May 9, 2010

National Day of Prayer: still we fumble forward.

I get emails;
The emails have, over time dwindled with the mighty help of Snopes. Yet I still have a few die hards telling me our President is really a Muslim, A certain senator is demanding a bigger plane, so on and so on. Sometimes politely sometimes not so politely I inform the sender and all CC, that the contents of there email is mistaken.
 Now comes the onslaught of "National Day of Prayer", and the recent court ruling against it. All I can think of is an echo chamber and the words "sunday sunday sunday".

There's the email of the Senator praying on the steps of Congress, can you say Matthew 6: 5-6?

Then there's the email telling me "our country has never gone with out a "National Day of Prayer", Sorry it was started in the 50's to help fend off the godless Communists.

The latest quoting President Reagan, (full disclosure I liked Reagan allot) the email goes on to tell a false history of the National Day of Prayer.

So what do all of these emails have in common, start theme to Jeperdy? Alix, what is prayer?
My question is what does science say about prayer? Change game show to "The $64,000 Question"

Lets look at the latest study of prayer funded by the very questionable Templeton Foundation.  Here is an excellent article on the study. This study took a common type of heart surgery, and did a blind study on what happen to those who were prayed for and those who were not. For an idea on how blind study works try my post on Scotch
The results showed there was no difference in post surgery complications in either the group who were prayed for and didn't know it and the group who were not prayed for and didn't know they were prayed for. The group who was prayed for and knew they were prayed for had an increase in post op complications. Prayer didn't seam to work, in a positive way.

Conclusions? Being prayed for behind the curtain doesn't seam to do any thing, however expectations of being prayed for seemed to decrease the amount of help. So prayer, like esp, divining rods, and holy water only seam to work "Post Hoc".

How about a National Day of No Prayer, and lets see if we are better off.

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