Pass out material, Week 5


John W. Burgeson, e-mail is                           Web site is



THE FAITH FACTOR, Proof of the Healing Power of Prayer, by Dale A. Matthews, M. D.


A review of this book is at\factor.htm


            A better title for this book might be:



Support for the theory that prayer can have a measurable effect on healing


1. The question: May a person expect that religious involvement will contribute to health, well-being and long life? Is this a question “science” can address?


2. What about the verses “Do not put the Lord, your God, to the test!?”

                                                Luke 4:12, Deut 6:16, Ex 17:2. Ps 78:18 & others.


Does God heal illnesses? Dr. Matthews insists that this is a matter of faith, and is not a question science can answer. But, he says, (page 64) "The question before us, rather, is this: does belief in God aid in healing? This is a scientific question, and from the evidence presented in this book, the answer appears to be "yes."


3. Dr. Matthew’s Claim.


1.         There is evidence for a broad spectrum (not just a few stories) of healing experiences.


2.         There are observations that there is a wide range (not just a specific action or two) of spiritual healing practices which accompany these healings.


3.         It appears obvious that the type and degree of healing through spiritual means is not within our control. God remains sovereign.


4.         Yet, some factors appear to lie within the realm of scientific investigation


4. What is truth? (P. Pilate)


The evidence (so far) does not support a claim that one denomination, or even "Christianity," is superior to other faith communities, as far as the question at issue. The evidence does appear to show that one's devotional and participative intensity affects the faith factor's value, and, hence, one's well-being, in a significant manner. Are all faiths then the same? Dr. Matthews answers this question (page 284):


"I believe that the choice of a particular faith tradition is a matter of utmost consequence, and should be based on one's perception of what constitutes truth, not what will give better health."


5. Twelve remedies.


 1            Equanimity                            Relaxation & meditation

 2            Temperance                                    Honoring the body as God's temple

 3            Beauty                                  Appreciating art & nature

 4            Adoration                               Worshipping God with our whole being

 5            Renewal                              Confession & starting over

 6            Community                            Bearing one another's burdens

 7         Unity                                       Strength through shared beliefs

 8         Ritual                                      Comfort in familiar activities

 9            Meaning                                Finding one's purpose in life

10        Trust                                       Letting go -- and letting God work

11            Transcendence                   Ultimate hope

12        Love                                       Caring, and being cared for


6. Negative impacts of religion:                  Extrinsic vs. intrinsic persons.


Extrinsic --                   -- What can my religion do for me? My religion is a means to an end.

                                    -- higher fear of death than even nonreligious persons.

-- Key identifier –Strong leadership -- adherents give up personal autonomy.


Intrinsic --                    -- What can I do for my religion? My religion is of the heart.

                                    -- less likely to be racially prejudiced, care less about social conformity.

                                    -- much more likely to receive health benefits from their religion


7. Does prayer matter?                                   A discussion of the issues


8. The paranormal – how it does or does not relate.  What is it?


Distance healing. The Journal of Alternative therapies.


            The Parapsychology Foundation

            Does methodological naturalism apply?

            The question of trust


                                    The story of Rabbi Sandra Cohen


9. What is a miracle?


10. What do we do with all this?     What is of first importance?


                        -- What is MY story? Have I told it to the people who should hear it?

--  Have I written it down to pass along to my children & grandchildren?

-- Have I been part of the conversation?


-- join PASTF?

                                    -- join ASA?

                                    -- subscribe to Metanexus?

-- ?