August 28, 2010 1 Comment
“…In addition, history has served as a de facto test of alternative forms of healthcare. Until approximately the last two centuries effective medical techniques to treat and cure serious illnesses were largely absent. During that period prayer and other religious rites were commonly employed medical interventions. Juvenile mortality rates were probably over 50% (they still exceeded 25% in 1900 Britain and the United States), young adult mortality rates were high, and average life spans were as low as two decades. The number of children lost probably exceeded 50 billion; only a modest minority of those born made it to old age. Significantly higher rates of mortality would have probably collapsed the human population and lead to extinction of the species, so it appears that death rates were near their highest sustainable maximum. The evidence indicates that supportive prayer whether remote or in the presence of or by the patient has been a largely or entirely ineffective treatment for most or all of human history. G. Paul, Journal of Medical Ethics, November, 2008 Here My emphasis
So for all of human history…up to about the 1800’s, all we had to combat disease or sickness was prayer or the witch doctor. We, as a species, barely survived. Enter modern science and medicine and we start to overrun the planet. So do you think prayer (or the witch doctor) were ever effective?
We know for a fact that prayer is never effective against medical problems that are not subject to spontaneous remission or placebo effect. Medical problems such as Down’s syndrome, Spina-bifida, amputated limbs, etc. cannot, and have never been cured by prayer.
We know that prayer can never restore a heart damaged by heart attack, never restore lungs damaged by emphysema. Humans are working on many of these medical problems, and if we survive the growing religious wars of this world, we will probably cure them.
Meanwhile, we can seriously doubt that there is a God who answers prayers, or if there is even is a God.
Regarding that “Inerrant Bible” instructions about the efficacy of prayer:
Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
The message is restated in Mark 11:24:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
In Matthew 17:20 Jesus reiterates that same message:
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus speaks to all of us about how easy prayer can be:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”