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?