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The Healing GodsComplementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America$
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Candy Brown

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199985784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199985784.001.0001

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Is CAM Religious?

Is CAM Religious?

(p.22) 1 Is CAM Religious?
The Healing Gods

Candy Gunther Brown

Oxford University Press

Chapter one argues that CAM is religious, but few people recognize it as such, since promoters downplay religion in favor of efficacy and metaphysical spirituality. Religion should be defined broadly enough to encompass not only theistic beliefs but also bodily practices perceived as connecting individuals with suprahuman energies, beings, or transcendent realities or as inducing heightened spiritual awareness or virtues. Labeling a practice non-Christian, universal spirituality, or science does not make the practice non-religious. Contrasting with biomedical materialism, CAM and Christian worldviews reflect holism—interconnectednes of material and spiritual realms—but CAM also expresses monism—unity of all reality—as opposed to dualism that views Creator and creation as distinct. The chapter selects examples—osteopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, anti-cancer diets including the Gerson therapy and macrobiotics, t’ai chi and martial arts, mindfulness meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and biofeedback—to illustrate how CAM takes inspiration from Western metaphysics, Taoism (Daoism), Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Keywords:   religion, metaphysical spirituality, science, western metaphysics, taoism (daoism), buddhism, hinduism, holism, monism, biomedical materialism

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