Witch Doctors: A Biblical View Of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practitioners

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Jun 23, 2019
  1. What is (CAM)?

Medical and healthcare systems, therapies, practices and products not presently considered to be a part of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Modalities associated with (CAM) would include Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Functional or Integrative Medicine, Herbal or Botanical Medicine (i.e. Phytomedicine or Phyto-therapy), Energy Medicine or Therapy (e.g. Electromagnetic therapy, Radionics, Magnet therapy, Color Light acupuncture, Light therapy, Color Light Therapy, Crystal healing, Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Touch, Qigong, Reiki, Rolfing, Massage Therapy, Cupping Therapy) Ayurveda (e.g. Yoga, Meditation, Sattvic Diet), Traditional Chinese Medicine (e.g. Acupressure, Acupuncture), Shamanism, Hypnosis, Chiropractic Medicine, IV Vitamin Therapy, Infrared Sauna or Traditional Sauna Therapy, Nutritional Medicine or Therapy (e.g. Nutrigenetics, whole or organic diets, detoxifying diets), Vitamin or Supplement Therapy (e.g. multi-vitamins and minerals, nutritional and dietary supplements, vitamin supplements, prebiotics and probiotics, antioxidants), detoxifying cleanses and Colonics.

  1. Popular people within (CAM) today: Dr. Mark Hyman (Functional Medicine); 2.2. Dr. Andrew Weil (Integrative Medicine, Energy Medicine/Therapy, Therapeutic Touch); Dr. Gladys McGarey (Homeopathy); Dr. Joel Fuhrman (Nutritional Therapy); Dr. Oz Mehmet (CAM promoter); (In Denver) Dr. Monique Martin (CAM).
  1. What makes (CAM) different from (EBM):

3.1. (EBM) believes that sickness/disease is the result of external pathogens and/or internal dysfunction. (CAM) believes that health/wellness versus the existence sickness/disease is directly related to the blockage (versus the flow) of a person’s subtle or spiritual energy. Though many (CAM) practitioners will acknowledge the existence of external pathogens or internal dysfunction, a person’s subtle/spiritual energy flow is still considered the most important factor to overall healing or health[1].

Subtle and Spiritual Energy explained/expanded:

3.1.1. Subtle (material/physical) energy = Electromagnetic energy, Human Energy Field (e.g. chakras in Ayurveda, meridians in Acupuncture/TCM, Therapeutic Touch[2]), Genetic Influence/Positive Genetic Expression (Nutritional Medicine)

3.1.2. Spiritual energy (immaterial) = Vitalism or Vital fluid (Homeopathy)[3], Qi or Chi (Traditional Chinese Medicine)[4], Prana (Ayurveda), Innate Intelligence (Chiropractic)[5].

3.2. (EBM) is based on practice and evidence substantiated/supported by testing according to the scientific method (redundant, randomized/double-blind, placebo-controlled trials)[6].  (CAM) is based on metaphysical assumption and anecdotal testimony[7] not substantiated/supported by testing according to the scientific method. (CAM) is for this reason referred to as pseudoscience or quackery.

  1. How (CAM) practitioners draw people away from (EBM): (40% of Americans use (CAM) practitioners).

4.1. A sense of patient empowerment and validation.

(CAM) practitioners are trained to meet w/potential patients for 1-2 hrs collecting data and getting to know them. Though often communicated as taking a “holistic” approach to a person’s health, the main purpose behind these talks are to find out what the patient believes as it relates to diagnosis and treatment since oftentimes this dictates the actual prescription or treatment path followed by the practitioner. Such an approach makes the patient feel empowered/validated in relation to their beliefs about their body and their medical care versus being instructed to trust those who have spent many years in rigorous, evidence-based medical training and testing to care for your health (e.g. patient: “I am having an allergic reaction”; prescript: allergy-related tincture)[8].

4.2. The impression they are doctors who will go beyond the stuffy rules/regulations of conventional medicine to secure your health.

Due to its extraordinarily higher profit margins and ability to function w/little fear of medical malpractice (since there is no clear standard of practice)[9], more and more medical doctors are opting to go the route of (CAM) practitioner. By doing so they are perceived as doctors who care so much about your well-being that they are willing to go beyond the rules/regs of their training and explore the many options available in the world of (CAM)[10]. The fallacy and danger of such thinking is what it assumes about the restraints placed on conventional (evidence-based) medicine. Such restraints exist not to stifle or inhibit healthcare but rather prevent further damage or sickness. Treatments or procedures that have not passed the rigorous requirements and testing associated w/most of what exists in the conventional medical community – i.e. those found w/in (CAM),  are therefore not about a person’s well-being, but rather using such individuals as experiments.

4.3. Conspiracy theory

A favorite focus of (CAM) practitioners are mold, candida, and exposure to harmful toxins (thru food or environment). Their claim that an individual is suffering from such things (i.e. what is blocking their chi from flowing) is often “validated” thru bogus lab-work (e.g. Great Plains Labs, Doctors-Data) and herbal “prescriptions”  and calls for fraudulent/useless de-toxification processes. By acting as though these things are presenting a real danger to their patients, (CAM) practitioners equally imply that real doctors/conventional medicine are “hiding” the ugly truth about what’s really causing people to get sick. Unfortunately, human beings seem to have a natural penchant for conspiracy theory.

  1. Why must Christians view (CAM) practitioners as witch-doctors and refuse their treatment?

5.1. B/C we are called to by live by the presently revealed things (or where the evidence currently exists) and to reject what exists only as speculation or is based on experience alone. (1Ti 6:20; Tit 1:10; Eph 5:6; Col 2:1-8, 18; 1Ti 4:1-5; Deu 19:15; 2Co 13:1; Deu 29:29 w/Mat 9:20-22 = Jesus could have revealed the natural cure, but instead chose to keep it hidden, healing her supernaturally instead. What does that tells us? We are req’d to operate according to the evidence we possess in general revelation now– even though later, that may change.)

5.2 B/C we are commanded to remove ourselves from all items/events associated w/idolatry/false religion or wickedness.

(1Co 10:14-22) = Paul’s instruction in these verses come on the heels of: 1) his prior warning against going to places associated w/idolatry or wickedness (8:1-13) and 2) his more immediate example of Israel during the time of the Exodus (1-13). Though Israel also possessed a saving covenant relationship w/Christ and had experienced the blessings of His personal presence and intimacy, that relationship did not protect them from the dangers of idolatry . As such, Paul’s command “to flee from idolatry” was not only to be taken seriously, but reasoned according to how God views this issue (not the world). This is what Paul is getting at when he says in verse (15) – “I speak as to sensible people, judge for yourselves what I say”. How (then) God views idolatry (according to the remaining verses): Once an item/event becomes associated w/the spiritual/false religion/wickedness by those serving or supplying that item/event, our awareness of such association means we are considered by God to be associated/participating in idolatry if we choose to continue pursuing that item/event (19-21) = Just as we are associating ourselves w/the body of Christ when we partake/participate in the bread and wine of the Table , so also we are associating w/ “demons” (i.e. idolatry) when we participate in those things we know are being associated w/ “idols” – i.e. the spiritual/false religion/wickedness. Hence the reason Paul says what he does in (17-18) = We cannot separate what we eat/drink at the Table/altar as though it were not part of Christ’s Body (i.e. we can’t compartmentalize it). This principle is the basis of Paul’s warning regarding the Lord’s Table in (11:27-29) = Since the Table is associated w/Christ, wrong participation will now bring a curse – whether a person acknowledges that association or not (e.g. “It’s just bread and wine to me”). This then is also the reason Paul says what he does in (10:23-31) = Once you are aware of something’s idolatrous/wicked association, you are to refrain. Otherwise we will “provoke the Lord to anger” (22)

So then, though our intention for being in a place associated w/idols, false religion or wickedness may be pure (e.g. we are dining at the pagan temple b/c they make the best steak in town not b/c we embrace or accept their religion/reputation – 8:4 w/10), such compartmentalizing does not excuse us from idolatry where associations to the spiritual/false religion/wickedness have already been made by those serving or supplying that item/event.


Examples of other things beside (CAM) witch doctors associated w/spiritual idolatry/false religion or wickedness: (Muslim) Shriner’s events, any and all rock concerts or bands whose reputation is associated w/wickedness or idolatry (e.g. reputation of Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead = the acid-tripping, stoner’s paradise; meme in re: to most rock concerts – “ I love it when they play music at the drug festival.”).

[1] “At the core of all [(CAM)] is the concept of… energy [spiritual or subtle], which seems to sustain and promote life processes in the biological system.” – US National Library of Medicine; “While [the different forms of (CAM)] differ in their philosophical approaches to prevention and treatment and disease, they share a number of common elements. These systems are based on the belief that one’s body has the power [or energy] to heal itself.” – Syed Amin Tabish (“Complementary and Alternative Healthcare: Is it Evidence-based?”, International Journal Of Health Sciences); “The common theme running through all the alternative health care systems…is a belief in a pervasive and mysterious energy that supports and maintains the processes associated with life. All problems with life and health are directly related to an imbalance or interruption of these life-giving energies. Once harmony and balance is achieved, good health inevitably returns.” – Robert Novella (“Energy Crisis”, New England Skeptical Society).Included in Dr. Monique Martin’s,  “10 Pillars Of Success” for treating patients she has, “The Flow of Qi/Chi and Electromagnetic impulses are paramount to the health and survival of the body and the communication system between the whole organism. Treatment focuses on removing blockages and opening channels. This includes Acupuncture, Acupressure, Bodywork – OMT, Chiropractic, Massage, Energy Healing, Medications, Chelation Supplements, Breathwork, Yoga, Meditation and Detoxification.(drmoniquemartin.com)

[2] Therapeutic Touch (TT) posits that there is a human energy field (HEF) that surrounds human bodies and that illness or injury results in an unbalanced or depleted HEF. Treatment by TT Practitioners includes ‘centering’ to align their field with the patient’s, ‘unruffling’ to smooth out the field and remove knots or blockages, and finally they perform an ‘energy transfer’ to transmit some of their HEF to support and repair the patient’s HEF. Physical manipulation of the human energy field is a common concept in many alternative healing beliefs. In Andrew Weil’s book, Spontaneous Healing, he comments; ‘…with practice you can learn to feel it move, move it about the body, and even transmit it to another body.’” – Robert Novella (“Energy Crisis”, New England Skeptical Society).

[3] According to homeopathy’s founder, Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843), human beings are possessed by an immaterial (or “vital”) force that must be free to flow if the person is to remain healthy. Hence, all illness is the result of blockage in relation to this force, In Hahnemann’s words, “when a person falls ill, it is only this spiritual vital force, everywhere present in his organism, that is primarily deranged by another dynamic influence hostile to his life.” The solution? Consuming positive spiritual tinctures that “occupies precisely the seat hitherto occupied by the derangement.” Or in the words of Princeton professor Dr. Lee Silver, “the demonic element of the vital spirit must be replaced by the angelic element of the natural homeopathic remedy. Since the disease is spiritual, a cure is best effected when the medicine contains no interference – no material substance – from the original curative agent. Therefore the greater the dilution [of the herbal remedy], the stronger the medicinal spirit becomes” (Challenging Nature). Hence the reason homeopathic and naturopathic remedies present no substantive qualities for scientific testing. They are not attempting to affect the physical ailment, but its underlying spiritual cause.

[4] Included in Dr. Monique Martin’s,  “10 Pillars Of Success” for treating patients she states, “The Flow of Qi/Chi and Electromagnetic impulses are paramount to the health and survival of the body and the communication system between the whole organism. Treatment focuses on removing blockages and opening channels. This includes Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chiropractic, Massage, Energy Healing, Medications, Chelation Supplements, Breathwork, Yoga, Meditation and Detoxification.(drmoniquemartin.com)

[5] Chiropractic, developed by Daniel David Palmer in 1895, is entirely based on the vitalistic, chi-like belief that an energy or spiritual life-force pervades the human body. This energy, referred to as ‘innate-intelligence,’ is said to emanate from the brain, travel through the spinal cord and peripheral nerves to all the organs of the body (Novella ‘97). It is only when this energy is intact and its flow is unimpeded that we can attain a healthy state. The primary culprit of illness is seen as spinal misalignments or subluxations that impinge spinal nerves and obstruct the flow of energy resulting in disease. Manipulating and correcting the subluxations is said to restore the flow of innate intelligence, creating a state of optimum health.” – Robert Novella (“Energy Crisis”, New England Skeptical Society). Daniel David Palmer believed that Chiropractic was an alternative religion to Christianity, “I believe in fact know, that the universe consists of Intelligence and Matter. This Intelligence is known to the Christian world as ‘God’…a correct understanding of [chiropractic] principles and the practice of them constitute the religion of chiropractic…Innate Intelligence  is part of the all wise…Creator…of Universal Intelligence, individualized and personified.” (D.D. Palmer, “The Chiropractor’s Adjuster”). For these reasons, Palmer also believed chiropractic should possess its own religious flag and be recognized by Congress among the religions of the United States.

[6] “Evidence-based medicine (EBM) applies the scientific method to medical practice, and aims for the ideal that healthcare professionals should make ‘conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence’ in their everyday practice…Conventional medicine relies on methods proved to be safe and effective with carefully designed trials and research…Complementary and alternative treatments lack solid research on which to base sound decisions. The dangers and possible benefits of many complementary and alternative treatments remain unproved [For example] Thousands of studies of various dietary supplements have been performed. Examples [of dietary supplements] include botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins and prebiotics. However, no single supplement has proven effective in a compelling way…The efficacy of [CAM] has not been demonstrated through double-blind randomized controlled trials; in contrast, conventional drugs reach the market only after such trials have proved their efficacy. A person may attribute asymptomatic relief to an otherwise ineffective therapy due to the placebo effect, the natural recovery from or the cyclical nature of an illness (the regression fallacy), or the possibility that the person never originally had a true illness…Those who have had success with one alternative therapy for a minor ailment may be convinced of its efficacy and persuaded to extrapolate that success to some other alternative therapy for a more serious, possibly life-threatening illness. For this reason, critics contend that therapies that rely on the placebo effect to define success are dangerous. Scientifically unsupported health practices can lead individuals to forgo effective treatments.” – Syed Amin Tabish (“Complementary and Alternative Healthcare: Is it Evidence-based?”, International Journal Of Health Sciences); “Evidence-based medicine emphasizes reproducibility. It attempts to define a universal ‘best practice,’ based on large randomized controlled trials and meta analyses. This is the antithesis of CAM.” – Gavin Yamey (“Can Complementary Medicine Be Evidence Based?”, Western Journal Of Medicine); “Conventional therapies (EBM) are rigorously tested and must apply to the FDA in order to be released and marketed to the public. CAM therapies do not require FDA approval.” – Trisha Torrey (“CAM Therapies and Evidence Based Medicine Controversy”, Very Well Health); “The National Health And Medical Research Council of the Australian Government has reviewed the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy in treating a variety of clinical conditions with the aim of providing Australians with reliable information about its use. Findings: There was no reliable evidence from research in humans that homeopathy was effective for treating the range of health conditions considered: no good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than placebo, or caused health improvements equal to those of another treatment.” – NHMRC Australia (2015 Study On Homeopathy) ; “In our view, the systematic reviews and meta-analyses conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebos. The Government shares our interpretation of the evidence. We asked the Minister, Mike O’Brien, whether the Government had any credible evidence that homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect and he responded: ‘the straight answer is no’.” – UK House of Commons Science And Technology Committee (2010 Study on Homeopathy); “The findings of currently available Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.” – Edzard Ernst (“A Systematic Review Of Systematic Reviews of Homeopathy”, Edzard Ernst);; “A 2015 comprehensive assessment of evidence by the Australian government’s National Health and Medical Research Council concluded that there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for any health condition.”  – United States Department Of Health And Human Services

[7] As example of the absurdity of anecdotal testimony as the motivation for pursuing a particular (CAM) treatment consider the testimony of those who practice “Urine Therapy”. Adherents claim that drinking it, soaking or showering in it has cured such minor things as greying hair and eczema to major things such as candida overgrowths, heart disease and even cancer (see Healing Water From Within by Brother Sage).

[8] “Imagine going to a doctor who listens… a doctor who gives you enough time to get to know you, addresses all your issues (not just one) and takes a holistic approach. A physician who is open-minded, applauds you for taking charge of your health and empowers you in your medical care. I am that doctor. My name is Monique Martin.” (drmoniquemartin.com).

[9] Though never stated this way, this tends to be the real reason medical doctors practicing (CAM) will not allow you to list them as your primary care physician or take your medical insurance. This way they can (more easily) avoid being held accountable for their treatments – should something go wrong, while at the same time reaping larger profits normally taken by insurance. Patients are often charged between $100-500 for consultations alone – excluding the extravagant costs associated w/(CAM) placebo/fake prescriptions and procedures.

[10] Again, Dr. Monique Martin, “(I am) a doctor who has been educated and trained in many medicines from around the world and can integrate the conventional with the alternative in a holistic and functional manner. A scientist and physician detective who can put it all together and help you in your healing journey.” (drmoniquemartin.com)