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Christianity emodude on 03 Jan 2007 11:15 pm

Tele-evangelist sued over ‘God can heal’ claim

Here’s a sad article where a tele-evangelist named Darlene Bishop is being sued by her own relatives because of her claims of God healing her own brother, who died after Darlene convinced him to quit his chemotherapy and instead rely on ‘God’s healing’.  This woman was willing to risk her own brother’s life to try and further push her own agenda.  Any Christians who ask the question ‘Where’s the harm in religion?’ should be sent a link to this article.

Rational people completely understand that no study has ever shown prayer to be effective in healing.  Start reading from chapter 5 of this website through chapter 11 to understand how prayer really works (or rather, doesn’t work).  Perhaps if Darlene had read these chapters and could let go of her own delusion her brother might still be alive today.

26 Responses to “Tele-evangelist sued over ‘God can heal’ claim”

  1. on 04 Jan 2007 at 12:15 am 1.Dabomb said …

    See also:

    A prayer before dying

  2. on 04 Jan 2007 at 12:16 am 2.Sam said …

    Anyone who thinks prayer is real should read Understanding Superstition.

  3. on 04 Jan 2007 at 1:59 am 3.Mattstarrs said …

    The article is not really focused on the question “can God heal” but is more apropriately focused on the issue of the brother and sisters fraud and the brothers children taking legal action.

    The existence of a counterfeit doesn’t mean there is not a genuine.

  4. on 04 Jan 2007 at 3:01 am 4.Mattstarrs said …

    You made the comment:

    “Rational people completely understand that no study has ever shown prayer to be effective in healing”.

    Come on. You know that is just not true. By all means criticise the science used, in particular the failure to control certain variables, but don’t lie!

    Here’s an example of worthy criticism on research of the effect of prayer in healing:

    “While it is true that many impressive scientific studies have been published, there may well be many more studies which produced zero or negative results of which we are unaware. Skeptic Victor Stenger wrote: “We have no idea how many experiments may have been done that gave no positive effects and consequently were never published (the ‘filedrawer effect’).”

    It really damages your credibility when you make blanket claims that we all know are simply not substantiated.

    The study you linked to may have design flaws of its own. For example, did the Christian groups that were praying “believe” that God would heal? The bible clearly links faith and answered prayer.

    Or, more importantly, were they “practiced” in this type of prayer that brings healing? There is a vast difference between having a notional belief, and the confidence that comes with experience.

    Finally, the onus of faith is usually on the one receiving the healing in Biblical accounts. What was the background of the patients involved?

    These are just guesses at possible design flaws. I have no way of knowing the answer to these questions.

    Matt.

  5. on 04 Jan 2007 at 8:32 am 5.A Fisher said …

    >You made the comment:
    >
    >“Rational people completely
    >understand that no study has
    >ever shown prayer to be effective
    >in healing”.
    >
    >Come on. You know that is just
    >not true. By all means criticise
    >the science used, in particular
    >the failure to control certain
    >variables, but don’t lie!

    Do you know of any valid scientific study, published in a refereed journal, not later proven fraudulent, that shows a healing effect for prayer? I would like to see it.

  6. on 04 Jan 2007 at 10:34 am 6.Mushinronjya said …

    matts – show us evidence of prayer being effective.
    But yes, all scientific studies show that prayer = crap.

  7. on 04 Jan 2007 at 10:37 am 7.Brian said …

    “These are just guesses at possible design flaws. I have no way of knowing the answer to these questions.”

    Ah, but doesn’t your omniscient God ‘know’ the answers to these? You really believe it makes a difference to God that the people praying are ‘practiced’ in a certain type of praying that brings healing? I can see God’s thinking now:

    God hearing ‘healing’ prayer: “Oh wait a minute, these people are not doing the proper prayer for healing, even though I completely understand their intentions. No healing for their intended prayer recipients today. Next time get it right dummies!”

    or maybe God was thinking this:

    “Oh those tricky humans! They’re trying to run a study to see if I actually heal. Well, that would take away their faith if there was actual proof. No way I’m helping those people. That’ll teach ‘em!”

    Sorry Matt, but you playing guessing games that something may be wrong with the study doesn’t change the outcome of EVERY study ever done regarding the effectiveness of prayer. Please read the chapters referenced in the article to help you gain a better understanding.

  8. on 04 Jan 2007 at 3:54 pm 8.Mattstarrs said …

    There is a verse in the bible that says that “he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him”, another says that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, let not that man think that he shall recieve anything from the Lord”. I could go on with these all day. Other scriptures declare that God will reject the prayers of the wicked. If you want to test something like the bible claim that God will answer prayer shouldn’t you at least meet the preconditions which have been clearly stated before declaring that the claim is false?

    Failing to do this is BAD SCIENCE!

    I just did a google search or “research prayer healing”. There are plenty of references there for both sides of the debate. The very first page listed starts its conclusion with the following comment:
    “These studies have shown conclusive evidence of the power of prayer”.

    My point is that the studies she cites may be flawed, but they do exist.

  9. on 04 Jan 2007 at 4:16 pm 9.Thomas Fahy said …

    The participants of the WWGHA Blog may find the following link helpful, as it describes the generally accepted tenets of Argumentation Theory–a theory which, if complied with, is capable of resolving differences which result from competing viewpoints.

    The Rules of Engagement

  10. on 04 Jan 2007 at 4:18 pm 10.Thomas Fahy said …

    The Rules of Engagement

  11. on 04 Jan 2007 at 4:18 pm 11.Thomas Fahy said …

    http://arcadiafinancial.biz/blog/2007/01/04/argumentation-theory-the-rules-of-engagement/

  12. on 04 Jan 2007 at 4:45 pm 12.Sam said …

    TF,

    Pertaining to the “rules of engagement”, it states:

    “What is a logical fallacy? A logical fallacy refers to a structural flaw present in an argument that renders the conclusion false, as the basis of that argument—the premise—is invalid. Logical fallacies can be avoided if one’s patterns of reasoning throughout the defense of a premise are substantiated with evidence and if that evidence is shown to evince the original premise conclusively.”

    What are we to do with religion, where there is no evidence?

  13. on 04 Jan 2007 at 4:56 pm 13.Thomas Fahy said …

    You have just answered your own question. In a rational world, there are no contradictions. If, following a rational debate or inquiry, contradictions arise, the premise in question must be reevaluated, as clearly that premise exhibts one or more logical fallacies. If no evidence is available to substantiate that premise upon closer evaluation, it may be stated that the premise does not stand up to the rigors of formal logic, and thus, the premise is subsequently invalidated until a time when verifiable evidence can be brought to bear upon the original argument.

  14. on 04 Jan 2007 at 9:16 pm 14.Mushinronjya said …

    Matts –
    even prayers by those that “really believe” (as if that matters) do not get answers.

    Prayer has no effect, whatsoever.
    Ever.
    Anytime.
    Anywhere.

  15. on 04 Jan 2007 at 10:38 pm 15.Mattstarrs said …

    Thanks for clearing that up. . . . er . . where’s your evidence for these absolutes?

    Allow me to re-iterate by way of cut and paste:

    I just did a google search or “research prayer healing”. There are plenty of references there for both sides of the debate. The very first page listed starts its conclusion with the following comment:
    “These studies have shown conclusive evidence of the power of prayer”.

    My point is that the studies she cites may be flawed, but they do exist.

  16. on 05 Jan 2007 at 1:13 am 16.FINDER OF LOST SHEEP said …

    YOU NEED TO READ THE HOLY BIBLE AGAIN!!! AND ALSO USE A DICTIONARY YOU DIDNT GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!!! OR THE FIRST 50 TIMES YOU ARE ALL POOR LOST SHEEP I WISH I HAD TIME TO TALK TO ALL WHO JOIN YOU BUT I COMMEND YOU FOR BELIVING IN SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS NON BELIF BE HOT OR COLD!!! I KEEP THE FAITH FOR ALL OF US EVEN YOUR KNEE WILL BEND AND YOUR MOUTH WILL CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!!!!! THE ROCKS WILL CRY OUT IF YOU DON’T! AND LOST SHEEP… I AM ONE OF THOSE ROCKS

  17. on 05 Jan 2007 at 1:43 am 17.Mattstarrs said …

    Yep. That was helpful . . . .

  18. on 05 Jan 2007 at 11:48 am 18.Mushinronjya said …

    mattstarrs…

    I cannot disprove a negative.
    One only needs to look at the fact that there is no evidence for prayer *whatsoever* to show that, logically, it’s ridiculous.

    I have no evidence of a beanstalk that can grow to the clouds, does that mean that one can?

  19. on 05 Jan 2007 at 4:56 pm 19.Brian said …

    mattstarrs said: “If you want to test something like the bible claim that God will answer prayer shouldn’t you at least meet the preconditions which have been clearly stated…”

    That’s funny. You referenced 2 bible verses (without giving the exact verses) and say ‘there’s plenty more’, and this is your idea of ‘clearly laid out’? Read all the verses listed here at proof#1 of GodIsImaginary where Jesus clearly explains how prayer through him works. Does it work this way? I think not. So don’t try to sell anyone on your ‘clearly stated’ statement; the Bible is endlessly contradictory as I have just demonstrated with your help.

  20. on 06 Jan 2007 at 4:52 am 20.Mattstarrs said …

    No I am saying they are clearly laid out in the bible. Anyone serious about the research would need to become familiar with these, and there are so many, each with their own contexts and applications. One of them you link to and try to dismiss, which may prove effective for those that are not familiar with either the text or orthodox theology which takes into account the whole counsel of the word of God.

    First describe a scenario is described that is not consistent with the milieu Jesus was describing. It says:

    What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:

    Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

    We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.
    Will anything happen? No. Of course not.

    How can you “pray sincerely”, saying that you are praying in faith, yet believing that nothing will happen? If I can see through your hypocrisy why can’t you?

    Here is the scripture quoted:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    Firstly, Ask, seek and knock, in the original greek language are in the perfect present tense, which means that they should literally read “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking”. This suggests that there will be a time lapse between ask and receive.

    Secondly, Jesus is addressing those whom God is their Father. Not everyone can claim God as their father. Jesus told the hypocrites of His day that their father was the devil. Infact, the start of the discourse that the promise was taken from says”:

    Matthew 5
    1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

    2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

    If you are not a disciple, he is not talking to you.

    Thirdly, This passage was taken from “the Sermon on the Mount”, a discourse which spans several chapters. The first of which goes to great lengths to point out that the standard required for an individual to be in right standing with God, their righteousness must exceed that of the most righteous that they knew. In fact Jesus raised the bar for morality so high that it was literally unattainable for any of us. Until we fulfill the demands of chapter 5 we are ineligible for the promises of chapter 7.

    Also, it should be noted the verses which immediately preceed the verse quoted say:

    3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

    5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    Which really is suggesting that I do myself no favours by discussing this with you.

  21. on 06 Jan 2007 at 11:51 am 21.Mushinronjya said …

    How can talking to yourself be anything other than that anyhow?

  22. on 23 Jan 2007 at 3:45 pm 22.Loi P said …

    Quote from mattstarrs:
    “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
    This is Jesus talking, right? That’s an awfully funny thing for Jesus to say. Was Jesus not the man who preached to the prostitutes and the unclean?
    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  23. on 23 Jan 2007 at 4:46 pm 23.Mattstarrs said …

    Dear Loi P,

    You are quite right when you say:
    “Quote from mattstarrs:
    “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
    This is Jesus talking, right? That’s an awfully funny thing for Jesus to say. Was Jesus not the man who preached to the prostitutes and the unclean?
    Please correct me if I’m wrong.”

    Your error is not in what you say I said, nor in what you say that Jesus said. Your error is to assume that Jesus was referring to the the prostitutes and unclean (sinners) as dogs and swine. It was not the unclean nor was it sinners that Jesus opposed in the Gospel records. It was the hypocrites. Those that jesus healed and blessed were all sinners. Those that Jesus rebuked all had this in common: They considered themselves right.

    Hypocrisy is the enemy that Jesus despised the most.

    He warns us about doing exactly what I have done here with Mushy.

  24. on 23 Jan 2007 at 4:48 pm 24.Mushinronjya said …

    “He warns us about doing exactly what I have done here with Mushy.”

    Since Jesus is fictional, as well as the buybull mythology, I don’t think you have much to worry about other than looking like a fool in the forums.

  25. on 23 Jan 2007 at 4:53 pm 25.Mattstarrs said …

    I have nothing to worry about either way.

    Jesus has forgiven my sins and you make me look incredibly wise.

  26. on 23 Jan 2007 at 5:02 pm 26.Mushinronjya said …

    “I have nothing to worry about either way.

    Jesus has forgiven my sins and you make me look incredibly wise. ”

    Hahaha!
    And the delusion has a firm grasp!

    Jesus doesn’t exist! How can he forgive sins, which is a victimless crime?

    And you buying into a belief without any logical justification hardly makes you look wise, but I expect nothing less than irrationalism coming from a xian. :D :D You lose, but don’t know it… it’s still an ego rush over here on this side. :P

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