Are the philosophies and principles behind homeopathy compatible with our faith or not? I'm not speaking of the science. I've already read about that. Please just about the philosophy.  Anyone know? Thanks
You really can't separate the science of homeopathy from its philosophy and principles.  Having said that, imho, the answer to your question is "yes". 

I've been involved with homeopathy, both as practitioner and patient, full and part time, for about 30 years.  I have found nothing in it that is incompatible with Christianity, specifically, Catholicism.  But then...I'm not a philosopher or theologian.

Why do you ask?
Perhaps the "philosophy" or at least principles underlying homeopathy could be elucidated for us.

When we say "philosophy" in everyday language nowadays, we're usually talking about worldview, not necessarily philosophy in the classical sense.
Homeopathy in the tiniest of nutshells:
Similia Similibus Curantur.  Everything else stems from that.
(08-14-2015, 01:44 PM)J Michael Wrote: Homeopathy in the tiniest of nutshells:
Similia Similibus Curantur.  Everything else stems from that.

That's not a philosophical claim or foundation. It's a medical one.
(08-14-2015, 02:10 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(08-14-2015, 01:44 PM)J Michael Wrote: Homeopathy in the tiniest of nutshells:
Similia Similibus Curantur.  Everything else stems from that.

That's not a philosophical claim or foundation. It's a medical one.


Let's not get too bogged down in picking nits, as unpleasant they may be as companions... :)

Homeopathy is a medical system with underlying, foundational principles.  It is not "philosophy" in the classical understanding as in Socrates, Aristotle, et.al.  It does, however, *have* a philosophy, more detail of which you can see here.  That philosophy or those principles are not incompatible with the Faith, I believe.
(I apologize for the length of this post)

Thanks for the replies! I never thought about this topic but I was having a couple conversations with a friend who is a naturopathic doctor… and they got me thinking about the philosophical principles about life in general and how God made the world. I am not a scientist nor a philosopher and I like to just leave a lot of these things to God… I’m sure that there’s MUCH that science isn’t aware of. But as I learned about what naturopathy is, I got confused about how it relates to the Catholic understanding. I know the Catholic Church disagrees with new age or Eastern philosophies. If naturopathy is legitimate either its philosophies are different and I’m just not understanding them, or, it’s actually instead based on some scientific ideas that we haven’t found out yet. My intent is to accept the truth whatever it is though I don’t know it. But there are some things that I find very confusing.

When I looked up the topic from a Catholic perspective I found out two completely different views. Some Catholics claim homeopathy has had support from the Vatican and various important people in the Church. Others are really against it and talk about how Hahnemann (the founder) was a freemason. I tried to look up what his views were influenced by.

It seems that at that time, there were two prevailing philosophies of medicine: vitalism, and mechanism. I still don’t understand if vitalism is compatible with Church teaching or not because all these vitalists talked about a “vital life force”. I don’t understand what that is. Is it the soul? Someone named Stahl seemed to think the rational soul of man is an example of the vital life force. Do they mean it as the soul or like something in Eastern religions? I’m unclear if any of them were alchemists but some article mentioned alchemy. There’s a whole article on “Life” from Catholic Encyclopedia anyone can look up if they’re interested in a really detailed analysis of various views.

Anyway, a lot of the vitalists seemed to reject any physiological cause of disease. They though it’s transmitted spiritually. Then others disagreed with this and went in the opposite direction. The “mechanists” thought everything is just mechanical. I’m not sure if they denied the soul.

If I understood correctly, Hahnemann seemed to disagree with the rejection of anything physical from the other vitalists, and yet also disagreed with the mechanists – even more. He was a vitalist himself. So he believed this certain philosophy that I’m unsure where he got it from. He doesn’t credit his ideas to any other vitalist and talks about his medical trials. However, it’s been suggested he must have known about them because he was very well read in the topic.
He believed in this “vital life force”.. and he said that diseases are primarily caused by something called miasms. If I understand, miasms are disruptions in this life force that are caused by various things like stress, micro organisms, ETC. There are different types of miasms. Anyways, this makes a susceptibility to diseases and when a bacteria or virus comes along, the person gets sick. He believed if we only treat the symptoms, the disease would go deeper.

Now I believe that there are probably many underlying undiscovered causes of illnesses (for example, cancer) that we don’t know, but I always thought of them as being physical and related to other organs or parts of the body. So if we only take away symptoms that doesn’t necessarily cure the person. However, Hahnemann wasn’t saying just that, because he believed in disruptions in this life force being the cause.

This brings the question: what is the vital life force he was talking about? Apparently it animates the body. Doesn’t the soul animate the body? Yet from my understanding only sin harms the soul. Though illnesses are related to the fall, because of a separation from God, - illnesses are not correlated with particular personal sins. So if it’s the soul, how can something other than sin harm it? Or are they talking about something else?  If it’s not the soul, - how do we understand that, because we believe it’s precisely the soul that animates the body? So I’m unclear what they’re talking about it and how it relates to the soul.

His treatment for diseases was based on the idea that “like cures like”. I don’t know what to think about this idea either. However, it’s not JUST this idea. There’s something else there that’s confusing me. For example: I used to think that the idea is the following: a person is allergic to pollen. So you give them tiny amount of pollen. That really contradicts how people generally see the situation but that’s not all that homeopathy claims to do.

Hahnemann developed a technique where he would dilute the substance many many times. So many times that according to some sources I read, not even an atom of the original substance would be found in the end. Not all naturopaths apparently dilute it that much but it’s also done that way. So there are several explanations of this I learned about according to various homeopathic theories:

- Some connect it to science by talking about nano particles and quantum science. This is probably the most scientific sounding explanation though I haven’t examined it scientifically or if it’s supported by evidence.
- Some others connect it something more metaphysical. There were two ideas I heard or read about:
- One is “water memory”, where water stores “memories” of things dissolved in it. Maybe some connected it to nano theory too. But others, just talk about the “message” or “essence” or “energy” of the substance being left. Two questions here: what type of ‘energy’ is this anyway, and why does it become apparent after dilution and shaking the solution?
- The other idea, maybe linked to the first, is about vibrations. These people believe that each living thing has a “vibration” that gets out of tune when you get ill. Then the solution treatment is basically diluting a substance to isolate its vibration and giving it to the person. 
From what I was told, it seems that it’s the “message” of the substance that is supposed to get communicated rather than the actual substance. This makes the question philosophical for me. It’s not something observable anymore.

Some think the “message” is nano particles. But others talk about “energies” and I don’t understand what energies. For example, I was told about how even having a positive or negative attitude is like an ‘energy’ that affects health in yourself or others. I don’t know how many naturopaths think this way. But someone even tried an experiment with cutting an apple in half, and then spent considerable time saying “positive” things to the first half, and saying “negative” things to the other half, and claimed the second half got really bad quickly. So this view seems to be popular here: where your attitude can be like a miasm, etc. I’m not saying that attitude does nothing but these people are not saying its effect are merely mental, but that it has some sort of almost physical energy to it.
So as a Catholic, what do we think of all this?? I don’t follow anything with Eastern (non Christian I mean) philosophy. Are the principles behind homeopathy supposed to be more scientific? I don’t understand the whole dilution thing (especially because no particles are left at the end, in many cases, apparently) – and the “vital force” and what they mean by this. Any thoughts? If you really want you can look up “life” in Catholic Encyclopedia and it talks about the history of different theories in life including vitalism. I’m not sure what the Church thinks of vitalism either. Does our view have a different name or not?

To be honest, the language of all this "life force" is just not what we have in Catholic Tradition. It sounds like what we find in other religions. So is it actually different and I'm just misunderstanding anything? At this point I'm not claiming anything, - just trying to figure it out. But I have consistently stayed away from anything mentioning metaphysical "forces" or "energies" (except in the scientific or the Christian understanding), because new agers use this language a lot and the new age is rejected. I follow nothng new age, only traditional Catholic stuff. With homeopathy, is the philosophy similar to other religions, or is the just the language? If the philosophy is questionable how do we explain the Vatican having been supportive of it? My head is going around in circles clearly :)

In a tiny summary of the above, here is what homeopathy seems like to me:

It's the view that susceptibility to disease is caused by disruptions in the vital life force, which are cured by administering extremely diluted solutions of the cause of the symptoms, in such a way that at times no particles are even present. This is believed to convey a 'message' of the original substance. Some try to explain this with mainstream scientific views like nano particles or quantum theory, others talk about some sort of energy, vibrations, or water memory.

I'm sure there's much that we don't know scientifically, but parts of this really sound metaphysical and philosophical to me. Homeopathy is related to the view of life called vitalism, and the theorists involved in vitalism at the time of the founder Hahnemann seemed to speak about this "vital life force".

As Catholics, we believe that our bodies are animated by the soul. The soul can be harmed by sin, but this doesn't cause particular illnesses. Rather, illness is an effect of original sin - not personal sin. Jesus healed some people in Scripture by casting out demons, and others seemed to just have regular illnesses because He just healed them in some other way - like the blind person, the woman with the blood issue, etc. Then for some reasons I don't completely understand, animals began getting sick too and the world was affected by our fall. So I'm not sure how to connect all this.

Some Catholics seem really against naturopathy, while others seem to be for it and talk about support of it from the Vatican. All this just makes me more and more confused. :S
I'm pressed for time at the moment so can't reply in depth to the above 2 posts.  Sorry.... :(

What I will say is first of all, homeopathy and naturopathy are not identical.  Homeopathy is a complete system of medical therapeutics based on certain tried and true principles. 

Secondly, whether the vital force as Hahnemann understood it is the same as or different from the Roman Catholic idea of the soul is almost irrelevant.  You do not have to believe in homeopathy or its underlying principles in order for it to work and work well.  To wit, there are literally 1000's of  cases of the successful treatment of newborn babies, infants, toddlers, and all manner of our 4-legged friends who hold no belief system whatsoever and are not susceptible, as we humans can be, to anything like a placebo effect.

Might I suggest that you read, very, very carefully, THE book on homeopathy.  It looks superficially easy and light, but, trust me, it is exceptionally profound, deep, and can be quite dense despite it's small size.  You won't really understand homeopathy without having read this and made a serious attempt at understanding it. 

Gotta go now.... :) :)
Thanks for the reply... I understand the difference between homeopathy and naturopathy, I am not speaking of other types of naturopathy like herbal remedies. I'm only speaking of homeopathy according to Hahnemann. The reason I mentioned naturopathy is just because my friend is a naturopath but she has done homeopathy.

If homeopathy actually works but the philosophy doesn't, I'm not saying it can't operate by different principles, but it seems like the philosophy is somehow very foundational in terms of how Hahnemann worked on it...

I tried doing some more research. It seems from Catholic Encyclopaedia that Stahler was an Animist. Which is the belief I think that everything has a spiritual soul and the Church condemned this view. Was the idea of the life force from this? Or do they mean something physical? But what animates our bodies as humans is a spirit .. So something here is confusing. Reading the views of some of these people can remind one of Western esoteric movements that the Church is against. Is it just the language or the ideas? Did Hahnemann borrow from them or not? That is what I'm trying to find out.

Simply saying it works doesn't resolve my confusion because even about that there is tons of debate :(

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