NightTline Faceoff: Can Prayer Heal?

May 27, 2009 10:44am

Last year, an 11-year-old Wisconsin girl named Madeline Neumann died of untreated diabetes, while her parents relied on prayers and faith in God to heal her.  Doctors say her condition was treatable, but her parents are members of a church that relies on God and not medicine.  "Basically, you pray and do nothing but pray," Madeline’s mother, Althea Wormgoor told a jury two weeks ago.  Wormgoor was  convicted of second-degree reckless homicide last week. While many Americans depend on faith and spirituality to help cope with mental and physic al woes, some believe that this practice is futile.  On Today’s NightTline Twittercast, two guests will face off on this controversial issue:  Can Faith Heal? Dr. Dana King is a medical doctor, and professor at the Medical University  of South Carolina.  He will be arguing that prayer and spirituality are a welcome addition to the tools available to medical practitioners.  He’ll join NightTline via Skype from the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston.   Dr. King uses research to point to a clear link between people’s religious beliefs and practices and their health. On the other side of the issue is Dr. Richard Sloan, PhD.  He has criticized purported links between religion, spirituality, and health that have appeared in popular and medical publications.   Dr. Sloan is the author of Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine. Both Sloan and King will rely on a wide range of research to defend their various viewpoints.  So what do you think? Is there room for faith in modern medicine, or should prayer and spirituality be left out altogether. Start Tweeting your thoughts now, and be sure to watch the Twittercast LIVE at 12:30pm E.D.T. on the Nightline page at ABCnews.com and on ABC News Now.

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