Good Study

I think it would be a good thing if this study could finally dispel the ridiculous notion of “the power of prayer” as somehow mechanically contributing to the health or recovery of sick people. You might also notice in the article that the object of the “prayer” is never mentioned.

God is not some genie who attends to your every wish when you rub the lamp of prayer. In a way, though, this is related to our country’s tradition of national Thanksgiving. Of course Christians (should) know Whom they are thanking–and we shouldn’t need a day off from work to do it. But a day for “giving thanks” is our (the U.S.) pretend way of feeling good about ourselves, even though there’s precious little talk about the One to whom that thanks should be addressed. Because if it’s not God, it’s just an idol. A sentimental one, but still deaf.



2 thoughts on “Good Study

  1. So true Timotheos.

    Regarding the study, here’s some irony:
    One of the better doctrinally-based criticisms of this study came from an avowed-atheist, liberal blogger(well-known too) that I read daily.

    Read on for his take:


    by Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly

    HIGH STAKES TESTING: I guess everyone’s heard the news about the new prayer study, right? A team of researchers asked several church congregations to pray for heart surgery patients at six different
    hospitals and then tracked how well they recovered from surgery compared to patients who weren’t prayed for. The result was null. Neither group did better than the other.

    But I’ve got a question about this. As I recall from Sunday School, testing God is supposed to be a no-no. In the second of the three temptations of Christ, Satan takes Jesus to the top of a temple and tells him to jump off in order to prove that God will save him from death. Jesus refuses, saying, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the
    Lord your God to the test.'”

    It’s the same deal for prayer: it works, but not if it’s being done for the purpose of testing that it works. It’s sort of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Christianity.

    So here’s my question. Christian doctrine says that testing the Lord won’t work, which means a study like this is useless. Scientists say
    that science isn’t meant to test supernatural phenomena, which means a study like this is useless. But if everyone agrees that a study like
    this is useless, why did the John Templeton Foundation spend $2.4 million on it? What’s the point?

    saying it’s useless because even Christians don’t think a study like this would produce any positive results. That’s assuming I understand
    Christian doctrine correctly, of course.

    And don’t bother suggesting that the folks doing the praying didn’t know they were part of a test. Double blind protocols might work for us earthly humans, but they wouldn’t fool God.

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