far off healing studies

A while ago you probably heard of a study that said patients that were prayed for did better than patients who weren't. Some in the scientific and medical community are still talking about this sort of thing, as people strive to do scientific studies to prove that prayer works. Here's a quote from somebody who doesn't like the idea much:

"You can't use science to prove God," said John T. Chibnall, an associate professor of psychiatry at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, who co-wrote a scathing rebuttal of studies on distant prayer published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2001. "We shouldn't waste the money of the government showing that Jesus is 'the man,' " Chibnall said in an interview. "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God."

The last statement there is the one I wanted to look at - "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God." That seems like a dumb idea to me. It also misunderstands the nature of what faith is. Faith isn't some blind adherence to something you wish were true (or at least it shouldn't be). I think that everything we believe we put faith in to one degree or another. I have faith that the chair I'm sitting on isn't going to pop out of existence, because the evidence and my observation points to that. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow because I've seen it rise many times before. I have faith that France exists, even though I've never been there, because the evidence seems to point in that direction. I believe that everything we 'know' is some proposition we have placed faith in.

It would be foolish to separate faith and belief from evidence or "science," as the guy in the above quote suggests. Many people do just that - believing things that don't have any sort of eternal significance based on evidence and all that. But when it comes to issues of spirituality and God, so many people throw the use of their minds out the window and make stuff up. They say "science" and "faith" are irreconcilable enemies, and you shouldn't try to combine them.

In my opinion, faith in something that is clearly contradicted by proper inquiry is probably a foolish thing to do. And when it comes to something as important as eternity, I think everybody owes it to themselves to take an honest look at the evidence, rather than simply going along with their first inclination, whether that's atheism, agnosticism, or Christianity. We must use our minds to arrive at our decisions regarding God and eternity. It's odd to me that people would do otherwise...but they do, and claim that it's perfectly reasonable.

Now, I think that many in the scientific community make that statement as a way to not offend religious people, who they consider ignorant and deluded. There are also those who make it because they honestly believe it. I suppose I'm just saying that of all the things to make stuff up about or not really look into with some effort, your eternity is sort of dumb to leave up to wishful thinking.

Here's a link to the article about the prayer study.

Here's a link to something Greg Koukl has to say about faith and evidence.

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