Science or spirituality – does it have to be one or the other?

Angelina Jolie, 37, recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy after finding out  she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which significantly increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, a disease her own mother died of at the age of 59.  “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.  I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”

There are many people who are applauding the proactive choice Angelina is making to minimize her chances of getting cancer.  But her radical decision has also been met with some controversy and her actions are being challenged by members of the holistic and natural health community.

Dr. Lissa Rankin, M.D., a former OB/GYN for eight years and author of Mind Over Medicine, Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, says on her website, “By labeling a patient with a negative prognosis and robbing a patient of the hope that cure might be possible, we may ultimately prove the poor prognosis we have bestowed upon our patient correct. Wouldn’t we be better off offering hope and triggering the mind to release health-inducing chemicals intended to aid the body’s self-repair mechanisms?  Is it really healthy for any of us to know that we might have an 87% risk of any illness? Do we really want to poison our minds with such fear-based thoughts that then force us to make decisions about whether or not we will electively cut off perfectly healthy body parts? When we live in fear, we predispose ourselves to illness. To live in fear of what might happen only triggers stress responses in the body.”

And so we find ourselves as a society continually and more increasingly faced with a difficult choice of what is behind Door Number 1, the marvels of modern medicine, and Door Number 2, the miraculous power of our body’s own ability to organically heal and sustain.  And as Dr. Rankin is suggesting, how much do our thoughts come into play in actually creating — and healing — so many of the illnesses we see in our world today?

Conversations With God, Book 1, offered this to us: “You never do die. Life is eternal. You are immortal. You never do die. You simply change form. You didn’t even have to do that. You decided to do that, I didn’t. I made you bodies that would last forever. Do you really think the best God could do, the best I could come up with, was a body that could make it 60, 70, maybe 80 years before falling apart? Is that, do you imagine, the limit of My ability?”

And so with all of the information we have placed before us, upon what do we base our decisions?  Is there a space where science and spirituality harmoniously intersect and work in conjunction to benefit humanity?  Is Dr. Rankin correct in the idea that our fear-based thoughts are actually creating our illnesses and preventing our body’s natural ability to heal?  Or are the medical doctors correct that we are predisposed to certain types of illnesses – cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., — and we are best served to surgically or medicinally prevent and/or cure these diseases?  Or could it a combination of both?

What are your thoughts?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

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