Faith healing has existed for thousands of years before the principles of modern medicine were established. It has grown increasingly less popular in recent years, because science has proven that modern medicine is obviously more effective than the power of Wicca, shamanism, Druidism and prayer.
Skeptics are correct that we should focus our attention on using evidence-based healing practices, rather than more arcane concepts like magic. However, that does not mean that faith healing is completely irrelevant in the modern world. It actually does have some scientific validity.
I admit that I was surprised to learn that there is some scientific validity to the practice of faith healing. Some people believe that it is due to the intervention of God or other divinities. Both Christians and pagans (like Wiccans and druids) tend to play some more faith in the supernatural. I am more of a skeptic.
What do pagans and other spiritual healers actually believe?
It is easy to be skeptical of the benefits of faith healing, since there are so many misconceptions about the people that practice it. A real life witch recently wrote an article on Allure about the myths surrounding modern Wicca. She pointed out that many people mistakenly think that you need crystals and other strange artifacts to conjure magic. This author points out that all a Wiccan really needs is themselves.
Faith healers also recognize this. Jospheine, the author and editor at Magia Blanca de Le Tierra made a similar statement during a recent interview. They state that the real power that they have is their own strength of will.
Even as a skeptic that doubts the existence of such arcane ideas as Wicca, I can see the logic here. If a faith healer truly believes in their gift, then they can instill confidence in the person they are trying to heal. This is likely the reason that they can make their craft work.
This is the case that Erik Ness, an author at Prevention, made about prayer in his post “Faith Healing
Prayer can play a role in medicine, but it may not be the one you think.”
What does the scientific community have to say on the topic?
Nigel Barber, an evolutionary psychologist and the author of the Science of Romance and Why Parents Matter wrote an insightful post on this in Psychology Today back in 2011. Barber said that faith healing should not work. However, he has cited studies dictating that it does.
“Faith healing is usually considered more a matter of belief in magic and the supernatural rather than confidence in the science of pharmacology. From a scientific perspective, faith healing is unexplained, incomprehensible, and should not work. Yet it does work.”
Barber said that scientists have had difficulty accounting for all of these factors. They mostly expressed skepticism, rather than choosing to be moved by their own findings.
Does this mean that magic is at the root of the cure? According to Barber and other skeptics, the answer would obviously be “no”. They are not willing to consider the possibility that Wicca or other forms of magic might be the cost of healing, for obvious reasons.
Barber cites two other likely causes:
- The first possibility is that the placebo effect is the cause.
- The other possibility is that faith healing did not play a role at all. Spontaneous healing does occur, even with common problems like ringworm. It is hard for exports to tell whether faith healing or simple luck is the reason the ailment went away.
Faith Healing Can Still Play a Role in Modern Medicine
Modern medicine is evolving. However, it is not making ancient ideas like faith healing completely obsolete. People in need of health should consider it, but only if they truly believe that it will make a difference.
Do you believe that faith healing can have a big impact on your life? Have you seen somebody recover from illness with wicca or the power of prayer? Feel free to share your thoughts below!