A survey to determine the perceptions of Christian church members in the Berea North area (Durban) of homoeopathy
The 2001 Census revealed that roughly 78% of the South African population claimed to be of a certain religious standing, namely Christian (Statistics South Africa: 2001). One can assume that many Christians are exposed to, and partake in, the growing trend of complementary medicine. Aim The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of homeopathy amongst Christian Church members in the Berea North area of Durban and assess how similar they are to the perceptions of certain Christian authors holding the view that homoeopathy is incompatible with Christianity. Methodology A survey method with self-administered questionnaires was employed. A total of 365 questionnaires were distributed and 174 completed questionnaires were returned (47.40%). The questionnaire consisted of 30 questions that were divided into 4 sections. The first section consisted of demographic questions while the remaining sections were related to the perception of homoeopathy. For most of the questions, possible alternative answers were given. A few of the questions allowed open ended answers. Data was analyzed by means of the SPSS (v.13) program. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analysis and interpretation. More specifically, the Chi square test was used to determine relationships between certain qualitative variables. iii Results The majority of respondents (63.2%) perceived that homoeopathy is compatible with Christianity, with more females than males agreeing with that statement. Only 10.3% said it is not, and 24.1% were undecided. A similar majority (64.9%) answered “Yes” regarding whether Christians should use homoeopathy or not. The results showed that respondents who have made use of some form of complementary medicine e.g. reflexology, herbal medicine and acupuncture, are more likely to condone the use of homoeopathy amongst Christians. The overwhelming majority of respondents categorize homoeopathy as either natural (54%) or complementary (30%) medicine. Slightly more respondents categorize it as Eastern (8%) rather than New Age medicine (5%). Only 2 respondents (1%) categorized homoeopathy as occult. The results of the study showed that slightly more than half of the respondents perceive homoeopathy as operating on scientific principles (52.9%), and only 13.2% perceive that it does not with 32.8% undecided. 92.8% of respondents have a matric or higher level of education. Despite the high education level of respondents, 47.1% of respondents indicated that they only know something about homoeopathy and 25% indicated that they have either never heard of it or have only heard of it. The majority of respondents indicated that their knowledge of homoeopathy is inadequate (69%) but showed a desire to know more about homoeopathy (72.4%). iv Conclusion The conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that the majority of Christians surveyed did not share the views of the Christian authors who regard homoeopathy as incompatible with Christianity. On the contrary, the majority supported the use of homoeopathy, and were interested to find out more about it.