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erat_forte

Bendy Faith - Is It Right For Christians To Do Yoga?

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I don't usually read the BBC but I thought this article was a hoot. They are all as nutty as each other.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25006926

It's daft isn't it. People are so afraid that they might be contaminated by some other ideology. This isn't just a religious question though. I see this in secular life as well. People saying things like 'If I start my own business, will people think I'm a Tory?' etc.

We're so stuck in our own little mental boxes!

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Reminds me of a chap I was introduced to once, friend of the family, and we got chatting on the topic of alternative therapies. He seemed intelligent and as soon as I mentioned that I had an open mind to such things he began telling me this story (to cut it short) where a healer person used relaxation techniques and crystals to fix a persistent pain in his shoulder (that had resisted all attempts from normal doctors to heal it). He was amazed, especially since he had been a healthy skeptic beforehand. But, testament to his having an open mind, he accepted a small crystal that the woman gave him to take home and put under his pillow that was intended to prevent recurrence of the pain.

I was duly impressed by the anecdote, and by his apparent open-mindedness. But then the story got much weirder. He had been telling this same story to a colleague, shortly after having seen this healer, who suddenly became very concerned for him. It turned out that this colleague was some kind of born-again Christian nutter, who told this guy that he had just been tricked by the devil, and that the crystal was a curse intended to steal his soul. The colleague got so wound up and excited (I think there may even have been some glossolalia involved) that he became frightened for the sanctity of his eternal soul and promptly went home and threw the crystal into a river. And this man was supposedly an agnostic.

My reaction was probably priceless. I didn't know where to look or what to say. Naturally I made my excuses and exited stage left as quickly as my little legs could carry me...

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I was duly impressed by the anecdote, and by his apparent open-mindedness. But then the story got much weirder. He had been telling this same story to a colleague, shortly after having seen this healer, who suddenly became very concerned for him. It turned out that this colleague was some kind of born-again Christian nutter, who told this guy that he had just been tricked by the devil, and that the crystal was a curse intended to steal his soul. The colleague got so wound up and excited (I think there may even have been some glossolalia involved) that he became frightened for the sanctity of his eternal soul and promptly went home and threw the crystal into a river. And this man was supposedly an agnostic.

I don't see much difference to being open minded about a crystal under the pillow curing something and believing it could be a curse.

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I don't see much difference to being open minded about a crystal under the pillow curing something and believing it could be a curse.

Because he had experienced an immediate solution to his shoulder pain. It required no 'belief' on his part. As I mentioned, he didn't really believe it until he found it to work.

I know what you mean, but I just found his willingness to allow someone who was clearly a little bonkers to make him think he was going to be eternally damned slightly disconcerting... As i say, he appeared to be intelligent and wasn't religious himself.

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I don't usually read the BBC but I thought this article was a hoot. They are all as nutty as each other.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25006926

I don't really see the big deal.

The postures are just physical

The mediation techniques have loads of counterparts in existing Christian and Islamic mystical traditions

You may as well ask whether using the Alexander Technique makes you an actor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_technique

Again this seems yet another example of the literalist primitivism that is becoming prevalent in both religious and secular society around the world (political correctness being just one example).

People appear to have lost the ability to understand that at core all religious practise and language (indeed all language in general) is metaphor and therefore capable of a multiplicity of interpretations

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Because he had experienced an immediate solution to his shoulder pain. It required no 'belief' on his part. As I mentioned, he didn't really believe it until he found it to work.

I know what you mean, but I just found his willingness to allow someone who was clearly a little bonkers to make him think he was going to be eternally damned slightly disconcerting... As i say, he appeared to be intelligent and wasn't religious himself.

I have heard of people with "healing powers". Since I am not in pain, I never bothered to find out! Perhaps it is more suggestion, but it works for some people! :unsure:

It's funny how a little "remark" can put the wind up you sometimes! :blink:

I don't think doing a bit of bendy exercise, with a bit of contemplation will put you off your faith (in whatever you have faith in), or your faith is very weak indeed. :ph34r:

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Because he had experienced an immediate solution to his shoulder pain. It required no 'belief' on his part. As I mentioned, he didn't really believe it until he found it to work.

I know what you mean, but I just found his willingness to allow someone who was clearly a little bonkers to make him think he was going to be eternally damned slightly disconcerting... As i say, he appeared to be intelligent and wasn't religious himself.

A friend of mine does crystal healing. He makes his living from it. He has this machine which runs electric through a crystal wand type device. He has people who swear by it and has treated professional sports people.

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A friend of mine does crystal healing. He makes his living from it. He has this machine which runs electric through a crystal wand type device. He has people who swear by it and has treated professional sports people.

It sounds a bit bunkum to me, or maybe psychological, but if it gets the clients to not think about pain, and they feel "better", than I can't complain! The brain is a strange thing! :huh:

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A friend of mine does crystal healing. He makes his living from it. He has this machine which runs electric through a crystal wand type device. He has people who swear by it and has treated professional sports people.

I vaguely knew someone who was a crystal healer for a while, but I could never work out if she genuinely believed it or did it because people were willing to pay her good money to do it. I suppose if something works it doesn't require the belief of the practitioner, but perhaps only the recipient!

The fact that we know the placebo is a strong and measurable effect (so we can provably heal ourselves, or at least each other!) does not negate that crystals (or yoga or prayer or whatever) don't also have beneficial effects. Just because we can't devise sophisticated or sensitive enough randomised clinical trials to prove something does not prove that it has negligible or no effect.

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It sounds a bit bunkum to me, or maybe psychological, but if it gets the clients to not think about pain, and they feel "better", than I can't complain! The brain is a strange thing! :huh:

Indeed! Pain is one of those funny ones Mr Pin, it is part physiological and part psychological. Culture has also been shown to have an effect on how one experiences pain. Weird, huh?

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Just because we can't devise sophisticated or sensitive enough randomised clinical trials to prove something does not prove that it has negligible or no effect.

More importantly it doesn't give you any reason at all to believe that it does have some effect. If the effect is really so small that it's hard to detect with clinical trials then it's not a remotely effective treatment. It sounds like you're asking to prove a negative; the onus is on anyone claiming these things work to demonstrate that, and they can't both work and be undetectable scientifically.

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More importantly it doesn't give you any reason at all to believe that it does have some effect. If the effect is really so small that it's hard to detect with clinical trials then it's not a remotely effective treatment. It sounds like you're asking to prove a negative; the onus is on anyone claiming these things work to demonstrate that, and they can't both work and be undetectable scientifically.

Except it's not quite that simple. Some clinical trials for much less controversial things are not considered practical/ethical for a variety of reasons. For example, to randomise patients to a study arm where it was expected that half of the patients are being (un/under)treated with something strongly suspected to be inferior would probably struggle to get off the ground.

So TMT's friend with his magic crystal wand would be laughed out of town by an ethics committee, even if he had limitless funds to pay for the clinical trial out of his own pocket. So, untested, but not disproved. It's a rigged game in many ways, so it always comes down to this question of 'belief'. That's no reason to disparage people who choose to attribute credibility to the experiences of close family and friends who say that it unquestioningly worked for them. Placebo or otherwise ;)

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Except it's not quite that simple. Some clinical trials for much less controversial things are not considered practical/ethical for a variety of reasons. For example, to randomise patients to a study arm where it was expected that half of the patients are being (un/under)treated with something strongly suspected to be inferior would probably struggle to get off the ground.

So TMT's friend with his magic crystal wand would be laughed out of town by an ethics committee, even if he had limitless funds to pay for the clinical trial out of his own pocket. So, untested, but not disproved. It's a rigged game in many ways, so it always comes down to this question of 'belief'. That's no reason to disparage people who choose to attribute credibility to the experiences of close family and friends who say that it unquestioningly worked for them. Placebo or otherwise ;)

If that was the case then no clinical trial for anything other than the most minor treatments would be possible. AIUI anyone taking part in a clinical trial has to agree to it and knows that they might not be getting anything more than a placebo. That in itself probably affects the results somewhat but it would be unethical to secretly deny treatment.

There are very good reasons for discouraging people from accepting things on faith, ranging from risking them putting faith in things that either won't help or might even make things worse, to a more general opinion that it's better to be informed and knowledgable in general. I'm afraid I will disparage people who operate on the principal of "What I heard from a bloke in the pub" being sound reason to believe something.

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If that was the case then no clinical trial for anything other than the most minor treatments would be possible. AIUI anyone taking part in a clinical trial has to agree to it and knows that they might not be getting anything more than a placebo. That in itself probably affects the results somewhat but it would be unethical to secretly deny treatment.

There are very good reasons for discouraging people from accepting things on faith, ranging from risking them putting faith in things that either won't help or might even make things worse, to a more general opinion that it's better to be informed and knowledgable in general. I'm afraid I will disparage people who operate on the principal of "What I heard from a bloke in the pub" being sound reason to believe something.

This is not my specialist area either, but AIUI there are placebo-controlled trials, of course, but these will be in instances where it won't do the patient any harm to be given a placebo. They could always be treated with 'real' medicines later etc. For most clinical trials it will be where a newer treatment (or clinical pathway, or whatever) is being tested against an older and more widely used one, often the 'gold standard'. The trial is ethical because there is genuine clinical uncertainty as to which is better. If clinicians strongly suspect that one treatment arm is inferior then these patients are theoretically at risk from under-treatment and it is considered unethical.

People have faith in modern medicine even when it might do them harm and they might have been better going to some 'alternative' practitioner where the potential for serious harm would likely be less. Iatrogenic injury is a serious problem. Have you been reading the Francis/Keogh/Berwick reports?! ;)

You can't legislate for beliefs, and it works both ways.

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Within any religious faith you'll get extremists who bolt their own beliefs onto the ones it actually teaches.

Within mine (Seventh-day Adventism), not only do its more extreme adherents regard Yoga as satanic, but one of them even wrote a website claiming that the US social security number is the work of Satan. My father-in-law is a huge fan of another SDA wacko, who once dragged us to a sermon in which he claimed that The Pope was Satan's representative on Earth, and that The Vatican and leading Muslims (who are also Satan's minions in disguise) in Iran ran a secret committee with the aim of directing their faiths' followers to commit as many sins as possible, so that we'll all end up in Hell. This includes idolatry of women, i.e. the Virgin Mary, worshipping on a Friday (Muslims) or Sunday (Catholics) rather than on the true Sabbath, etc. etc. A third SDA TFH-er (Doug Bachelor, who claims to have been a multi-millionaire businessman before having a conversion experience, and then spending four years living in a cave in northern California while he found God) produced this highly entertaining effort. The only further explanation it needs is possibly to note that the effective founder of the SDA church, Ellen White, was equally obsessed about The Devil, and discusses him in significant length in her writings. Her essential point is that Satan tries to tempt and mislead us through relatively minor, everyday things, not hellfire 'n brimstone stunts of the sort seen in The Exorcist, hence some of her followers coming up with ideas about social security numbers, etc. It is sadly no coincidence, and something we need to keep remembering, that David 'the wacko from Waco' Koresh was initially brought up in the mainstream SDA church, although he rejected it is being too moderate for his liking relatively early in his adult life.

All of these people regard Yoga as Satanic (whereas 'normal' Christians, my wife included, do it regularly as a normal form of exercise), and when my wife once gave her father a neti pot (an ancient Indian medical device for relieving sinusitis, from which he suffers chronically, and which modern medicine acknowledges to be very effective for many people), he replied that he'd have to pray and ask the pastor whether it was OK for him to use it! The pastor (lovely chap who we both know) told him to stop being so stupid.

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