By Joseph Strong
Original Article-Click this line
An interesting prayer study was released a while ago, and reported upon by the New York Times. See this Wikipedia article for some good background information on these prayer studies.
A wide ranging study on the effects of intercessory prayer (not to be confused with the more violent “imprecatory” prayer), was conducted on over 1,800 heart patients.
There was a “blind” group of patients that was not told someone was praying for them, and a second group that was told someone was praying for them. The blind group did no better or worse than the average heart patient, and the group that was told they were prayed for did slightly worse.
My first reaction to this study was dismay that the Templeton foundation found another $2.4 million to waste on studying prayer that could have been spent on studying real remedies. More alarming, our United States government has spent $2.3 Million on studying prayer, according to the article.
I really do not want to be accused of being one of those “nasty atheists” who just lives to make fun of religious people, but how am I supposed to react to this study? My first inclination is to think in terms of Pascal’s wager. Were they praying to the wrong god? Is it possible that if we did this study with Muslim or Hindu prayers (instead of Christian prayers) would we get better results? Also the article seems to suggest that a problem with studying prayer is that you can not figure out what “volume” of prayer is the correct amount to treat an illness. Should we spend another $2 Million working on inventing a “prayerometer” to measure the correct dose of prayer?
A quotation from the article.
“A person of faith would say that this study is interesting,” Mr. Barth said, “but we’ve been praying a long time and we’ve seen prayer work, we know it works, and the research on prayer and spirituality is just getting started.”
Can I hear that again?This is the essence of religion to me.
“We KNOW it works.”
“We Know it works.”
“We know it works…”
“We know it works?”
Disregard scientific evidence, dive deeper into faith.
Contributors comment. It does not work. It really does not. You are deluded if you think it does.