Every now and then you will run across a believer who says, “I know Jesus Christ is real and that the message of the Christianity is true because Jesus healed me.” So if the personal experience of the healing is to be considered proof that the message of Christianity is true, does that mean that this claimed healing of cancer is proof that the message of Allah and his prophet Muhammed is true? Or is this story of cancer being healed by practicing Falun Gong proof of its validity?
People will often look to spontaneous remission of cancer as proof of the power of prayer, miracle, etc. However, when you look at the number of people who are “healed” of cancer when prayed for, compared to the number who are not healed — the claim that prayer or superstitious rituals heals cancer is simply unfounded. If anything, the exact opposite is shown to be the case as was seen in the study that was conducted by the Templeton Foundation, and reported here by the New York Times.
There is of course a much more simple and reasonable explanation for these claimed cancer healings. Because there will be a certain number of cancers that will naturally go into remission in a given year throughout the world, a certain percentage of those remissions will happen to people of varying beliefs, with differing religious and spiritual backgrounds. Each of those people will interpret the occurrence according to their religious traditions, or attribute the remission to some behavior or decision they engaged in mistaking correlation for causation. Such was the case of the gentleman I saw on television as a kid, who attributed his cancer healing to eating rancid and rotting meat.
Despite the simpler explanation, people will still cling to the more extraordinary claim that they were touched by some supernatural force. This explanation might have a little more standing if the purported supernatural force began to heal amputees. To the people who claim that there is power in prayer, and the people who claim healing is proof that it works, I would ask this question: “What evidence or criteria would you suggest, that would serve as proof that prayer does not work?”