What if.............


To begin, I will start with a disclaimer.  I am not making any definite, positive statements with this blog.  Nor am I trying to offend anybody.  I am simply pondering the possibilities and hoping maybe I can inspire you to do something similar.  So please do not comment and verbally attack me, I am a sensitive fella and I just might crystop.jpg.

Ever since I was a small child, I was forced to go to church.  It was a vicious breach of my human rights to choose my own religious standings by my parents.  Unfortunately, they didn't share my feelings and I was forced to go anyway.  After almost two decades of religion being shoved downs my throat, I started to question why we are going to church and what it really means.  As I got older I started to construct my own views and opinions.  They were very different from my parents and this lead to many heated debates.  I decided that I don't think that going to church is necessary and that I don't necessarily have to include god in my daily life to live a successful one.  This is not to say that I don't believe in a god, just that he is not as omnipresent as my parents and the religious community thinks he is.

So now you are caught up to speed of the religious life of Tyler Kiick.  That leads us to yesterdays (9/18/12) class about prayer, and an analysis of the class that comes from someone who is not religious at all.

After hearing the results, I had the warm feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Is it really possible that prayer does heal?  Just think of the implications.  Maybe me saying a little prayer for my dying aunt will prolong her life a bit.  Maybe me praying for the kids of THON with cancer will help them cope a little better.  Maybe in 40 years when my mother is dying, a brief prayer could give me some more time with her.  Think of how many people we could be helping and we don't even know it.

The study is good. The data was good. The results were obvious.   Yet, many of you are still scoffing at me right now.  Here is h2.jpgow I think about it....

 Instead of the X-variable being prayer, just think of it as a new drug that is being tested to see if it helps patients with sepsis.  Then look at the results.  The mortality rate differed by two percent, an amount that could be very easily be due to chance.  Most likely we can discount this as a positive side effect of the drug, it can't magically heal you.  Let's move on to the length of stay in the hospital.  This test had resounding results.  Results, that hypothesis tests show have about a one percent opportunity of being total random chance.  That means that they are some darn good results...

If you had sepsis and this new drug, that I just described, was available wouldn't you at least THINK about giving it a try?  I know I would.  I would at least THINK about it.

That's all I am trying to persuade you to do is THINK about it.  What if prayer really can heal?


I think your story is very inspirational and you make valid points. it really makes you wonder if that percentage of chance or coincidence can really be explained by some deity or omnipotent being. I was surprised myself by the statistics. not only does the supernatural infer with mortality but also the cosmos. think about the orbit of Earth how its so precise that the Earth is on a particular Axis where its not too close to over heat the atmosphere or too fall off to freeze it. possibility of a supernatural explanation? I would say its a definite possibility. Nice post again

Thanks a lot Nicholas. I like your points a lot. As I said I am not religious but the statistics are very thought provoking. Normally, science and reason are exactly what steers me away from religion and the concept of "God," but in this case it is actually pushing me towards religion. I would love to see more studies done on the topic of prayer to see if the results are replicable. It is hard for me to convince myself to drop to my knees and pray just because of one study but if many more came up with similar results, maybe, I will move over to the religious side of the world.

I really loved this blog of yours. It's a great way to continue our class discussion. I personally thought that this topic has been the most interesting we've discussed in class and seeing those results truly made an impact. My religion is roman catholicism, but I'm not the greatest church goer in the world. I do have a lot of faith in my religion until my father almost died. I was very angry and I prayed everyday for him to get better, but he didn't. I started to believe prayer didn't heal so I stopped praying and going to church, angry that my religion wasn't helping my father. But after our class discussion I realized that maybe my prayers were heard after all. MY father is still living, though he is not fully healed. He continues to progress very little. I now understand that a prayer is not like a wish that can be granted miraculously right away. It's faith and possibly a greater force we've yet to understand, that does the best it can to help over time. I do believe prayer can heal though it may not always do as we ask but something is sure to happen. It's definitely something WE ALL should keep thinking about always.

I find this blog post and comments VERY interesting! I am similar to you, Tyler, in that I'm not extremely religious. My family did not go to church while I was growing up so luckily I was never forced into anything. Since I didn't go to church regularly I didn't learn much about it. Sure, I know the basics but before I decide on my faith I need to go more in depth. I believe everyone should make an educated decision on their religion not just follow in the footsteps of their parents. I do know, however, that there is something/someone higher than us. I believe some things (not everything) happens for a reason. Whether the actual act of prayer heals or it's the person in need of prayer knowing they are loved, thought about, needed and wanted in this world that is responsible for healing, prayer is power.

I too, am not very religious, but I do believe that prayer heals. I believe in prayer not because of the man that receives the prayers, but the power of the prayer itself. According to many researchers, the "power of positive thinking" is a real, tangible thing. My question throughout the study we discussed in class, was what if each sick person was being told they were being prayed for? Would they have survived? What if each person had someone pray by their side, multiple times a day? Would prayer heal then? The cliche, "believe, and it will be happen" may be closer to fact than most people think.


Jeffrey, the point you make about prayer healing if the person knew they were being prayed for, is an interesting way of thinking about it. It would be interesting to find out if that did help the patients out. I think that testing and experimentation like that would introduce an additional variable into the prayer equation. If the people knew, it would no longer be a blind study and, just as you stated, the effects of thinking positively may start to affect the results. This, in my opinion, would alter the results and make the experiment less about prayer and more about positive thinking in the eyes of the scientific community. I think that the only way that "prayer" testing would ever be considered to be valid, is if the people being tested did not know they were being prayed for.

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