Is this really the 21st century or am I just stuck in a bad dream?
August 25, 2003 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Autistic boy dies at faith healing service 'An 8-year-old autistic boy died during a prayer service at a Milwaukee church that the pastor said was meant to heal him of "spirits," and the pastor's brother is facing child abuse charges...' This is sad. Evil spirits? What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion?
posted by madman (90 comments total)
 
Welcome to the world of faith-based social services.
Hey, it's God's will.
*shrug*
posted by 2sheets at 9:54 PM on August 25, 2003


Hmm.. I was unaware that "Faith Temple, a six-family church in a strip mall in north Milwaukee," represented or claimed to speak for "religion."

Perhaps a better FPP would ask, "What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by assaulters and abusers?"

This is yet another outlandish assault on religion by extremists who are making responsible and tolerant atheists, like me, look bad.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:57 PM on August 25, 2003


lord, protect us from your followers.
posted by quonsar at 9:59 PM on August 25, 2003


"Police: Pastor's brother held on suspicion of child abuse"
...
"Milwaukee Police Capt. Linda Haynes said an autopsy was being conducted. Police are investigating whether the boy had been restrained or hurt in some way. "

Hang on madman and 2sheets, the autopsy will tell. What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty" (and that's in a court of law, btw).

PrinceValium, I agree.
posted by tomplus2 at 10:00 PM on August 25, 2003


The more assaults on religion, the better. Ecrasez l'infame!
posted by pemulis at 10:01 PM on August 25, 2003


PV - wake up and smell the coffee. "Faith healing" and religion, specifically christianity, have always gone hand in hand.

I can't figure out why everyone thinks christians are so gullible.
posted by carfilhiot at 10:02 PM on August 25, 2003


"What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion?"

God doesn't like kids either.

2 Kings 2:23-24 - 23 He went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:03 PM on August 25, 2003


If God is all-powerful, can he create a she-bear powerful enough to tear himself?
posted by pemulis at 10:06 PM on August 25, 2003


"Faith healing" and religion, specifically christianity, have always gone hand in hand.

OK, so what's the appropriate remedy?

1. Ban faith healing events
or
2. Determine the facts of what happened to the boy at the temple, ascertainin whether a law was broken, and prosecute the offender(s)

Again, religion has nothing to do with this. If a person was found to have inflicted harm on this boy, and he receives leniency because of the religious setting, I'll be the first one screaming and yelling. But until then this is a non-issue.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:12 PM on August 25, 2003


and the lord spake mysteries unto them and asked of them, "if two she-bears and forty-two boys board an eastbound caravan in calcutta at 10:15am, and the caravan travels at an average speed of 127,415 rods per fortnight, how many false idols must be worshipped before the four horsemen of the apocolypse rise from the dead and smite thy camels?"
posted by quonsar at 10:18 PM on August 25, 2003


42?
posted by signal at 10:25 PM on August 25, 2003


I'm not that surprised to hear the phrases "death" and "faith healing" in the same sentence. In fact I can't help but think that faith healers and the old-time snake-oil merchants differ in that the new variety can't even be bothered to make a potent brew and label it as their own.
posted by clevershark at 10:28 PM on August 25, 2003


OK, innocent till proven guilty.

The larger issue (that I wanted to draw attention to) is of using "exorcisms" and "getting out evil spirits" for "healing" children. When a parent refuses medical treatment for a child on religious grounds and it makes an existing condition worse or kills the child, it makes me wonder how in the year 2003, this kind of crud continues. In the article linked earlier, the parents were convicted of criminal mistreatment, but only because the kid died.

[quote]
"Tennessee is one of 38 states that allow parents to turn to prayer or faith healing to treat their children's illnesses and not seek medical care, but in most of those states the law specifies that if a child's condition is life threatening, a physician must be consulted. "
[unquote]

Note the "life threatening" bit. I'm concerned about stuff that happens when it's not life-threatening. If a child has a fever and the parents stick to prayer instead of medicine, that worries me.
posted by madman at 10:30 PM on August 25, 2003


Hang on madman and 2sheets, the autopsy will tell. What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty" (and that's in a court of law, btw).
The Milwaukee county medical examiner ruled the cause of death as mechanical asphyxia due to external chest compression, and it's now being treated as a homicide.
posted by djc at 10:32 PM on August 25, 2003


If ordinary legal thinking applies -- and of course in cases involving religion that's not terribly likely to happen -- then shouldn't everyone who was present at the time of the death be at least charged in relation to it? say, 2nd degree manslaughter?
posted by clevershark at 10:46 PM on August 25, 2003


Meanwhile in Atlanta, Arthur Allen, Jr, a reverend convicted of child abuse for ritual whippings of children during church services, was sentenced to two years for violating his probation.

PrinceVal, "responsible and tolerant atheists" like you make the rest of us look bad. Tolerating the belief in primitive superstitions makes you as much an accomplice to acts like this as those who were physically present.

posted by mischief at 11:13 PM on August 25, 2003


Even before the kid died, these ignorant assholes treated a boy's autism by performing an exorcism. If you want to play games and pretend that it has nothing to do with religon, then by all means leave your head up your ass.
posted by 2sheets at 11:20 PM on August 25, 2003


> represented or claimed to speak for "religion."

Sure it does. A religion is by its nature faith-based, in other words promotes the belief in things without ANY proof. This is the polar opposite of medical treatment which is bound to the scientific method which is all about proof, thesis, self-correcting advances, established standards, oversight, professionalism, peer-review, etc.

The parents in the main and secondary link chose doing something because some authority claimed what they were doing was beneficial WITHOUT ANY PROOF. Also, questioning that authority is usually verboten. That is a very, very religious idea and that pretty much represents religion.

> I was unaware that "Faith Temple, a six-family church in a strip mall in north Milwaukee,

Oh don't pretend this isn't limited to small churches. You've got the entire Christian Science movement, the entire Faith healing movement, Johovah's Witnesses, Scientologists (when its comes to psychology), amd to a lesser extent the Amish. That's millions of children at risk to zealous parents who would rather see them dead than admit their faith is questionable and faith-healing is a fraud.
posted by skallas at 11:48 PM on August 25, 2003


>What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion?

Every state has child protection laws and what usually happens in cases like this is the parents goto prison for involuntary manslaughter.
posted by skallas at 11:51 PM on August 25, 2003


What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion?
Nothing short of banning religion outright. Otherwise, the legal term is "prior restraint".
posted by mischief at 12:13 AM on August 26, 2003


Remember that little girl who was killed the same way? By the parents sitting on the child. Does anyone know what this specific practice is called, because this is fucked up. (I think there was a FPP in which something like this happened.)
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:17 AM on August 26, 2003


oh yeah, and "faith healing" isnt the "name" for sitting on a persons chest and praying.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:33 AM on August 26, 2003


"Tolerating the belief in primitive superstitions makes you as much an accomplice to acts like this as those who were physically present."
posted by mischief at 2:13 AM EST on August 26


I hope that this was a case of hyperbole. Being an atheist myself, I believe inflicting my belief system on another is as wrong as a religious person doing the same thing.
posted by jpburns at 4:40 AM on August 26, 2003


What clevershark said. The people who did this, including the parents, should roast.

But be very careful about your defition of "faith healing". A close family friend was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. On the urgings of his wife, he went through four years of an incredible series of treatments that I can only describe as "faith healing": acupuncture, homeopathy, meditation, etc.

His health only deteriorated, and as he was shopping for a cemetary plot, he had an epiphany and decided to finally accept chemotherapy instead as a last chance. Today he's in complete remission.

These days, "Faith healers" are much more likely to be New Agers than Christians. They need to be denounced, but let's not start making any new laws here.
posted by fuzz at 4:59 AM on August 26, 2003


There was a case a few years back where a child died when her "therapists" were doing some kind of "rebirthing" therapy with her. She too suffocated. And these were secular "therapists".

Look, real praying for the sick doesn't use these methods. Real exorcisms don't either. I know people who have been healed by prayer-I've been one of them-and all it entailed was being prayed for-you might have the laying on of hands, but that is as innocuous as having someone lay a hand on your shoulder.

I have to be honest. I have never heard ANYONE claim that autism had a demonic component. This story is heartbreaking on so many levels. When people let their imaginations run away from them instead of doing stuff the Bible way, crap happens, and there's no excuse for it.
posted by konolia at 5:22 AM on August 26, 2003


Faith Healing, by traditional Christian definition, should not include sitting on people. If you look at the Bible, exorcisms and faith healing were done with commands given in the name of Jesus, and with prayer. Furthermore, in no place does the Bible forbid Christians from seeking medical treatment. In fact, it's widely believed that the Gospel of Luke was written by a physician. So don't say this is Christianity gone amuck. It's just a cult that's finally shown it's true colors.

We shouldn't assume that such measures are limited to the religious. Remember, pseudo-science such as Phrenology and racial differences were once regarded as scientific disciplines. Today, we have things like homeopathy. The problem isn't Christianity, or even religion, it's stupidity and the ability to be taken in by a con man in priest's clothing.
posted by unreason at 5:24 AM on August 26, 2003


fuzz -- I'm a reiki practitioner and a yoga instructor. I know a pretty wide circle of alternative therapists (massage therapsists, accupuncturists, chiropractors, energy healers, shaman, yoga teachers, aromatherapists, etc etc) and not a single one of them would recommend alternative therapy instead of traditional medicine for something as serious as cancer or something as innocuous-seeming as acid reflux. The alternative therapies are always used in combination with traditional medicine, and every one of these people will tell you to stop alternative therapies if your doctor feels it is counteracting or interfering with traditional Western medical therapy.

Yes I know there are quacks out there and maybe I am lucky that none of my colleagues are this way, but it has been my experience that the honorable ones will not claim to have magical healing powers. And yet there are many things about the mind and body that doctors do not understand, and alternative therapies often tap into something that can't be qualified.
posted by archimago at 6:10 AM on August 26, 2003


These people make the baby Jesus cry.

I'm assuming the Johnny Asscraft Crisco annointment was tried first and also failed? Hell, these people think that death is the "ultimate healing." So in that sense the "faith healing" worked perfectly.
posted by nofundy at 6:14 AM on August 26, 2003


archimago, that was really well said. Sounds like you and I draw the line between alternative therapies and faith healing in the same place. I'd be very reluctant to see the government get into the business of drawing that line.

My personal belief is that alternative therapies are very useful techniques for harnessing the placebo effect, which can often be just as powerful and effective as traditional medicine. Christian healing through prayer can be a similar technique. The Hippocratic principle -- "first, do no harm" -- applies in all cases.
posted by fuzz at 6:31 AM on August 26, 2003


If adults want to try alternative methods and get themselves screwed, that's their right.

I'm only concerned about children who aren't in a position to resist these exorcisms and other forms of "therapy".

skallas wrote:
Every state has child protection laws and what usually happens in cases like this is the parents goto prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Only if the child dies, my friend. What if negligence from the parent leads to some condition not being properly treated today (and doesn't kill the child) but a year or two from now, leads to a more serious life-threatening problem?
posted by madman at 6:43 AM on August 26, 2003


I grew up in faith healing, speaking in tongues church. I am an athiest, but I also have a brother who drank his liver away and nurses told my father that my brother wouldn't make it through the night.
That was 5 years ago and he is healthy as a horse. I think some people get something out of prayer for healing. Maybe that concentration of mystical energies we can't understand triggers something. Maybe it is a placebo effect and a renewed will to live. I am not going to assume it is the hand of a God that looks like us. From what I have heard, Allah has been known to heal the terminally ill, and Asian religions usually have mystical healing procedures that some subscribe to more literally than others. I am not going dismiss the healing powers that SOMETIMES seem to manifest themselves in these instances.

But some of these morons should be up for manslaughter at least.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 6:46 AM on August 26, 2003


The parents in the main and secondary link chose doing something because some authority claimed what they were doing was beneficial WITHOUT ANY PROOF. Also, questioning that authority is usually verboten. That is a very, very religious idea and that pretty much represents religion.

Heh. Can you prove that that represents religion?

Quite a few religions expect questioning. Questions indicate interest and a degree of understanding. Faith has no value for somebody who has no skepticism either. It's like courage for people who are incapable of feeling fear in the first place.

Or put a more cynical way, if you never question authority then you will believe everything anyone tells you. The whole serpent/Eve/apple thing was about that, in a way.
posted by Foosnark at 7:33 AM on August 26, 2003


I'm not explicitly a Christian, but I'd side with those here who reject a call for the denunciation off all religious practice ( and by extension all spiritualism as well ) as amounting to ignorant and potentially violent superstition. There is quite literally an infinite realm - in existence, experience, and the phenomenological world - which science can not currently explain. Furthermore, the outer reaches of science - in physics and elsewhere - have for decades been pointing towards an understanding of reality which sounds suspiciously familiar to descriptions - of the ultimate nature of reality - from the world's classic mystical traditions (which nonetheless assert that ultimate mysteries can not be accurately conveyed through language but only experienced.) This has been said before, many times - and much more eloquently.

I say this as one who believes wholeheartedly in science:

If I were diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness ( of course we all are already - it's called life. anyway.... ) I probably would try to integrate orthodox medical treatment with an holistic and perhaps spiritualistic therapies - I might even try faith healing. There exists legitimate scientific research - as far as I can determine - on, for example, the power of prayer:

"One of the most quoted scientific studies of prayer was done between August of 1982 and May of 1983. 393 patients in the San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit participated in a double blind study to assess the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer. Patients were randomly selected by computer to either receive or not receive intercessory prayer. All participants in the study, including patients, doctors, and the conductor of the study himself remained blind throughout the study, To guard against biasing the study, the patients were not contacted again after it was decided which group would be prayed for, and which group would not.....The patients who had received prayer as a part of the study were healthier than those who had not. The prayed for group had less need of having CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) performed and less need for the use of mechanical ventilators. They had a diminished necessity for diuretics and antibiotics, less occurrences of pulmonary edema, and fewer deaths. Taking all factors into consideration, these results can only be attributed to the power of prayer."

I'd would also refer those inclined to doubt the possibility of mind-over-matter or knowledge-at-a-distance through telepathic or similar abilities to the research ongoing at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies research Laboratory (PEAR) which has demonstrated small but clearly measurable effects resulting from the interaction of consciousness and matter.

That said, I cannot in any way defend the death of the autistic boy at the Milwaukee church "faith healing" - which amounted to, essentially, death by squashing.

But - I'd venture to say that tragedies such as this stem from, more than anything else, a broad cultural current in US society - mostly on the right and among some Christian evangelicals but also among some in the New Age community as well - who practice a willful disregard or even a willful ignorance of contemporary science. This amounts to a widespread denial of the possibility of even relative shared truths, scientific or otherwise. So evangelicals deny Evolutionary Theory, while the American right tends to deny that the chemical by-products of industry are at all toxic to humans or nature in general and casts Global Warming and most scientist's warnings of the human impact on Earth's Biosphere as hoaxes perpetrated in a vague but sweepingly pervasive plot by a significant percentage of scientists currently living on the planet ( and at the highest reaches of scientific authority such as at the US National Academies Of Science ) -- a vast, sinister conspiracy to somehow monkeywrench business, economic progress, and indeed, modern civilization itself.

This would be all be laughable if not for the real world impact of such beliefs - parents who prevent their children from receiving proper medical care, nursing mothers whose breaths milk contain levels of PDBE's ( similar to PCB's ) at levels ten thimes higher than among nursing European mothers, and a society and culture in deep denial as the Global Climate destabilizes and ocean circulation ( believed to be a trigger for sudden climate shifts ) begins to shut down ( see Wood's Hole oceanographic Institute's website section on Abrupt Climate Change

Now, of course received scientific truths do change and evolve over time and sometimes are even discarded wholesale or subsumed by wider theories with greater explanatory power. So Newton's revolutionaries theories - on gravity, motion, the conservation of energy and so on - were subsumed by and relegated to a special condition subset in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. So was Newton wrong? Of course not. His theories represented the best available scientific thought of the time.

SO: The best available scientific evidence at the time. This is our best shared truth - supported by the best available science, and empirically verifiable up to a point.

BUT....camps on both the US political and cultural left and right now routinely discount what amounts to the best available scientific thinking of our time - on questions of medicine and healing, on the environment, on human origins - and these trends will, I'd predict, eventually reduce the stature of the US as it is outraced by other world nations and cultures which still believe in science and in the possibility of shared truth. C.P. Snow was more correct in his assessments than he could have imagined - "The Two Cultures" of Science and nonscience have, in the US, drifted far apart (in some cases) and may not even still speak the same language.

E.O. Wilson's concept of "Non-Intersecting Magisteria" is useful in solving this American cultural disease, I'd assert: that which is not explicitly in the province of science is relegated to the province of religion. So is religion then relegated, as a second class citizen, to some epistemological ghetto? I think not, personally, because I consider the process of scientific discovery to be an infinite one. So I do not fear for religion - especially insofar as it transcends (in the best mystical tradition) all conscious human understanding. This is the very definition of the transcendent, of the divine.

So to those who deny science out of fear that it undermines their faith: why worry? If your faith is truly yoked to the transcendant, the march of science can never encroach or threaten really. The divine, the transcendant will always remain.

To those who snicker at the superstitions and ignorance of science which leads to such incidents as the Milwaukee congregation's unwitting killing of a two year old boy through an overabundance of faith healing "enthusiasm" ( and a complete ignorance the nature of autism ) I would say: to move from such excesses to the conclusion that ALL faith healing ceremonies and, indeed ALL expressions of religion and spirituality are fraudulent and destructive is both to fall into an enormous logical fallacy and, further, to provoke even more fear and defensive reaction among those in religious and spiritual communities who feel that they must circle their wagons and deny science and shared truths - in defense of their faiths.

This is unfortunate, uncharitable and unnecessary. And to give a counterpoint - it has long been known that several hundred thousand patients die each year from iatrogenic causes ( doctor error, etc. ). Should this lead us to abandon modern medicine? No more so, I'd say, than one child's death should lead us to discount ( in the face of a certain amount of hard scientific research, by the way ) all faith healing and indeed, all spirituality and religion.
posted by troutfishing at 7:33 AM on August 26, 2003


By the way, I meant to write "several hundred thousand patients in the US die each year from iatrogenic causes". I imagine that the worldwide figures would run into the millions. But I still go to the doctor.
posted by troutfishing at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2003


The death has been ruled a homicide by the Milwaukee County medical examiner. No word on whether charges will be filed.

I'm real curious about what sort of defense would be made against murder charges. The obvious choice would be an insanity plea: "I truly believed that the boy was possessed by demons and that the only way to save him was by laying across him." It could work, but I'm not sure a minister would be willing to let his religion take that hit.

(By the way, the concept of laying across is explained, but not named) in the Chicago Tribune article this morning.)
posted by rtimmel at 8:05 AM on August 26, 2003


Oh don't pretend this isn't limited to small churches. You've got the entire Christian Science movement, the entire Faith healing movement, Johovah's Witnesses, Scientologists (when its comes to psychology), amd to a lesser extent the Amish. That's millions of children at risk to zealous parents who would rather see them dead than admit their faith is questionable and faith-healing is a fraud.

Make wild and offensive generalizations much, skallas? I'm sure many of the parents within the religions you name would beg to differ with you. I'm sure many of those parents are quite ready to take a sick child to the doctor and avail themselves of existing medical treatments in addition to doing things like laying on of hands. Sure, you can say it won't do any good and you may very well be right. But it won't harm the child and it's a far cry from "their parents would rather see them dead".

Of course there are extremist wing nuts in every religion who do things like sit on a child and pray for him and they must be stopped. But the problem is the physical abuse, not the praying, and abuse happens across the spectrum of parents' beliefs.
posted by orange swan at 8:06 AM on August 26, 2003


To me, the most telling quote in this follow-up article is"The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office has ruled the death a homicide. But prosecutors Monday said state laws about religious healing practices are complicating decisions about whether to charge the man accused of being involved."

In other words, if a random group of thugs grabs an 8-year-old child off the street, four of them sit on his arms and legs, they throw multiple sheets over him, and then a fifth thug weighing 157 pounds sits on his chest and ignores his struggles and cries for help, preventing him from breathing and causing him to die in abject terror... well it's a safe bet that all five would be arrested and charged in the death of the child. But of course, these thugs murdered the child in the name of God, so the four accomplices will never even be charged and the head thug that crushed the boy's chest and made his last minutes on earth an absolute living hell, well he'll probably walk too.

Feh.
posted by Lokheed at 8:15 AM on August 26, 2003


Look, real praying for the sick doesn't use these methods. Real exorcisms don't either.

what's a "real" exorcism? Have you witnessed one?

When people let their imaginations run away from them instead of doing stuff the Bible way, crap happens, and there's no excuse for it.

the 'Bible way' is hard to define, though, no? I mean, these people clearly thought they were doing things the bible way, and it's not hard to interpret scriptures to fit your beliefs. Jesus is always going on about casting out demons, isn't he? He never discusses healing through medicine or surgery; it's all faith healing. Faith is the foundation of his philosophy.

I mean, I agree, all that's important is "do no harm"; if you want to pray or meditate or get stuck with needles, in addition to clinical treatment, go for it. When I was going through chemo, occasional massage and acupuncture sessions were relaxing and helpful for my mental state. I did not consider them part of the medical treatment, though.

troutfishing, there's plenty of skepticism regarding that prayer study.
posted by mdn at 8:16 AM on August 26, 2003


I was in a play and this one religious guy on the crew told me right before the show that he had a terrible stomache ache. So I offered him some Pepto that I had in the car for one reason or another, and he told me that he couldn't accept it, since he had asked God to cure his stomache ache, and taking medicine would show a lack of faith.

One thing I have to ask is, does God cure stomache aches? Because I know that Pepto does. Does God cause stomache aches? Because I know that tacos do.
posted by Hildago at 8:23 AM on August 26, 2003


Troutfishing, that is the kind of coherent, well reasoned and explained posting that got Metafilter it's reputation.
Bravo*claps*

Did you not get the memo regarding the immanent demise? Every month. For the past 2 years.

On thread:

This sad scenario has echoes of the Jeanette Winterson novel 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit'. If I am remembering correctly there is a scene where Jeanette is restrained (by friends and family) whilst the god talking guy attempts to exorcise the demon of lesbianism.
posted by asok at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2003


asok - Thanks. That sort of thing takes too much time.

mdn - I don't have time now to research that controversy, but if I grant you the point and throw out the prayer study what of the work of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab? They claim measureable, repeatable effects over hundreds of experiments:

"The most substantial portion of the PEAR program examines anomalies arising in human/machine interactions. 
Random mechanical cascade experiment. In these experiments human operators attempt to influence the behavior of a variety of mechanical, electronic, optical, acoustical, and fluid devices to conform to pre-stated intentions, without recourse to any known physical processes. In unattended calibrations these sophisticated machines all produce strictly random outputs, yet the experimental results display increases in information content that can only be attributed to the influence of the consciousness of the human operator. 
Robot experiment.Over the laboratory's 20-year history, thousands of such experiments, involving many millions of trials, have been performed by several hundred operators. The observed effects are usually quite small, of the order of a few parts in ten thousand on average, but they are statistically repeatable and compound to highly significant deviations from chance expectations. These results are summarized in "Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program."
posted by troutfishing at 8:38 AM on August 26, 2003


mdn - I couldn't resist. I was truly curious; There have been two more (recent) studies on the effects of prayer (scroll down page). They look good on the surface. That doesn't mean they are not flawed also. Still.....

1) A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit.

Harris WS, Gowda M, Kolb JW, Strychacz CP, Vacek JL, Jones PG, Forker A, O'Keefe JH, McCallister BD

Arch Intern Med 1999 Oct 25;159(19):2273-8 Mid America Heart Institute, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA..........MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The medical course from CCU admission to hospital discharge was summarized in a CCU course score derived from blinded, retrospective chart review. RESULTS: Compared with the usual care group (n = 524), the prayer group (n = 466) had lower mean +/- SEM weighted (6.35 +/- 0.26 vs 7.13 +/- 0.27; P=.04) and unweighted (2.7 +/- 0.1 vs > 3.0 +/- 0.1; P=.04) CCU course scores. Lengths of CCU and hospital stays were not different. CONCLUSIONS: Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care."


2)"An experimental study of the effects of distant, intercessory prayer on self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

O'Laoire S , Altern Ther Health Med 1997 Nov;3(6):38-53

DESIGN: Randomized, controlled, double-blind study. PATIENTS: 496 volunteers: those who prayed (agents, n = 90) and those who were prayed for (subjects, n = 406). INTERVENTION: Agents were randomly assigned to either a directed or nondirected prayer group; photos and names of subjects were used as a focus. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups: those prayed for by nondirected agents, a control group, and those prayed for by directed agents. Prayer was offered for 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks. Each subject was prayed for by three agents. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Five pretest and posttest objective measures and six posttest subjective measures were taken. RESULTS: Subjects improved significantly on all 11 measures. Agents improved significantly on 10 measures"

posted by troutfishing at 8:55 AM on August 26, 2003


When I was going through chemo, occasional massage and acupuncture sessions were relaxing and helpful for my mental state. I did not consider them part of the medical treatment, though.

Not to speak to your own experiences, but if massage and acupuncture helped your mental state, wouldn't that be part of the medical treatment? Is treating the mind not the equivalent of treating the body? Would the explicit chemotherapy have worked as well if you hadn't had the implicit relaxation therapies? To imagine there's some sort of division between nerves and other cellular systems is creating a discontinuity when there's not.

There's been an awful lot of bloviating in this thread by quite a few self-righteous atheists, seizing upon this one case as an indictment of all religious and non-scientific belief systems. Let's put this into perspective: these people were just stupid and crazy, and they should be charged with the full crime. But to extend that into a sweeping generalization of all stuff that's not in a science textbook speaks to the worst tendencies of scientists.

Belief matters. The body builds the mind, and the mind affects the body. One can't cure cancer solely through the power of the mind. But one would have a much harder time recovering from cancer, I imagine (having never had cancer, knock on wood), if one's mental state weren't clear. Prayer, massage, yoga, reiki, acupuncture - these are all techniques to change the mental state of the patient, and thus to change the body. The body functions much better if it's not strangling itself with stress. It's not a placebo, because it's not claiming to be the sole cure of the disease. (Anyone who claims that it is should be arrested.)

The problem is literalism. In thinking that it's literally all you need. Religion comes through mists of metaphor, and thus it's easy to take the word at face value and not see the true meaning underneath. Thus, these child-sitting mummalards.

Let's also not forget that one of the most scientifically advanced cultures (for its time) flourished under the auspices of Allah. It's long since overdue for science and belief to be synthesized again, for this bullshit division to end, or we'll just keep having these ugly fights where the True Believers mangle themselves and others, and the True Skeptics cluck their tongues and dismiss everything, and never the twain shall meet.
posted by solistrato at 9:04 AM on August 26, 2003


Four adults hold a kid down against his will.
One of them sits on his chest.
He suffocates.

Stupid and disrespectful? Yes.
Criminal? I have no idea what laws these people live with.
What can be done to protect children from ill-treatment by religion? First define religion, then define ill-treatment, then select a means by which you can stop the latter being perpetrated by the former.
This will take a long time (judging from the comments here) because you will be arguing about your definitions for a very long time to come.

Ah. So that would be why the world runs that way: the language used to describe the problem.
Interesting.
posted by snarfodox at 9:10 AM on August 26, 2003


You cannot possibly consider this case without taking into account, or at least referencing, the perverse and insane psychology behind it and that, very much, is religion. To deal with the case w/o referencing it would not be dealing with the issue in total.
posted by xmutex at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2003


Because any moderate opinion which seeks to consider the possibility of rationality within religious thought is just as evil and twisted as all religion is? All those damn Baptist pastors spending every Sunday wishing they could sit on some poor autistic child's chest and free him of their demons, too, right, xmutex?

troutfishing, thanks for an interesting, [genuinely!] fair and balanced post; I know it must have taken more than a few minutes to write.
posted by brownpau at 9:27 AM on August 26, 2003


I work in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. We have had Jehovah Witness kids who received liver transplants or surgery for congenital heart defects. Their religious tenets don't allow them to receive blood. A quick trip to court (for a court order) before surgery has always allowed us to give the child blood if needed.

One of our pediatric heart surgeons did research on what blood products are acceptable for people who are JW's. It basically boiled down to "nothing that's red". Any blood product (such as fresh frozen plasma) that isn't red in color is okay. It has always amazed me that a church would not allow someone else's blood to be given, but someone else's liver is okay.
posted by whatever at 9:56 AM on August 26, 2003


Linkage: Christian perspective on faith healing incidents. The whole culture of "miracle healing" is not universal to all Christian worship; it is largely the domain of much-hyped charismatic denominations which claim to have special spiritual blessing on themselves to perform "signs and wonders" -- many of which, in my view, fall outside the bounds of orthodox faith.

On preview: whatever's mention of the JW blood-transfusion dogma is another case altogether; what I regard as a needless restriction arising from scriptural misinterpretation. But that's another issue altogether.
posted by brownpau at 10:05 AM on August 26, 2003


JW do the non-blood thing for the same reason Jews do Kosher slaughter. There's some sentence in the old Testament about not using (eating/receiving) blood, which the two groups have interpreted differently.
posted by dabitch at 10:24 AM on August 26, 2003


ah, brownpau beat me too it.
posted by dabitch at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2003


I know people who have been healed by prayer-I've been one of them

Konolia - so how do you rectify your story of miraculous healing with all the babies and children and just plain folks who die every day with people praying their hearts out for them? I'd rather not believe in a God that cruel, thanks.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:48 AM on August 26, 2003


The Quackwatch entry on faith healing.

Also: Why bogus therapies often seem to work

To answer a question posed earlier, yes, feeling good is also a part of recovery. Emotional well-being is important too. The danger is in assuming that feeling well is the same as being well. In other words, just because you don't feel sick doesn't mean that some existing condition (like a brain aneurysm, for instance) has completely vanished like magic.

Many of the faith healing techniques give false hope to the sick, leading them to believe that they are actually being cured. When was the last time you heard a reiki (snicker, snicker) practitioner tell you that he was doing his thing only so you could feel more relaxed?

Hell, no! Instead, they tell you that "Reiki is both powerful and gentle. In its long history of use it has aided in healing virtually every known illness and injury including serious problems like: multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer as well as skin problems, cuts, bruises, broken bones, headache, colds, flu, sore throat, sunburn, fatigue, insomnia, impotence, poor memory, lack of confidence, etc."

And you're telling me that there's no danger from belief in something like this? Oh, there certainly is a danger from "alternative medicine".

Why is that when somebody has a cardiac arrest, they never ask for their aromatherapist?

Every time I post a link, it seems to generate a ton of comments.
posted by madman at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2003


Attention everyone: for the small fee of $5 per day I guarantee that I will perform all manner of remote-healing upon you. Each person submitting $5 will receive ten minutes of uninterrupted healing, in the manner of your choosing.

If you prefer prayer, I will pray to whichever God you request, provided that no sacrifices or libations are required (sacrifices cost extra, and you'll need to supply the sacrifice)

If you prefer remote healing, name the practice and I will perform it for you. I will also combine different practices/prayers according to your specifications, and you can buy additional blocks of time in increments of $5.

$5. Isn't your health/immortal soul worth it? Can you afford to say no? Are your beliefs more important than the possibility that my healing will work? Is your skepticism more important than your life?

Buy now, live later!
(I also provide extensive one-on-one lifestyle instructions for optimum health. Only $1500 per day, plus expenses.)
posted by aramaic at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2003


Not to speak to your own experiences, but if massage and acupuncture helped your mental state, wouldn't that be part of the medical treatment? Is treating the mind not the equivalent of treating the body?

no, it is definitely not the "equivalent." It's not a question of "mind" vs. "body" - I had cancer of the lymphatic system; hence I needed treatment for the lymphatic system. Treating other parts of me - my liver, my ankles, my mind - would not do much good in addressing the problem. Yes, the body, all the parts of it, even the brain / consciousness parts, work together as a unit, but there's no reason to think of the whole as an amorphous blob. The individual parts have their own structure, their own functions, and their own specific connections to other parts.

For instance, my spleen was in danger because of its relationship to the lymph system; similarly, my heart was put under additional pressure because of blockages in the lymphatic system. The cancer caused this, but draining the pericardium didn't do anything to cure the cancer. Likewise, I was mentally stressed by the experience, and found massage a useful technique for helping to alleviate the symptom, but treating the symptom had no discernible effect on the disease itself.

Would the explicit chemotherapy have worked as well if you hadn't had the implicit relaxation therapies? To imagine there's some sort of division between nerves and other cellular systems is creating a discontinuity when there's not.

I think the chemo would have been the same for me whether or not I had massage sessions, but of course I can't know for certain. I do know for certain that plenty of people who don't want to live get cured, and enormous numbers of people who want more than anything to live, die anyway. Like I said before, if it doesn't harm, and it feels helpful in some way, then use it, but don't flatter yourself that somehow you have a stronger will / connection to god / faith / whatever than the countless others who are drawn into death against their intent.

nice summation of the placebo effect here.
posted by mdn at 12:07 PM on August 26, 2003


Madman -- you clearly know nothing of reiki other than what you have misread on the Internet, so perhaps you should not comment on that practice. There is no standards body that certifies for reiki, so your first mistake is assuming that reiki.org speaks for all reiki practioners and those who benefit from reiki.

Reiki is not faith healing: there is no summoning of a higher power that is God. And you are wrong that reiki practioners don't do so to relax people. Many of my clients come for treatment for stress and nothing else. I would never, NEVER, give someone medical advice, other than "get thee to a doctor, stat!" Funny that you didn't continue your quote from the reiki site which goes on to state: "If a client has a health condition, and wants to be treated with Reiki, it is recommended that they do so under the supervision of an enlightened medical doctor or other health care professional."

Also, that quote does not say reiki heals disease. Note that is says it "aids" in healing, and until you can prove it does not, you should not discredit the practice.
posted by archimago at 12:37 PM on August 26, 2003


Also, that quote does not say reiki heals disease. Note that is says it "aids" in healing, and until you can prove it does not, you should not discredit the practice.

I don't have much of an opinion on the practice, but I can tell you you've got your burden of proof backwards here.
posted by nath at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2003


Like I said before, if it doesn't harm, and it feels helpful in some way, then use it, but don't flatter yourself that somehow you have a stronger will / connection to god / faith / whatever than the countless others who are drawn into death against their intent.

You mean like you're flattering yourself that you didn't have to rely on such feeble methods to make it?
posted by solistrato at 3:41 PM on August 26, 2003


Konolia - so how do you rectify your story of miraculous healing with all the babies and children and just plain folks who die every day with people praying their hearts out for them? I'd rather not believe in a God that cruel, thanks.

A friend of mine-actually my last worship pastor before the one I have now-passed away from stage four lung cancer a little over a year ago. Yes, he had prayer.

So I have had to deal with that question in a deep painful way. All I can tell you is God is God and I am not. And I know where my friend is right now, and I can tell you he wouldn't trade places.

Having said that, there is a lady at my church who did come back from the dead after being prayed for, and this was confirmed by a medical doc.

God is God and I am not.
posted by konolia at 3:47 PM on August 26, 2003


what's a "real" exorcism? Have you witnessed one?

Better than that. I have been the recipient of deliverance ministry. Nothing dramatic about it at all. No one sat on me. No spitting up pea soup, no head spinning. Just prayer. And all with my prior permission.

My church conducts it quietly and with dignity.

They also understand that mental illness is medical, in case you are wondering. Two medical professionals, one a highly respected medical doctor, on our board of elders.
posted by konolia at 3:51 PM on August 26, 2003


troutfishing: Thank you. The "religion is evil" argument so prevalent among certain atheists here is one reason I took a long vacation from Metafilter.

Accusing someone's moral system of leading them into evil is deeply offensive, and the exact equivalent of a fundamentalist accusing a "goddless unbeliever" of being incapable of moral behavior.

Nice to see someone take the time to lay it out like that, and more cogently than I could put it too.
posted by e^2 at 6:27 PM on August 26, 2003


>I'm sure many of those parents are quite ready to take a sick child to the doctor and avail themselves of existing medical treatments

Do a search on christian scientists and then tell me that. Or read whatever's post and tell me how you can do a damn transplant without any blood? These ultra-religious types may not admit it but they will put their children's life before their faith. Arguably taking care of children is idolotry and "earthly" possession. Read the story of Abraham and Isaac to get a perspective on the Xtian end of this. Yes, that's right a man was going to do a human sacrifice because his god told him to. In today's society he would be rightfully jailed for even attempting.

>Quite a few religions expect questioning.

Funny how that questioning doesn't apply to their own authority and the skepticism is shown towards other religions and secular beliefs. A religious person picks one religion over a whole bunch, it makes them an atheist to every religion except one and they have no objective proof to defend it. You bet its sucking on the teat of authority and using the concept of faith to not let go.

Lastly, reiki, laying of hands, healing touch, faith healing, et al are usually associated with post-hypnotic effecst and the setting and intent is enough to put someone in a hypnotic mood. There's been at least one study that correlates the endurance of hypnosis and the religious "healings." Call your events what you want, if it works in the end its just self-hypnosis. Yet when it fails it fails miserably and usually its the children that die. They certainly don't have the resources to run away from home and get health insurance.
posted by skallas at 8:39 PM on August 26, 2003


skallas, abraham and isacc was not what you think. If you read carefully he knew he would be coming back with the boy. He knew God's character. And indeed God did provide a proper sacrifice.

As to the rest of the book, God roundly condemns human sacrifice. The other nations practiced it, burning babies and such to placate their idols.

One of these days you and I are going to have a rousing discussion of quantum physics.
posted by konolia at 8:46 PM on August 26, 2003


>If you read carefully he knew he would be coming back with the boy.

That's your interpretation. Or should i say how you handle your cognitive dissonence with a fairly straight-forward tale.

>God roundly condemns human sacrifice. The other nations practiced it

And Christians burned millions of witches in Europes. Or hundreds of thousands depending on who you ask.
posted by skallas at 9:09 PM on August 26, 2003


Faith has always been more important than the life of a human in the history of religion. See: religious wars, martyrism, etc. Its the same mindset, just a different setting.
posted by skallas at 9:11 PM on August 26, 2003


troutfishing: bravo.
posted by blissbat at 10:15 PM on August 26, 2003


Skallas, are you sure on your math there? Millions is fantastically inaccurate, and hundreds of thousands seems to be pushing it.

And you know very well that just because someone does something in the name of Christ it doesn't make it Christian.

An idle question-do you happen to have Christian relatives who nag you or something?
posted by konolia at 4:49 AM on August 27, 2003


>An idle question-do you happen to have Christian relatives who nag you or something?

Oh please. Countering a morally bankrupt religious apologist like you doesnt require a nagging family.
posted by skallas at 8:43 AM on August 27, 2003


Even religioustolerance.org (a pro-religious site) is willing to go as high as 100,000 women killed for being "witches."

Poorly kept records and witch burning in what we now call third-world nations will always leave the exact amount a mystery.

Nice, short piece on anti-rationalism and religious wars here.

>And you know very well that just because someone does something in the name of Christ it doesn't make it Christian.

I completely disagree. There is no test, no way of using one's critical faculties tell the difference between a "real" xtian and a "fake" one. By being faith-based you let in a lot of weirdos who accuse others of being weirdos, when they're probably all right, they're all a bunch of weirdos. Not to mention the sweeping changes Xtianity has gone through over the years.
posted by skallas at 9:02 AM on August 27, 2003


Skallas, you sound as radical and closed minded as any Pharisee. Don't you think calling me morally bankrupt is silly?
posted by konolia at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2003


> Don't you think calling me morally bankrupt is silly?

Not at all. As the defender of all things religious and your "its not really that way" spin, its pretty obvious to me.
posted by skallas at 10:46 AM on August 27, 2003


One thing I have to ask is, does God cure stomache aches? Because I know that Pepto does.

God also knows that Pepto works, which is why you had some in the car. He moves in mysterious ways, which does not mean he zaps your stomach ache with invisible lightning.

Stupidity and Christianity are orthogonal.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:56 AM on August 27, 2003


Skallas, I think there's a very easy way to tell the difference between a real Christian a fake one. A real Christian follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as seen in the Gospels, and a fake one doesn't. It's not a wishy-washy subjective thing, it's not an occult mystery, it's right out there for everyone to read.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2003


troutfishing: I'd be a bit wary of studies that make sensational claims that aren't widely reproduced and reported in academic literature.
Studies that report incredibly small variations from random activity are especially susceptible to the file-drawer effect. In other words researchers tend to dump research that supports the null hypothesis and write off research that disagrees with a pet hypothesis. The latter is usually rationalised as a deficiency in the experimental design.
Likewise a researcher will do their best to have research published that agrees (however faintly) with their own hypothesis.
Peer review is certainly not infallible, but a large number of well-designed experiments by a variety of widely respected researchers can generally be taken as a good sign.
posted by snarfodox at 11:55 AM on August 27, 2003


dagnyscott, if an angel dropped down from the sky in front of Skallas he would swear it was a hologram. That's just him. We spar occasionally on these types of threads but I don't think either one of us takes it personally.
.
posted by konolia at 12:03 PM on August 27, 2003


You mean like you're flattering yourself that you didn't have to rely on such feeble methods to make it?

what? I have no idea what you're trying to say. It's self-flattery to think that scientific research and medicine was responsible for my recovery? Can you please explain this?
posted by mdn at 12:04 PM on August 27, 2003


A real Christian follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as seen in the Gospels, and a fake one doesn't.

So, there are, like, three real Christians?
posted by kindall at 1:18 PM on August 27, 2003


At least.
posted by konolia at 1:21 PM on August 27, 2003


>if an angel dropped down from the sky in front of Skallas he would swear it was a hologram.

Nonsense, that sentence presupposes a belief of the existance of angels. Now, when confronted with an anamoly, the difference between you and me is you'll scream "Jebus" while I consider what that anomoly is and can happily take the agnostic approach. You will always have the old superstitions and ancient cosmologies to explain anything away to your own psychological satisfaction.

. And yes Ive experienced many anomonies, just like anyone else, but I don't automatically wrap everything in religious garb and have found rationalism to be the best tool to explain everything.

Yes, there are many unknowns and mysteries of the univerise, and the fallacy of the god of the gaps argument shows how well rationalism has sent the religious belief and doctrine flying.
posted by skallas at 2:13 PM on August 27, 2003


No such thing as Jebus, Skallas. It's Jesus. I promise your hand won't fall off if you type His name.
posted by konolia at 2:27 PM on August 27, 2003


Well, I'm sorry I assumed that a post on a public forum was meant for public consumption, rather than part of a private conversation.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:26 PM on August 27, 2003


Dagny, sorry, didn't mean to give you that impression. Just wanted to let you know that we typically fall into this pattern, especially as a thread wanes a bit. Of course we welcome your contribution.
posted by konolia at 8:19 PM on August 27, 2003


dagnyscott/konolia: I thought that the standard Christian definition of a Christian was one who believed in the resurrection, that Christ died to save mankind and that anyone who doesn't believe isn't going to heaven.
posted by daveg at 5:06 AM on August 28, 2003


Well, yes. But the Bible also teaches that many will say on that day "Lord, Lord" and He will respond "I never knew you."

Believing is not just mental agreement. Even the demons believe, in that sense-and shudder. I guess I could have looked up the word in the Greek, as I think the meaning there makes it clearer.

Obviously Skallas is a materialist. I on the other hand don't believe that our five senses are enough to perceive the whole of reality.
posted by konolia at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2003


One thing I always wonder in these arguments is if the correlation between materialists and skeptics is as close as it seems... ?
posted by e^2 at 3:16 PM on August 28, 2003


if an angel dropped down from the sky in front of Skallas he would swear it was a hologram.

well, in all likelihood, it would be a hologram. All skallas is guilty of is trying to make sense of things. What do you think an angel actually is? Does it have a body? If not, how can it exist? Does it take up space? How can it expend energy without taking in energy? If an angel dropped down in front of me, I would try to figure out what it was, not drop to my knees in submission to something I don't yet understand merely because I don't yet understand it.

If the universe is ordered, if the world makes sense, then the mechanics, the actions and reactions, the physics, of gods, demons, angels et al, should make sense. If they are simply "magic" then the universe is chaotic. Does not your belief system posit a rational god?

But the Bible also teaches that many will say on that day "Lord, Lord" and He will respond "I never knew you."

doesn't the bible also say something about not pointing fingers at those you believe god will dishonor? Maybe you're one of the ones who will get that response.

Obviously Skallas is a materialist. I on the other hand don't believe that our five senses are enough to perceive the whole of reality.

you may believe there is more to reality than what is revealed by our senses, but by definition you cannot perceive beyond your senses, and so if such additional nature should exist, it is unavailable to you. To suggest that you have knowledge of that of which by definition you can have no knowledge is absurd.

If god reveals anything to you, he does it precisely through some sense or other within you, whether outwardly or inwardly. If you should have visions or hear voices, these are still uses of sensory perception though they are merely memories or imaginations of previously experienced perceptions. Therefore, any knowledge you receive of god has been granted through your senses, just like any knowledge of anything at all which you have at your disposal. Our senses gather data; our minds organize it. There's no other way to gain knowledge except by trust in another who has done the same.
posted by mdn at 4:41 PM on August 28, 2003


>I on the other hand don't believe that our five senses are enough to perceive the whole of reality.

Exactly, every prophet new and old claims to have seen or heard things. Why aren't you skeptical of them too? Oh right, the hypocritsy. Senses, assumptions, etc need to be tamed to distill the truth. Try the scientific method, that's what its more or less designed to do. Why do you think there are such things as peer-review and double-blind tests? Can't trust your senses is right.

Also that statement presupposes a "sixth sense" which of course is a religious assumption.
posted by skallas at 4:51 PM on August 28, 2003


Actually I am always interested in reading research that posits more than three dimensional reality.

A lot of things regarding quantom physics don't make sense, but they are mathmatically provable...since none of us here have the sum of all knowlege of the universe I think it is premature for anyone to be certain that only things we can touch, see, etc. exist.

I know people who have seen angels. They weren't holograms. Angels are spirit beings-whether they are beings that exist in a dimension we can't normally access, I don't know, but it is certainly a possibility.

Also, it is a fact that God exists outside His creation. Hard for a finite brain to grasp, I know. Reality is much more fascinating than people give it credit for.

If the universe is ordered, if the world makes sense, then the mechanics, the actions and reactions, the physics, of gods, demons, angels et al, should make sense.

To me, it does.

doesn't the bible also say something about not pointing fingers at those you believe god will dishonor? Maybe you're one of the ones who will get that response.

I don't recall pointing any fingers. Skallas simply disagrees with me, and I with him. He's not pointing a finger at me either.

God is skallas' judge, not me. Skallas has made a decision to be an atheist. I do not believe that decision is in his best interest, but it is HIS choice.
posted by konolia at 8:56 PM on August 28, 2003


since none of us here have the sum of all knowlege of the universe I think it is premature for anyone to be certain that only things we can touch, see, etc. exist.

right, but we cannot have knowledge of anything which we do not perceive in some way or other. We gain more knowledge as we create more and more intricate and powerful machines that expand our senses, but we still rely entirely on input mechanisms for data. That is the only way to gather information, which we can then organize and evaluate using reason.

No one is suggesting that it is impossible that things to which we have no access exist; the point is merely that we have no access to them. If we should someday build a machine that allows us access to additional layers of reality, then we can evaluate the data we gather. But once again, it will be gathered through our senses. No other option exists.

I know people who have seen angels. They weren't holograms.

how do you know? Can you explain what a hologram is? If angels were holograms sent by god, would that ok? What makes holograms unholy? Just because we could conceivably understand something, doesn't necessarily make it worthless.

Angels are spirit beings-whether they are beings that exist in a dimension we can't normally access, I don't know, but it is certainly a possibility.

if they exist, why don't scientists study them, to try to find out how they work, what they are, where they exist, etc?

Also, it is a fact that God exists outside His creation. Hard for a finite brain to grasp, I know. Reality is much more fascinating than people give it credit for.

again, on what basis are you making these claims? If god is outside your reality, how can you perceive him at all? And what diminishes the wonder of nature in considering it a consistent, thriving unity, as opposed to a mysterious place where random things happen for unknown reasons at the whim of an unknowable entity? I find the former vision of nature more fascinating, as it allows us depth of knowledge, while the latter leaves us forever in ignorance and senselessness.

I don't recall pointing any fingers. Skallas simply disagrees with me, and I with him. He's not pointing a finger at me either.

I wasn't talking about skallas; you made reference to the idea that certain christians, who interpret the bible differently from you, will meet god and he will say "I never knew you." I was just pointing out that you have no more authority that your interpretation is to this unknowable creature's liking than they do.
posted by mdn at 9:47 PM on August 28, 2003


The whole point of salvation is having fellowship with God. If one has been regenerated (born again) one has the desire to obey God.

I simply quoted a scripture. The Lord is the judge, not me, of who is and isn't a Christian. But I would say for example, that a Catholic priest who molests little boys can say "Lord" all he wants to, but it won't do him much good unless he genuinely repents and takes responsibility (and consequenses) for the heinous act. No one who truly knows the Lord could hurt a child like that.
posted by konolia at 10:03 PM on August 28, 2003


Also that statement presupposes a "sixth sense" which of course is a religious assumption.

No it doesn't -- it presupposes that the five senses we know we have are limited (which seems obvious to me...); it's that we can't sense all of reality, not that it isn't sensible.

Quibble. Oh well. It does bug me when people read unecessary stipulations into someone else's statement.
posted by e^2 at 7:40 PM on August 29, 2003


« Older Forest Brothers   |   Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments