“Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”” (Luke 5:31–32, NLT)
Healthcare made extraordinary strides in the twentieth century through the use of new medications. From the development of sulphonamides at the beginning of the century, to the widespread use of penicillin in World War 2, and to the new medicines that have continued to be developed—all have had a large impact on the medical profession.
As new drugs undergo widespread testing, they are contrasted with a control group in which a placebo is administered instead. A placebo looks like the real drug but has no medicinal ingredients. Sometimes, however, patients respond to a placebo in a positive way. This phenomenon is known as the “placebo effect.” The expectations of the patient are raised and both psychological and body chemistry may be affected by their mindset.
Karl Marx declared that "Religion is the opium of the Masses." For him, religion was dangerous because it had no power to improve the human condition and therefore it was an imperative that it must be abolished. While not really improving anything, he maintained that it provided merely an “illusory happiness” preventing people from seeking real change. After a century of communism in action in places like the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, one has ample examples of the hostility toward religion in socialist regimes and among socialist movements everywhere.
But what might be unexpected is that some “Christian” voices believe Christian faith as merely having a “placebo effect.” Perhaps, God will do something after we die, but they maintain that the ill remain imprisoned in their infirmity in this life. Jesus met the blind, the leper, the lame, and even the dead and brought them to health and life. And in the same way, He came to those enslaved in sin that they might be made free, forever changed. Jesus didn’t come to merely make us feel better about our imprisonment but to find freedom in Him.
In the words of Charles Wesley:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.