What do Dr. Oz and the founder of Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, have in common?
Both are/were followers of the teachings of Emmanuel Swedenborg – scientist turned mystic, angel-whisperer, founder of a “new Christianity,” and often called the father of the New Thought Movement.
Many mistakenly equate Homeopathy with what they call herbal products or plant-based treatments. But that is not what Homeopathy is. To understand better, we begin with New Thought.
What is New Thought?
New Thought, while claiming to be Christian, is based on beliefs that man has an innate divine nature, God is a principle, and Jesus was a man who discovered his divinity and thereby attained a “Christ consciousness” or was able to receive a “Christ spirit” (in New Thought, Jesus and the Christ are not one and the same). Jesus came to earth to correct wrong thinking, because the faulty perception that man is sinful and separated from God was keeping men from knowing the truth about themselves and the world.
Swedenborg believed that illness resulted from evil thoughts, an idea that matured in New Thought as the belief that illness is a result of incorrect perceptions, a cornerstone of Mary Baker Eddy’s Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science), which developed later based partly on Swedenborg’s ideas. Much of Swedenborg’s data, according to his numerous articles and writings, came from angels who communicated with him.
From these teachings arose beliefs that man, as a divine being, has the ability to manipulate invisible powers which can be used for healing, as well as the ability to conquer illness by changing one’s thinking since illness exists only within the mind.
The idea of controlling invisible forces took shape in a popular 18th century metaphysical healing philosophy called Vitalism. Vitalism persisted into the 20th century and today forms the basis of much pseudo-science in the healing arts and New Age thinking, though terms other than Vitalism are used.
Energy and Vitalism
Vitalism was the name given to the belief in an invisible and unquantifiable energy in creation that can be channeled or directed for healing. Sometimes this force is considered intelligent and viewed as an impersonal Divine Intelligence pervading all creation.
The belief in this energy, or other energies such as chi/ki, undergirds New Age energy healing and occult healing practices such as psychic healing, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Qi-gong, energy balancing, aura cleansing, and others. Channeling, unblocking, balancing, and/or manipulating this energy or force is the crux of most alternative healing and is the dark heart of all energy healing, which is occultic in nature.
Meet Mesmer the Hypnotist
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was a German physician who turned away from medicine – an echo of Swedenborg who turned away from science to metaphysics. Hahnemann not only was influenced by Swedenborg’s views, but called the alleged healing practices of New Thought pioneer and hypnotist Franz Anton Mesmer “a marvelous, priceless gift of God.” The source for that quote is no longer available but this article discusses Hahnemann’s acceptance of Mesmer’s New Thought beliefs on healing:
“Hahnemann apparently used Mesmeric techniques himself, and he made a connection in his mind between the ‘vital force’ which, he believed, brought about healing, and Mesmer’s ‘animal magnetism.’ Writings by homeopaths in the nineteenth century make references to Mesmerism, but later generations of homoeopaths have made little of the connection, probably because of the reputation for charlatanry that later became attached to Mesmer’s name.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) believed that “the planets of our solar system exude invisible rays that affect our bodies. Mesmer called this effect ‘animal magnetism,’ and the rays ‘magnetic fluid’” (from “The Birth of Mesmerism” on a Hypnotherapy site).
Mesmer practiced a healing method which, he claimed, harnessed this “magnetic fluid” via iron and other metals, which he then placed on the bodies of his patients. This had a hypnotic effect on patients, which is why the term “mesmerize” comes from Mesmer’s name. People fell into trances when Mesmer merely walked into the room.
Mesmerism is considered a form of Vitalism, and continued to be a cornerstone of New Thought and pseudo-scientific healing before morphing into more sophisticated sounding methods. Mesmerism actually rose out of and initially was in concert with Spiritualism, a movement based on belief in contact with the dead. Healing was at one time a typical part of Spiritualist practices.
Energy and Dilutions
Homeopathic remedies are made by using a small quantity of original substance and shaking it in a liquid, then diluting that and shaking some more, followed by further dilutions and vigorous shakings, called succussions in Homeopathy, until barely any or none of the original substance is left. This is also based on a belief in the “memory of water.”
This was the invention of Hahnemann. Supposedly, the liquid holds the “memory” of the substance. (Another basic but false belief of Homeopathy is that “like cures like” but time and space limit a discussion on that; see links given below for more information on this and on Homeopathy and New Thought). This belief is not surprising in light of Hahnemann’s occult-based views.
“The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, promoted an immaterial, vitalistic view of disease: ‘…they are solely spirit-like (dynamic) derangements of the spirit-like power (the vital principle) that animates the human body.’ As practised by some homeopaths today, homeopathy simply rests on the premise of treating sick persons with extremely diluted agents that – in undiluted doses – are deemed to produce similar symptoms in a healthy individual. Nevertheless, it remains equally true that the view of disease as a dynamic disturbance of the immaterial and dynamic vital force is taught in many homeopathic colleges and constitutes a fundamental principle for many contemporary practising homeopaths.” — from Wikipedia
To believe that a solution emptied of the original substance is actually effective, and maybe even more so due to the shaking and “memory of water,” is contrary to reason and fact. The principle in this is a reliance on a supernatural force and esoteric methods that have no basis in objective data. Such thinking is emblematic of the occult, which proposes unseen, unknown forces and arcane practices.
Hahnemann and Christianity
Though raised a Lutheran (which would be true of a large portion of Germany’s population at that time), Hahnemann was a Deist, according to one source, and according to other sources, including a biographer, rejected the Jesus of the Bible.
”He took offense at the arch-enthusiast Jesus of Nazareth, who did not lead the enlightened on the straight way to wisdom but who wanted to struggle with publicans and sinners on a difficult path toward the establishment of the kingdom of God. . . . The man of sorrows who took the darkness of the world on Himself was an offense to the lover of etheric [highly refined, heavenly] wisdom.” From Samuel Pfeifer, M.D., Healing at Any Price?, Milton Keynes, England: Word Limited, 1988, as quoted here.
In light of Hahnemann’s devotion to Swedenborg and other New Thought beliefs, it is reasonable to conclude that Hahnemann adopted some Swedenborgian New Thought views, which are definitely not Christian and would explain Hahnemann’s mystical occult beliefs. That Hahnemann was probably not an adherent of Christianity does not by itself render his views on healing invalid. However, in light of the fact that his teachings, beliefs, and practices derived from from Swedenborg, Mesmer, and Vitalism, it is further evidence of his occult beliefs.
And If It Works?
Any warning on something as popular as homeopathy always brings responses that homeopathic remedies work. However, this should not be the criteria for a Christian, or really, for anyone. Homeopathy and other pseudo-scientific or occult practices may seem to work due to many factors: coincidence; other treatments have been given; the patient would have recovered with no treatment (self-limiting nature of illness); the power of suggestion; and the placebo effect.
God has created a real world (including our bodies) that operates on laws he designed and has given us a brain to discover and understand these laws. The proliferation today of pseudo-scientific healing modalities based on occult principles of energy – even among Christians — is astonishing. Let us not pay homage to such treatments by using them.
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thess. 5:21
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16
Addendum: Links and More Information
“A Homeopath admits Homeopathy is Vitalistic (Vitalism is an occult belief)
The Homoeopath is essentially a Vitalist; that is one who sees the human organism as a body/mind/spirit complex which, as a whole, makes a response to environmental stressors. Disease and sickness occur when this complex is out of balance. The disturbance may be an internal or external one, and the signs and symptoms which follow arean attempt by the individual to come back into balance.
This implies, then, that there is an innate power of self healing in every creature (which can be termed the Life Force) and a tendency always to restore order. In the Organon of Medicine, the Homoeopath’s”Bible”, this self-healing power is referred to by Hahnemann as a ‘Dynamis’ which gives life to the body. In other traditions, this energy is often referred to as: Chi; Prana or Soul.Today, homoeopaths call it the ‘Vital Force’.
In keeping with the Vitalist tradition,Homoeopathy sees the Vital Force as being that aspect of each individual which: adapts to environmental influences; animates the emotional state; provides thoughts and creativity and gives rise tos piritual inspiration. Signs and symptoms of disease then are referred to by Homoeopaths as being the defense mechanism of the Vital Force at work as it attempts torestore equilibrium when subjected to a stressor whether it be physical, environmental or mental/emotional.” — from explanation on a Homeopath’s site
“The body has an inborn intelligence” and communicates from “Inner Wisdom.”
Today the principle of vitalism is based on the holistic concept that the human body is greater than the sum of its parts,while emphasizing the interdependence of the parts and processes. Its basic assumption is that there is an intelligent force which create sand sustains all living organisms, and that this inherent vital principle is distinct from all internal physical and chemical forces.Vitalism assumes that life is self-determining and self-evolving. The basic principle of vitalism is that the body has an inherent (or inborn) intelligence which animates, motivates, heals, coordinates and inspires living beings. This Wisdom Within guides and directs our lives on our individual paths of healing, to be restored to wholeness in mind, body and spirit.” — From a pro-Vitalism source
Christian Medical Fellowship
Christian Article from Got Questions on Homeopathy
From Skeptics’ Dictionary
“Homeopathy’s principles have been refuted by the basic sciences of chemistry, physics, pharmacology, and pathology.Homeopathy meets the dictionary definitions of a sect and a cult–the characteristics of which prevent advances that would change Hahnemann’s original principles. Most homeopathic studies are of poor methodological quality, and are subject to bias. Homeopathic product labels do not provide sufficient information to judge their dosages.”
Warning on zinc in homeopathic nasal sprays and the problem of lack of testing
The occult philosophy of Samuel Hahnemann
Christian website with article on Hahnemann and influence from Swedenborg and Mesmer: “New Age Medicine: Homeopathy”
This is not a matter of disputed interpretation nor a matter of personal opinion. It is just a fact that Pharmakeia used in the Bible refers to the use of drugs (herbs) for occult purposes, such as potions for spells or for contact with spirits. Pharmakeia in the Bible is not referring to the use of drugs (herbs, plants) as medicine for healing so it is not wrong to use drugs as medicine.
Those who continue to spread this misconception about Pharmakeia are mishandling God’s word. Acting like they know the meaning of this word may make them feel smart, but it only shows ignorance.
There is an irony in this in that increasing numbers of people in the church are turning to practices that actually are based on occult concepts such as homeopathy, applied kinesiology, reflexology, iridology, and others.