Faith Healing

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world whose ailments range from minor illnesses to chronic, life threatening conditions turn toward their religious faith to cure them. According to Stephen Barrett, M.D., many of these people suffer from medically incurable diseases while others only suffer from short-term illnesses. Within the last few decades, the validity of faith healing has been increasingly investigated. Faith healing can only heal conditionally.

In contradiction, Benny Hinn, one of the most famous faith healers, preaches, "All things are possible to him that believeth, all you have to do is believe because everything is possible with God." However, many believers are not cured from their ailments, especially those suffering from organic illnesses rather than stress related functional illnesses. Concerning organic ailments, Barrett wrote that all the studies that have been completed consistently show an insignificant difference between the number of patients cured when using faith healing and the number of patients cured without using it.

One famous example is the death of Andy Kaufman, a popular television star and comic, who turned toward faith healing without any success after doctors told him that he would die of lung cancer. Faith healing cannot help those suffering from organic ailments.

More significant, beneficial results have been found among those who suffer from functional diseases. According to George Nava True II, the author of an essay about faith healing, many physical illnesses are caused by psychological problems and he wrote, "Healings"¦result from the"¦psychological effect on people who believe they are real." This is also known as the placebo effect, where a belief in curing an ailment is enough to cure it. In addition, many functional illnesses are only short-term and will disappear when the stress of the sufferer has passed and faith healing...