Monday, April 09, 2007

Science & Prayer

Having a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas and having attended science fiction conventions all these year, I am well aware of the conflicts between science and religion. After writing and posting last night, I did a google search to find the reference I remembered reading about the scientific studies of prayer and sick patients. I found myself "correcting" my post, because I could not find the study I thought I remembered. Instead, I found hostile articles from atheistic and agnostic scientists.

Christians often leap onto studies that support their beliefs - much to the chagrin and irritation of more empirical researchers. However, I find that these pure scientists also work under assumptions that require faith in their methodology as well. Sometimes I see "science" substituted for faith in God. Scientific theories change over time as new things are learned or found.

As Christians, I think we need to be very careful that we respect the role of science in our world. We need to be accurate when using science in our Christian lessons. Everytime a Christian misuses a scientific study or ridicules science, we put a barrier between scientists and Christ. I do not want to be a stumbling block that prevents someone from meeting Christ. If I am talking with a science oriented person, I need to be careful and talk their "language." I need to be respectful.

I believe that God created the earth. Whether he did it in 6 literal (24 hour) days - or 6 days in God's reckoning is not an issue for me. 2 Peter 3:8 "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." I believe that God created the natural forces that scientists study. I believe fossil records.

But I also believe that humans are spiritual beings as well as physical. Many of our illnesses occur when we are stressed over the events that happen around us. I like the medical practices that seek to treat the whole person. I think there is much science still has to learn about how the spirit and physical are connected. Many of our alternative medical treatments come from Eastern thinking.

I also found mention of a study on MIT - music, imagery, and touch therapy. Once again this fits in with the Biblical concept of the laying on of hands. And, it is also something that science has a hard time quantifying and measuring.

Both scientists and Christians need to overcome their prejudices so we can learn more about how God set up this glorious world - and how we can live happier, more productive lives in harmony with his plan.

Henry found one study for me - it is unique because it went out and evaluated 17 other scientific studies. I think it interesting as well that it comes from a social work perspective. Anyone who studies psychiatric and social work knows that different people respond very differently to psychological stimulus and treatment.

Our universe is a complex place. Humans are one of the most complex species. I think we need both science and religion.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I agree. It is an interesting subject. On the other hand I am skeptical about a lot of stuff. For example I am skeptical about the age of dinosaurs. I suspect that they did live in the same era as man. For example, if they are in the historic record they would not be called dinosaurs (which is a modern word), but rather dragons. And in fact dragons are referenced in many ancient books including the Bible.

I am skeptical that going from less complexity to more complexity is a natural process. Life is beyond our own technology and I am skeptical that this could be a natural (non-miraculous) event.

There is more, but that is enough for now.