Seeking clarification

Tom Huang
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (7): 422. || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01322.x
Published online: 1 October 2007

To the Editor: I am seeking some clarification on the recent MJA supplement article by Jantos and Kiat.1 One of the mechanisms suggested by the authors for the alleged beneficial effect of prayer is that it is “a channel for supernatural intervention”.

Can I just clarify with you, given the vagueness of the statement and the religious overtone of the paragraphs that followed it, whether the authors were implying that there is a personal, caring God who performs supernatural interventions for people who pray — ie, that the beneficial effects are a direct result of such interventions. Or are they saying that the belief in the existence of such a being is itself the plausible mechanism — in which case, it should be more appropriately classified as a “placebo” effect (ie, the second mechanism listed in their article).

  • Tom Huang

  • St Vincent’s Health, Melbourne, VIC.


  • 1. Jantos M, Kiat H. Prayer as medicine: how much have we learned? Med J Aust 2007; 186 (10 Suppl): S51-S53. <MJA full text>


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