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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 Christian?

Is CAM Christian?

(p.67) 3 Is CAM Christian?
The Healing Gods

Candy Gunther Brown

Oxford University Press

Chapter three shows that CAM worldviews differ from worldviews historically held by theologically conservative Christians, yet the reasoning processes used by evangelicals have led increasing numbers of them to CAM. Evangelicals engage in boundary-setting, or proscription of beliefs and actions that seem inherently corrupting, and appropriation of non-Christian resources for Christian purposes. Evangelicals classify practices either as legitimate, religiously neutral science, or as illicit, New Age spirituality or Eastern religion, using litmus tests of whether the roots and fruits are good to determine legitimacy. Assuming that something can be either scientific or religious, but not both, obscures religious aspects of procedures categorized as scientific techniques. Paradoxically, fear of theological contamination from investigating New Age and Eastern religion made evangelicals more likely to adopt practices that express the very worldviews that they find suspect. Although evangelicals stridently defend orthodoxy, the efficacy standard inhibits, instead of stimulates, theological reflection about CAM worldviews.

Keywords:   theologically conservative christians, evangelicals, worldviews, science, new age spirituality, eastern religion, appropriation, boundary setting, legitimacy, roots and fruits

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