Saturday, April 22, 2006

The very basic belief in prayer is questioned.

There was a news item in Deccan Chronicle dt 1st April entitled " Surgery prayer may harm" by Benedict Carey of New York Times Service.

True to human nature, this caught my attention I read on. Given below is the gist:
John Templeton Foundation has sponsored so far $2.4 million so far on the research of prayer's effect apart from research into spirituality. The US Govt has spent so far $2.3 million since 2003.

Their decade long study on 1800 patients revealed that prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people. And patients who knew they were being prayed for, had a higher rate of post-operative complications because of the expectations the prayers created.

While proponents have believed that prayer is perhaps the most deeply human response to disease and that it may relieve suffering by some mechanism that is not yet understood, sceptics have contended that studying prayer is a waste of money and these are things beyond the reach of science.

Dr.Herbert Benson, a cardiologist and director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute near Boston, said the findings were not the last word on the effects of so-called intercessory prayer.

Dr.Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioural medicine at Columbia and author of a forthcoming book, Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine has an interesting and thought provoking say: " The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion"

I generally agree with Dr. Richard Sloan. And also if the persons praying are fully conscious of their deed as their own and attch themselves to the outcome, giving credit to their prayer, forgetting about divine intervention, this might have resulted in some negative findings as the study points out.

But I feel strongly against dissecting faith. If you have faith, just nourish it daily, safeguard it aginst these kind of news items.
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