Friday, March 28, 2014

Faith Healing?

Whenever the effectiveness of prayer comes up in conversation or a debate, someone will almost always share a story about God healing someone. Perhaps their son was sick. They were receiving treatment, but it wasn't helping. Then they prayed to God and the patient started getting better. It is often claimed that the doctors couldn't explain it, so it must have been a miracle. But that's just lazy thinking.

Lets assume that the doctors can't explain it. Does that mean that they will never be able to explain it? Of course not! Medical science now has explanations and understanding of countless things that were once a mystery. Willow tree bark may have once been considered magical for it's mysterious pain relief properties. They didn't know why it worked, they just knew that it did. But today, it is not a mystery to us and is sold as the common Aspirin.

They were not showing signs of recovery from their treatment... Well, maybe the 'unexplained' recovery is an effect of the treatments that were being administered. Every person is different. Different medications work better on some people than others, and some people may require a larger dose, or a prolonged course of medication. Perhaps a child getting better later than expected was due to them needing more medication in their system. Or if multiple treatments were administered, that particular cocktail may be what did the trick.

Perhaps a case of spontaneous remission? Cancers have been known to suddenly go into remission. Sometimes the reason isn't known, and sometimes the body may have figured out how to fight back.

Also, there is quite a bit selection bias at play. They like to point out that they prayed and then they got better. But they leave out the bit where they were praying all along when they weren't getting better as well. To ignore the 'misses' and count the one 'hit' is quite dishonest. Let's not forget those that are prayed for and don't get better as well.

Funny how these patients that get better are always in the care of doctors. How many times have you read about a family who refuses to seek actually medical care, and chooses to simply pray for a sick child instead? Each and every case I've ever read about ends in tragedy.

Finally, lets just assume doctors can't explain a recovery. They were dying and then recovered after prayer... Does this prove anything? Actually, no. For every Christian that makes this claim, there is a Muslim that does as well. And a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Shintoist, Satanist, etc... If everyone makes the same claims, then there's something else at play. But since only one religion doesn't see 'results', a deity isn't it.

-Brain Hulk

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