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November 2022

J Med Philos. 1993 Apr; 18(2): 175-94.

Epistemologies in religious healing.

Hufford DJ.

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey 17033.

Religious beliefs in miraculous healing through prayer remain prevalent in modern society. Most such beliefs do not conflict with medical advice but some do. Conventional views have considered these beliefs incompatible with rational modern thought, predicting their demise and explaining their persistence in terms of non-rational thinking, "special logics" and psychological compartmentalization. However, attention to the actual beliefs of individuals often reveals them to be rationally ordered and empirically founded. Further, they do not usually involve disbelief of medical knowledge. Their differences from each other and from orthodox medical ideas arise from differing assumptions, the crediting of subjective experience, and the particular experiences of believers.

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