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Category: Spirituality & Medicine

Religious Doctors May Not Be Called to Serve the Poor

gif_occu_c_043_ss.gif For many doctors (religious or not), the practice of medicine is more a “job” than a “calling”, even though there may be an undercurrent of “desire to serve”. Ask any job applicant, and you’ll get the typical answer: “I am applying for this job because I want to help people.” Doctors enter medicine for many reasons, one of which may be “to help people”, but this is different from being called specifically to serve a certain group of people. It does bring a reality check for those patients who believe that a doctor’s religious affiliation may have a greater influence on the altruistic motives of that doctor than a doctor who does not claim a religious affiliation. (more…)

Does it Pay to Pray?

By Yvonne Kao

A study1 on the effect of intercessory prayer on recovery was reported in the American Heart Journal. The study procedure, in short: Cardiac bypass patients all around the country were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups:

  1. Uncertain/No Prayer: Patients in this group were told they might or might not receive prayers; they did not receive prayers.
  2. Uncertain/Prayer: Patients in this group were told they might or might not receive prayers; they did receive prayers.
  3. Certain/Prayer: Patients in this group were told they would receive prayers; they did receive prayers.

This study was reported under headlines like, “Intercessory Prayer Has No Major Effect on Recovery (BeliefNet) 2, “Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer” (New York Times)3, “Study Fails to Show Healing Power of Prayer (Yahoo! News)4, and “Prayer Does Not Heal the Sick, Study Finds (Times Online)5. These headlines may be catchy, but they do extreme violence to the actual science. (more…)

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