I'm willing to play devil's advocate on this one, if you're willing to approach it with an open mind.
@Steve Fraser - really? An open mind? Let's hear it, :D
Sure! The reason I say that, is because I used to be a faith healer, and now I'm not. I find people on both sides of the "theistic fence" suffer from closed mindedness (we all do, but that's a whole other discussion).
I think faith healers can heal, because I've been both healed, healed others, and seen it done many times. In fact, I've done it in a "scientific setting", repeatable on request, in the presence of others, skeptics and believers alike. I find "science" doesn't fairly challenge faith healing at all.
Now I assume that your talking about a matter of degrees, why can't a faith healer regrow a limb? I'm sure they theoretically could, even though I haven't seen it done yet. My answer is, it's like a "muscle". The argument is absurd, put it in another context, and it becomes clear.
Believer: I can lift a 5 pound weight!
Skeptic: Really? Why can't you pick up a car?!
You say you've done this in a scientific setting. I assume, then, that I can look up the paper that records these observations, perhaps in some university archive? I look forward to you providing such details.
Note scientific setting was in air quotes. My "work" hasn't been published to my knowledge, but there are PLENTY of examples available world wide. Some are indeed published (to my knowledge), but there is not yet a consensuses on the issue. It's a shame the James Randi foundation pulled their million dollar prize, I would have loved to cash in on that. :)
Oh, so there is no file that contains the medical diagnosis, along with supporting documents like MRI records, etc - coupled with proper identification of the faith healer, medical treatments followed/ignored, and then follow up medical records showing the tumour, or whatever, to be gone?
This is the typical line of all faith healing mythology. Of course the million bux was up for years and you never took advantage, but now that it's gone you have no motivation for revealing your 'powers' - not even the impact of ending billions of dollars of needless cancer research and the suffering of thousands of people on chemo; but I suppose none of those people would believe you anyway.
Would $10,000 work for you?
Whoa, whoa, back it up.
1) Yes, there are files like that.
2) I didn't know about the prize until the offer was retracted
3) You're going to unrealistic extremes again. I never said I could heal cancer.
4) I don't practice my 'powers', any more. I've already stated that.
5) $10,000 would be great, but I don't practice my 'powers' any more.
To get back to the original question, honest preachers think they can heal, because they have seen it done. There are a lot of dishonest ones too, and I can't speak for them.
I Call BS.
Not sure exactly what you're calling BS on, but feel free.
I am fascinated, pray tell some more. Most healers I know claim the power is not theirs but belongs to their God. They are only channelling it. But you had your own? So you lose your powers if you don’t use them? I would feel bad if I saw someone I could cure but walked on by because I had decided to stop.
I suppose you started off with small cures first and then worked up to bigger ones. It was a power that builds over time?
Yes, most people (I dare say everyone) doesn't fully understand the details, and instead of trying to figure it out, they adopt a theistic approach.
Is it mine? I think so. I don't believe in God, so I wouldn't say it is God's. I don't see any reason to believe it is anyone else I'm "channelling", so I'd say, yeah it's my power.
I don't think I lost my power, precisely. More accurately, I lost the ability to exercise it. In physics terms, I lost efficiency in transferring potential to kinetic energy.
I did feel bad for a while when I stopped, but I believe it is more effective to take a different approach to improving the net welfare of humanity. There was certainly strong cognitive dissonance, still a bit, but I'm over it for the most part now. It's very complex though, not a simple decision.
Yes, like in my (admittedly flawed) muscle analogy, the more you exercise, the stronger it becomes, and the less you exercise the more atrophy there is. Again, more accurately, there is not a net increase or decrease in potential energy, but the ability to convert potential energy to kinetic energy.