Andy Walton looks at whether there is a "Religious Right" emerging in Britain
This 'Christian doctor' was lucky not to be struck off
19th June 2012
I have some sympathy for GP Richard Scott, the "Christian doctor" recently arraigned by the General Medical Council, who told a patient that he might get better if he prayed. After all, prayer was the first therapeutic intervention, and the Christian church has been at the honourable forefront of healing. Many treatments involved getting the patient to pray for their own recovery. But if prayer per se is of proven value, what happens when other people pray for you?
One of the most authoritative scientific studies comes from a Christian organisation. Just last year Leanne Roberts, from the Southwark diocesan office, published a scholarly assessment of the power of prayer. Together with colleagues, she evaluated a number of research trials which involved nearly 8,000 patients. There was no difference overall in recovery from illness or death, whether subjects were prayed for or not.
What if you do not know you are being prayed for? Or if the supplicants do not know for which patients they are pleading? One trial compared patients in a coronary care unit. Remarkably, those at high risk of death were more likely to live when prayed for. Cardiac surgery was more likely to be needed among those not "receiving" prayer.
Robert Winston | The Guardian
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