Encountering Dogma

I was recently approached by a student writing a thesis called “Hypnotherapy and the Christian” for my views; with particular regard to the dogmatic Christian approach towards trance – often described as evil, and that therapists could be described as “charmers” as biblically referenced in Deuteronomy with the flag of “due warning”.

I tend to avoid any religious-based discussions, mainly because I believe in religious tolerance and I acknowledge that with the many peoples, backgrounds, beliefs, histories, ways of life in the world…that religious tolerance is the only way forward for us all to live in harmony. And to live in harmony with each other is (for me anyway) one of the highest ideals. I was brought up in the CofE, have an open interest and respect for all religions – and am comfortable in the company of peoples from all religions except those who are “on a mission of conversion”.

So when I encounter dogmatic intolerance my heart sinks. There is no logical reason why hypnotherapy (the beneficial using of trance), Reiki, or a countless number of other therapies, should be considered dangerous, evil or whatever judgement is heaped upon them from the dogmatic angle.
I appreciate the logical and the spiritual don’t always occupy the same marbled halls – and I also know that there are chronicled elements within the bible, especially the OT, where history plays a greater role than teaching.
Trance is a naturally occurring state and compliant with the consent of the individual. Ergo, where is the evil? Evil is in the thoughts, eyes and hands of the evildoer – I don’t see the dogmatic issuing forth on the evil of knives for instance!

There is a mystery, a mystical element within Christianity that has a special place within its spirituality. I can see how dogma has evolved where the “inexplicable” nature of trance construes some sort of threat to those mysteries. I see this, however, as a misunderstanding of the nature of trance – which deals with the psychological rather than the spiritual. And perhaps the dogmatic issues are more to do with Christianity and its relationship with Science (of which Psychology is a relatively new science) than those therapies which still have an element of ‘the unknown’ about them.