The Thin Line

Those of you who know me personally or have been following me for some time via Facebook know that I am not a religious man.  Though not quite an atheist, agnostic may still be a little too religious of a word to describe me.

That being said, in a vacuum, I have no issues with each individual’s right to believe in whatever god it is they choose (or have had chosen for them) to believe in.  Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu…whatever it is that helps you achieve spiritual health, great.  Belief and faith can be a wonderful, powerful thing.

But I had a bit of an epiphany this morning – I was going back and forth with some people on the topic of Oil Pulling, debunking the belief by certain alternative health bloggers that it can detoxify your body and cure all kinds of ills.

There is, especially among the alternative health blogging network, an almost religious zealotry to what they put out there preach.  There is a belief and faith that is almost admirable in that it withstands the test of scientific debunking.  There is little or no effort to back up statements and claims with science – which is fine if you are preaching about religion, the soul and spirit, and other intangibles.

I do find it to be a huge problem when these claims are directed toward physical health.  Without the burden of scientific proof, these alternative preachers can claim that Oil Pulling will detoxify your gut (the toxins in your gut are not traveling to your mouth to be pulled out by coconut oil) or that a certain kind of coffee bean will melt your fat away (it actually led to the onset of diabetes in mice when it was finally tested).

The bottom line is this for me.  Religion, within the Church or Synagogue or Mosque or Temple, is fine.  That’s where is belongs.  That’s where true religious leaders can have a positive impact on the spiritual well-being of their flocks and guide them on whatever moral path their religion calls for.  The spirit or soul doesn’t answer to the laws of physics or biology or chemistry and therefore does not need to answer to them.

But the body does.  Our bodies must answer to the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, and that realm has no place for unfounded faith or belief.  Believing that eating whole food alone will cure one’s cancer or that eating a certain diet will “cure” autism is beyond ludicrous, and preaching it to followers who are lost and desperate is not only dangerous but borders on willful negligence.

If you are looking for spiritual health, please, by all means, seek a pastor, rabbi, priest or imam; but if you are looking for physical health, understand that the internet has made the line between science based health and “belief” based health very, very thin.

If it sounds too good to be true, it most probably is.  Fitness and health is not a religion.  Science is not a religion.  Remember that.

Science doesn’t care what you believe.  It follows the rules Mother Nature and the Universe laid down 13.8 billion years ago.  No amount of belief or faith will change that.