Blog U. 4/4/06

Christian Pornography? What is the world coming to? Slice of Laodicea reports on Christian Pornography. “A publisher is soliciting descriptions of ‘godly’ passion in the married bed with a special appeal to pastors wives to share their ‘stories’.” (HT: challies.com)

What to Make of ‘Scientific’ Studies on Prayer?, Albertmohler.com — Some additional insight on the study I wrote about on yesterday’s blog entry. Some thoughts from Dr. Mohler:

When studies in recent years purported to show that prayer “works,” quite a few Christian leaders championed the research as evidence that prayer can be scientifically and medically verified and validated. I did not join in that celebration for three reasons. First, I do not believe that Christians should look for any validation of prayer (or any other Christian doctrine or discipline, for that matter) from the world of science or empirical research. Second, I do not believe that Christians should accept a generic definition or conception of prayer in the first place. Those earlier studies made reference to prayer without stipulating to whom the prayer is addressed. Third, Christians do not believe that prayer heals, but that God heals. Prayer is often involved in the healing that God grants, but it is not the prayer that heals.

Now, a flurry of media reports follows the release of a major new study that claims to prove that prayer doesn’t work. These reports should not concern any believing Christian. The efficacy of prayer is beyond the reach of scientific investigation, and Christians offer intercessory prayers because we are commanded by God to do so, not because we believe in a mechanistic deal with the Deity. We trust our sovereign God to do what is right. We do not place our faith in prayer as an end in itself.

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3 thoughts on “Blog U. 4/4/06

  1. Regarding “Christian” pornography I have no comment other than that it was an eventuality–America’s top export is pornography (or so I’ve heard) so it was only a matter of time until someone realized he could make some money off of the so-called-Christian-community by using the name of Christ to sell it. There’s an openly homosexual bishop in the Episcopalian church–it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think that people would go for such obvious evil.

    Here’s some thoughts on the study on prayer:

    1) The results of a properly done study in this matter should not allow for any conclusive evidence as to the validity or invalidity of their definition of prayer. If they studied a large enough case sample such that it included a wide range of surgeries (not just heart) with a wide range of predicted success percentages then they would find a close to equal range of actual success as predicted.
    2) In order to get an actual rate of success that means anything they’d have to test the same sort of sample and make sure that no one prayed for the success of the surgery and then compare their results. That is an impossible test.
    3) This is not science–it’s actually a weak attempt to prove what someone believes or disbelieves in a method which can’t possibly do the test. Furthermore, it is proof that the people relying on this test to prove whether prayer does or does not “work” really have more faith in scientific study–and it has already been shown that this supposedly scientific test is ridiculous. Many people have much faith in mankind’s intellect which is imperfect, often mistaken, ever-changing, and insufficient–many of these even fail to see that this is indeed faith. That is sad.

    Science is a great tool for knowledge abuot the natural world God made, but it is notoriously bad at revealing spiritual knowledge–if used properly it can only hint at the greatness, beauty, and skill of the Creator of the universe.

    “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

  2. Good points Ryan. I like what you said about the study not being science at all. When you do scientific experiments, it is essential to isolate one variable and hold all other things constant. In a study like this, it is impossible to isolate the variable of prayer and hold things constant. However, I do think it is interesting to note that the scientific world has consistently taken an interest in “researching” spiritual matters. Why do you think that is?

  3. My thoughts on that are merely speculative–I have not done any research on such to answer why….and I will answer–tomorrow when we get together–I have class now however.

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