Double Blind Prayer Tests
Posted 25 September 2011 - 07:56 PM
This is not a make it or break it bit of information, but could help when discussing emuna related topics with people who are doubting.
Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:08 AM
This "test" - did it conclude that praying to Buddha or Yoshka or the Spaghetti Monster also helps? Or did it conclude, per #5 of the 13 Ikarim, that it is only proper to pray to Hashem?
This test, whatever it was, can only show the psychological effects of "prayer" - however they define it - on someone. But that has nothing to do with Tefilah. The conclusions of such a study could also be used to show that:
- Avodah Zorahs answer prayers as often as Hashem c"v.
- Davening with a Minyan does not help your prayers get answered c"v.
- A MInyan of women are as good as a Minyan of men, and so are a minyan of Kofrim as good as a Minyan of Tzadikim.
- Who the Shliach Tzbur is doesn't matter.
- When you Daven, what you say, and how you say it doesn't matter.
So forget such things. We need to stick to the Emes when talking to people about Emunah. And we need to especially stay away from stuff like this that argues for the validity of Avodah Zorah.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 02:11 PM
Many non-Jews, especially Ch-stians, think that they are praying to Hashem. If you ask them who they pray to, they will tell you they pray to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac , and Jacob. Most of them don't really know who they pray to.....they mean Hashem but are confused and get caught up in the idolatrous veil of yoshka. But in their hearts don't they mean to pray to the one true G-d? I believe so.
I know most opinions say that C-stianity is avodah zara, but how can most of them be guilty of avodah zarah if they dont even know what they believe, or just foolishly make a false association of who Hashem is. If I remember correctly, isn't Rabbi Yaakov Emden dan l'kav schus (so to speak) on the ch-stians?
Wouldn't Hashem answer their prayers as well, as "karov Hashem likol kora'av, likol asher yikrau b'emes"? Hashem responding to the good intentions of the goyim doesnt weaken the strength of l'havdil Jewish prayers. If it works for non-Jews who are praying their own sincere, albeit misguided prayers, then kal v'chomer ad infinatum Hashem listens to Jews praying from a siddur with a minyan.
looking forward to hearing from you.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:25 PM
Now regarding Christianity, there is actually a disagreement among various sects of those who believe in Yoshka whether they pray to Yoshka himself or only what they call "god" (which we will address shortly). The New Testament is pretty clear that they pray to Yoshka. Others Christians say that you should only pray to god but Yoshka is really one with God, c"v, together with what they call the "Holy Spirit" or "Holy Ghost" (a concept that is a perverted version of "Ruach HaKodesh") - so that praying to Yoshka is praying to god, עפ"ל. This concept of God being a Trinity is what makes Christianity an Avodah Zorah. Hashem is not a trinity ח"ו. Hashem is Echad.
Hashem is not composite; Hashem does not impregnate women; Hashem is not manifest in a human being. Those who hold Christianity is Avdah Zorah - and you are correct; it s the majority opinion - is because the Christian god is not Hashem.
And yes, they know that their god is a trinity and that is enough to qualify it as idolatry. Of course they have total ignoramuses as well - but plenty of them know the basic Avoda Zorah ideas, and even those that don't, pray אדעתא to whatever their religion says their god is.
As far as the Posuk you quoted, note that it says: קרוב ה' לכל קראיו - meaning, He is close to those who call Him - and Him only. Not other gods.
Hashem is indeed close to all those who "call Him with truth" - but only if they call Him specifically. (And incidentally, there are those who say "B'emes" here does not mean "sincerely" but rather "with truth," in other words, with Torah. A better source for non-Jews praying to Hashem is the posuk כי ביתי בית תפילה יקרא לכל העמים)
But all of that is just about Christianity. As I said, there are plenty of people who worship idols לכל הדעות כפשוטו, and these prayer tests include them as well.
And again, these tests probably indicate no difference statistically between people who pray with a MInyan and those that don't; between those who you fulfill the Halachic requirements of Tefilah and those who don't, or all the other things that we know impact on whether the Tefilos get answered.
And besides - did these tests also include the benefits of people who others pray for? Or just those who pray themselves? Tefilah is beneficial even to those who don't even know we are praying for them. I am certain that these tests did not include those as part of the population. The tests you are describing indicate psychological effects of people "praying," whatever that may mean to them. And I am certain that there are psychological benefits even for those who pray to Avodah Zorahs, because they think they are doing something useful. But that shows that these tests have nothing to do with tefilah. Nothing at all.
Posted 04 October 2011 - 01:59 PM
"At least one finding, however, has completely stumped the scientists. Two major double-blind studies have found a relationship between improved medical outcomes and being prayed for. Two Duke University researchers presented a study of 150 patients suffering from acute heart disease at the American Heart Association. Patients who were prayed for did significantly better than those who were not prayed for, even when the patient was completely unaware of the prayers on his behalf. And a Columbia University medical school study of women undergoing in vitro fertilization found that the pregnancy rate for women being prayed for was twice as high as for women who were not (50% versus 26%). Neither the women undergoing treatment nor the medical staff caring for them knew of the study." The double-blind study at Columbia is discussed in a NY Times article from Oct. 2, 2001, and in a Derech Hateva article.That is just a sampling. What are we to make of these types of tests? I know the psychological ones are easy to justify, or why "religious" people of any faith would have better blood pressure.....but what of these double-blind tests?Does H' answer the prayers of C-stians who while perhaps trying to pray to Him, stumble and associate Him with another, r"l?thank you.
Posted 06 October 2011 - 07:04 PM
We should ignore them. Regarding this particular "study," see here. Or many other places. And in general, you should not rely on second-hand reports. It seems there are so many holes in that study they are hard to count.
What are we to make of these types of tests? I
But even if it was a real good study, we should still ignore it. You cannot test spiritual things such as Tefilah by such methods. The outcomes of an "answered" Tefilah and the intricacies of Hashgacha are way beyond what these scientists are able to understand. X amount of people recovering from an illness as opposed to Y amount of people who do not recover from the same illness does not show anything about whether the Tefilah was "accepted" or not.
But we don't even need to go into that. This "study" "showed" that praying to sticks and stones works. So the entire thing is absurd.
At least we hope so. The Gemora in Avodah Zorah (55a) tells of an idolatrous church that, whenever there was a drought, the Avodah Zorah would appear to the Galach in a dream and tell him if he kills someone as a sacrifice, rain will come. So they used to kill someone as a sacrifice and then the rain came! The Gemora explains: הבא לטמא פותחין לו - if someone chooses to believe in Avodah Zorah and pray to it, the Satan gives him what he wishes for, in order to bring him even deeper into the Tumah.
But don't worry - in the case of that study, there is no reason to believe the Kochos HaTumah were involved - just some really bad research.
Posted 06 October 2011 - 09:57 PM