Warning: The views expressed in the book reviewed, both religious and political, are not meant to represent the views of The Writer’s Scrap Bin, its writer, or its readers. The book heavily relies on Christian doctrine and faith healing, so proceed with caution if you take offense to religious discussion. Remember to keep all conversation about Murphy’s Remedy, religion, and any other topic which may arise civil; any bullying, trolling, or other abuse of this blog’s community or inappropriate use of this platform will result in disciplinary action.
Faith healing: a concept often approached with skepticism and negativity. I, for one, have never put much credence in the practice. I prefer to rely on modern medicine and certain alternatives, although I’ve always thought that a positive attitude could help in the healing process. The book I am reviewing today exposed me to a new view on faith healing, one which much more aligns with my own beliefs than everything I’ve ever heard about it. I must emphasize once again that I am not Christian and that neither my religious nor political views are necessarily reflected in this work, but I still thought it worthwhile to tell you about Remedy: How I Cured the Incurable by Matthew J. Murphy.
In 2015, the universe hit Murphy with three major obstacles—one personal, one legal, and one physical. While the first two took a lot of faith and patience on Murphy’s part to overcome, it was the final obstacle with which he struggled most and which has influenced him to write this book and launch his website. Diagnosed with a horrendous and life-threatening digestive disorder, the doctors gave Murphy two options: undergo major surgery to remove his entire colon or, with a slim chance of success, enter a life-long prescription regiment. Murphy, a member of the U.S. military, is not one to give up when things get hard, and so he took a third option which his intuition—which he believes comes from the Holy Spirit—told him to do. Instead of major surgery or prescriptions, he researched and assumed a path of alternative treatment including a liquid diet, supplements, exercise, Bone Broth, and prayer.
Remedy acts as part Christian memoir, part self-help, part patient testimony, and part inspirational novel. Murphy takes readers on a journey through his six-month self-healing experience, provides guidelines (heavy emphasis on “guidelines”) for those looking for alternative treatment, and presents the basic tools of faith healing while addressing many misconceptions about the practice from both sides of the aisle. While he does not guarantee success from following his steps exactly, Murphy assures readers that by molding his advice to their individual situations, having patience, and backing their actions with faith (and vice versa), results will show.
As someone who is not religious, I was naturally skeptical when I began this book. As someone who is somewhat spiritual, I was open to the possibilities, and Murphy surprised me. The most appealing part of this book, from a non-believer’s perspective, is that the author does not argue that prayer alone will heal you or that any remedy is a “one size fits all” solution. In fact, he states exactly the opposite. True faith, he claims, involves backing prayer with action, to show that you have hope and faith in the outcome; he emphasizes that no two situations are the same, and so all advice should be analyzed and personalized; most importantly, in my opinion, he asserts that you should consult a medical professional first.
I also appreciate the research that Murphy put into this book. As he reminds his readers, not all “self-help” writers bother to try their recommendations for themselves. Murphy, on the other hand, has and can personally attest to their effectiveness. The recipes, schedules, websites, books, and other aides he provides also impressed me. I particularly admire his willingness to suggest supplements which he wishes he had known the benefits of and started sooner. Not everyone, especially in print form, is willing to admit that they didn’t try something until later and Murphy’s list proves that he did truly learn and grow throughout his experience. Additionally, it represents a method of trial-and-error which makes his testimony more believable.
The author has not converted me to Christianity or changed my mind on religion. However, he makes several poignant observations in regards to positivity and faith. If we can have faith in humans fulfilling their promises, why can’t we have faith in some higher power looking out for us? Why should we assume that prayers will be answered immediately or without any effort on our part? And what is the harm in holding onto positivity and faith during oblivion, considering that the worst that can happen is that we only emotionally/psychologically feel better?
The writing could have done with more proofreading. I noticed multiple incidents of missing punctuation, words which should have been eliminated in editing, and single quotations within double quotations when such formatting is not necessary. I became annoyed by these errors when they were glaring but, overall, they are not enough to detract from the reading experience. Murphy’s informal style also grated on my nerves at points. It allows for a quick and easy read, which is key to engaging readers of such a book. Nevertheless, he gets too informal at times, such as the use of at least one emoji. While I can see the benefits of such writing, I prefer for nonfiction books, including self-help and spiritual works, to maintain a slightly higher level of formality. Otherwise, the reader may not trust the writer to know what he/she is talking about.
Remedy is not for everyone. As previously stated, the entire tome is based in Christianity and faith healing. This basis necessitates the author’s repeated use of Scripture and his explanation of and support for faith in God. Multiple pictures of Murphy’s deteriorated condition have also been provided, so I suggest that the squeamish and those with an aversion to Christianity avoid this book. However, those who do not mind images of the sick and are open to considering religious alternatives should give Murphy’s work a try. People suffering from a chronic illness—whether it’s a digestive disease, an autoimmune disorder, or even depression—should also consider reading his advice.
Overall, Remedy proved to be an intriguing read. I have never heard a faith healer argue for taking action as well as having faith in God, and I’m used to some “alternative treatment” advocates dogging heavily on mainstream healthcare. Murphy gives credit where credit is due in the healthcare system and remains prudent in his treatment suggestions and his recommendations on tailoring his advice to suit individual needs. The proofreading errors aside, I had no problems reading and understanding Murphy’s work. I’m glad to have had this chance to explore some alternative medicine and the analysis of the connection between faith and healing. I think that Murphy’s advice, at least the medicinal advice if not also the spiritual, could help many people; they just have to be willing to try.
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