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Credit for proof of prayer

The previous column addressed the belief in coincidences as scientific proof of the healing power of prayer and the belief in the baby Jesus as a solution to ills and accidents. (See previous column)

This included a girl with a serious brain injury from an automobile accident, an elderly man with congestive heart failure and a lady with cancer.

The Christian teller of these tales had no problem in crediting prayer, her prayer group and friends and her church praying as “proof” of the miraculous healing power of Jesus in all three patients from their seemingly fatal medical situations.

What this good Christian lacked was crediting at all – in any way – the skills, knowledge, talent, education and scientific method of doctors and researchers in being responsible for the cure and success of healing in these three examples.

These separate doctors involved in treating these three conditions, injuries and illnesses were standing on the shoulders of others who lived before them and developed surgeries, treatments, mechanisms, techniques, therapies, and medicines that would eventually solve these and other situations and bring people back to a healthy state. Prayer just can’t do that. It just can’t!

In addition we all have to realize that we are all mongrels and mutants. For some reason, people are always interested in buying purebred dogs and thoroughbred horses even though we are all no better than the misplaced mutts and strays in the street.

I once worked in the Anatomy Department of a large Medical school where we kept 15,000 mice, mostly for cancer experimentation. The lineage of those mice at that time – several decades ago – could be traced back 120 generations. Try that with people. I vaguely knew my grandparents, but beyond that it is all fuzzy and probably lost to the ages.

As a result, people are mutants and mongrels. Today, people are allergic to various foods, to gluten, are lactose intolerant and have various celiac and Crohn’s disease symptoms. They can go into anaphylactic shock from bee stings or eating shrimp. They can get genetic Tay-Sachs disease, Down’s syndrome, and a host of other common and strange diseases and symptoms that are a result of our random mongrel breeding.

Of course, the last person to propose human genetic improvements through breeding programs was Hitler and we don’t like that. We all want to pick our own mate. But the fact remains that both diseases and also spontaneous remissions can and do occur.

Doctors, nurses, medical specialists, good hospitals, advanced medical schools, improved therapies, medical research facilities, care, knowledge and further medical advances lead to healing. Prayer does nothing.

Yet not once – not once – did this good Christian lady with these tales of prayer-proof give any credit or credence to the possibility of medicine, science, facts, knowledge, scientific testing, doctors and such having anything to do with the healing and curing of the three patients that she discussed.

Sadly, medicine does the work and prayer gets the credit for various and sundry cures of ills. But that is as far as it goes. If we had a real, bona fide card-carrying, authentic, genuine God or god instead of a cheap vinyl imitation, you would think that God could and would solve these problems along with the regrowth of limbs for those who had suffered amputations.

Between accidents and Iraqi/Afghanistan war veterans, God would certainly have enough to do and would certainly gain the forever thanks and conversion to Christianity from many by causing limbs to regrow. But that never happens.

As atheist Sam Harris says, God can never restore an amputated limb, even though salamanders do it all the time, and they do it without the benefit of prayer.

Maybe that is something to think about!