An Agnostic View of Faith and Healing
The ancient Greek philosopher and teacher Aristotle said, “The gods feel no love for humans.” Christianity came along and rebutted that “God so loved the world.” According to Rodney Stark the Christian rebuttal changed the world and that included people’s health. This is explained in his book The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History. Stark teaches at the University of Washington. He states the Christians in ancient times lived longer than their pagan contemporaries.
He also says that a lot of people were drawn to Christianity because of the spiritual and physical benefits they saw the Christians had. Christians had the only social services going. Tertullian penned towards the close of the 2nd century that pagans used their donations “on feasts and drinking bouts." And he went on that Christians used their donations "to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined to the house.” (“The Early Churches,” 1998)
The emperor Julian observed in 251 that the Christians helped their own poor people and the pagan poor. Stark further notes that in 165 A.D. and 251A.D. there were two horrendous plagues that went through the Roman Empire and while the pagans avoided the sick to the point of throwing sick people in gutters, Christians took care of the sick. The mortality rates rose over 30%.
When one looks at these facts that Stark has researched the overwhelming spiritual love it took to do the things that those Christians did is undeniable. This is a love from God that produces miracles in people’s hearts and causes physical and spiritual healing. True, some people may not believe this, but if you take what Stark has researched and listen to unbiased pagan observers and what they said what other conclusion is there?