Inform Autumn Seminar Registration

Saturday 24th November 2018

Health and Healing in Minority Religions

This seminar will explore a range of religious models of health and healing, and to what extent these are related to what practitioners actually do with the aim of preventing and curing diseases of the body and the mind. Many minority religions provide their members with a comprehensive worldview in which beliefs and practices concerning health and healing are incorporated in religious beliefs. Perceptions of body, mind and soul, and their relationships are intricately entwined with a supernatural or transcendent realm.

At one end of a spectrum, there are religious traditions that consider the body a temple and who consider maintaining its health through lifestyle and diet a form of worship. At the other end, there are those who consider the body inferior to the spiritual or cognitive realm, and not of primary importance. Then there are those who believe in possession of the body by evil spirits to be a source of illness, and there are those who believe in ‘faith healing’ and associated practices.

Some of these positions will be explored at this seminar, which will include presentations by academics, academic researchers, and members of Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The seminar will be held at Bush House Lecture Theatre 1, Bush House, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG


10.00-10.10           Welcome

10.10-10.35           Eileen Barker, FAcSS, FBA, OBE, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the London School of Economics  - Religious Attitudes to the Body, Health and Healing

10.35-11.00           Tony Brace, The European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses - Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion: Faith or Fanaticism?

11.00-11.25           Carole M. Cusack, University of Sydney - G. I. Gurdjieff on Health and Healing: Diet, Fasting and Spiritual Exercises

11.25-11.55           Coffee  

11.55-12.20          Sarah Harvey, Senior Research Officer, Inform - Illness as Impurity: practices for cleansing and purifying the body

12.20-12.45          Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths - The psychology of belief in and use of complementary and alternative medicine  (CAM)

12.45-13.10           Robin Harragin Hussey, District Manager of Christian Science Committee on Publication for UK and Ireland - Holiness and Healing in Christian Scientists' Practice Today

13.10-14.10           Lunch

14.10-14.35           Suzanne Newcombe, Research Fellow at Inform, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University - The Body in Contemporary Yoga and Ayurveda

14.35-15.00           Simon Dein, consultant psychiatrist in Essex UK, honorary clinical professor at Durham University – The End of Suffering:  Mysticism, Messianism and Medicine in Lubavitch

15.00-15.30           Tea

15.30-15.40           Website launch

15.40-16.40           Panel



Student / Unwaged


A-level Student