Prayer and the mechanical mind
The computer metaphor for the human brain/mind raises crucial questions about the ultimate nature of mind and man. Is the human being merely an elaborate information-processing system? Many psychologists and computer scientists hold this popular belief.Skip to next paragraph
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Some humanists and scientists, such as Lewis Mumford, Theodore Roszak, and Joseph Weizenbaum, have challenged this mechanistic view of man. They voice concern over the dehumanization produced by materialistic scientism. Weizenbaum , a computer scientist in the field of artificial intelligence, decries the "imperialism of instrumental reason" and a "new conformism" that "permits us to speak of everything except the few simple truths that are written in our hearts and in the holy books of each man's many religions . . . ." n1
n1 Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reasonm (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1976), p. 265.
Each of us knows for himself that there is far more to reality than that which can be measured, quantified, or calculated. We should not blindly believe that material science has all the answers. The success of the physical sciences in their own self-definedm areas sometimes obscures the fact that there are areas where science declines to look.
Prayer and spiritual healing are phenomena that do not fit nicely into the materialistic world view. Yet thousands of people can attest to the power of prayer to heal every kind of disease. If mind is "just like a computer," what are we to conclude? That a certain kind of information processing called "prayer" can produce physical healing?
Since these healings do occur,m we have several choices. We can ignore them. We can try to make them fit into the materialistic paradigm. Or we can begin to question that paradigm. Better yet, we can challenge the apparent omnipotence of matter in the laboratory of our own lives.
To do this requires more than mere intellectual interest in the possibilities of mind over matter, which is what some people wrongly believe prayer to be. Prayer, as Christ Jesus taught it, means a complete reorientation of our lives to the actualities of the divine Mind, God. Paul puts it this way: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." n2 Through prayer we can come to know the Mind that is God and progressively prove that He, and not the brain, is the source of our intelligence and being.
n2 Philippians 2:5
"The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick," writes Mary Baker Eddy, n3 "is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, -- a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love." n4 Though prayer in Christian Science is not what is normally called faith healing, it does rest on a radical trust in God. "But," one might ask, "how can I trust Someone I don't even know and who the scientific materialist says doesn't even exist?"
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 1.
The Bible gives this reassurance: "Because he hath set his love upon me [God] , therefore will I deliver him. . . . He shall call upon me, and I will answer him." n5 If we will only call upon God with heartfelt desire to know Him, we will find that He is already here, already answering before we ask, for He is the very Mind of man. To realize and feel this brings healing.
n5 Psalms 91:14, 15.
And though prayer requires Christian qualities such as faith, sincerity, devotion, and humility, this doesn't mean we must abandon intellect. On the contrary, getting to know the divine Mind means discovering that man exists as Mind's intelligent manifestation. It means understanding the true nature of cause, effect, intelligence, identity.
Materialism cannot even begin to fathom the infinite possibilities of real Mind and its likeness, the real man. The computer as metaphor for mind must finally yield to divine Mind as the only true model. DAILY BIBLE VER SE We have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16