This subject has been discussed many times here, I know. Still, I am amazed by it sometimes.

Last week a friend and coworker of mine was talking about the dramatic recovery of her aunt. She had been suffering for weeks with crippling stomach aches and weakness. She was nearly dead. One of our best doctors correctly diagnosed the ailment as small intestine infection. He put her on some meds and she got 

My friend is a college grad and works as an imaging technologist in a hospital. She is pretty intelligent. Her comment was that her prayer circle had just prayed her aunt back to health, that's the only explanation because she was so far gone. Never mind the doctor. It was the praying. 

Seems like she would give her own organization and team at least some credit. 

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emotionally distressed people should not run the country...

who is emotionally distressed ??

You should send her a link to the Harvard Prayer Experiment also known as the Templeton Experiment.

I love this experiment, thanks for posting I had forgotten who had done it.

As Roland says, the subject may have been discussed many times, but it's a good one. Just had to vent about something similar.  An elderly relative was in the hospital with diverticulitis.  And GOD, in his goodness, timed it so that her daughter happened to be in town for her hospital stay! (Daughter posted on Facebook:  God's timing is AWESOME!)   Gee... how does god figure this stuff out?  Timing the flare up of those pesky intestinal pouches to coincide with the daughter's visit!  Or was the daughter's visit tweaked to coincide with the crisis?  It must get complicated...
Then there are all the heavenly decisions about whether it might be simpler to just skip the diverticulitis.... but I guess that must be weighed against what "blessings" might come from the family being together, trusting in and praising god, during the hospital stay. 
And the endless automated phone requests from the local Southern Baptist Church that we "be in prayer for...."   Never asked to pray that god gets god's act together and wipes out illness.  Just supposed to "be in prayer for" ...whoever or whatever. 
And the response of everybody to everything from a hangnail to tonsillectomy to death by cancer is "Praying for you!"  Sheeeesh... sometimes I think I will SCREAM.

Melinda I yell at the news and I'm always afraid someone is going to hear me and have me put away! LOL

Heh I hear ya! I can't help it, I believe they honestly find the dumbest people possible to make commentary on everything! "That tornado, it sounded just like a train, like they say! Gawd wrapped us in his arms and kept us safe!" Meanwhile a guy trying to get home to protect his children, ends up under a school bus... must not have prayed hard enough!

I facepalm so much over our news that I have palm prints on my forehead... those really aren't wrinkles I swear!

Why did she go to the doctor then? It's hard to speak against things like this. I've been around plenty of conversations about prayer doing the trick, and none of the other explanations were touched on. Also, ailments pass. It's like having a clogged air filter on a mower that is running bad. You change the filter, and then say then pray that the mower will run better.; and what do you know, it runs better because of prayer.

Hi Booklover and VikingDon and everybody--  Here's the thing:  I understand why so many religious folks WANT to believe that prayer helps and WANT to see evidence that god is working out the problem stuff in their lives.  It's HARD to feel helpless, at the mercy of random events and random illnesses.  It's darn SCARY.  So the endless prayers are like a talisman or a magic spell or something to IMMEDIATELY resort to when somebody is having an operation or one is scared silly about their teenager and drugs or a young mother is found to have cancer or an infant is seriously ill or a family member is out of work and about to lose their home. 


Nobody wants to feel powerless and vulnerable.  And many times.. often... maybe most of the time, things do tend to work out, and the folks, who have been comforted during the crisis by assurances that everybody is "praying", then feel confirmation that there is a loving big daddy god who is always in control and who will work things out, and that even if the worst happens it's all gonna be OK in the end in heaven.  And the prayers of their family, friends and neighbors "feel" like the best kind of love and support. 

Of course to me it's all a crutch and an unwillingness to face the truth about the randomness of life.  But these wishful thinkers aren't "bad" people.  They're just believing what they've been taught and believing what they feel is the good, wholesome stuff that is the religious tradition in their families.  Now I KNOW that there has been much evil done in the world over the centuries in the name of religion, but where I live in the bible belt of South Carolina, really the worst that I see the Southern Baptists do is attempt to scare non believers about "hell".  Yeah, I guess that's bad enough, but I don't think that for the average small town Christian there is any evil intent-- they've just never questioned things that would seem absurd if they could EVER look at those beliefs without their cultural bias. 

Off the subject a little, but it is so crazy that fundamentalist Christians can SEE that the Mormons believe utter NONSENSE but don't have the distance from their OWN beliefs to see that those beliefs are JUST as nutty!

Not one bit comforting to ME either, Melinda.  And I never will understand why they think it's all cozy and lovely that the great puppeteer allows horrible stuff to happen and then lets people beg for a reprieve.  Oh.. ONE of their little gems is that god wants them to pray and gives them bad stuff so they WILL pray and get closer to god.  PARDON ME YELLING BUT THE CONVOLUTED REASONING IS GONNA DRIVE ME RIGHT OVER THE EDGE.  OK.  I'm calm now.

This is just a thought but I wonder if some of this is just plain habit.  I really don't think much when I am brushing my teeth and I wonder if this happens to these people who have grown up with this behavior.  I don't mean to diminish our disgust at the practice (because it is disgusting) but I am always trying to figure out how these misguided folks can hold so tenaciously to this belief in the presence of all of the evidence against it.

Yep, Lillie Fleur, I think you nailed it.  "They" are SO immersed in their religious assumptions that these are as automatic as brushing teeth.  It absolutely, quite simply NEVER occurs to them that the whole shebang is made-up superstition.  Religous beliefs are beyond the realm of logic and questioning.  The cliches, the mindless pious statements, the praying before meals, it is all so cultural that they don't LISTEN to what they are saying and can't imagine any other way of living and believing.  In their world view they know what "nice" and "good" are, and these traits are forever and always all tied up in their minds with their religious heritage.

As someone just pointed out in a comment I read here, the craziest thing is the babbling at times of tragedy when someone feels that "god" saved them and must be PRAISED on national news.  Never mind the OTHER people who died, the people who suffered and were lost in that same event or some other disaster. 

The answer is NOT that this fictitious god singles out some for miracles but has other plans for those who die, OR that "god" is evil and doesn't care... the obvious answer is that we live in a universe where natural, scientific laws prevail and god is a figment of people's collective imaginations.  The universe is indifferent to us, but WE humans have evolved to love life and consciousness and to do what we can to care for each other.




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