Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


Pat Robertson's magical Jesus in a bottle

Pat Robertson offends me on many levels. I know… who cares, right?

In this clip, Pat is preaching at a conference. After telling the crowd “Jesus IS IN THIS ROOM with us,” Pat goes on to say that, “If Jesus was standing in front of you, he’d ask, ‘What do you want?'”

And Pat says, “[Jesus] I want to receive my sight. I’d like my child to be healed. I gotta dead baby. I want you to bring him back to life again… ”

Really Pat? REALLY?! Because I know several faithful God-loving parents who have lost children and Jesus didn’t raise their babies from the dead. When was the last time you saw Jesus raise a baby from the dead? When? Last week? Twenty years ago? Have you ever seen a baby come back from the dead? Oh, I know you believe it can happen. But have you seen it happen? Because babies–thousands of babies–die every day. And Jesus doesn’t raise them from the dead. I mean, you’d think it would be on the news or something–at least Fox News would cover something like that. Can Jesus heal? I believe he can. But telling a crowd of people that Jesus is standing in front of them wanting to give them whatever their hearts desire is just stupid. And mean. And not true.

Jesus isn’t some magic show. He’s not a wishing well. He’s not a genie in a bottle. And that’s exactly what you’re presenting him as with this kind of offensive Christian rhetoric…

Found at Christian Nightmares.



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Brian Holt

posted February 23, 2011 at 10:51 am


I can’t help but put Jesus in the lyrics to “Genie in a bottle” by Christina Aguillera. I can’t bring myself to type it out.



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Stephen M.

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am


Is there a dead woman on the stage?



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Jesse

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am


The part on the 700 show where they would just randomly pray for people makes me a little uneasy, too. I don’t watch 700 anymore, but when I did, those time I was tight with Kirk Cameron, I would remember that part and wonder how any more generic those prayer requests would be until near the end when they’d get “detailed” it was just still so generic.

I’m Jesus in a bottle, baby, gotta rub… nope, just can’t pull myself to do it.. sorry…



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    joy-renée

    posted February 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm


    I used to get a little uneasy at that part of the show, too. But then the Lord actually used that section of the show to heal me completely from TMJ. I literally couldn’t eat, talk or sing anymore because my jaw was locked. (I’m a classical singer, so I obviously couldn’t do what I needed to do anymore.)

    One morning, they mentioned someone who was being healed of TMJ and listed a few symptoms, all of which were mine. Even though I knew there could be hundreds of people out there watching with TMJ, I *knew* it wasn’t an accident that I saw that, and by the next day I was completely healed, and haven’t had lock-jaw since.

    I totally get this post, and why people take up issues with various preachers (especially when it comes to delicate situations like raising children from the dead), but I gotta say… A coin only lands face up half the time. And even the preachers who do/say stupid stuff can, by the grace of God, get it right sometimes. I know I’m thankful of that fact for myself.

    Just a thought. :)



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      Basho

      posted February 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm


      I’m very happy to hear that you have been healed of TMJ, but what you are describing is merely a coincidence. It has been proven time and time again that healing others through prayer is not possible. It’s not reality. Don’t fall under the illusion that anything helped you heal other than your immune system.



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        joy-renée

        posted February 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm


        I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. I know God heals, and I’ve seen Him do it on numerous occasions. My healing of severe lock jaw was practically immediate, rather than through extensive exercises and medication.

        I’m not sure where you find proof that healing through prayer is not possible…



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          Basho

          posted February 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm


          You’ve SEEN him do it on numerous occasions? Seen him. Really? You saw god heal? Mmmm.

          I find that hard to believe.

          Here are a few articles on studies conducted regarding healing through prayer. Pretty strong proof pointing to the fact that it is all in your head:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11761499
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3193902.stm
          http://www.floridafreethinkers.com/785/scientific-conclusion-prayer-doesnt-work-part-1/



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          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm


          Basho, I think you can let others believe in healing through prayer. Joy, I believe you. And I do think that God works through prayer. So what if you can’t “prove” it? Who cares? The placebo effect doesn’t explain everything away.



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          LRA

          posted February 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm


          LRA, that is an excellent point, but I believe, another topic entirely. It’s 1. an example of the minority who taint the appearance of the majority, and 2. people who have exaggerated their viewpoint to be unorthodox, and, frankly, evil. I think you misinterpreted my statements. I was not trying to argue whether he does speak to people, or heal through prayer. I was simply stating that you should let others believe its truth for them. Just as you vehemently defend your science, and your need for empirical data, I think those who believe in and have experienced spiritual data also need to be seen as just as valid. I would also argue that most of the people who see this don’t think that God works through prayer alone, but also through doctors, psychologists, etc.



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          Basho

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm


          In what universe is spiritual data (i.e., subjective, unconfirmed) equal to empirical data? That’s like saying “2 plus 2 might equal four for the rest of you, but God came to me once and told me that sometimes, if I pray really hard, it can equal five.”



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          LRA

          posted February 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm


          Well, it’s just funny how modern medicine and science has healed millions. What was the healing record before that (when people just prayed to get better)? Not good. Just ask the medieval Europeans who lived through the plague. I’m sure they prayed plenty. Or how about people in tropical areas suffering with malaria? I wonder how many Catholic priests prayed for people in the New World who were dying of small pox to the point that the Native American population was nearly driven extinct?

          Yeah, God: 0. Science: millions.



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          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm


          As a historian who specializes in the plague to which you refer, it is somewhat ludicrous that you assert that all they did was pray. But we’re still talking about different things, and never in my life have I doubted science’s ability to heal.



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          LRA

          posted February 24, 2011 at 4:48 am


          Where did I say all they did was pray? Also, the plague (as you well know) is a bacterial infection easily cured with an anti-biotic. Where was that information when it could have saved millions?

          Sorry, but God just has a crappy track record when it comes to healing people. And what kind of God invents bubonic plague in the first place? The same God that invented AIDS? The same God that invented the small pox that infected unsuspecting Native Americans when the Old World conquerers came over, nearly wiping them out? The same God that invented malaria that made Africans with resistance (which leads to sickle cell anemia in people with two copies of the resistance gene) “good workers” in the New World, hence contributing to their slave status? The same God that invented the Spanish flu? How about ebola? How about polio, which crippled and killed millions of children?

          Sounds evil to me. No amount of human “fallen-ness” deserves the plague + small pox + malaria + AIDS + Spanish flu + ebola + polio. Nope. I just cannot worship a “God” that invents such evils.



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          LRA

          posted February 24, 2011 at 4:54 am


          Just to be clear, when I said, “Where did I say all they did was pray?” I meant that doctors knew so little about infectious diseases at that time that they actually harmed people by “bleeding” them, “cupping” them, giving them emetics, etc. Furthermore, they lived in such filthy conditions that (as you know) the rats spread the disease like crazy (actually the fleas on the rats).

          So, it would have been a good thing to actually know how to deal with the plague… information that the Bible is curiously silent on. No amount of praying was going to help that situation. People needed knowledge, and now we have it, thanks to *human* effort and no thanks to a silent “God”.



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          vegas710

          posted February 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm


          This is part of why I no longer serve this God. If we accept that He can and does heal people then we have to accept that the rest of the time He just chooses not to and I find that unacceptable.



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      Basho

      posted February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm


      I’m happy to hear that you’ve been healed of TMJ, but what you’re describing is merely a coincidence. It’s been proven time and time again that it is IMPOSSIBLE to heal others through prayer. Please don’t give credit to anything other than your immune system for helping you heal.



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        Maeve

        posted February 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm


        Basho, why are you trying to take her belief system away? It doesn’t matter to me what you belief, but you should at least let her have her own beliefs and come to her own conclusions, just as you have.



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          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm


          Believe, excuse me.



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          Basho

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm


          Because false and/or irrational beliefs have caused immeasurable suffering for millions of people. A nice contemporary example is fundamentalist Islam.



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          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm


          I understand that. But as human beings, we each have the right to believe whatever we want. Not everyone believes the same things, and we each have formed our own conclusions, but that’s a right that we have.



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          Basho

          posted February 23, 2011 at 8:42 pm


          You’re missing the point.



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      Noelle

      posted February 24, 2011 at 11:49 am


      TMJ is a mechanical problem. It can resolve on its own without intervention. I had it when I was in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy with my daughter. It went away shortly after her birth. Was it the extra proteins in my body, responsible for giving extra elasticity to the cartilege so mom’s pelvis can accomodate baby goinging down the birth canal, that also made my jaw joint too loose? Maybe. Or perhaps in my interrupted poor sleep, common to women in that last month of pregnancy, I was inadvertently grinding my teeth in my sleep. Whatever it was, baby out, and my jaw worked again. yay! because that hurt something awful and it would get stuck so I couldn’t eat, etc.

      Many conditions resolve spontaneously. Many also respond to faith, prayer, placebos, biofeedback, relaxation, accupuncture, massage, yoga, etc. There is scientific evidence that some of these things can help some people for some conditions. Neuoropsychology is fascinating. I wouldn’t belittle your brain for calming your muscles and allowing the joint to slip back into place. I wouldn’t ridicule your natural healing enzymes and hormones for doing their job once allowed. And there is evidence that bodies physically respond to all the stuff I mentioned above.

      That said, there are some conditions that you can’t think, relax, pray, health food store your way out of. Bringing back dead babies is one of them.



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Tammy Cannon

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:08 am


It definitely is not the way to witness…



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Kris Thompson

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:14 am


There was a man in a wheel chair who could not stand up to receive the healing. Poor guy. That was his chance too.



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Hardison

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:30 am


“Can Jesus heal? I believe he can”

mag·ic noun \ˈma-jik\
1
a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
b : magic rites or incantations
2
a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source

– pardon me for being picky, but how is your Jesus not magic?



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am


    Good question.

    I guess the one clear difference is that I don’t perform magic tricks in the public square or encourage large groups of people to recite spells or make blanketed promises that apply for all people. I think “believing in Jesus” and mandating/manipulating his “power” over a large group of people is different…

    But again, that’s a good question. And I wish I had a better answer.



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      Hardison

      posted February 23, 2011 at 11:56 am


      Thanks!
      maybe men perform magic, deities perform miracles?



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        VorJack

        posted February 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm


        That’s a definition that goes all the way back to the ancient world. “The wonders I produce are the work of my God(s), and thus good and wholesome miracles. The wonders you produce are from your own power, or from your pet demons, which makes them wicked and evil magic.”

        The Romans thought the Jews were working magic.
        The Jews thought that the Christians were working magic.
        Everyone seemed to think that the Egyptians were working magic. And the Persians as well.



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    Matthew Lyon

    posted February 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm


    to add, i think that “magical” is used to describe acts of deception, where we are fooled into believing that something that hasn’t happened has. a innocent case is the “magical” pulling of coins out of children’s ears. we all know it’s a trick, but done well, it looks real. more serisouly, we have witch-craft, where there is spiritual/cosmic invoking going on.

    i think that jesus is magical, but not in a circus way, or witch-craft way. jesus does not fool, but proves that such power is possible. the narrative of the jews is one of YHWH (their god) fighting against the other gods and proving their trickery through various rites and incantations. think of the 10 plagues, the elijah on my carmel, etc.

    and then jesus comes along and (according to the narratives) exhibit similar incantations and rites over/against decease and evil spirits. often, however, the encounter is simple and direct, jesus does not need to dance around the sick person or brew a potion to cast out spirits, he simply tells them what to do.

    also, the apostles exhibit similar behavior (again, according to the text) in the name of jesus, who is in the name of YHWH, who is the “living god” in the cosmic order. we also have accounts from the church, such as the celts, of similar magical competitions. Patrick is recorded as competing with the magic of the druids time and again as a part of his mission work.

    so, in short, being magical isn’t wrong, it’s the source of the power that is dangerous. this is where the jealousy of god make most sense, as his/her cosmic order is challenged by pathetically weak contenders.

    i will add this, why do these evangelists feel the need to officiate the work of the trinity? she testifies to a perfectly “normal” miracle and then he goes and acts like the blessing came through him. that right there is messed up.

    and i’m sorry for any preachy-preachy. connecting old testament to new testament and beyond is hard to keep succinct .



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      Hardison

      posted February 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm


      thanks for the response/info –
      I don’t come from a religious background, so honestly, I am only understanding some of these references-
      “10 plagues, the elijah on my carmel”
      ” the jealousy of god ”
      and let me be clear – I am not challenging your faith, I am just interested!
      thanks again



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        Paula

        posted February 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm


        Quick side note for Hardison – I believe it should be “Elijah on Mount Carmel” – it refers to the showdown between Elijah & the prophets of Baal.

        I’ll leave the rest for Matthew to brilliantly explain :)



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TheOtherMPT

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:31 am


If this was any other lesser preacher/speaker that said these things, they’d likely be publicly shot down and they would have to release some kind of statement of apology. But it seems that Mr. Robertson is immune to that kind of criticism in not only prominent Christian circles but even the media. Tag another reason why I haven’t listened to Robertson and the 700 Club for years. It’s people like him that are hurting Christianity more than spreading the Gospel.



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Janet Oberholtzer

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:32 am


This is awful on so many frickin’ levels. Hey if he can raise babies, can he raise my sister? She died two years ago at age 39, but what’s age or time got to do with.

Or maybe I should go to his next conference and see if my leg gets healed (I’d rather die than go there!)

I was hoping this was from years ago … but checking it out on youtube shows it was just last weekend. Damn – I hate when people act like this in the name of Christianity. Maybe it seriously is time to pull an ‘anne rice.’



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Barbara

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:41 am


At a church I attended as a kid, the pastor had “healing” sessions during the service. My mother was dying and I would leave church overcome with guilt because, apparently, my lack of faith prevented such healing(someone actually said that to me). I love my Savior but man, the words spoken in His name sure do horrify me sometimes.



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    joy-renée

    posted February 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm


    I’m really sorry someone said that to you… :(



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    Noelle

    posted February 24, 2011 at 11:30 am


    That’s horrible. My mom died when I was 16. It took 2 long horrible years of cancer to turn a strong, quietly-funny, 38 year-old mom of 6 into a withered 40 year-old on her death bed. She wanted to make it one more Christmas. That didn’t happen.

    There were those who said if we believed enough and prayed enough that God would heal her. There was a lot of she’ll live if it’s God’s will. Very few said the truth, and they weren’t doctors so maybe they didn’t know. Once her type of cancer metastesized, there was no life saving treatment available at that time. Not with medicine. Not with God. Not with will. Not with faith.

    People don’t mean to wound with those words, but they do. Some instruction on death and illness etiquette is in order. I think most peple don’t know what do say about tragic situations, so they repeat the hurtful phrases they’ve heard before. If anyone wants to know the what to say and do instead, I and others who have been through the same will be happy to assist you



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    vegas710

    posted February 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm


    My sister is severely handicapped by Rett’s Syndrome. As a child I was dragged from one faith-healer event to the next always waiting to see her wake up and get out of her chair. Surprise, never happened.



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      Noelle

      posted February 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm


      Rett’s is a heart-breaking syndrome. There’s no way to cushion that. It’s rare enough that most people haven’t heard of it. I’m guessing most faith healers don’t have a lot of medical background. Would it have been better if one of them had offered you a hug and an open ear instead of false hope?



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        vegas710

        posted February 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm


        I’m far too jaded to entertain the idea.



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          noelle

          posted February 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm


          I hear you.



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almightygod

posted February 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm


I’m confused. You say you believe Jesus can heal, but you don’t seem to expect him to actually do it. Pat is a dingbat for sure and he doesn’t seem concerned with reality, but he is eagerly expecting (or pretending to expect) Jesus to actually heal people. You acknowledge the reality that Jesus doesn’t heal people, but still claim to believe he can. I don’t get it. What’s keeping you from just admitting that Jesus can’t heal?

Your version of Jesus can heal people, but refuses to do it. What would you think of a doctor who could cure a sick child, but refused?



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    Silica

    posted February 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm


    I would say Jesus can and does heal us, all the time.

    But not because we demand it. And not necessarily in the way that we look for healing, because it’s not the healing we actually need (even though, in many situations, it would be really, really wonderful).

    To simplify healing into magic tricks is dishonest and a misrepresentation. Has Jesus healed this way? I believe so. Will he continue to? I believe so. But while we may be (at least on the surface) the most impressed with these miracles, they are the least of what Jesus does for us.



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    Noelle

    posted February 24, 2011 at 9:56 am


    that might be an insurance issue



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Green Eggs and Ham

posted February 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm


Why does Jesus never grow back amputated limbs?



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    LRA

    posted February 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm


    Excellent question!

    And why does Jesus care more about some TMJ issue than children who have been sold into sex slavery and are now sick with AIDS?

    That Jesus seems awfully arbitrary sometimes.



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      LRA

      posted February 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm


      Also, why has Jesus never healed harlequin ichthyosis? (Warning: if you look up this genetic condition, you WILL be horrified. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)



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        Silica

        posted February 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm


        For some reason I am thinking of romance novels and fish now…yeah, I’m not going to look this one up.



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      joy-renée

      posted February 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm


      I don’t believe Jesus cares more about TMJ than for those sold into sex slavery or those with AIDS or those with cancer or anyone else. Just because one is thankful for the healing of a particular thing doesn’t mean that that person feels that his or her issue (or I guess in this case, *I* don’t feel that *MY* issue) was more important to God than anything else. Just for the record. There are simply no easy answers to why some things happen and why God doesn’t always step in when He has the power to. But whether He does or doesn’t will not change the fact that He DOES love His children and that He DOES have the power to move on our behalf.



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        LRA

        posted February 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm


        Wrong. “God” is as silent as the grave. And I’m pretty sure if we closely examined your “miracle” there would be a perfectly logical explanation for it.

        Sorry, “God” gets no credit for being randomly “good” to some while allowing horrifying things to happen to others.



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          Maeve

          posted February 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm


          LRA, I think that while you may feel God is silent for you, others see him talk to them all the time.



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          LRA

          posted February 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm


          Really? You have sense data that Jesus/God has spoken? You saw it with your eyes? You heard it with your ears?
          And you were quite certain that it was *actually* God and not your power of imagination?



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          Green Eggs and Ham

          posted February 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm


          Drive-by acts of kindness make god quite capricious.



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    Noelle

    posted February 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm


    faith may allow the body to ramp up many of it’s healing mechanisms, but I’m afraid recreation of an entire limb from scratch is still impossible. If one is human, that is. Perhaps the starfish and salamander faith is more ammenable to limb restoration



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      vegas710

      posted February 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm


      Doesn’t the Bible say something about having faith like a starfish? No? My mistake. ;)



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        noelle

        posted February 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm


        I believe that was the original working title for Jars of Clay’s “Like a Child”. However, with “Flood” already utilizing such a powerful water metaphor on the same album,they opted for the more tried and true subject of childlike faith. Various Grammy’s, Dove’s, and other awards later, those aquaphiles now feel free to mention water all the time in both the literal and figurative senses, because water is freaking awesome



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          vegas710

          posted February 25, 2011 at 7:30 am


          Yeah, they’ve really run with that water thing, eh? I blame the Vineyard, every other song is about a river.



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Billy

posted February 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm


I wonder if that guy in the motorized wheelchair was healed….



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joel k

posted February 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm


I have known of too many people who have been forever turned away from Jesus by con-men like Robertson, because they never got their “healing”.



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cindyc

posted February 24, 2011 at 7:07 am


Reading through all these posts makes me so sad. LRA, you sound like such an angry person who will never be happy unless people agree with your opinion. I’m sorry that you don’t believe in God (I know, you want to reply, “you don’t need to feel sorry for me! I’m ok!”), but it takes an awful lot of energy to do nothing but argue about what God doesn’t do. If you don’t believe in God, then what do you wish to gain from posting and interacting with others on this blog? Why do you feel it is constantly necessary to slam others’ opinions, beliefs and faith in God? What do you gain from that?



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    vegas710

    posted February 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm


    I don’t know what she gains but I’ve learned a lot from her posts and I appreciate them. What are you adding? Would you like to defend YOUR right to be here, commenting on a BLOG?



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      cindyc

      posted February 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm


      It is nice that you have learned from her posts. I did not ask LRA to defend her right to be here. We live in America and have the liberty of free speech. LRA has just as much right to publicly denounce God is I have to publicly worship Him. What I am adding is my opinion that I don’t think it does anyone any good to do nothing but argue with others because you may not agree with their beliefs–this pertains to all things, not just God.



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        vegas710

        posted February 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm


        I’d say it applies to you as well. What do you get out of picking a fight with LRA?



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Kyle S.

posted February 24, 2011 at 8:58 am


LRA backs up everything she says with data and is even kind enough to provide links. I learn a ton from her posts.



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    cindyc

    posted February 24, 2011 at 9:22 am


    That’s great, Kyle, but it doesn’t address my question.



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      Kyle S.

      posted February 24, 2011 at 9:29 am


      Oh, well.



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        Noelle

        posted February 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm


        sorry Kyle. I’ve tried too. But when they call out LRA, they want her direct reponse. She gives it too. Swiftly and with a nice bite of Texan spice. Not that you should stay out of it. But watch for back-lash



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      LRA

      posted February 24, 2011 at 11:15 am


      Wow, thank Kyle for those kind words!

      Cindyc- aren’t we a judgmental one? If my tone comes across as irritable, then I suppose I am. The crazy things that people believe affects me personally because I live in a nation where stupid, idiotic fundies regularly get elected to office, screw with public education, and try to pass misogynistic laws– all in the name of your ineffective, silent God!

      When I say *personally* I mean *personally*. I ended up leaving University of Texas after completing an undergrad degree in philosophy (I had hoped to do graduate work there) because the philosophy of science department imploded…. why? The respectable people in phil. sci. ended up leaving because of a creationist who has tenure mucking things up. I live in Texas (and I have a master’s degree in science), and I’m a certified teacher. The shenanigans of the Texas School Board has concerned me deeply as it could affect my work in the future. Not to mention that teachers have to be afraid of getting sued if they aren’t careful about how they teach evolution. Some church leaders have gone so far as to tell the parents in their congregation that teaching evolution is hate speech!!! Then, there is the general in-your-face-at-all-times-about-jesus that I have to deal with as a Texan. It irks me because of the utter stupidity of some of these people. Governor Perry is a prime example. Another example is the hapless proselytizer who wants to know if I’ve heard of Jesus. I freakin’ live in the BIBLE BELT! Of course I’ve heard of Jesus!

      The real problem, cindyc, is that people like you don’t like to have your warm, fuzzy notions of God challenged. Well, this is a blog called Jesus Needs New PR. The theme of this blog is a challenge to the Christian community, isn’t it? So rather than try to shame me into silence by insulting me (because after all that was your intention– to insult me– right?) why don’t you examine those feelings of discomfort I cause you to realize that what you believe is inconsistent, fantastical, and cruel when you really, really think about it.



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        LRA

        posted February 24, 2011 at 11:22 am


        ps Cindyc– you complain that I point out what God doesn’t do, well, what does “God” do? Seriously? What exactly can you point to that “God” actually did (as opposed to humans who actually deserve the credit)? Can you give an example of *anything* that can actually, clearly, and non-ambiguously be attributed to “God”?



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          cindyc

          posted February 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm


          LRA,
          You just did a much better job of proving my point than I could ever do! My comment that you sound angry is not judgmental, it’s just stating an observation I have made as a result of reading your posts on this board. And I’m still unclear about what gain there is in insulting others because they believe differently than you.
          C



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          LRA

          posted February 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm


          Wow. What a non-response. So, again, you insult me instead of answering the pertinent questions I posed.

          And people wonder why some Christians can be so infuriating to rational people?



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          cindyc

          posted February 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm


          How am I insulting you?



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          vegas710

          posted February 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm


          It’s called concern-trolling.
          “Reading through all these posts makes me so sad. LRA, you sound like such an angry person who will never be happy unless people agree with your opinion. I’m sorry that you don’t believe in God” etc…
          I know I’m injecting myself but I just can’t help it, feel free to ignore me.



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          cindyc

          posted February 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm


          Just so I’m clear on this: Why does my faith in God insult you? Because you don’t believe in God, does that mean I don’t have the right to believe in Him?



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          vegas710

          posted February 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm


          Wha??? What are you talking about?



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          noelle

          posted February 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm


          Concern Trolling. I love that.

          Cindye darling, you picked a fight specifically with one of our respected regulars, then blatantly dismissed poor Kyle when he tried to engage discussion. I wouldn’t expect a lot of pity.



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          LRA

          posted February 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm


          Aw! Thanks Noelle!!! :D

          Cindy- your beliefs don’t insult me… calling me an angry/ unhappy person without knowing me insults me.

          S’ok.



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          Silica

          posted February 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm


          “Can you give an example of *anything* that can actually, clearly, and non-ambiguously be attributed to “God”?”

          No. None of us can.

          And maybe that’s the point you want to make, and that’s fine. I will say that I learn a lot from your posts as well and I frequently appreciate the contributions you make to this blog and that on most things we would probably agree and would get along great!

          But…I do sometimes feel hurt by the things you say about people of faith, as if we must all be stupid because we believe in something we can’t prove. I have had a very hard spiritual journey, and I have been really hurt by people of faith as well as people without. I don’t deny science, or reason, or logic. I am an intelligent person. I don’t try to push my beliefs on others because I *know* they can’t be proven. I can live in the way that I believe Jesus meant for me to because even if I’m not dropping his name every five seconds I am still trying very hard to love my neighbor. I don’t do it just to show off to people what a good little Christian I am. I had enough of that growing up.

          I am not comfortable in my faith all of the time and you do a good job of pointing out why we shouldn’t be complacent or comfortable all of the time. But I am not going to throw out my faith because I can’t prove my belief in something greater than myself. Faith is based in something else entirely, and having it does not make me weak or simple-minded by default (and even if you haven’t come out and said that explicitly, that is often the impression I get).



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          LRA

          posted February 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm


          Dear Silica–

          Thank you for your honest response. First, let me just say that if I have hurt you I am genuinely sorry. I don’t like to hurt people. I really, really don’t!

          I do get passionate about things because I, too have been hurt by people of faith. (Please don’t take that statement as me saying “I’m sorry, but…” There are no “buts” to my apology to you here).

          I feel frustrated that people are complacent (as you have pointed out). I feel frustrated that people will say things like “Jesus healed my relatively minor health issue, praise Jesus!!!” and not realize that Jesus did not heal someone else’s major health issue, nor protect them from life’s horrors.

          I’m a sensitive person and when I see suffering I get very upset. When I see someone causing that suffering, I get even more upset. I think this is a human response that we all share, believer or not.

          People like Pat Robertson (and other such fundy leaders) lead people to believe really, really absurd things somethings. As Voltaire said, “Those who can believe absurdities can commit atrocities.” This is my underlying worry about the state and the nation that I live in.

          What kinds of atrocious things am I talking about? Redefining rape in order to reduce federal funding of reproductive rights. De-funding Planned Parenthood, which does more to protect women from STDs than any other single organization I can think of. Allowing laws to continue to exist on the books that state that non-believers cannot run for public office (that law is on the books here in Texas). Refusing to acknowledge other people of faith (such as Muslims and Buddhists) by insisting on public prayer to Jesus in a nation that is clearly secular according to the constitution. Blaming the actions of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler (who was actually Catholic) on non-believers to “prove” that we are “evil”. (Did you know that Atheists are the most hated group in America– even more than the KKK?)

          So, what I’m trying to say is that as a non-believer, a scientist, and a woman, I face significant challenges because of people’s religious beliefs. The more fundamentalist they are, the more I have to fear. My voice is the best defense I’ve got against that. I’m learning how to wield it with effect. Perhaps as I grow, I can learn to be more persuasive and less irritable. I guess that is my burden as a passionate person!



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banksy

posted February 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm


is that jay leno in the background?



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cindyc

posted February 25, 2011 at 7:09 am


LRA,
Please re-read my initial post. I NEVER called you angry or unhappy. What I DID say was your posts make me feel like you are angry that others believe in God. Interesting how you can convolute my comments to serve what seems to be your purpose of bashing people (in this case, me) who challenges the way you express yourself.
C



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    vegas710

    posted February 25, 2011 at 7:32 am


    When all else fails, play the victim.



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      LRA

      posted February 25, 2011 at 9:38 am


      Miss Vegas, thank you for your support! :D



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      cindyc

      posted February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am


      Wow….unbelievable!



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        vegas710

        posted February 25, 2011 at 10:37 am


        Okay, then. Where exactly did LRA bash you?



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    LRA

    posted February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am


    Cindy-

    It seems to me that by implying that I’m “angry” and will “not be happy until all people agree with me” that my points can and perhaps should be dismissed as just an angry person with an ax to grind rather than thinking through the points I’m making even if the tone is emotional.

    Have you actually addressed any of the criticisms I’ve raised?

    I don’t have a problem with people believing in some brand of God. I don’t have a problem with various Christians, Muslims, Taoists, Wiccans, Budddhists, animists, Deists, etc.

    That being said, proselytizing fundamentalists (of any kind)annoy the crap out of me and I think they are extremely dangerous– both to themselves and to the rest of us. Extremism just is no good. Extreme fundamental Islam is a prime example. Pat Robertson and his ilk have done soooooooooooooooooooooo much to harm people– but it’s not enough to harm just his own flock, he wanted to run for President at one point so that he could harm me too. And now we have Sarah Palin et al. to deal with. I’ll not stand for it. I’ll speak out against it with all the vehemence I can muster.

    What else is there to say? When my freedom to live as I wish is being threatened by folks who would happily enforce their questionable views of “morality” on me, I fight back. One of the ways I fight back is by pointing out particular absurdities that some people believe.



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      LRA

      posted February 25, 2011 at 11:34 am


      ps Cindy- it occurs to me that we may be having a culture clash here in addition to a clash of ideas.

      It may or may not make a difference to our conversation, but in the culture I come from (Latino on my mom’s side), arguing for an idea with emotion is an indicator of how seriously one takes the idea. IOW, arguing dispassionately is seen as a sign of sophistry or deception.

      Of course, my dad’s side of the family is more the “stiff-upper-lip” type. They are Scottish by descent, and some remained Presbyterian. However, I do have a number of family members (most in fact) that have become “born again” fundies (my dad included). They argue passionately, to be sure, just without any recognizable reason or logic it seems.

      Don’t know if that will ease things or not.



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cindyc

posted February 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm


Just in case you needed reminding about what judgmental sounds like…

“why don’t you examine those feelings of discomfort I cause”
“particular absurdities that some people believe.”
“play the victim.”
“Christians can be so infuriating to rational people?”
“Another example is the hapless proselytizer who wants to know if I’ve heard of Jesus.”
“I live in a nation where stupid, idiotic fundies regularly get elected to office, screw with public education, and try to pass misogynistic laws– all in the name of your ineffective, silent God!”
“And you were quite certain that it was *actually* God and not your power of imagination?”

Now to address the criticisms you raise: I believe in God, you don’t. Lots of people do, lots of people don’t. You choose to address the bad things that have happened in your life by hating God, I choose to address the bad things that have happened in my life by loving Him more. You need proof, I have proof–it’s my faith. I don’t criticize your beliefs and you should not criticize mine. We live in a democracy where we have choice, freedom, free speech and a right to vote. Why do you expect a pat on the back for “emotionally” verbalizing your beliefs, while at the same time wanting those in your community in Texas to be silent on theirs? Seems hypocritical to me!

I know, because I used to be just like you. Sometimes we need to take a look in the mirror and see what others see–it’s difficult, and humbling, but can make you a better person.



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    LRA

    posted February 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm


    Wow! Way to cherry pick. I’m done talking to you. You are an ass. How’s that for judgement?



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      cindyc

      posted February 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm


      So you asked me to address your criticisms, and when I state my opinions you call me a name. Gee….



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        vegas710

        posted February 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm


        Golly, it’s all so baffling! Innocent little me and mean old you.
        You’re a real joy, cindyc. It’s nice to see an ambassador of Christ showing the rest of us how it should be done.
        /snark



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          LRA

          posted February 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm


          Yes, isn’t it funny! I’ve asked repeatedly that people of faith recognize the other people in their community who believe differently… just to have someone imply my “intolerance” of their intolerance.

          Miss Vegas, thank you sincerely for showing me that some believers are as passionate about real equality as I am. I remember your excellent posts on equality for gay people under the law (something that *should* be automatic), and I have confidence that you support my right to live my life as my conscience dictates. I also support the believer’s right to do the same. I feel like certain groups would rather strip me of that because they feel that they have a right to tell me what to do with my body, what I can and cannot believe, and even to deny the mountains of evidence for the scientific advancements that have changed the way humans view themselves over the past 150 years, especially with respect to “God”.

          All I can say is that I don’t know if there is a God. There very well may be a God, and there may not be a God. That is not my place to say. However, I can and will continue to make statements about the extrapolated beliefs that people have about metaphysical issues (such as the existence of God) and their effects on how we ordinary people live. To have a leader of a particular faith make the absurd statements that Robertson has made here is something I will continue to stand up to… because believer or not, I don’t like to see people suffer with such atrocious lies as Robertson makes.

          To believe that prayer affects the relative few on the relatively minor inconveniences of life when God could have had the power to shield people from rapes, murders, mass dyings because of disease, and other such hardships is ATROCIOUS. It is ARROGANT. It is EVIL. It is WRONG. I will NEVER be sorry for feeling strongly about this. NEVER EVER. If people want to criticize me for this, my question is: why aren’t they criticizing “God” for this? Because, ultimately, *HE* is the person to blame for it.



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          vegas710

          posted February 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm


          I love your passion and the intelligence and reason you bring to the mix. I grew up fundamentalist pentacostal. I graduated from Bible college. My husband and I took our kids to church. I became a “liberal” years ago and started having misgivings about Christianity. Last year I just couldn’t do it anymore. I quit attending our church and then one day realized that I didn’t HAVE to believe. It was the most liberating feeling, I’ve been high on it ever since. I consider myself agnostic now.



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          LRA

          posted February 26, 2011 at 4:01 am


          Aw! Thank you girl!
          :D

          Welcome to the dark side… LOL!!!!!



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          cindyc

          posted February 26, 2011 at 9:09 am


          So it’s clear: you have the right to continuously bash others, but can’t accept and respect the right others have to their opinions and beliefs. When I make a statement about something you’ve said that you cannot respond to, you call me a name, and continue to mock me by accusing me of playing a “victim”. You can only really have any sort of dialogue with a person who believes the same as you, about things you believe in, verbally high-fiving one another while you kick other’s beliefs to the curb–simply because you are unwilling to respect another’s beliefs. So no matter what I say, *two* people with insecurity in themselves (which is really the only reason people are unwilling to look at things in other ways) will use each other to convolute my words.
          Here’s my point–people believe different things. I have been with all kinds of people, including frauds like Pat Robertson. I have been with people who *claim* they have made limbs grow “in the name of Jesus Christ”–of course, that’s never happened. As a Christian, I have shown solidarity with a Muslim mosque in our local newspaper because so-called “Christians” were protesting against them. I have close friends who are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and atheists. I have friends who have had abortions. In my line of work, I have performed life-saving measures on murderers, child-abusers, and victims. I have also seen my share of suffering and pain– in my personal life, my professional life, and in places all over the world. Here’s the deal: people are the cause of those things, not God. People who are unwilling to respect one another, no matter what the label they put on themselves, are in my experience, dangerous to society and to themselves and their families. So before you twist my words around to poke insults at me and others who don’t believe the way you do, it’s probably a good idea to afford others the respect you expect for yourselves.



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          LRA

          posted February 26, 2011 at 9:36 am


          This is the last thing I will say to you–

          You clearly don’t understand the difference between questioning ideas and bashing people. I question people’s ideas about God. That is NOT bashing. Furthermore, I state that these ideas are dangerous and problematic and why I feel strongly that they are wrong. Again, that is NOT bashing. Bashing is what we call “ad hominem” in the logic world. If I back up my claims with strong evidence– even a claim that makes a moral judgment– it doesn’t count as an “ad hominem”.

          And just to be clear, I called you an ass because you ripped my words out of context to DELIBERATELY misrepresent me. It is a logical fallacy called “cherry picking” and it is an intellectually dishonest thing to do.

          You want my respect, then earn it by engaging the IDEAS I’ve talked about here.

          If you don’t want your notions of God to be challenged, then I suggest you read another blog rather than one called “Jesus Needs New PR.”



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          LRA

          posted February 26, 2011 at 10:02 am


          ps. You are welcome to your own opinions. However you are not welcome to your own facts.

          Healing falls under the domain of medicine and science. The fact is, prayer has little, if any effect on the outcome of a medical condition. It’s only effect is similar to a placebo. Therefore, it is an unreliable way to treat a condition.

          Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.



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          cindyc

          posted February 26, 2011 at 11:36 am


          I have specialized in the science of critical care medicine for 25 years. These are not my own facts. FACT: There have been several scientific research studies done about the effects of prayer on healing. Results of these studies have shown that prayer is effective in decreasing heart failure, resulting in less diuretic use, fewer cardiac arrests, pneumonias and antibiotic use (when compared to control groups where prayer is the independent variable). FACT: Studies examining prayer in the care of AIDS patients show they have fewer illnesses, fewer MD visits, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer days in the hospital. FACT: prayer has been scientifically proven to decrease metabolism, heart and respiratory rates, slow brain waves and create a relaxation response which is helpful in alleviating medical problems associated with cardiovascular disease, AIDS, chronic pain and depression. Treatment of a disease does not only include the outcome–we all die at some point, of something. Using your logic, we can also argue that the scientific treatment for heart failure, which is gold-standard, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, does not “treat” heart failure, because the outcome is that eventually the patient will die–of heart failure, because they are human. Treatment of a disease includes holistically treating a human being. I know, it’s what I do. So, my dear, those are the FACTS–not my own. And science doesn’t lie, right?



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          LRA

          posted February 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm


          Citations?



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          LRA

          posted February 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm


          And just so you know… a journal like “Nurses Journal of Alternative Medicine” counts neither as science nor as medicine.

          I’d be shocked if you could provide one citation from a respectable journal that doesn’t lump prayer in with yoga, positive thinking, and placebo for effects on outcomes. IOW, prayer just ain’t special.



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          vegas710

          posted February 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm


          You beat me to it, LRA. Meditation, yoga and even massage have the same effects.



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cindyc

posted February 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm


The importance of prayer for mind/body healing.Full Text Available
Maier-Lorentz MM; Nursing Forum, 2004 Jul-Sep; 39 (3): 23-32 (journal article – review) ISSN: 0029-6473 PMID: 15551796 CINAHL AN: 2005034777
Subjects: Holistic Care; Prayer

Healing through prayer: a qualitative study.Detail Only Available
(includes abstract); Helming, Mary Blaszko; Holistic Nursing Practice, 2011 Jan-Feb; 25 (1): 33-44 (journal article – research, tables/charts) ISSN: 0887-9311 PMID: 21150503 CINAHL AN: 2010902537
Subjects: Prayer; Spirituality; Adult: 19-44 years; Aged: 65+ years; Middle Aged: 45-64 years; Female; Male

And each include a long reference list as well.



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    LRA

    posted February 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm


    Neither of those is science or medicine. Try again.



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    vegas710

    posted February 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm


    Cindyc, if the studies are showing the same effects resulting from other forms of alternative care, what does that mean to you? I’m genuinely curious about where you believe God enters the picture.



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      LRA

      posted February 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm


      Both of those studies (and note they are studies of clinical application, not hypotheses tested via the scientific method) basically state that if patients have positive experiences, they’ll respond a little better to treatment. This is *self reported*, meaning it is subjectively biased.

      There are no controls, no hypothesis, and no double-blind methodology. Hence, any findings above the general (and already well-known) notion that positive experiences help with clinical care are null and void concerning prayer’s actual effectiveness due to anything above a placebo effect.



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        LRA

        posted February 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm


        Also, the citations provided did nothing to back up her supposed claims of FACT (above) that prayer has been “scientifically proven” effective. (Just the use of the word “proven” here also indicates that Cindy actually knows nothing about how science works. Math is proven. Science is epistemologically justified empirically with evidence.)



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          cindyc

          posted February 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm


          So you continue to insult me, claiming to know more about the scientific basis of my profession, which I have been in for 25 years. The studies are scholarly research based on qualitative research studies. There are many, many kinds of research–I have a graduate level university education based on this. So we go in the loop of you only choosing to believe what you have already decided to believe because you are too closed-minded to learn something new–which was the point of my initial post several days ago. That’s unfortunate, because if you stop talking long enough to listen to someone else you may learn something–in many areas of your life.

          LRA, the studies I have cited did indeed have control groups. In the first article, there was a group with intercessory prayer, and a group that did not receive that. All of the other studies also were similar. Prayer was the independent variable. Because there is no way to tangibly measure many things the research world uses various tools that are validated by several ways in the scientific community, as well as peer reviewed. These “subjective” tools exist for measurement of many scientific variables, such as problems in cancer, heart failure, and are the basis of much psychologic research as well. I would think someone with such a vast body of knowledge like you would know that!

          If you are so stuck on your scientific numbers and how they are “proven”, you would also understand that there are many statistical tests to validate research. Depending on which test is used, the data can be seriously skewed data and make what is not true look true on paper. This has happened with research regarding coronary stents, pharmaceutical drugs, and many other “scientific” studies. I would think that someone who is such a science scholar would know that! Maybe you missed that day in school? :)



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          noelle

          posted February 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm


          Cindyc, if you search prayer in the conchrane data base I provided below, you’ll see they did a meta-analysis on 10 studies like the 1 you described. Total of 7600+ patients. Running the stats on all the studies showed no overall significant difference between the prayer and no prayer groups



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noelle

posted February 27, 2011 at 10:50 am


I’m only on iPhone today, so it’s too hard to link actual studies.

http://www.conchrane.org/reviews/

Is a good place to go for a good analysis of studies available on different subjects. True scientific journal language takes some training to master. Many people who work in graduate level fields don’t have the skills to critically interpret original studies from pubmed. Conchrane is concise, does meta-analysis (combining findings from multiple studies), and always ends with an easily readable summary of conclusions. If you site conchrane, most scientific types will take you seriously.

True double-blind, placebo-controlled, with large study groups, and methods that can be easily repeated by independent groups are the kind of studies required for scientific evidence. Journal articles, correlational studies (correlation doesn’t imply causation), and anecdotal stories aren’t the same thing



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    cindyc

    posted February 28, 2011 at 10:20 am


    Hi Noelle,
    I appreciate your sane, level-headed and respectful response to me! I am familiar with “cochrane.org” (not “CONchrane.org), and as I’ve said I am also quite familiar with research based studies along with evidence based practice and the clinical applications–it has been my specialty for 25 years (and I’ve even authored a few “meta-analyses”–but thanks for the definition!) There are some approaches to research in highly specialized areas that need to use unique design strategies, such as designs for primary prevention, secondary analysis, methodological design, health promotion,etc, so not all valid studies have a blinding design, and MANY studies (including scientific drug and treatment studies) are not placebo controlled–it would not be ethical). That being said, there are many studies and scholarly schools of thought which extoll the virtue of prayer and it’s positive effects on health and well-being. The “science” of medicine is not a black and white animal–there are many shades of gray, as we don’t only treat one part at a time, but a whole person: body, mind and spirit. It is difficult to have controls in a study surrounding prayer because it is not possible for a scientist to control the amounts and quality of prayer as you would “typical” independent variables. People who vehemently discredit these treatments are dangerous to the medical community and it’s patients. Below is an abstract from an article which communicates my feelings perfectly, especially the part about the skepticism.

    Spirituality Health and CAM: Current Controversies
    Weaver, Andrew J; Flannelly, Kevin J; Stone, Howard W. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine [H.W. Wilson – GS]9.6 (Nov/Dec 2003): 42-6.
    Abstract
    A comment on the continued failure of Richard Sloan, a psychologist and associate professor at Columbia University, to acknowledge evidence of a role for spiritual factors in well-being and the growth of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. Sloan has dismissed a massive amount of data documenting a spiritual aspect of CAM, as well as a solid body of empirical research demonstrating that individuals not only desire spiritual care when they are ill but that such care can have benefits for patients. He has also misrepresented facts in erroneous, incorrect, and misleading statements. Skepticism requires that all evidence in a given field is dispassionately assessed; however, when skepticism degenerates into denial of evidence, it ceases to be genuine and loses its ability to be of service to science.



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      Noelle

      posted February 28, 2011 at 11:08 am


      Spelling’s not my strong point. Prayer is a difficult variable to control, it not being a pill. It doesn’t have adverse side effects. Used as part of a complete treatment program, I don’t have a problem with it. I am concerned with those that have serious illnesses, like leukemia, who forego medical treatment entirely for herbs, prayer or other spiritual methods. I am concerned for those who think their prayers weren’t good enough when their loved-one still dies. But together, no problem



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        vegas710

        posted February 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm


        I think it is pretty clear that any of the things we’ve mentioned, including prayer, that treat the whole person are beneficial to healing. What I wonder is how that proves anything about God.



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          Noelle

          posted February 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm


          doesn’t prove anything about God



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          vegas710

          posted February 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm


          Sorry, that was supposed to be in response to cindyc. I agree that it proves nothing about God.



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cindyc

posted March 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm


Noelle,
I wholeheartedly agree with you! After all, I am in the medical profession, and Luke was a physician as well….there is really nothing that alone can help someone, but in conjunction can be very beneficial. At the church I used to go to, there was a “clique” of people who would pray about the degree of illness you have being related to sin (that’s why I USED to go there)–there was the nicest man who had renal failure secondary to hypertension, one health crisis after another despite any treatments, and I would always have to take him aside and remind him what a good person he was, and he was not sick because of something he did. It was terrible. There are people (like Pat Robertson) who prey on believers who are naive–people like Pat Robertson help to give true believers a bad rep. Then again, there are also religious groups like Jehovah’s WItnesses who are so faithful that they refuse blood transfusions because of their scriptural interpretation. I have seen people make a conscious decision to die from relatively minor health issues that could easily be treated with a transfusion because they are JW. Even though I disagree with their thinking, I have to say I respect their faith and integrity that holds fast even in the face of death.



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