"The Spiritual Dimension of Healing"
by A. Orange
In the May 1, 2000 issue of the magazine, The World & I, we find the article, "The Spiritual Dimension of Healing", by Jeff Jay. That article is another example of A.A.-booster pseudo-science. The A.A. proponents routinely plant such articles wherever they can, to make the public believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is a good program for treating alcoholism. This one is unusually obnoxious.
Note the embedded lies. This is a great demonstration of the Big Lie propaganda technique. The author managed to pack a great number of falsehoods into a very small space:
Most of those statements are blatant lies. The only one that is even half true is the third one: that modern, hi-tech medicine is relatively young. It is true that the Constitution was written roughly 225 years ago, when medical practice was still very primitive. Modern medicine has made such fantastic progress in just the last 100 years that even a very good doctor from the year 1900 would hardly recognize it. He would be totally lost in a modern hospital. He wouldn't know penicillin from streptomycin, and he wouldn't know an EKG from a CAT scan.
The author compares ancient law to ancient medicine, because he wants to make modern medicine look bad. The practices of law and medicine have been on the opposite ends of the success scale for at least 4000 years — meaning, law writers have been successful, and doctors have been relatively unsuccessful, and powerless over disease, throughout most of recorded history. Thus it is easy to denigrate the practice of medicine with such a comparison.
The practice of law is one of those areas of human knowledge which has no need for electronic measuring instruments, or any of the other tools of modern science. The legal profession could grow and evolve even in antiquity. The Old Testament Jews and Egyptians had systems of laws, and so did the Chinese, Japanese, and Indians at the same time. So did the Greeks and Romans later, and so did the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. And then the English came up with Common Law. And any philosopher could dream up another system of laws, and another form of government, like democracy and a democratic republic, without being at all hampered by the rotten state of the electronic arts.
But the doctors could not make progress so easily. Much, or even most, of modern medicine had to wait for the invention of sophisticated electronic instruments and other technology that would help doctors measure, see, and learn. The discovery of bacteria had to wait for the invention of good microscopes. The discovery of the structure of DNA had to wait for the inventions of X-ray crystallography and the electron microscope. The sequencing of the human genome had to wait for computers, computer imaging, PCR, and automated electrophoresis.
So it is easy to pick on medicine by comparing where it and law were 225 years ago. But that isn't a fair comparison, and it has little to do with the state of the art today.
That is an example of the Straw Man propaganda technique — set up a weak opponent and then knock him down to make yourself look strong and victorious. The author has a resentment against modern medicine because the doctors will not agree with his ideas of "spiritual healing", so he attacks the doctors who lived 225 years ago, trying to make modern medicine look stupid.
And medicine did not "move out of its primitive beginnings and join the revolution in science" like it was some slow, stupid laggard. Medicine was one of the biggest and most important parts of the scientific revolution. What could be more revolutionary and important to the average citizen, and really transform his life more than not dying and not having to watch his children die from horrible things like staphylococcus, streptococcus, polio, small pox, typhoid, tetanus, diptheria, cholera, whooping cough, or The Black Plague? Mother Nature had some truly horrendous little surprises for the average man back in the days when the Constitution was written, but we do not live in terror of those things today. The other visible aspects of the scientific revolution, like steam engines and electric light bulbs, were relatively unimportant, compared to watching all of your children get sick and die — or watching them not die because the doctors could now somehow save them.
Beep! Beep! Warning! Bullshit Alert! The author is trying to play mind games on your head by presenting false logical arguments. He wants you to believe that modern medicine is stupid, and is slow to learn, and that is why modern medicine doesn't use "spiritual healing." But our doctors don't use Voodoo dolls, witchcraft, or Gypsy hexes to treat their patients either, and it isn't because the doctors are stupid or slow to learn about "spiritual medicine".
In fact, the author's logic is completely backwards: Historically, modern medicine finally made great progress precisely because it finally abandoned superstitious things like faith healing and "spiritual medicine" and overthrew the dictates and medical restrictions of the Roman Catholic Church,1 and rigorously applied the scientific method to all medical studies.
"Spiritual medicine" and faith healing have most assuredly been studied and tested. It isn't as if no one wanted faith healing or other magical cures to work — hundreds of millions of people have wished that they would work, because in the distant past, that was all they had. It isn't as if no one thought such alleged "spiritual cures" worth examining. They have been examined and tried, and tested, often, for many centuries — for thousands of years, in fact — and they were found to not work. That is why we use things like penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline for treating our diseases today, rather than magical incantations, rattle-shaking, charms, prayers, spells, exorcisms, or voodoo dolls.
But the author cries that spiritual healing has been so totally ignored and misunderstood that nobody knows how good it is. And if only the doctors would get their act together, we could apply spiritual healing to all kinds of ailments. And the author implies with his title, "A Peek Into Twenty-First-Century Medicine", that in the future, we will return to using superstition and voodoo for medical treatment.
Obviously, the author has some very funny religious beliefs, as well as some funny medical opinions. And he wants to shove those beliefs on the rest of us. (Is he trying to practice medicine without a license?)
The article continues:
This is totally untrue. Again, the author is trying to shove his
superstitious beliefs and
cult dogma on us as established facts.
He uses an illogical argument like
that the Earth is flat...":
Nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn't work. It has never worked. A.A. doesn't have a success rate, it has a horrendous failure rate, like 98 or 99 or 100 percent. But the true believers just ignore that, and continue to chant, "Keep Coming Back! It Works!" and "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path..."
Repeating the lie a thousand times won't make it come true, although they have had great success in fooling people into believing that Alcoholics Anonymous has a working program.
Almost everything in that brief history of Alcoholics Anonymous is a gross exaggeration or a lie. Even the "next 100" phrase is dishonest. There were about 40 A.A. members at the time that Bill Wilson bragged about the "First 100", and approximately half of those first 40 A.A. members relapsed and died drunk.
Alcoholism is not a "virulent physical and mental disease". "Virulent" means contagious and deadly. Alcoholism is not a contagious disease. You can't catch it from your friends, neighbors or co-workers. Mental illnesses are never virulent. There is no disease known to medicine which is simultaneously physical, mental, and virulent.2 The author's credentials listed below state that he works in a hospital, but he has somehow managed to avoid learning much medicine from the doctors who surround him.
William Wilson and Doctor Robert Smith did not "revolutionize the treatment of alcoholism." They founded and popularized a new sect of Frank Buchman's cult religion, one that specializes in getting alcoholics to practice Buchmanism and meet in rooms and talk about their alcoholic experiences and also believe in a "Higher Power" who will control their alcohol consumption for them. In the final analysis, that "treatment" is a waste of time. It doesn't work. It's just another irrational, dishonest, cult religion. And it is quack medicine.
The article continues:
At the heart of the AA program are practical and specific actions, including prayer and meditation. The Twelve Steps are a simple formula by which anyone may come to a "spiritual awakening" that is powerful enough to put their addiction in remission. The steps have been seen to work effectively in cultures around the world without the benefit of a sponsoring organization. They have been embraced by people of all creeds, as well as those with no particular religious belief. The Twelve Steps themselves are not the product of university training or laboratory research, but their efficacy is unmistakable.
Half of the first sentence in that paragraph is true, and half of the last sentence is true, and all of the rest is lies. The A.A. program is based on prayer and meditation. That is true. But the A.A. program is not practical. It is "spiritual", magical, illogical, and delusional. The rest, about how wonderfully it works, and the freedom of religion that A.A. offers, is all untrue, and ranges from wishful thinking to deliberate lies.
Note the arrogance of the last sentence:
That is, of course, very egotistical, conceited, smug, and self-congratulatory. And it's also completely untrue.
The only part of it that is true is the fact that the Twelve Steps were not designed by a university or laboratory, or any kind of scientific research. They were actually designed by an evil perverted Lutheran minister who praised Adolf Hitler — a minister by the name of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman. The co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith, and Clarence Snyder, were members of Buchman's fascist religious cult, "The Oxford Group", and Bill Wilson simply restated Buchman's religious practices and teachings to produce the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Steps are actually a formula for building up a cult religion like Buchmanism, not a formula for quitting drinking.
The Twelve Steps don't even tell you to quit drinking, or to help anybody else quit drinking. But they do tell you to
The Twelve Steps are most assuredly not a "simple formula by which anyone may come to a 'spiritual awakening' that is powerful enough to put their addiction in remission." That is just another standard A.A. fairy tale, and the wishful thinking of Bill Wilson. People don't get the big psychedelic religious experience and see God, and people don't quit drinking, from doing the Twelve Steps. Bill Wilson had a dramatic religious experience that he said caused him to quit drinking, but that experience came from alcohol withdrawal and hallucinogenic drugs like belladonna and henbane and morphine, not from doing the Twelve Steps (which Bill Wilson did not even write until four years later).
The article continues:
The author is actually getting dangerously close to the truth here, but he happily avoids making the crucial connections in his thinking. He considers the placebo effect and psychosomatic healing as proving the power of the mind to heal, but he avoids ever thinking that any apparent success of A.A. or the Twelve Steps that he thinks he sees may really be just the placebo effect at work. The author just won't allow that frightening thought to enter his mind at all. He can't. If he were to realize that the placebo effect could explain all observed "benefits" of 12-step "therapy", then his whole belief system would collapse like a house of cards. He would realize that the sacred Twelve Steps of Bill Wilson are unnecessary for recovery, and irrelevant.
The article concludes:
The field of medicine is still in its infancy in understanding the spiritual dimension of healing. But it is clear that the power of the mind and the spirit to overcome both chronic and acute medical problems is real [see "Is Religion Good for Your Health?" The World & I, February 1996, p. 290; "Spirituality and Medicine," The World & I, June 1998, p. 180]. In the twenty-first century, this healing force can be harnessed more fully and effectively through scientific persistence and spiritual growth within the discipline of medicine.
Once again, the author knocks modern medicine, saying that it is still in its infancy because it won't embrace his favorite flavor of voodoo medicine.
Then he cites two other articles that were published earlier in the same magazine as this article was in, The World & I, to support his claim that "the power of the mind and the spirit to overcome both chronic and acute medical problems is real." That amounts to misquoting those articles. The author is trying to shove this broken logic on us:
The author also misuses the word "spiritual". Come to think of it, he never defined it; he just used it and let us guess what he meant. And it turns out that his meaning is bogus. Bill Wilson constantly confused psychological, emotional, and spiritual things, and so does this faithful follower of Wilsonism.
The authors of those two cited articles talk about things like how people having a positive mental attitude towards their recovery from illness has been seen to coincide with those people rapidly healing whatever ails them, and then the authors call that "spiritual healing." It isn't; that's just psychology. That's just having a good mind-set. And, the authors have not established whether the positive attitude causes the rapid healing, or the rapid healing causes the positive attitude, or they mutually reinforce each other — that each one causes the other one to improve, in a good "vicious cycle" (i.e., a feedback loop). That last one — that they mutually reinforce each other — is highly likely, because there have been other studies that have shown that good mental health and positive, cheerful attitudes enhance the workings of the immune system. And of course people are more cheerful if they are recovering than if they are sick to death, and dying.
In addition, those two cited articles were less than rigorously scientific, and were very pro-religion, going on and on about how religion is the neglected factor in healing, and doctors are prejudiced against religion...
So just who or what is The World & I magazine, where all of those articles appeared? Well, it is a beautifully-printed, very colorful, glossy magazine that is owned by The Washington Times Corporation. (Watch out: The Washington Times, not The Washington Post.) The Washington Times belongs to the Moonies. It is part of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church empire. No wonder that magazine is slickly pro-religious, and unscientific. It's the well-camouflaged mouthpiece of another cult religion.
(Note that those are the only citations. The author does not reference any other documents or publications in the whole article, to support his sweeping claims that Twelve-Step therapy and spiritual healing actually work, or that A.A. keeps millions sober.)
In the last sentence, the author makes a really grandiose statement,
Yeh, right. Why does it sound like somebody needs to remember to take his medications?
Then the author lists his credentials, which clearly show that he is one of the influential people who has dedicated his life to shoving the Twelve-Step cult religion on America:
Jeff Jay is president of the Terry McGovern Foundation in Washington, D.C. He is also director of program development and chief information officer at Brighton Hospital in Brighton, Michigan, where the Twelve Steps program is being successfully applied in treating chemical dependency and other illnesses.
Note that Mr. Jay is not actually a doctor. He is a "director of program development" and a "chief information officer."
Let me guess:
Did I get that right?
I found that book to be a disgusting collection of mind games designed to overwhelm someone and pressure them into agreeing to go with the "interventionists" or "escort service".
What was particularly revealing was what Jay had to say about
those alcoholics or addicts who wouldn't play along.
Throughout the book, Jay repeatedly chanted the standard A.A.
dogma about how
alcoholics are powerless over alcohol, and it's a disease,
and the alcoholic has no control over it:
And then, about the alcoholic who refused to "voluntarily choose" treatment in an expensive residential treatment center like Hazelden, Jeff Jay wrote:
If the alcoholic refuses treatment, read your bottom lines [ultimatums]. Remember, your bottom line is a way of saying, "I will not support this disease." It is a way to take care of yourself when addiction continues to attack your family. You are not punishing the alcoholic or addict. The alcoholic brings the consequences upon himself by choosing addiction over recovery. He can avoid consequences in one of two ways: (1) choosing recovery or (2) convincing people to enable his addiction again. If people stop supporting the addiction, the alcoholic who refuses treatment is likely to choose recovery in the weeks or months following the intervention.
Choice, choose, choose, choose. So much for how it's a disease and the alcoholics have no control over it, and only God can stop the disease.
So much for the A.A. dogma that alcoholics are "powerless" over alcohol.
Someone who can make a choice has power and control.
1) The Roman Catholic Church had bans and restrictions on medicine and science all through the middle ages. The execution of Bruno and the near-execution of Galileo for telling the truth about astronomy were just the tip of the iceberg. Internal medicine was outlawed, and punishable by death. Thus no doctor could treat internal diseases, or even study them. They couldn't even cut open cadavers to see what was in there. So people almost always died of things like appendicitis.
The ancient Egyptians had a good practice of dentistry going. They could extract absessed teeth, and do gold fillings, crowns and bridges. The Catholic Church changed all of that. Europeans got to suffer and die from absessed teeth and impacted wisdom teeth because the Church considered dentistry to be internal medicine, and a violation of the Will of God. The "spiritual practices" and beliefs of the Church managed to delay modern medicine by a thousand years.
Both of those diseases are communicable — they can be spread through a bite or sex, but they are not "contagious" in the sense of diseases like smallpox or bubonic plague, so we should not call them "virulent". And they are definitely not mental illnesses like schizophrenia or delusions of grandeur. They are just horrible, nasty, communicable physical illnesses that happen to attack the brain.
Last updated 3 September 2012.
Copyright © 2019, A. Orange