No prayers here
In response to letters in today’s East Anglian Daily Times (File Attachment: EADT prayer letters.jpg (185 KB) about the nurse facing disciplinary action for praying for a patient, I’ve sent the following reply:
As an old age pensioner I’ve been around far too long to believe you can change the minds of the god deluded. The sheer implausibility of the supernatural can only be accepted by working it out for yourself, as recalled by the young David Attenborough, now in his eighties, who recently said, “I remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever … and thinking, he can’t really believe all that, can he? How incredible.”
Christine Hart (EADT Letters 6th February) is free to believe whatever she likes about anything, including the power of prayer, comfortable in the knowledge that she is never likely to be called upon to provide a scrap of real evidence to support her assertions.
However neither she nor Caroline Petrie, the nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a hospital patient, have any right to assume that their genuflections are welcomed by everyone into whose lives they seek to poke their noses.
The fact remains that the only properly conducted study into the efficacy of prayer for the sick, reported in the American Heart Journal of April 2006, showed conclusively that, overall, medical outcome was no different for those who were prayed for and those who weren’t. Some patients, from a very large sample studied, were actually told they were being prayed for but sadly for the god botherers those people ended up suffering disproportionately more complications than those who had no idea they were supposed to be getting help from ‘up there somewhere’.
Yours faithfully, David Mitchell