really is is what he is thinking secretly in his mind, in his heart, not necessarily what he’s telling you. And in fact, Solomon says, “If you’re a man given to appetite, you sit down at this feast with him, put a knife to your throat.” Solomon says, “Just don’t go along with this and be deceived by a person’s words. You better know what’s really in his heart.”
Now, sadly, Christians, a lot of them Christian psychologists, have taken that verse and they twist it around, and they – as you say, they quote it as, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” as though you can change what you really are. “If you think positive thoughts, if you think health and so forth, you can make yourself whatever you want to be.” In fact, Robert Schuller says that you can do exactly that: that we have the power to create whatever world we want. Norman Vincent Peale, who was his mentor, said the same thing: The Power of Positive Thinking. The whole idea of that book, which has been a bestseller in probably 40 languages – the whole idea was that you can change your whole world by your thoughts.
This idea then invades the world of medicine. Then it becomes confused with faith. (Norman Vincent Peale said “positive thinking is another word for faith.”) And now they say, “Well, it doesn’t matter what faith you have [that is, what religion] or in what god you trust, just so long as you believe.”
So now Christianity is no longer the truth, Jesus is no longer the truth, and it doesn’t really matter. God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Bible, is not the one true God as He says, but we’ve turned God – and that is all gods – into a placebo: “It doesn’t really matter what god you believe in so long as you believe it.” So now it is not God who does it, it is not according to God’s will, it’s not according to His Word, it’s not according to the rules that He lays out for us, but it’s just some power within us that is activated by faith: faith in anything. Just believe that you’re going to be cured of this or that, and it will work, because of the power of the mind over matter.
Now, that is a delusion. That is witchcraft. It’s very appealing, but it’s not true. And the worst part of it is, Tom, it takes us away from the true God and from the gospel of Jesus Christ; it gives people a false hope. And I don’t want to discourage them; I don’t want to be accused of telling people, “Well, don’t think positively, just be discouraged and negative,” and so forth. No, that’s not what we’re saying. We want to be realistic.
But to be realistic, I’ve got to go to God’s Word, and there is such a thing as submitting to God’s will. It may not be God’s will to heal me, or it may not be God’s time, or this may not be His way, and when I pray to God, I’ve got to learn to say, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Why would I say that? Because I believe that God is smarter than I am, and I believe He really loves me. And when I have that confidence, then I can say, like Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” So if I don’t have that confidence in God, then I’m going to latch onto whatever somebody will throw out there that gives the hope of curing myself, of controlling my life, and that’s going to take me away from God and from His Word.
Tom: Dave, for people who are – and we all suffer physiological problems, and problems that are spiritual, and problems of…maybe I have wrong thinking about some things, and I’ve put myself in bondage for believing a lie. But when people go to a doctor, a nutritionist, a chiropractor, whatever, shouldn’t they ask basic questions about what the doctor is prescribing? Our concern is that they’re going to get a bogus view of the universe, completely wrong view of the God of creation. You know, the lie of the serpent. In Genesis 3, he promoted some ideas that were false, and Adam and Eve, you know, they went for it. But isn’t that our concern here, that people be discerning, they be prudent in what they’re doing? Yeah, problems – you want to get problems solved, but you’ve got to…it has to be on the basis of truth, on the basis of what the God of creation has laid out for us in His Word, don’t you think?
Dave: Well, if there isn’t some physiological, medical, scientific explanation for how this thing is going to work, then you ought to be suspicious of it. But our concern, Tom, is for the eternal destiny of souls, and holistic medicine claims to deal with the spiritual side of man, and that introduces false concepts that turn us from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that’s what we’re concerned about. We’re supposed to “earnestly contend for the faith – the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” and that’s what we’re concerned about in this program. We want people to check us out, Search the Scriptures Daily, to see if what we say is true.