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RELIG ST 2WW3 feb 26.docx

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Hisako Omori

Christian Healing - Jesus in Christian gospels o Central role as healer o Almost 1/5 of gospels are concerned with Jesus healing o Performs healing at various places, and people were attracted to him because of his healing and miracles o 41 different cases of healing in the gospels, but more than 41 people - Shamanic themes in Jesus’ ministry o Initiatory ordeal  First experienced a period in the wilderness, similar to shamans  Spent 40 days in wilderness, fasted and tested by spirits o Spirit/soul journey  During 40 days in wilderness, went to pinnacle of temple with the devil  Taken to a mountain and shown kingdoms of the world  Story of transfiguration, on top of mountain, was transfigured and talking to Moses and Elijah.  After he died, he went to hell and then ascended into heaven, like a shaman  Similar to shamans, in which shamans demonstrate access to spirit world o Direct, special relationships with spirits  Communicated directly with and cultivated relationships with spirits  In particular, God and the holy spirit  During his baptism, when he came out of the water, the heavens opened up, a dove descended upon him, and voice of God spoke o Healed with spiritual authority  He often confronted spirits directly  Most visible when healed illness caused by demon possession  Evil spirits afraid of him o Charisma Other themes in Jesus’ healing 1. Charisma and faith a. People were sometimes healed by simply touching his garments, and sometimes through his saliva and dirt. b. People expected to be healed by him (like woman who touched his clothes to be healed) c. The faith doesn’t have to be of the person who is sick can be someone else like parents etc. 2. Forgiveness of sin and compassion a. Relating sickness to immorality is common in many societies b. In most times Jesus does not inquire into morality of the sick person c. Described as he healed out of compassion 3. Cosmic tension a. Conflict between opposing forces b. Works to overcome evil spirits which oppose the kingdom of God Illness causation - Sin, emotional, spiritual, physical, “memories”, medical - Christian theological interpretation of illness is highly variable - Some view it as result of sin and other purely medical Two major theological interpretations 1. Sickness is caused by forces, spirits or beings opposed to God a. Not fault of sick person b. View that dominates gospels 2. Sickness is caused by God for different purposes a. May be punishment for sin b. May be sent from god to teach the person something c. May be sent by God to test the person, so the person will provide an example of faith for other. (ex:Job) - Although these seem to oppose each other, they seem to coexist in most periods of Christianity - Two ways seem appropriate for an individual in different circumstances - 1 one the person is invaded my malevolent forces or spirits o Can be healed by overcoming spirits - If the illness is sent by God, to motivate and change the person’s life. Christian healing tradition 1. Charismatic healers a. Goes back to Jesus b. May be ministers, monks, or laypersons c. Heal without a lot of rituals, but heal by touch or command d. May belong to the holy person category of healer, typically have charismatic personality 2. Healing rituals a. Most common among these three b. Administered by church officials i. Baptism, confession, rituals that dispel sin, thus restoring health ii. Prayer, fasting, laying of hands of prayer groups iii. Can be done by lay people 3. Sacred healing centres a. In quebec, st anne de beaupre b. Sometimes a church is associated with healing powers of certain saints. c. Place may have a relic of a saint, or a site of apparition d. Lac st. Anne i. Located in northern Alberta ii. Believed to have a healing property iii. Female spirit associated with this lake, named after mother of mary iv. Every july over 40 000 aboriginals gather at the lake for a healing ritual v. A priest blesses the lakewater, people walk in then priest blesses people vi. Film told complication between abused children of residential schools and the catholic church vii. Aboriginal people neeed healing from past experiences viii. Lake is located close to residential school, community needed healing, church facing trial and owns lake, if they lose trial they lose lake, then natives lose lake for healing ix. Ste. Anne/Spirit lake Charismatic healers - Pentecostal and charismatic revivial movement within Protestant churches- late 19 th century o Spirituality at feast of Pentecost in Book of Acts o Holy spirit descended and empowered Christians with miraculous gifts o Holy spirit plays central role In charismatic healing circle o Holy spirit is active in modern world o Divine healing as conv
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