The recent public controversy over vaccination has produced strong opinions – and surprising divisions – in contemporary Australia on the competing concerns of public health and toleration of diversity. In a recent “Open for Discussion” interview (“Vaccination – A researcher’s insight”, October 20), Associate Professor Julie Leask spoke of the need to reach out for the cooperation of the “people in the middle” on this issue, and that’s where I find myself – perhaps surprisingly to many – as a Christian Scientist. The long experience of Christian Scientists as a religious minority might in some ways point to the possibilities of a “middle path” of mutual respect and understanding.Continue Reading
“Scientists have made a powerful discovery that appears able to improve everyone’s life. Reports indicate it works on individuals, families, communities, economies, and nations. Interestingly, it appears that too little of this substance may explain the coarsening of language and the hardening of hearts so evident in politics and the media. Lack of it also might be responsible for everything from substance abuse to the anxiety many people say they feel despite the unprecedented security, better health, and affluence the world is experiencing.
“Mind governs the body, not partially but wholly,” wrote thought-leader, Mary Baker Eddy, over 100 years ago.
In ensuing years of painstaking research, discovery, testing and analysis the bio-sciences, too, have come to generally support the idea that there is a distinct connection between thought and body.
I’ve fallen in love with those cute robotic wagging tails that you can wear! If you’re happy and excited they’ll wag furiously, and when you’re calm and relaxed they’ll hardly move.
They’re hooked up to a headset to measure your brain activity while a clip-on pulse monitor measures your heartbeat. It determines your mental state, which it sends to the tail over Bluetooth.Continue Reading
This article was first published on the national opinion website, Online Opinion.
Today, 4 February, many countries are coming together on World Cancer Day to fight cancer by dispelling the four major myths about it.
The official website of the World Cancer Day Advisory Group states that cancer is not just a health issue but has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.
It is not a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries but is a global epidemic, affecting all ages and socio-economic groups, with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden.
Cancer is no longer a death sentence, with many cancers that were once considered so now able to be cured, and for many more people their cancer can be treated effectively.Continue Reading
Gratitude pays. Just ask Dr Robert Emmons. My guest post today is by Eric Nelson, who has been published and featured in numerous newspapers, online publications, and radio talk programs. He speaks from years of experience in the mind-body field, especially as it relates to health. In addition, he is the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Visit Eric at his website and twitter.Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey
Last week the John Templeton Foundation announced that they were giving Emmons, a psychology professor at U.C. Davis $5.6 million to fund a three-year project to promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in schools, offices, homes, and communities. But as Emmons himself would likely say, the real payoff isn’t in the number of dollars his research is attracting, but in the impact that gratitude is having on people’s lives; perhaps most importantly on their health.Continue Reading
Everyone seems fired up about the ABC’s Q&A program this week. There was a face-off between outspoken proponent of atheism/theism, Professor Richard Dawkins and Australia’s most senior Catholic Church man, the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell. Questions and answers focussed around whether or not God exists and how our belief systems affect our lives.
The community continues to hotly comment on their answers via radio and social media, but one of the questions that both of them barely thought worth considering, was probably the one that could have broken through the stereotypical answers and turned the debate around ….. away from personalities to broad agreement on positive health outcomes that can help everyone.
An audience member asked, “Research has proven that people who believe in God have a better chance of surviving terminal illnesses, such as cancer, as well as living longer when they go to church. Do you think that believing in God is beneficial for our wellbeing ….?” She was referring to quite a large body of clinical research in this field (although it could be argued that it’s not so much whether people go to church but more about their thinking about the divine, whether at church or not, that has health implications).
One such Australian study by VicHealth found that “Despite some shortcomings in the literature reviewed, it has been possible to conclude that individuals of faith who experience religious freedom have the potential to experience a range of positive health effects that may be associated with their religion/belief.”
Your spirituality or religious experiences will be unique. From personal experience I’ve discovered that an interest in and dedication to spiritual life-principles has brought about changes in my thinking that have changed my life-experience, time and time again. I’ve found that prayer, studying inspirational literature and talks with friends and family, both at church and out, change limited, ego-centric thinking to thoughtful, considerate and progressive thinking. And along with the changes in thinking … have been healings of depression and illness, without medicine or therapy.
If Dawkins and Pell had all the facts, there’s no way that they’d consider these by-products of spirituality insignificant …… reduced incidence of depression and a quicker recovery from it, a reduction in substance abuse, improved palliative care outcomes, reduced mortality and greater longevity, reduced incidence of heart disease and hypertension, and reduced incidence and longer survival with cancer (Craig Hassed MD, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).
Those working in the health industry are aware of these and other research findings, and now medical practitioners actively encourage discussion about and advocate the importance of spirituality in patients’ lives.
It’s clear that spirituality and religion relate to our mind, or consciousness. Along with others interested in spirituality and the mind/body connection, I am seeing big changes on the health horizon guided by the important role the mind plays. Research into the placebo effect, as Dawkins mentioned, is leading scientists to ask, “What determines health … mind or matter?”
The mind is no longer seen as a marginal influence but as the determiner of the body’s health. We are at a cross-roads. In time, will consciousness no longer be seen as servant, but master?
It is an eye-opener to watch scientists, researchers, journalists, religious and atheist, and the rest of us connect the dots to what determines health. Will mind-science be the next breakthrough in the field of health?
Following on from my Wednesday post I got to thinking – is maths a science or a religion? My colleague in Tasmania, Graham Harding had the same thought earlier this year. Enjoy his post below. Thanks Graham!
I confess to it – I’m a fan of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. Calvin, the six year old who knows everything and his stuffed toy tiger, Hobbes, who has the greatest intelligence known to tigers when no one else is around, created by that genius Bill Watterson.
Meanwhile back to the question. Is maths a science or a religion? You must admit Calvin makes a pretty good case for religion. This brings me to question whether I accept all unexplainable ‘equations’ on faith and therefore as a religion especially when they seem so mysterious, or a science.Continue Reading
Some friends I know have felt judged at their church. I can imagine that this scenario would leave you feeling pretty desolate. It must be especially disappointing if you have prayed for healing of a physical or mental illness, dearly hoping that prayer is the answer, and healing is slow or doesn’t occur. And then to be judged by fellow church-goers suggesting you must be doing something wrong or be a ‘sinner’ must be soul-destroying.
I think I’d be one of the many who were voting with their feet and moving away from organised religion, if that had happened to me … and if I hadn’t yet learned about Christian Science.Continue Reading
On July 8, 2011, Mitch Horowitz wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal titled “When spirituality kills.” In response, Russ Gerber, spokesperson for the Christian Science Church, submitted a letter to the editor, which has been published.