Friday, July 20, 2012

Lucia Weird, faith based approaches to healing at Whanganui Hospital

Whanganui Hospital is trialling weird, faith based approach to healing.

Christian prayer and traditional Maori healing are to be offered at Whanganui Hospital as part of a natural therapy service - but a sceptic says they could do more harm than good.

Hospital staff will trial the service focused on spirituality and the healing and strengthening of the mind for three months before the district health board considers opening it up to patients.

I say weird, because, I don't quite see how you could offer Christian prayer as a natural therapy service. Whanganui Hospital already has two chaplains, and a chapel where people can pray. Why put Christian prayer into a natural therapy service, why not just leave it with the chaplains and the chapel? Or, do they think by mixing Christianity in with the other stuff, they can somehow equate all of them?

Reiki, massage and meditation will also be available, Maori health director Gilbert Taurua said.

Reiki is incredibly dangerous, and is a good way of increasing your chances of demonic possession. I suppose if the Hospital wants more patients, this is also a good way of getting them, especially for their psycho wards.

However, Victoria University biology sciences professor Shaun Holt said the therapies were a "strange mix". "Meditation and massage great - the others not so."

There was no evidence-based research on reiki, Christian prayer and Maori healing being useful.

"What annoys me with things like this is there are lots of useful complementary therapies out there that they could be offering - yoga, tai chi, herbal supplements, even acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine, that are all evidence-based."

He described reiki - which involves the practitioner placing their hands lightly on the body, supposedly allowing a free flow of universal energy - as "witchcraft".

Shaun Holt doesn't have the exactly the same objections that I do, but at least we agree on reiki. Describing it as "witchcraft" works for me.

However, while there may be no evidence based research on Christian prayer being effective, the Catholic Church's Saint process shows that there can be a direct correlation between prayer and miraculous healing, such as this one that was used in the elevation of Fulton Sheen to Venerable.

Related link: Whanganui trials faith-based therapies

31 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

However, while there may be no evidence based research on Christian prayer being effective... is as far as you needed to go, because everything therefter is make believe and wishful thinking, not evidence based.

There is not a single double blind experiemnt to prove that prayer heals, but there are many, many experiments that prove it doesn't.

leftrightout said...

However, on the rest of it, I agree with you.

Mumbo jumbo has no place in medicine. And that includes churches having no place in hospitals! And it means we should keep the mendacious "chaplains out, too.

I had a stay in hospital last year, the chaplain visited, I told him I had no need for him, nor any time for his wares. He said "OK", then prattled on about how injury and illness is sent as a trial. If I hadn't had a shatttered elbow, a drip in one arm, a drain in the other and catheter you know where, I would have defenestrated the smug git.

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

God is not a power that you can turn on or off at will, therefore experiments on the healing power of prayer will always fail.

In some cases only will you get miraculous healings, and then you can have a look to see if there is any other explanation. For the story I link to, a natural explanation is too far fetched, therefore something miraculous must have happened.

leftrightout said...

But Lucia, by intercessory prayer, you are asking god to do just that, to turn on the tap and provide a miracle.

And yet he never does.

Your story is nothing more than wishful thinking. So some one prays to someone dead and then a "miracle" occurs. How do you know who granted said "miracle"?

a natural explanation is too far fetched, therefore something miraculous must have happened.

One does not necessarily follow the other. There can be, and usually are, quite mundane explanations for supposed miracles. They never seem to stand up to scrutiny.

And just to go backwards, you also state ... experiments on the healing power of prayer will always fail.

No, every day thousands of these experiments are held. Thousands, nay millions, of prayers for healing are said every day and none are granted.

So, did Jesus lie? Did John Lie? Or is it all a mis-attribution?

Isumbras said...

At 8.15am on the 9th of August 1945, the Atomic Bomb 'Fat Man' exploded over Nagasaki. At between 800 metres and 1kms of the blast centre, well within the radius of total destruction was a Jesuit Church and Presbytery staffed by 8 German Jesuits. As was their custom, they had just prayed the Rosary as they did every morning at that time. Despite all around them being turned to rubble, including the church right beside them, the Presbytery survived, (unconfirmed reports say that even some of the glass in the windows remained intact) All 8 Jesuit Priests survived with minor injuries -cuts abrasions etc- in 1976 all 8 were still alive, none suffered any illness from radiation. The priests were subject to numerous tests and interviews (over 200 in the case of one of them) before the American military doctors and scientists gave up. They had no explanation for their survival. I've read that two woman also survived within the same area of total destruction, but they were beneath ground level in a deep bank vault.

Perhaps, leftrightout could bring the weight of his scientific knowledge to bear on this 'event' and offer an opinion on why those priests survived while all around them perished?

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

Is all this coming from a prayer of yours denied at some point in the past?

leftrightout said...

Yes, Lucia, god denied my prayer, he never did give me the bike I prayed for. So I figured out that wasn't the way, stole a bike and then confessed.

But seriously, as I said, there are millions of prayers unanswered every day. How can you reconcile that with John 14:14, or Mark 11:24 or John 15:7?

leftrightout said...

Isumbras, nice story. But is there any proof? Where did you hear it? Who documented it? And why didn't god spare the other Catholics in Nagasaki? Let alone any other Christians?

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

Have a look at this post: Survivors of Hiroshima - 8 Jesuit Priests

leftrightout said...

Lucia, seriously? A movie trailer is all you have for proof?

Ever seen the aftermath of a bushfire in Oz? Same thing. Walk down a street, all the houses destroyed, bar one that stands unscathed? Miracle? Hand of god? Or blind chance?

I know where my money is, and it is on that which can be observed and proven.

So, where's the proof? Where are the citations in medical journals?

And why doesn't Jesus do what John and Mark claim he said he would do?

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

Nothing ever satisfies you.

There is enough information given for you to follow through and investigate yourself, if you actually want to know.

If you don't want to know, then we can end the conversation right now.

ZenTiger said...

"by intercessory prayer, you are asking god to do just that, to turn on the tap and provide a miracle."

"And yet he never does."


He may answer many prayers - miracles do actually happen, and many events happen that are fairly amazing escapes or inexplicable. But down at the daily level, things happen that may actually be due to some level of intervention.

Miracles by their nature, don't follow the known forms of science, so science's ability to test for them may be limited and simply incorrect.

Obviously, the satement "oh yea of little faith" is appropriate here.

leftrightout said...

Wrong, Lucia. Wrong. The truth satisfies me. I asked for proof of the alleged miracle, you give me a movie trailer. How about being honest and either admitting this is a not a miracle, or produce references to the medical evidence that shows that there is no rational explanation other than miracle?

I'll tell you why. Its because there isn't any.

If you don't want to know, then we can end the conversation right now.

Fine. Run away. I DO want to know, I am waiting on you to provide anything that backs your claim.

Can you provide evidence? Or are you just like Jonathan Morris, Fox News' tame priest without answers?

http://youtu.be/-FcUzVKmLlk

Isumbras said...

LRO the proof is that those 8 priests were above ground walking around in 1976... FACT they WERE in Nagasaki well within the area of total destruction when the bomb detonated FACT they were examined and tested numerous times by incredulous doctors and scientists of the US forces.

Goggle Jesuit Survivor and Nagasaki atomic bomb... or Father Hubert Schiffer...there is plenty there.
At a minimum even if they avoided the fireball, it is estimated the heat would have been 2000F and the air blast 100psi (an Unreinforced masonry/brick wall collapses at around 3psi) The presbytery was a wood framed building, yet it still stood.
If it helps your belief system to just say it was all made up, then fine, nothing will convince you to wrestle with the possibilities of this case.

Lucia Maria said...

Isumbras,

Fr Schiffer survived Hiroshima, not Nagasaki. :)

LRO,

If you really, really wanted to know, you'd look it up yourself. That's what people who want to know the truth do.

Something even more amazing that the priests who survived Hiroshima with no effects of nuclear radiation, is the tilma in Guadalupe of Our Lady. Something that should have only survived for 20 years is still around 500 years later. And recently it's been discovered that the eyes of Our Lady's image on the tilma show a reflection of a number of people that were present in the room when the image was created.

Lucia Maria said...

The Priests who survived the atomic bomb

Isumbras said...

Thanks Lucia Maria, I think I'm also muddling my religious orders as well as places, Jesuits/Hiroshima Franciscans/Nagasaki.

Lucia Maria said...

Isumbras,

I find I have to look things up first before I say anything, because the same thing happens to me. Frequently enough that it's annoying!

ZenTiger said...

I asked for proof of the alleged miracle

There are two types of miracles. The first type is that there is no proof, no rational explanation, no hard science to adequately explain a miraculous event, other than the fact that it happened, in spite of all reasonable probability it couldn't happen.

At that point, science simply says "well, must have been a zillion to one chance, or perhaps something we just don't know yet", so asking for an explanation when the definition of a miracle might be there is none, is an unreasonable thing to say.

The other type of miracle is one that can be explained, but not really adequately, and that the chances of such a thing actually happening are so extremely improbable, that the event is pretty much miraculous. Life on earth could fall into this category of miracle.

You don't necessarily seek the truth in this discussion LRO, what you seek is some kind of rational explanation to explain the irrational (in the sense of it being improbable) and therefore you wouldn't entertain the possibility of any other reason. You deny all possibility of miracles in that sense, so proving one is impossible to you.

I think there are a lot more miracles around us than we realise, and understanding it through science and reason makes them no less amazing, because the things that ultimately underpin such science is still based on a limited understanding of all things.

leftrightout said...

@lucia - thanks for your link, but I cannot accept a catholic newspaper as an unbiased source.

I have done a bit of googling, and keep coming up with mostly catholic sources,I have been unable to find anything direct from the US military doctors or scientists.

I did however, discover, as I suspected I would, proof that this was no miracle. They were not the closest survivors, so how can you explain that? More miracles? Even for the non christians?

Radiation was not even. Much of Hiroshima was built of reinforced concrete slab, a good insulator.

For it to BE a miracle, every other building would need to be destroyed, every other living thing would need to have died.

I have also had trouble finding the names of 6 of the 8. Do you know them? Do you know when and how they died? Radiation poisoning and cancer can often take a long time to manifest.

I am sure with more information, we could all see that this is a mundane random event, no gods necessary to explain it.

But believers in miracles will go on believing because they need to believe, they want to believe, no matter where the evidence leads.

leftrightout said...

ZT, improbable does not mean impossible.

The improbable often happens. The miraculous? Well, outside hyperbole, never.

Why are miracles only those things that we know and understand can and do happen?

Why do we hear stories of "miraculous survival" from tragedies, yet never miraculous deaths?

Why, if he is so damned smart, can't god heal amputees?

scrubone said...

"There is not a single double blind experiemnt to prove that prayer heals"

By definition, a double blind study into God is impossible.

I believe that George Muller's orphanages prove that God answers prayer. They also give many insights into *how* God uses prayer as our Father to teach us to trust him.

I cannot possibly explain the entire story in a blog comment (and I'd add that the Wikipedia entry is pathetic), but there are a great many good books on him, and if you are seriously claiming to be interested in evidence regarding prayer I cannot take you seriously if you have not spent several hours studying his story. I am happy to send you a copy at my cost if you promise to read it.

ZenTiger said...

Why do we hear stories of "miraculous survival" from tragedies, yet never miraculous deaths?

That would be more to do with the way we perceive events and report stories than being about God.

Why, if he is so damned smart, can't god heal amputees?

But perhaps he can? But why, to prove God exists, do you need this life to be as if you lived in heaven? Have patience, such things will come all in good time.

I have read a story of a miracle that approaches the level of curing an amputee, but I cannot find it on the internet and I no longer have the book. I have found this interesting article though that has some good points to make:

You promised me a miracle

leftrightout said...

That would be more to do with the way we perceive events and report stories than being about God.

So, no miracles, just perceptions of miracles. Thank you.

But perhaps he can? But why, to prove God exists, do you need this life to be as if you lived in heaven?

Because Jesus promised that. Now did he lie? or did the gospel authors lie?

Or did they get it wrong and when jesus said "Ask in my name and it will be granted" he just meant the disciples could chalk up drinkies on his tab at the Jerusalem Dog and Barrow?

leftrightout said...

I have read a story of a miracle that approaches the level of curing an amputee, but I cannot find it on the internet ...

Then I doubt it happened; the church would never let go of a PR opportunity like this.

ZenTiger said...

There are a lot of miracles run by the church that are "let go of" because their standard for getting a sufficient amount of evidence before and after the event is very high (as you would have seen if you read the link).

ZenTiger said...

Here's a really interesting story that had a fair amount of medical evidence, but not added to the list at Lourdes:

John Traynor

I think this might be the story that I had read many years ago, which included an account of some bone growth in his leg, as he had lost a chunk of it in the war, and about 2cm of it "grew back" in that short space of time that he visited Lourdes and was cured.

ZenTiger said...

And here's a top ten list

leftrightout said...

It's a nice list, ZT, but all it shows is confirmation bias.

If you believe in miracles, you will tend to see miracles.

Why does "Mary" only ever appear to Catholics, not say, Buddhists or Muslims, or even OTHER Christians?

When I believed in ghosts, I used to see ghosts. When I stopped believing in ghosts, I stopped seeing ghosts.

I don't believe in Marian visions, therefore I don't see Mary, I see a cloud or a burn mark on my toast.

ZenTiger said...

Confirmation bias? You mean if you refuse to believe in miracles, you will of course never see a miracle?

I find it interesting that after reading the list you say what you did, particularly:

Why does "Mary" only ever appear to Catholics, not say, Buddhists or Muslims, or even OTHER Christians?

and the very first item in that list says specifically:

1. A Marian apparition is an event in which the Virgin Mary is believed to have supernaturally appeared to one or more persons regardless of their religious faith.

2. The famous case of Our Lady of Zeitoun took place in Zeitoun, Cairo, and contrary to the norm, the apparition was witnessed by millions of people over a period of 2 to 3 years. The miracle of the sun at Fátima, Portugal, also witnessed by thousands of people.


In the case of the Zeitoun event, strange lights over a church may simply be a strange case of phenomena and pareidolia, and with multiple sitings some may well be imagined, faked or exaggerated. Equally, there are several testimonies from people directly present on a few occasions where the strange blobby light (from a distance), was more clearly seen to be a vision of Mary to them. One case, a photographer, experienced a miracluous healing too, apparently.

Miracles are things that are truly inexplicable, or improbable to the point it stretches scientific probability, as per the link I provided above about John Traynor.

I'm not saying they are proof of God, but simply that miracles do occur. We may find better explanations for some events over time, but debubking or explaining one miracle does not negate another.

Maybe God requires us to develop our faith as much as we develop our reason in this life. After all, reason alone (with morality and humanity absent) is a terrible thing.

scrubone said...

"It's a nice list, ZT, but all it shows is confirmation bias."

I'd say refusing to examine contrary evidence to be a form of confirmation bias myself.

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