Alternative therapies – right or wrong?

Question 122, from CB, United Kingdom

Why do Christians think alternative therapies are wrong? ie Acupuncture, Reiki, Reflexology, Chinese medicine, herbal remedies etc?

The reluctance of many Christians to engage in ‘alternative medicine’ stems from a number of different sources, the most basic of which is a distrust for witchcraft and sorcery. There are, however, definite differences of opinion on whether alternative medicine is harmful, or ‘un-Christian’.

Theologically there is little to warn against in alternative medicine, and certainly any comments on non-Christian alternative medicine would also apply to Christian claims of healing, or the efficacy of prayer. There is considerable doubt about whether these treatments work, although some such as acupuncture do seem to have some evidence-based research to prove their effectiveness.

To understand why some Christians object to it requires (more…)

Long lives in Genesis

Question 121, from Luci, Canada

Our current system of dates was devised by Dionysus Exiguus in about 525 AD. I know that prior to adopting this ‘modern’ system many western cultures measured time by the reigns of their leaders. Today (as it was in the book of Genesis) days are measured by periods of light and darkness. What I wonder is who decided what an hour was, and who decided a day had 24 hours and the year was 365 days? Is it possible that the people who are marked as being centuries old in Biblical times actually had the same life spans that we do now but the method of measurement was different?

There are basically three different explanations for the long lifespans recorded in Genesis, before the account of Noah and the Flood. The first, adhered to by those who would argue that Genesis is literally true is that they did live those lengths of time. Various theories relating to the state of the world before the Flood are put forward to explain this.

The second explanation is that there has been some kind of counting error. This might be because of confusion over dating, due to time being measured in a variety of ways, or it could be because Hebrew ‘numbers’ are easy to misread and misinterpret (see this previous article). The third explanation is that the long lifespans were invented (more…)