Religiously motivated medical neglect

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A minority of Christian denominations teach that prayer is not only helpful for those with illness but that it should be used instead of conventional medical care. Of course, this leads to many deaths from common but preventable illnesses and conditions. Of particular concern are children of religious parents that do not seek medical support and are often not publicly reported. At study in 1998 looked into religiously motivated medical neglect deaths of 172 children and concluded that most deaths were probably preventable. [1] However, the scale of the problem is difficult to estimate because of the secrecy surrounding these fatalities.

Most Christian denominations do not oppose medical care or do so only for specific treatments.

In many areas of the United States, there are laws that protect parents who rely on prayer or faith healing alone from prosecution. [2][3] If the same actions were motivated by other reasons, they would be considered child abuse. This is another harm caused by the so-called freedom of conscience.


Examples in Christianity

For more information, see the Skeptic's Annotated Bible article:


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 [2]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. [7]
  8. [8]

See also

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