For a reminder that the so-called supposed secular liberal media isn’t above kowtowing to the religious on occasion, look no further than Monday night’s closing segment on the NBC Nightly News from reporter Cynthia McFadden. It features a paraplegic priest whose doctors told him he’d never walk again after breaking his neck, but thanks to prayer, he says, he now can. McFadden notes that half of Americans believe that prayer can heal before actually asking, “So why is it almost nonexistent in the doctor’s office?”
She notes, “Those who pray daily are 40% less likely to have high blood pressure,” and cites studies indicating that prayer can help treat depression and anxiety.
Given that 56% of Americans credit god for their well-being, and not their lifestyle choices, their genes, or their medical professionals, many will no doubt view the segment as proof positive that god answers prayers. There is of course, no evidence for this. As Dr. Richard Sloan points out in the segment, we never hear about all the times prayer didn’t “work.” And while there are studies showing that prayer can be beneficial, these benefits likely have more to do with a placebo-esque effect. Another factor is the mindset of a person who prays, which is by its nature a contemplative or meditative act — behaviors that we know can reduce stress and even cardiovascular disease. Furthemore, one study examined the effects that other people’s prayers had on heart surgery patients, and it showed that patients who were told they were being prayed for actually fared worse than those who weren’t told.
It might be asked of the paraplegic Father Murray who says god has allowed him to walk again why physical therapy is a necessary component for his recovery. Notice that when people say god has healed their injuries or cured their maladies, they are invariably the recipients of what the medical field can offer them. With apologies to Benny Hinn and other evil “faith healers,” people do not cure their tumors by ceasing medical treatment and commencing a prayer-only regimen.
We might also ask, Which is more likely: Murray’s doctor erred in telling him he’d never walk again? Or his doctor was correct up until god made him wrong?
Still another question we could ask is, Why would god allow Murray to have his accident in the first place only to heal him after? Hardly seems worth the trouble, especially when Murray, as having already been a man of god would surely be aware of the awesome powers of the heavenly father.
And finally — though this is hardly the first time it’s been posited — it’s our duty to inquire why god has never seen fit to heal an amputee. For all the maladies god has allegedly wiped away — cancer, glaucoma, lupus, depression, alcoholism, Ebola, and others — never once in the history of humankind has anyone claimed that god regenerated a lost limb.
Why? Because for religious people, god conveniently practices medicine out of plain view. And so unfortunately for us, he never leaves any trace of his brilliant work that would save the lives of millions more if only doctors knew how to replicate it.