Praying for a Cure: When Medical and Religious Practices Conflict
DesAutels, Peggy, Margaret Battin, and Larry May. Praying for a Cure: When Medical and Religious Practices Conflict. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 1999.
This book is the culmination of a literary conversation between the three authors in the Journal of Social Philosophy, vol. 26 and the Hastings Center Report, January-February 1995. They heeded Battin’s call to begin, rather than end, the conversation between Christian Scientists and “secularized, medically oriented, broader society” (book cover) about the conflicts over medical and religious healing practices. Although no consensus about parental decisions regarding medical treatment for their children exists, there is public concern. The first half of the book consists of the conversation between DesAutels, representing the Christian Science perspective and experience, and Battin, representing the ethics of medical practice. They examine whether the Christian Science church is ethically irresponsible in the ways it influences its members’ decision-making process and why Christian Scientists take what appear to be health-related risks. In the second half of the book, DesAutels and May, a professor of law and moral psychology, discuss the apparently harmful practices of a minority religion within the larger pluralistic, secular society. While May admits his own disbelief in healing prayers, he also does not think “anyone really knows the truth about the power of prayer” (86). He concludes that in a pluralistic democracy, laws should not be biased in favor of only one of two possible perspectives.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0847692637
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