Faith Healing – Meerkat Musings vs Theology Archeology

As you may already be aware of if you have followed my blog or site, I have been critical of some of the articles produced by the author of the website Theology Archeology. Our first ‘discussion’ was on homosexuality, and given the author is a passionate Christian, it was unsurprising that we did not agree.

My next conversation with them was about faith healing. My first comment can be found here, but I’ll also repeat the text below. My posts will be in green, theirs will be in purple:

This post started life as a comment to the Theology Archeology site, regarding TA’s latest post, this time about faith healing. I had hoped that they would be prepared to enter into a discussion about it, but they declined to publish my comment. This is their prerogative – it’s their site.

Edit: TA has now posted my comment and replied to it, for which I thank him.

As someone who is a parent, I must first of all say that if given the choice between relying on prayer or turning to medical treatment to help my daughter, I will always turn to the latter. Why? Because whilst there are failures of modern medical treatment, the success rate is significant better, both in percentage terms and in actual terms, than faith healing.

Out of 172 children to have died when their parents/guardians shunned medical treatment in favour of faith healing, 140 would have had a 90% chance of survival. http://www.childrenshealthcare.org/PDF%20Files/Pediatricsarticle.pdf

Moreover, this ignores the real issue. The percentage of children (or indeed, anyone) saved by faith healing is what? 50%? 60% Do you have statistical evidence from double-blind studies that can verify its effectiveness to ANY degree?

On the other hand, modern medicine is known to work. Take the measles vaccine – since it was introduced in the US in the early 1960s, cases have dropped from around the 500,000 mark to well below 100,000 (in fact, the graph in the link would suggest that measles cases in the US are staggeringly low: http://www.vaccines.gov/basics/effectiveness/). In fact, according to the CDC, cases come in at triple digits, a decrease of 99.86% from the figures from the early 1960s. http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

Has there been any study carried out to suggest what the infection rate is among people who don’t immunise, and instead prefer to rely on prayer and faith?

His first reply:

Your comment demonstrates that you have a faulty idea of what faith healing entails. It is obvious that you did not read the three posts or if you did you did not grasp what was said. Your points were covered in all three posts and since God does not work the scientific way, your demand for blind studies is moot.

Then since faith healers do not keep records, no one knows the total amount of people who were healed by legitimate faith healers. Keep in mind, I am not pointing people to preachers like Benny Hinn and others like him. There are frauds in the faith healing arena just like there are quacks permeating the modern medical realm.

As for editing, I am free to edit as I deem fit and will do so regardless of what anyone thinks.

The reference to editing concerns a comment of mine that they cut down to just one sentence – the post refuted a notion they had around businesses refusing service to whomever they wished – I mentioned it because I was concerned that they would take to editing my posts again. This is part of the reason why I am publishing the discussion here, in this format – to preserve it in case they go back and make changes.

On to my reply:

{edited to keep post on topic} (he removed my mentioning of his earlier behaviour. I let that slide)

Faith healing is the act of prayer and worship to God to heal someone’s illness or injury, is it not? But even that misses the point I was making, and you seem to have missed it too. Your original post was something of an attack on medical science, and I have noticed you make several attacks on science during the course of your blog. I won’t go into detail on all of them now, and will instead focus on the faith healing vs modern medicine discussion.

Does modern medicine and medical treatment get things wrong? Of course. No system is perfect and where there is the capacity for human error there will be human error. This doesn’t equate to wilful neglect.

Even then, doctors can and do face jail if they make mistakes that cost lives. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-197231/Doctor-jailed-killing-patient.html

The main issue though, is that there is a distinction between trying to save a life through a proven means and failing, and wilfully ignoring said means, in favour of an unverified and unmeasured idea, that then costs someone their life. The lack of study into the effectiveness of faith healing (which is incredibly difficult to quantify) means the only facts we have to go on are cases such as the example I gave. In percentage terms, that ratio was shocking, and I am willing to surmise that the percentages are much better for proper medical treatment than they are faith healing.

His next post:

If you had read my posts you would see that I encourage people to use doctors and hospitals, it is not a sin to do so.

Faith healing is the use of divine power given to humans by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of miraculous healing. I have not heard of a failed true and legitimate faith healing case. The latitude you give medical science needs to be applied to faith healing as well as medical care is up to the individual not you or people who oppose faith healing.

You miss my points if you say ‘I attacked…’ as you should know that neither science nor medical science are the authority in health. God trumps them both. Uhm..legitimate faith healing is a proven method conducted for over 2000 years.

Faith healing depends upon many factors and since it is done for the glory of God we do not need to keep track or create statistics. we do not answer to humans, science or modern medical practitioners.

Given that all people who use medical science for their ills still die, I wouldn’t promote it over faith healing if I were you. Science and medical science still cannot stop death from happening so it is not as grand as you make it.

As I would mention directly to them later on, there are a couple of strawmen in this post. I never claimed they were trying to discourage people from using doctors, and I never claimed medical science can prevent death (we all die in the end, do we not?).

It’s also strange to me that they would in the same post claim faith healing was a proven practice, whilst mentioning in the very next sentence that there is no need to keep track of its effectiveness. How can they declare it ‘proven’ if there is no evidence of such?

At this point, I went back to the first of two posts he referred to in his original article, and began to break it down, paragraph by paragraph. The post in question can be found here.

TA, it is obvious that we have a number of disagreements, so I shall work through in order and start with your first post on this subject.

The attacks are quite unrealistic and hypocritical. Their foundation are based in hatred towards anything religious and the attackers have firmly closed their mind to any reason or being reasonable.  They feel everyone should do medical treatment their way, especially if a child is involved.

I have to disagree. The anger is directed toward a practice not proven to work and one that therefore puts lives at risk. Furthermore, when parents make the decision on behalf of a child to turn to faith healing, they are taking advantage of the child’s lack of knowledge on the subject. You speak of being close-minded to reason – I call it wilful neglect.

Now let’s look in more detail at your ‘evidence’.

Faith healing: Asser studied 172 reported deaths of infants and children between 1975 and 1995. Deaths were found in 34 states among members of 23 religious groups. They belonged to families of Christian Scientist, Faith Tabernacle, Faith Assembly and several other religious groups that practice faith healing (http://www.religioustolerance.org/medical3.htm)

Modern Medicine: An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records that was released today by HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/11856.php)

Let’s break this down into percentage terms. 600,000 deaths are clearly unfortunate – they are also 1.6% of 37 million patients. What percentage of patients who underwent faith healing survived? You said it yourself – records are not kept. It is a notoriously difficult area to keep accurate records of, and this draws into question its validity as a genuine, verifiable alternative to medicine and medical treatment. Out of the 37 million patients seen to over the time period you list, 98.4% were not harmed due to errors or neglect. What of the example I gave in my first post? 140 of the children who died when their parents relied on faith healing rather than medical treatment had a 90% chance of survival. That’s 80% of cases where the odds were huge that they would live had they sought proper medical help.

Conversely, 80% of those who died were victims of neglectful practice – on the part of the ‘healer’ who could not help them as well as on the part of the parents.

So, 98.4% of patients who are not harmed due to malpractice or neglect (a much greater volume of patients too), vs 80% who sadly died.

Let’s continue:

Do you see a problem? The faith healing statistics covered a 20 year span and only had 172 deaths (that was reported to this study) while modern medicine had 600,000 deaths approx. in 3 years.

As already explained, one system has a success rate of 98.4%. The other, only 20%, based on the available data.

You then go on to list the expected survival rates for the children who died, after which you say:

The problem with that analysis is that it is based upon the assumption that the people involved would respond to modern medicine. Hard to say since they are working on skeletons to come to this judgment. What about modern medicine, how many could be saved if things were done differently (I say that because we do not know if faith healing would be successful or not in treating those 600,000 people).

Medical science has advanced to the point where autopsies can tell us how someone died, and once the cause of death is known, it’s easy to determine what possible treatments and procedures might have helped.

Up next, you refer to how changes in medical procedures might save more lives:

So if changes were made to some practices of modern medicine, 120,000 people could possibly still be alive today. yet no one is demanding that the modern doctors and nurses be sent to prison for murder like they do for those involved in faith healing.

Medical science is an evolving, learning process. It is not one of deliberate and wilful neglect. There will always be those who abuse their position (a point you acknowledge happens with faith healers), but there is difference between a doctor who made an honest but tragic mistake and someone who deliberately denied a patient access to a life-saving drug or treatment (least of all a child, who cannot make an informed choice). This is why there is a distinction in the law.

As your first post is quite long (and I don’t have time right now) I ask for your patience as I arrange to reply to the rest.

The patience I asked for didn’t materialise. TA responded to the above, but I didn’t respond directly to that, instead moving on to the second half of the article. However, his response to the above is below:

Everything you have mentioned is basically answered in my posts. The deception in you blinds you to the points being made. One point you raised– 98.4% were not harmed– how do you know that they were not harmed? The reports I used focused only on deaths, not other injuries suffered by patients to the hands of medical professionals

Medical science cannot say who could or could not respond t modern medicine. You ignore mitigating factors, like that researcher, who would to know if those skeletons were allergic to antibiotics or not.

The assumptions you people make in order to ‘prove’ your points omit these vital details which undermine your argument and demonstrate your dishonesty in evaluating the issue at hand.

Faith healing is’t denying life saving medicine to anyone there is no guarantee that modern medicine would heal those people. Medical science is not God yet you treat it like it was. It has no control over who lives or dies.

I love it when you say the doctor made an ‘honest but tragic mistake’ when a patient dies yet do not pass that courtesy on to parents who use faith healing. Your words continue to prove me correct

My take on the next part of the article:

TA, I am in the process of going over your previous posts; I shall respond to your replies once I have finished doing so.

Once again, to quote you:

Those quotes only give an idea of what we are dealing with and the amount of unrealistic thinking that comes from the unbelieving side. They are more worried about 172 deaths over 20 years than they are 600,000 over 3:

This is a distortion of the facts, and given how often you repeat it, I can only presume it to be deliberate on your part. I have already given you the percentages here – 98.4 of patients were not killed through neglect or malpractice. Might some of them died from being too ill or badly hurt to be saved? It’s very possible. Is that the issue? No. The issue is (as you well know) that despite you referring to large numbers of deaths versus a handful, the percentage of deaths through malpractice or neglect is very different.

You continue with:

But given the large amount of deaths at the hands of modern medicine, they really cannot make that claim. They do not know how many of those 172 people would have died under modern treatment. They do not care about that or it would have been addressed.

The one-sided argument presented by unbelievers, in the medical field as well, tends to tilt the playing field against those who want to use faith healing for whatever reason they have. The arguments presented against faith healing are not grounded in fact or reality but prejudice, bias and a hatred for anything religious interfering in their profession.

You admitted earlier on that statistics on the effectiveness of faith healing are very hard to come by. On the other hand, statistics demonstrating the effectiveness of modern medical treatment are widely available. Whilst it cannot be known with absolute certainty how many of the 172 children who died when faith healing failed might have saved via medical treatment, it can be known to a reasonable degree. As already mentioned, medical practice has advanced to the degree that we can determine cause of death from studying the deceased. It is even possible to learn the cause of death with bodies that are extremely old (check out http://aboutforensics.co.uk/forensic-anthropology/ for more details on this), and the more recent the death, the easier it will be to determine the cause. All of this presumes an autopsy wasn’t performed at the time (they usually are).

Once a cause is known, it’s possible to determine what courses of action would have been available to help the deceased.

You speak of prejudice among the medical community and ‘unbelievers’, but what you do not understand is that medical science is built on observations and evidence. There is a wealth of information to show the effectiveness of various medical treatments and procedures, whereas what facts support faith healing as a viable, effective alternative? You have already acknowledged the lack of study into this field, yet you criticise the stance of medical professionals as ‘not grounded in fact or reality’. The opposite is true – medical professionals will look at what works, and what can be verified as working.

The remainder of that particular post is not really relevant to the ‘pros and cons’ of medical treatment vs faith healing. With my next comment, I will discuss your next post, and then tackle your responses.

Hopefully my views on what he is saying are clear from my responses. Let’s continue…

#1. You said ‘never harmed’ I called you on your error and now you change your words, you lost credibility with that one.

#2. Percentages mean nothing

#3. Studying bones does not discover mitigating factors, which I have already mentioned, Your point also assumes that the parents of those 172 people could actually afford treatment. I already know what ideas anthropologists say about dead bodies but that doesn’t make their analysis correct.

#4.I am tired of people who say I do not understand something then proceed to tell me what I already know and have analyzed. The weaknesses of both undermine your argument as you assume those two concepts are perfect and produce the exact reason something took place in history.

#5. You keep making the argument that I am against medical treatment. I have never said any such thing nor have I told anyone to forgo medical treatment. You also miss the point of what I have written completely and have set up your own strawman argument and argued against me on that basis. I have already told you that you missed the point yet you continue to construct arguments that have nothing to do with what I am saying. You waste my time.

#6. Your high esteem of th emedical professional blinds you to the reality.

At this point, I decided there was no point in continuing to tackle his post, and instead turned my attention to this comment.

TA, you should be aware that this entire discussion is going to end up on my site at some stage. I would urge you to consider your replies carefully, since the belligerence has been taken up a notch with your latest reply.

#1. You said ‘never harmed’ I called you on your error and now you change your words, you lost credibility with that one.

Irrelevant nitpick. You know full well the point I was making – namely that loss of life due to errors and mistakes occurred in 1.6% of cases. As I mentioned in my previous comment, 98.4% of patients were not killed due to neglect or malpractice. 98.4% of patients (out of 37 million) received the appropriate treatment. Would all of the patients with life-threatening illness or injuries have survived? No, but that isn’t the point here and you know that.

#2. Percentages mean nothing.

This is the point where you lose all credibility. The evidence is overwhelming – neglect, malpractice and errors do not cause many deaths when weighed up against all the successes.

#3. Studying bones does not discover mitigating factors, which I have already mentioned, Your point also assumes that the parents of those 172 people could actually afford treatment. I already know what ideas anthropologists say about dead bodies but that doesn’t make their analysis correct.

You are ignoring what I am saying. I do not claim that the cause of death might be something that could definitely have been prevented (but then, you have no evidence it could have been prevented with faith healing either), but it can be identified. If it is known to be something that treatments are available for, then there is certainly more of a chance for their survival than if no treatment is administered.

As for costs – obviously I cannot speak for every parent, but as a parent, I would gladly bankrupt myself if it meant saving my daughter’s life. Nothing would be more important to me than that.

#4.I am tired of people who say I do not understand something then proceed to tell me what I already know and have analyzed. The weaknesses of both undermine your argument as you assume those two concepts are perfect and produce the exact reason something took place in history.

I’m not even sure what part of my argument you are responding to here, but I do not claim perfection for medical science, in any way shape or form. Obviously drugs can fail to work, or surgical procedures can go wrong. What I do not do is hold up a completely unproven alternative as being somehow viable as an alternative.

#5. You keep making the argument that I am against medical treatment. I have never said any such thing nor have I told anyone to forgo medical treatment. You also miss the point of what I have written completely and have set up your own strawman argument and argued against me on that basis. I have already told you that you missed the point yet you continue to construct arguments that have nothing to do with what I am saying. You waste my time.

The strawman here is your own. I have at no point claimed you are against medical treatment. However, every time you distort the facts (such as speaking of ‘large numbers of deaths’ which ignores the percentages), and seek to suggest that faith healing is a reasonable option, you are undermining medical treatment. It is frankly idiotic to suggest to an adult that the power of prayer and faith can cure diseases over seeing a doctor and getting examined, diagnosed and treated, and it is criminally negligent to to encourage parents to consider faith healing as a viable alternative.

#6. Your high esteem of th emedical professional blinds you to the reality.

What reality? That medical treatment is proven to work, and faith healing isn’t? I have no qualms whatsoever if someone wants to turn to God whilst undergoing treatment, to shore themselves up and find strength. I have no qualms if an adult wishes to turn to faith healing – they are capable of making their own choices. However, the crux of this entire discussion can be distilled to one point – the point you made when you complained that those who turn to faith healing can face criminal charges if their child dies as a result. It is a point I have already made several times over, and one that you fail to grasp in favour of what I can only presume is a deliberate distortion of my position. A child has no say in the process – if the parent or guardian decides to see a faith healer instead of a doctor, the child is not able to question this (especially a young child).

You have already been given details on how effective modern medicine is (I refer you back to my first post, regarding vaccinations), and I have already established that cases of death through malpractice are in fact extremely rare. Medical treatment is not perfect (as I have already mentioned), but it is demonstrably effective in the vast majority of cases, whereas you yourself have admitted statistics on faith healing are very hard to come by. If a parent chooses to deny their child access to a proven option, in favour of one that is not proven to work, that is wilful negligence. If the child dies as a result, it is absolutely right they should be prosecuted.

Now let’s look at some of your other statements:

If you had read my posts you would see that I encourage people to use doctors and hospitals, it is not a sin to do so.

Another strawman. I never claimed you would try to discourage people from using doctors.

Given that all people who use medical science for their ills still die, I wouldn’t promote it over faith healing if I were you. Science and medical science still cannot stop death from happening so it is not as grand as you make it.

Never claimed science can stop death. Faith healing doesn’t either – we all die in the end. This is another strawman.

I love it when you say the doctor made an ‘honest but tragic mistake’ when a patient dies yet do not pass that courtesy on to parents who use faith healing. Your words continue to prove me correct

Another distortion of the facts. Adults are aware of the options and if they choose to deliberately deny access to proven medical procedures, in favour of something without verification, they are being neglectful. This is clearly not the same as a doctor making an error.

Since you are continually ignoring what I am actually writing, whilst accusing me of the same, I am going to cut this discussion off at my next post, unless you can demonstrate you understand what I am saying. As before, you should be aware this discussion will end up on my site (I am archiving everything, including screen captures of what has been said thus far, so it will become immediately apparent if you start editing posts).

UPDATE 14/05/2016: After the author of the site did indeed edit a post of mine, removing the key points, they proceeded to post a new entry to their site discussing two comments of mine they declined to post. They did extend me the right to reply, so I have done so. I post the complete exchange here, for comprehensiveness.

Autopsies are limited and can only leave the examiner with assumption or speculation. They cannot conclude that the deceased could have been saved with the use of a different medical method. Also, his argument goes both ways. We can look at those who died at the hands of modern medicine and state that they could have been saved if they had prayed and used a true faith healing for their medical needs.

I’m sorry but this is factually incorrect. Autopsies can tell us a tremendous amount of information (I’ve already covered how forensic examination of bones that are hundreds of years can do this, let alone an autopsy) about a person, including how they died. I do not make absolute statements that assume the 100% effectiveness of modern medicine in saving that person, but we can know to a reasonable degree (if they died from an infected wound that became septic, as an example, the chances are having the wound cleaned and being given antibiotics would have saved them. It would certainly be more effective than ignoring the problem, which is what faith healing amounts to).

His comments went to the absurd when he decided to go to percentages,a statistic that bolsters his point by inflating the figures to hypothetical levels and removing them from reality. 172 deaths is not a figure that can be transferred to percentages because we do not know how many people sought faith healing help during that 20 year period. That number could reflect .01% of the total. But since no one knows the total percentages do not work in this instance except to distort the argument.

You misunderstand and misrepresent. Since statistical data on faith healing is not available, it is impossible to verify. For all we know those 172 children seen by faith healers represent 50% of all cases. Your argument therefore cuts both ways. On the other hand, with modern medical treatment, cases of death through neglect (which was your original point remember?) are 1.6% percent of cases over a three year period involving 37 million patients.

For all we know, the 172 deaths reported in respect of faith healing are just the tip of the iceberg. You aren’t able to provide data on it after all, so we can just as easily hypothesise that there are more deaths than those being reported. This is the point that you are refusing to understand – it cannot be substantiated. It doesn’t have evidence to support its effectiveness. It is dangerous to turn to it, and to take a child to see a faith healer over a system proven to work is denying that child access to proper medical care. If you can’t understand why that is wrong, then this conversation can proceed no further.

Then if we want to use a standard that can convert both sets of numbers to a comparable statistic then we should multiply (and we can average it down if we want) the modern medical deaths per year by 20 and then compare– 172 versus 4,000,000 (using 200,000 as a round number for easier figuring. We can go to 150,000 or 100,000 if you want to and you will still get a staggering amount of deaths from modern medical practices).

D has no argument here. 2 million, 3 million or even 4 million over 20 years just cannot trump 172 over the same time frame.

That is a woefully flawed means of comparison when no data exists for the effectiveness of faith healing (something you have admitted to). If those deaths from faith healing turn out to be 172 out of say, 300, that would work out to be a casualty rate of more than 50%. If out of 1000 cases it would still in percentage terms carry more risk than death through neglect in modern medicine. Once again, the key point here is that you have been unable to supply any data to support your conclusions.

The person who is afraid is the person who refuses to be honest and see the whole picture. We will not blame modern medicine because that field has no power over life and death and people will die no matter what medical treatment they receive. This is a point we made in one of our posts. Even faith healing cannot stop people from dying when their time on earth is over. This is another fact ignored by D in his agenda against faith healing.

Go back and read what I have actually said. I have never (not once) claimed medical science is perfect. That particular argument of yours was a strawman (something I pointed out). I did point out that you can be no more certain that faith healing would have cured those who died in the event medical treatment failed.

The ‘agenda’ you speak of (and a point I have raised more than once, but you don’t see the distinction) has never once said to any adult ‘you can’t seek faith healing’. I think it’s stupid to rely on a totally unproven method of dealing with disease when a proven alternative exists, but an adult can make an informed choice. A child can’t. They are at the mercy of their parents’ judgement.

To use an analogy, if the law says ‘wear a seatbelt’ and as an adult, you don’t and get hurt, that’s just idiotic. If you won’t let your child wear a seatbelt and they are injured or killed, what do you think should happen next?

Many years ago when the Korea Time had a decent comment section I got into a discussion with a few other westerners. One of them continued to write about how Koreans should be raising their children. When it was mentioned that he would not like anyone telling him how to raise his children, he went ballistic ‘yelling’ that ‘no one tells him how to do that’. The hypocrisy is not on our side but on D’s side as he will tell others how to raise their children while not allowing them to interfere in his parental duties.

This is a classic example of a red herring. We are not discussing how to raise children. You and anyone else is free to raise them as you see fit and I have never claimed otherwise. What we are discussing is child protection. We are talking about a duty of care to provide children with access to medical care.

His lack of understanding of faith healing is enormous and we just did not feel like addressing his points in the comment section. Faith healing is not letting someone die but taking an alternative option. As we stated in one of our posts, it is taking medical action, it is jut not one favored by those who do not believe God. It is not ‘criminally remiss’ nor is it sinful or unparental to use faith healing. God has not outlawed that practice or aid any parent is wrong in seeking hi aid in medical affairs.

You have not been able to provide any evidence to support faith healing as a viable alternative to medicine and medical treatment, and have misrepresented the evidence that shows medical treatment to be very low on cases of neglect. The vast majority of patients seen (98.4% remember) were treated properly. Would all of them have lived? Of course not. Did they have access to the right, informed treatments for their conditions? Yes. Can the same be said for faith healing?

I have made the point repeatedly but will make it again for emphasis. You have no evidence to support the idea faith healing is a viable alternative to modern medicine. There is evidence to suggest medical treatment had a chance to save 140 of the children who died when their parents turned to faith healing (you dispute that evidence because of a lack of absolutes but isn’t the point). There is no evidence to suggest faith healing was going to save them. To deliberately turn away from something proven to work and turn to something unproven is negligence, pure and simple, so yes, there should be prosecution in those circumstances.

This is a point D misses or ignores on purpose. Parents are instructed to follow God’ leading not D’s or other parents’. D continued to use the words ‘unproven and unverified’ when referring to faith healing. He does so even though we told him that faith healing has gone on for over 5,000 years and has been proven effective and it is verifiable. Jesus sent some he healed to the priests to show them what took place; being given healing miracles have gone to doctors to show them what God did.

I’ve asked you repeatedly to provide evidence that supports faith healing as a viable alternative to modern medical treatment. Referring to a handful of biblical examples does not constitute proof. Mentioning it’s been practiced for 5,000 years means nothing without a measure of how effective it’s been over that time. All you are offering are statements, not facts.

D talks about curable disease and he should be told that I had a childhood friend die of appendicitis at the age of 18 when that illness was extremely curable. My friend died in the hospital at the hands of trained medical professionals not at the hands of a faith healer. The evidence undermines his arguments. Death is not placed in the hands of medical professionals. God has kept that one for himself and no matter which option we use, we need to make sure we are following God’s leading for the best result.

I am sorry that you lost a friend, but I never said because a disease is curable that it is 100% guaranteed to be cured in every instance. This is not the point though – as I have already stressed, there is a better chance of survival if medical treatment is received than if it isn’t. I refer you back to my very first comment, regarding the measles vaccine. Can you point to any evidence that faith healing would have been better at preventing measles than vaccination?

We stated in our posts that believer are not restricted to faith healing only but we told our readers that no matter which option they choose they need to ask God to be a part of the process so that their loved ones could get good care from modern medical practitioners. There are a lot of quacks out there and God knows them all and how to direct believers away from them. it is the best use of faith to look to God for help in the use of either option.

D misses this point as well in his haste to defend something he favors. He forgets that other people have different preferences and experiences which lead them to make the decisions that they do. He lacks compassion and understanding in this issue and thinks everyone should do things his way. He is not God his ways are his ways and they do not trump or are superior to anyone else’s.

I don’t miss the point because the point you raise in the above two paragraphs is a red herring. I have never claimed that people can’t turn to faith healing, either to strengthen their faith in medical procedures they are ongoing, or (if they are an adult) they can opt out of medical treatment altogether – that is their right. It is not compassionate to deny a child access to potentially life-saving treatments in favour of a totally unproven method.

Now we will allow D to make comments in reply to this post. If his comments are honest, logical, as well as a few other positive characteristics we will make an exception to our refusal to publish his comments. He has the right to defend his position and respond to what we just wrote.

How exactly are you defining honest and logical? I have provided links to verify my claims (vaccination, forensic examination) and logic in the form of a proper representation of statistical data. I will not deviate from this approach, simply to jump through hoops for you. If that alone is enough for you to decide not to post my response then there’s nothing I can do about that – though I can of course, post it on my site.

Is there going to be more to this? Perhaps. In all honesty, I have no idea whether TA will post my latest response, or if they do, whether they will make alterations to it. I am comfortable with my arguments and anyone can see them properly here, so that is enough for me.

UPDATE 15/05/2016: TA did indeed reply, though with the declaration that they will not be publishing any further comments from me. Nonetheless, I felt I should issue a reply, if only for completeness.

we are not going to respond to the above comment. Our silence is not an indication that D is right but that it does no good to continue to talk to an unbeliever who will not believe no matter what you say.

His abject dismissal and reclassifications of my points simply demonstrate that he will not listen to any argument other than his own.His failure to realize that he is not appointed protector of children also tells us to end this discussion.

He oversteps his boundaries while refusing to allow other people to do the same in his parenting. We will not be publishing any more of his comments.

P.S. just because children are involved does not mean that God’s rules change, that God’s directions change or that people are given authority to meddle in other parent’s business. Children are not an excuse to force your ways upon others nor interfere with their parental rights and authority. Unless the parents are doing something illegal, disagreeing with them is not justification to meddle in other people’s affairs.

And by illegal i do not mean trumped up laws that target christians and faith healing.

As you have already mentioned you will not be publishing any further comments, this is perhaps pointless, but for the clarity of the record (since you continue to distort my position) I feel obliged to point out the following:

1. You have provided NO evidence to support faith healing as an established practice that actually works. You say I am dismissing your points – I say you are dismissing my repeated requests to provide evidence to support your points, and I stand by my claim.

2. You accuse me of forcing my ways upon others. You have done this before, demonstrating great ignorance of public law in the process, and in doing so, demonstrated YOUR desire to impose your beliefs upon everyone in the process. You do this again now. If a parent refuses to give their child access to proper medical care, in favour of something totally unproven, they should be prosecuted for endangering that child’s life. They are IMPOSING their beliefs upon that child, giving them NO CHOICE, and perhaps not even informing them there is another option. Parental rights do NOT extend toward letting that child die in the name of religion, no matter what arguments you may make.

Conclusions

The key point to take from all this (which was TA’s original complaint) is that whilst he may feel it is unfair to prosecute parents whose children have died because they saw a faith healer rather than a doctor, the facts speak for themselves. These parents took their child, who could not make an informed choice of their own, to try something that has never been proven to work, and what’s worse, they completely ignored an entire profession and system that is dedicated to helping people who are sick. Much of what I have been trying to do during the course of this debate is to highlight that very point. Faith healing has no statistical merit, so to turn to it at the exclusion of a system that has evidence to support it is for an adult foolish – and to deny a child access to that system is in my view criminally negligent. If you want to know what faith healing actually does, then please look at the links below:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/13/followers-of-christ-idaho-religious-sect-child-mortality-refusing-medical-help

http://time.com/8750/faith-healing-parents-jailed-after-second-childs-death/

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/faith_healing_religious_freedom_vs._child_protection

There is nothing worse, nothing that frightens me more, than the thought of losing my daughter. I cannot fathom why any parent would shun proper medical treatment in favour of faith healing.

TA attempts to make this about interfering with how parents raise their children, which is either a deliberate attempt to cloud the issue (it is certainly a red herring fallacy), or a misunderstanding of what the issue is. The trouble is, TA has demonstrated some pretty fundamentalist views already (see my posts on their stances on homosexuality, transgenderism and creationism), and in his most recent post, states the Bible is to be taken as literally true. It’s impossible to have a meaningful discussion with someone who is only prepared to see the world through a very narrow perspective – especially someone who believes their interpretation of God’s Word is the only correct one. I’ve offered up a few additional thoughts via YouTube (it’s time I get back into making videos), and beyond that, it is time to bow out of further discussion with TA.

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