A doctor goes through however many years of training to get to the point where he could do surgery with his eyes closed (but better the hell not be) yet when push comes to shove, we wind up with patients, and doctors themselves, declaring that prayers provided the cure, not the training, pills or equipment.
I think there’s something colossally wrong with that. If prayer really was all it took, nobody would have to spend that many thousands of dollars to learn doctoring in the first place, yes?
8th International Christian Medical Conference was running in Brisbane this month and 220 doctors from around the world attended. This year’s theme was “Spirituality and Medicine,” hosted by the World Christian Doctors Network, a group noted in the piece as working “to defeat the theory of Darwinian evolution and by extension, the forces of the anti-Christ.”
Sounds like a great bunch to put one’s trust in, healthwise. FSM, save me (a meatball)…
A couple of speakers presented their firsthand experience of the healing power of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Dr. Sean George, who survived a 90-minute-long cardiac arrest with the help of his wife’s earnest prayer, was particularly riveting.
Another case was 13-year-old old Korean boy Haedong Yeo, who was diagnosed with multiple skull fractures and cerebral hemorrhage after a car accident. Although he was close to death in intensive care unit, shortly after Dr. Jaerock Lee prayed for him, he immediately began getting well. Later, meningitis afflicted him during recovery, but was healed completely by Dr. Lee’s mediatory prayer.
Dr. Joonsung Kim vouched for the power of prayer in healing skin diseases without medication.
Others made presentations on the divine healing power, including a man whose cervical fracture paralyzed him from waist down; a woman who stopped medications but healed of prolactinoma and a man who was healed from critical cervical deep laceration.
While poking around for some faith healer criticism that’d carry more weight than one little opinionated minion’s might, I came across mention of Oprah Winfrey and an episode of her show from 2010 where she touted the powers of John of God.
He’s an uneducated hill farmer in Brazil, but people the world over have claimed John healed them of all sorts of ailments, and he didn’t even have to be in the same room with them. The spirits could do surgery from afar and sufferers often discovered new scars on their bodies they could use as proof they’d been worked on and cured.
O Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Susan Casey, had gone to meet the man and reported back to Oprah’s fans on a November show about how he changed her life. She wrote about her experience for the magazine as well.
Doctors and other scientific minds have critical of Casey’s woo-laced travelogue and John’s sham healing powers. I found a piece by David Gorski, who’s made it something of a personal mission to highlight how unscientific Oprah’s reign has been.
by promoting John of God so credulously, with such a lack of skepticism and attention to science, Oprah Winfrey has done a grave wrong to her audience. I have to wonder how many people with life-threatening illnesses are now buying plane tickets to Brazil to seek out John of God. I wonder how many people with terminal illnesses are wasting their remaining cash to enrich the tour operators that service John of God’s operation.
I wonder how many more people like Lisa will be given false hope, only to have it yanked away when reality doesn’t conform to John of God’s claims.
James Randi tore the guy down, too, when ABC-TV set up what he called an “infomercial” about John in 2005. Randi was to be in the show as the skeptic element and wrote something similar:
I believe that this ABC-TV program will — even more than my Tonight Show appearance might have — encourage the incautious public to book trips to Brazil to go under the butchery that John of God inflicts on his victims. The huge difference here is that while the Filipino “surgeons” seldom if ever actually break the skins of their customers, the Brazilian faker regularly does so, and that means not only financial loss, but very possibly loss of life, as well. Is ABC-TV willing to accept the grief and damage that those misinformed people will suffer?
Judging by their site, it doesn’t look like the World Christian Doctors Network denounces the need to use medication and proper training, but here are some of the core objectives for their members:
1) To be an expert witness on healing which is based on prayer and faith and proving its authenticity with sufficient medical evidences.
2) Actively search for cases of divine healing, documenting it as authentic using medical evidences and present these cases in medical conferences.
3) Train and update Christian medical practitioners on the hows of evangelism and likewise focusing on prayer for the sick and healing …
That’s incredibly depressing. So’s this, a little further down the page:
After receiving prayer for healing, be specific about how long it takes until the actual healing takes place. Be sure to include information on whether the patient receives any kind of medical treatment or not.
Prophetic words, words of knowledge, visions etc. are most welcome at this point. These will help the audience to get a broad picture of what is taking place in the physical, the mental and the spiritual world. You may also include the patient’s testimony in his or her own words to add realism and credibility to the actual case.
It’s troubling to think about how many people will take this seriously, doctors and patients alike. Putting their faith in faith. Of all the ludicrous shit to waste time and money on, attempts to scientifically document the “proof” that prayer works.
And groups like this are going to keep on trying…