The Bible Supports Science, Vol. 5: No Miracles
When Pat Robertson and
“Prove” a Miracle?
Don’t Believe It;
When A Preacher Says
“A Doctor,” Or “Science” Confirms
A “Miracle” Has Taken Place –
Usually, That is Not a Firm, True Scientific Proof
Of a Miracle
God warned us that there have always been bad, “false” things even in our holiest men and angels. And therefore God tells us not to have much “faith” in holy men, or their ideas about God; but instead, to honor “science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE; 1 Kings 18.20-39; Mal. 3; Thess. 5.21). While Science in fact confirms that our preachers made another major error; aside from mistakenly, massively over-emphasizing “faith,” our preachers also read the “wonders” of the Bible as “miracles,” or as metaphors for spiritual things only. Thus our preachers stressed false things to themselves, and to all the world, for thousands of years.
Turn on your TV screen; even today, you can see hugely popular televangelists holding up their hands, eyes closed. Working hard to imply that if you just pray and have faith (and send contributions), then sick people will be healed. Sick people will be healed by God; by faith and prayer. Most preachers no longer claim to be able to 1) walk on water; or 2) make bread appear out of thin air. But 3) they stand behind the Bible, and traditions that promised them. And many are still promising, at least, 3) specifically, faith-healings. A minor sort of miracle.
And 4) yet, science looked at miracles long ago, and found that most promises of miracles are just false. And 5) in fact, about the last category of miracles that preachers still defend, are faith-healings. But are these faith-healings, really reliable? Our preachers of course, are very proud; and assure us that they or their traditions, their doctrines, are all but absolutely holy and reliable; which would include … promises of miracles. And yet however, we found out earlier that actually, long ago, even parts of the Bible itself, began to back away from promises of miracles. Paul coming to question, “Do all work miracles?” for instance.
Then too, we will have been finding here, that actually, God warned that there have always been false things even in our holiest men and angels. And therefore, rather than have total faith in what they promise, actually, we are supposed to examine our holy men and their promises – of miracles for example – with “science.” To see if our holy men and preachers, really are delivering all the material wonders and signs that they are supposed to deliver. While in fact, just a casual look at some of the bigger promises of miracles in the Bible, tells us that we don’t see many people performing the larger miracles promised here and now, today. Think of your own life today: do your see many people literally, actually walking on water today, for example? Or making bread appear out of thin air?
So what does even a casual science thought-experiment, have to say about miracles in general then? The first impression that we get, is that the larger miracles – the power to walk on water and so forth – might have been said to have happened in ancient times; but we don’t see them happening much, today. While in fact, there is every evidence that the bigger promises of miracles, are just, not coming true.
Faith Healings Though?
Aside from the bigger miracles though – people walking on water and so forth – what about say, “faith-healings” as they call them? Today, we don’t see so many preachers promising to literally walk on water any more; or make bread appear out of thin air. But there is still one subcategory of miracle, that many preachers still claim to be working: which is, faith-healing. Many TV preachers still claim to be healing sick people with faith and prayers. Often in fact, preachers themselves insist that even that science and “doctors” often confirm their faith-healing miracles.
But what does real science really say, about miracles in general, and faith-healings in particular? The fact is, that a) the vast majority of attempts at miracles fail; that b) even when our preachers claim their promises are supported by “science,” and “doctors,” the consumer needs to keep his eyes open; our preachers’ ideas of “science,” are usually not too accurate or honest. And our main point in this section of our book, will be that … even the last tiny subcategory of “miracles” that many preachers claim to be working – faith-healings – aren’t really firmly supported by science, either.
So what will our final conclusion have to be? Finally there is nothing the Bible to explain this, except to say that this ancient biblical prophesy is coming true: just as God warned, there have been many sins in our holiest men and angels; and as foretold, to”day” he is uncovering what they are. And foremost among those deceitful things are, our traditional preachers,’ Bishops,’ holy men’s … promises of miracles.
To be sure, faith-healings are the most probable of miracles. And yet even here, we will see, even when “doctor’s support them, firm, undisputed scientific evidence is still lacking. In any case though, it is useful to review some of the scientific and biblical problems in one or two such cases; just to give Christians and other readers, a few ideas about the kind of issues involved, in getting a strong scientific confirmation of something like faith-healing miracles.
What Does Science Really Say,
Lots of preachers and Bishops even today, will often imply that all the old traditional promises of miracles, are absolutely good and true; or at least, they will tell us the Bible is true; and it appears to promise miracles. And in the case of faith healings especially, many preachers will even claim that “science,” “doctors” support these miracles.
But does science really support miracles? Specifically, faith-healings? Our major point to start with though, will be this: that even when a preacher quotes a “doctor,” that is not enough to say that the preacher has proved something with science. First 1) we will find that whenever a preacher quotes a “doctor” to “prove” a miracle took place, chances are, he’s mis-quoting, misrepresenting, what that doctor actually said. In any case, 2) Science is complex enough, that even an average MD, is not always fully competent to determine when a real wonder or miracle has taken place. To have a real, scientific confirmation of miracle or wonder, you will need much more than just some random, informal misquote from “a doctor,” testifying that this or that faith-healing occurred; you will need a lot of real science. We will need some 3) real experiments; performed preferably, in controlled laboratory conditions, as they say. And 4) until recently, most reports of “doctors” verifying miracles, didn’t really do that. While even today, there are problems with getting good, real, scientific testing.
The First Big Problem in Any Case:
Even Casual Observations on Miracles in General,
Show Them to Be Fantastically Ineffective,
Turn on your television set today: you will see TV preachers, televangelists, claiming they and God will work “miracles” for us; especially, faith-healing miracles. Audiences full of sick people are assured constantly, that they will get well … if only they trust and have “faith” in our preachers and their idea of God. (And often, if they send the preachers lots of money; lots of “contributions” or “faith-offerings,” “seed money,” etc.). And often too, our preachers offer first hand-testimonials or people who claim they were cured by faith-healings of this or that disease. While sometimes, preachers or bishops claim that “science” or “doctors” support their promises.
But what does, say, even a casual, accessible science say right up from, about promises of miracles in general – and promises of faith-healings in particular? The fact is – as we found earlier – even the simplist science tells us immediately, irrevocably, that 1) promises of big miracles in general, are overwhelmingly, statistically false. Consider: you can pray all day for God to make a bicycle appear in front of you, out of thin air; and yet however, it will not happen, not once in a thousand tries.
Many preachers ask us, whether we are praying for the things that God “wants” for us. In fact, even if you pray for even for the very wonders that God promised for us – and that God presumably “want”s for us – for the power to walk on water and so forth – and still, not once in a thousand tries, do you get that.
So that overwhelmingly, just from the most casual thought-experiments, we would have to say that statistically, the results of trying for miracles, bad. So bad, that there doesn’t seem to be much point in continuing with such experiments, or bothering with miracles at all any more. Praying for most of the big huge miracles, that we were often promised in the Bible, is statistically, a huge, devastating, total failure; you can pray for God to move the real actual “mountain” next to you, as preachers promised … and yet, that will not happen even one time, in a thousand tries. So that the evidence, the score against miracles, is already, right up front, one thousand to zero. And no doubt, if you had the time, you could pray a trillion times … and still not get the material, physical result promised.
So even the most casual experiments in daily life, show there are huge problems, shortfalls, in promises of miracles. Unless you give up on physical results altogether, and talk about mental or “spiritual” results. Yet we have found that actually, God did not just promise “mental” or “spiritual” results; he promised real, material, physical things.
So what should we say up front? The fact is, the evidence against miracles is so obvious, that nobody even bothers doing full, serious experiments on this subject any more; but if they did, the statistical evidence against the vast majority of say, big huge miracles, would be trillions to one, at best. No doubt, millions of people – especially children – have prayed for bread to appear out of thin air. And yet – even though the LORD “wanted” this for us; God specifically promised we would get “all” the wonders that Jesus did – still, even this miracle does not appear. Not one time in a million. Try as many times as you like; it never happens today, in real life, at all.
So that the vast majority of promises of miracles are clearly false.
Still though, even after having warned everyone of the massive failures, deceits, in the vast majority of preachers – and especially in their promises of miracles – still, let us however, say, now go on … to examine a possible exception to the rule. To see if there is any truth in even a single one of say, our preachers’ smaller promises; like their promises to heal sick people unexpectedly; with faith and a prayer.
Do miracle-healings at least take place? In fact, the vast majority of these cases are not reliably documented. Most of we have is the hear-say of undoubtedly unreliable witnesses; very silly people. In fact, anyone can see with just a casual idea of science – or even a simple Christian idea of simple honesty – that first of all 1) the vast majority of attempts at miracles fail; while 2) whatever evidence for faith-healings, specifically, that is offered in the vast majority of cases, is just not good enough. Even when they say, a “doctor” testified to the faith healing.
Are there any successes at all, in especially – praying for health? After having noted the overall, massive, catastrophic – and we will find, often literally fatal – failures of the vast majority of promises of miracles overall, still however let us now consider finally, those one or two – anomalous, atypical, misrepresentative, anecdotal – cases. Where say, faith-healings are alleged to have finally worked; where sick people did, apparently, get well unexpectedly. And where this was even said in some cases to be verified by a “doctor.” And therefore, “Science.” But what will we find when we look at these cases more closely? Finally we will find that … our preachers’ idea and testimony about “doctors” and “scientific proof,” was not adequate. Our preachers did not have a good, clear, honest, accurate idea of all that real scientific proofs would require. So that nearly all previous “scientific” studies by preachers, said to verify “miracles,” have been false, bad, pseudo, junk, fake science. Not the real, honest, science of God. Not real Biology.
But Finally, the Exceptional Case:
A Doctor Proclaims a Miracle Healing?
God told us to honor “Science.” And so now and then – rarely – our preachers will stop insisting on blind “faith” in miracles and miracle healings – and now and then, a preacher will insist that he has proving his claims; has verified a miracle with science. And sometimes a preacher will say specifically, that a “doctor” verified his claim.
The Success Rate of Praying for Miracles On TV?
One or Two Letters of Success …
In a Million, a Billion Tries
To be sure, we should note up from, that already, just presenting one or two such cases, is highly misleading. Because remember, the vast majority of tries at miracles fail. The preacher is only reporting some unusual, not typical, results. Consider this: preachers often pray for healings, for audiences or target subjects of say, four million … to six billion; often the whole planet is prayed for. And yet, out of in effect, millions or even billions of tries … the preacher often gets only one or two positive testimonial letters. Thus again, the success rate of such prayers, is infinitesimally low. And so indeed, to report just the one or two cases that did seem to work, is hugely misleading. The vast majority of attempts to work miracles, are failures; and the preacher is not being honest about reporting that. Instead, the preacher is just presenting a tiny – and misrepresentative – “part” of all the evidence.
Yet now, keeping that in mind, let’s go ahead anyway, and look now at, say, a reconstruction of that an average one-in-a-million case, where a faith-healing seems plausible. Where particularly, the preacher says that science proves this or that claim of a miracle healing, was true. In fact, let’s look at a seemingly the strongest type of case; a hypothetical case, but one put together from two or three actual cases seen on TV. A case where a sick woman, is a) reporting apparently first-person, that she was sick, b) with even a terminal disease; but c) she prayed and got well. A case which seems even firmer, because d) the woman is herself, a doctor. This would seem to be about as good a case as gets reported on TV, where most Christians get their information. (If not in the medical journals). So let’s look at this case as reported on a major televangelist TV show.
There are many positive things about the witness being offered here; and this might seem to many clerics to be, therefore, firmly scientific. In this case, we have a woman – a medical doctor, no less – who said she had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor; but then she prayed … and was found well. By a wonderful miracle, as she apparently said.
This would seem to your average TV viewer, on the face of it, to be a firm, scientifically proven case. Consider in fact, all that it has going for it:
1) The woman who was writing this letter, would appear to many to be a reliable witness;
2) More than just reliable, she was herself, a doctor; a sort of scientist, some would say.
3) Furthermore, if we look at more detail to the story, there is reason to say, that the woman was taking care to make sure it was just faith, not medicine, that was curing her: this woman might even have said she was restraining herself from taking any conventional medication at all. She might even have reported herself, that she had been medically diagnosed with a tumor, but had not taken any medically-recognized medicine; instead, she had only prayed (and/or taken alternative medicine?).
4) Then too, say, she was implied to have found later – by presumably competent medical attention, by X-rays – not to have a tumor any more. (Roughly, this case is very like a situation reported by Pat Robertson, TBN, Nov. 2,001? Or thereabouts?).
So this would seem at first, to be a very scientific and trustworthy report; from a medical doctor. With adequate documentation. But look closer at this allegedly scientific proof of a healing miracle. To see if it really holds up to the standards of God’s science … or not. Or even up to the standards of a very casual thought-experiment.
Problems & Errors
1) First – as noted above – always remember, what happens in most such cases, in the past; these allegedly positive results, from prayers for miracles, are not typical. In fact, in most cases when we pray for a miracle, generally – when we pray for God to make a bicycle appear out of thin air for a poor person for example – in most cases, what we pray for does not happen.
So remember: the overwhelming bulk of attempts show that miracles do not take place, generally, the vast majority of times we try.
2) And we often get similar results, even in prayers for specifically, haling miracles. Even though some say Jesus promised us regular, reliable miracles, still, consider the numbers in some cases. TV preachers for example, might pray for miracle healings for thousands, even billions of people in the TV audience… and then get only one or two responses from listeners, testifying that they felt better. Most prayers for spectacular, real miracles in general we found earlier, fail one thousand times out of a thousand, or far worse than that. And as it turns out, TV preachers’ prayer seem very ineffective too; out of millions of tries in effect, they get only one or two possible responses.
3) So of course, when considering a few apparently successful cases where a TV preacher prayed, and apparently got a result, consider that – even if we take these as real recoveries – these events are individual exceptions; and are so rare, as to be statistically insignificant, and merely misleading, misrepresentative fragments, “parts,” of the larger, overall, real truth. The statistical truth being that overwhelmingly, praying for miracles is overwhelmingly ineffective. And that therefore overwhelmingly, promises of miracles, from prayer and so forth, are false.
4) But most preachers will ignore or deny the bulk of the evidence; to focus on misleading, unusual, atypical, anomalous signs of success. So keeping that in mind – that already, the vast bulk of evidence goes overwhelmingly against our holy men and their miracles – let us however, nevertheless, go on next, to see if there are problems, errors, even in those last few, statistically insignificant cases.
5) First of all, that given the fact that the vast majority of attempts at “miracles” are obviously false, the first thought you should have, when someone reports a miracle, is to consider the reliability – or unreliability – of the witness. Of the person who says he is seeing a miracle, or getting one.
Consider not only science here, but also the Bible. In all religious matters, the Bible itself warned often, that we should be honest. But that there would be many liars and unreliable witnesses in the world. Including: a) “false witness”es; people who are b) “liars,” c) “fools,” d) “deceivers.” Or even perhaps good persons who are honestly mistaken, or being e) “without knowledge,” or following the deceits of their own f) “false heart,” or g) “under a strong delusion” or h) “illusion,” i) “false dream,” or j) “enchantment,” among other many other delusions. And k) these false perceptions and testimonies, would exist even among those who thought they were following a “Christ” (who were really following a “False Christ”); and those believing they are following our “Lord, Lord.”
So that first of all, we need to consider the reliability of the witnesses. Since indeed, not only science, but also the Bible itself, warned over and over, that testimony even from alleged Christians, even sincere ones, can be unreliable.
a) In this case, consider the reliably of this testimony, said to be from a doctor, reported on TV by a televangelist.
First of all, we should note, even if the woman, the patient herself were absolutely reliable then still, as we see this on TV, we are not really talking to the patient herself; we are actually just listening to a TV preacher, tell us what he says, she said. Here, we are speaking here of cases seen on TV; reported by televangelists.
Here, then, all of what we know of this case, was presented to us not by the patient or doctor herself. Here, we only know the story as told on TV; and indeed there, presented to us by, filtered through, the second-hand account of, not a real scientist, but by a televangelist, like Pat Robertson.
Here then, really our real “witness” is a TV preacher; all we know about the case (to date), came not from a scientist directly; but instead, all we heard about the case was from Pat Robertson, the lawyer (Yale Law School). And what the holy man chose to tell us about this case; what he chose to tell us the medical doctors said.
So after all, we are dealing here with second-hand, third-hand information on the case; not on the doctor herself. So there is the possibility that even if her original account was accurate and adequate (which it was not), still, we are hearing about this incident at least third-hand now; though perhaps unreliable intermediaries.
Those people who tell us such stories, remember, are themselves not always entirely reliable, scientific people. Take cases similar to ours, reported on CBN by televangelist Pat Robertson: first of all aa) the preacher, is himself not a fully trained scientist; and bb) he is moreover a person with a systematic bias; he is committed by “faith” to believe in results, even ignoring data. Then too, not only in his desire or haste to prove his faith true, or cc) just our of human error, he
might have left out some of the scientific data; might not have told us about everything in the letter, and so forth.
Therefore, even if the original report or letter, from the MD, had been good, still, dd) remember, we are not really hearing all of what the MD said in that letter, probably. While remember basically, that in any case when we hear about such things on TV, or radio, often we are not really hearing from the MD herself ... but only from what the media host or televangelist, is choosing to tell us. And often, these intermediaries are themselves unreliable. Pat the preacher for example, is not a trained, objective party.
Indeed, our holy men are anything but objective, disinterested reporters. First, most of them have explicitly committed to the view that faith-healings do take place, before they ever look at such a case; indeed, what is more, they are trained systematically not to be objective in such cases, but are trained to absolutely believe and “have faith” in such miracles; trained to even systematically ignore any contrary evidence, and to continue to believe and have faith in them anyway.
So first of all, our holy men, who are reporting these things, are anything but objective. While next moreover, they are often anything but disinterested; indeed, a minister or priest stands to make a great deal of money for himself or his ministry, if he can convince people that he can in fact, work miracles: the more people believe that the televangelist can work wonders for them, often, the more money they will send him. So that there is a powerful incentive – or “temptation” – here, for the televangelist to exaggerate his powers. All the holy man has to do, is assert that he has worked a miracle … and many credulous, foolish people will eagerly follow him to get miracles themselves. And as part of that, many will give him money; put money into his collection plate. To prove their faith in him, and so forth.
Thus, promising people miracles is worth a lot of money, to preachers. Indeed, historically some theologians have noted (Boch?), probably the main reason people joined Christianity in the first place, was that it promised very material rewards for doing so: eternal life, prosperity, and miracles. Indeed, the main enticement religion offered people for joining it, was promises of huge miracles.
To this day, probably the main reason people go to church, and give the preacher money, is that the preacher reads parts of the Bible that, taken alone, promise them huge miracles and benefits if they do so. (Or, the other side of the coin, because the preacher threatens that God will punish them, if they do not do so).
Finally then, there is much personally at stake for a preacher, in cases of miracles. Enough that his objectivity is absolutely compromised. Indeed, there is a powerful temptation in religion, to fake miracles; since they will attract many people (and dollars) to the preacher. In the past in fact, many preachers and other charlatans and quacks were investigated, and found to be even consciously, cynically, faking miracles; in order to get money for their (equally false and evil) ministries.
Don’t believe it then, when a preacher tells you that a scientist supports this or that miracle; ask to see the original report by the scientist himself. And follow that up by interviewing the scientist, and checking his credentials too.
Note clearly, particularly, that though the TV of the church says this or that testimony is from a doctor, and implies that it is therefore scientifically sound, still, that report by a holy man is not good enough. First, even in its original form, a case like this is not really fully documented scientifically, for us; it is only presented to us as an informal story, told to us on TV. We do not know how good an experimentalist or observer the doctor is. Then too, in any case, on TV, or in church, we are listening not to the doctor herself, but only to a second-hand account of what she is alleged anecdotally, to have said. As reported to us by preachers; who are usually anything but disinterested and impartial and objective parties.
To be more reliable, we would want this case overseen not just by a doctor, but by trained scientists; whose findings are submitted and examined, by other trained scientists; and published in a reliable scientific journal. So that real experts would oversee and evaluate the data.
b) But suppose next, we rashly accept what a preacher tells us is scientific evidence, from a “doctor.” But next we should note that even testimonials from medical doctors can be unreliable. Because aa) even doctors are often not fully trained and reliable scientific experimentalists; and bb) even doctors make mistakes; cc) and/or even their valid results, are often mis-reported by others. As we will see next.
aa) At first, the case of a medical doctor, reporting on her own experience with prayer, looks like strong, acceptable evidence , from a medical specialist, for at least an occasional miracle. At first, it seems as if it is going to hold up to scientific testing; to be a real, actual, documented, physical miracle. One even run, by a scientist. In a situation closely resembling our hypothetical here, Pat Robertson once read a message from a woman – an MD herself? – who claimed to have had a tumor, that had showed up in an X-ray; she then prayed. And, when she went to get her second, pre-operation X-ray, the doctor came to her and told her that he could not find a tumor. Then she – and Pat Robertson, it seems (though perhaps he shook his head, and said “I don’t know”?) – then at times implied, on this evidence alone, that she might indeed been cured. By prayer; by a miracle; by God. However, keep in mind that even though the woman is herself a doctor, first, she is not necessarily fully trained in assessing her own case; she is not necessarily a specialist in cancer.
bb) Or indeed the doctor might have her objectivity compromised; since she is examining herself, after all.
cc) Or in any case, she is an ordinary doctor … not a fully-trained or competent or published experimentalist;
dd) Reporting a fully controlled, scientific experiment.
ee) Such reports then, even from a doctor, are not necessarily fully reliable. For many reasons. Among other reasons we might now add this one: was this report of a miracle, from a careful, controlled, fully monitored scientific experiment? Or a very reliable, scientific observation? In this case, it was not. It is merely what scientists call an “anecdote.” An informal story.
This was an informal report: a letter to a TV station. Not the full report, say, of a good, controlled experiment. Even if the woman who (allegedly) reports this miracle, is herself a doctor, note that a good, fully scientific report requires more than the reporter being a doctor; a good report requires that the author be a fully-qualified experimental researcher; running a full, formal, experiment; ideally, under laboratory conditions. Or at least, observing things objectively, scientifically. Yet those conditions have not been provably met, in Pat Robertson’s informal TV report.
In a fully controlled experiment. One that takes into account all variables. How does the doctor know for example, that it was prayer that cured her … and not say, the aa) alternative medications she was taking? Or not bb) some natural healing mechanism in the body? Or cc) something else?
Indeed, all we have here is an informal letter; which would be called in real science, mere “anecdotal evidence.” A mere informal story; not a well documented observation, or controlled experiment.
A Few Things To Consider
For A Better
God told us to use real “science” in the Bible (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE; see our Science of God). While according to science, we need far, far better reports than these, before we believe; we need good solid experimental and observational data; from people who are trained to weed out mistakes, and to consider other reasons why an apparent wonder or miracle might have taken place, other than supernatural causes.
6) What things might a trained experimentalist have done, to make sure the observations and conclusions were good? First, the experimentalist would have carefully looked for other things in this wonder, that might explain the results, by something other than a supernatural miracle. Consider for example, the following possibilities:
a) One thing, for example, would have to be made very clear, before we call this a miracle: whether the sick person was also on any medication at the time (cf. “controlling the variables”). Because after all, if the patient was also on medication at the same time that he or she was praying and wishing for a miracle, then after all, if he or she got well, then it might have been the medicine, after all, and not the prayers, that healed the patient.
In contrast to our TV’s inadequate report of a “miracle,” an adequate verification of a miracle, would not be a mere observation, but would come out of fully controlled experimental conditions, with a trained investigator monitoring the whole case, scientifically, right from the start. The best, most reliable case for a miracle, would be from putting sick persons in carefully controlled laboratory conditions; and then observing them. Then, as they say, “verify”ing the result, from observing, statistically, lots of similar cases. While unfortunately, this case does not meet those standards; it was of a woman living a normal life; in a situation that though partially controlled, still presenting lots of uncontrolled variables; variables, uncontrolled events, that might have effected the outcome.
b) Then too, we ourselves, as it happened, heard only one report on TV; what about later, follow-up reports? (See also 21). Often people appear to get well for a moment, to have their disease “in remission” … but then, “relapse,” and get the disease back, the same or worse. So we need not just one letter from the victim, but longer study and many reports.
The Real Answer In Many Cases?
The Patient “Cured” of A Disease,
Wasn’t Sick With That Disease
In the First Place
c) But especially, whenever we consider alleged cases of miracle-healings, the main thing we need to consider, what we would need independent verification of, is this: was the patient really sick in the first place? Keeping in mind that
aa) Patients often lie. On their own.
bb) But also in conjunction with preachers, faith healers; in deliberate frauds. Indeed, in earlier times, many faith-healers would travel around in wagons with tents; setting up tents for “revivals” and healings; often they would travel with an accomplice; who would pretend to be sick .. and then “cured” “miraculously,” by the preacher. This increased the preacher’s reputation … and the take in the collection plate.
cc) Or some, patients often make honest mistakes about their own condition. Some patients are hypochondriacs, and merely imagine they are sick all the time. If such patients are suddenly found “well,” that would not be a real cure.
dd) Related to patients who mistakenly think they are sick, consider next, those people who are so anxious about this or that – anxious about their health for example – that finally, the stress of worrying, really, actually makes them sick. Note that on a commonsense level, worrying all the time, can increase your heart rate, or stress on your heart and circulatory system; and stress your digestion and skin too, causing skin outbreaks and ulcers. So that it is possible – indeed common – for the mind to affect the body. Often in adverse ways. Even causing illness. You can worry yourself sick.
ee) Inextricably related to the above, are what are called psychosomatic illness. Here, otherwise healthy patients’ mental stresses and fears, finally make them sick. People can imagine they are sick, or be anxious about it … until their fears finally cause their bodies to get symptoms. These symptoms can mimic all kinds of major diseases.
And by the way, to the degree that even physical illnesses are caused by people’s anxieties, their minds, talking to them, changing their minds – as Psychologists like Freud well know – can heal them. But to be sure, it is not so much just prayer or faith, or being given “forgiveness”; but all kinds of talk therapies, like psychoanalysis.
In many cases of “sick” persons getting “well” after prayer and so forth then, note that even if the sick woman was not taking medicine, then still, there are still many other things that might have happened, to make it look like a miracle had taken place … when one had not. In particular, for example: it often happens that someone thinks they are sick (from psychological causes, or just from reading medical data), and that and/or various anxieties, cause them to actually have symptoms. Though they are not really sick at all; it is just their mind is making them sick.
To be sure though, here we do have persons with physical illnesses, being “cured”; but to be sure, it is not quite what the preachers thought it was.
Incidentally, no doubt we might hypothesize here, many victims of magic, like voodoo, who get sick or die after getting a hex on themselves, are often victims of their own guilt and belief they have done something wrong; which causes their own minds to turn against, create physical ailments in, their own bodies. As their guilt leads them to a kind of semi-conscious suicide.
ff) Likewise, many holy men who get “sigmata,” or wounds on their hands like those of Christ, may be getting them by action of the mind, on their hands and feet. Or indeed, merely by subconsciously picking with their fingernails at these spots continually.
gg) Or in effect they had some psychosomatic disorder; “demons” or “false spirits” you might say, in Biblical language.
So the major question to ask in all such cases: was the patient really sick in the first place?
hh) Most importantly, along these lines: at times it even happens that at first, even a doctor or a lab, will read an X-ray wrong; and mistakenly tell someone, that they have this or that illness – when they don’t. Instead, the doctor or the lab, simply made a mistake. So that the doctor simply misdiagnosed the patient as ill; while they were never ill at all. Or not ill with the disease everyone thought. Then what happens is, they run a second check-up, and find the patient doesn’t have the disease they thought he did; at this point, many think there has been a mirculous “cure” from the disease. Whereas in point of fact, all that is really happening, is that the patient never had the disease in the first place.
This in fact accounts no doubt, for many miraculous “cures.” What happens is that the lab or doctor, simply made a mistake in diagnosing a disease in the first place; say, a lab technician misread an X-ray, and thought there was a hole in the heart of a patient. But b) then, after prayer, when a second test is run, and the patient is found well – or not to have a hole in their heart of whatever. At this point, many think that the patient was “miraculously cured.” Whereas in fact … the whole thing, was just a mistake.
Misdiagnosis, is probably a far more common kind of confusion, faith-healing miracle tales, than one would think. Just this phenomenon alone – initial misdiagnosis; corrected or found wrong on a second visit – probably accounts for many alleged healing “miracles.” (Recent studies by a Harvard researcher suggests that about 20% of all cases are misdiagnosed; which would account in fact for most “miracle” cures).
Our Medical Doctor
One of the most likely errors in fact, that cause people to mistakenly say that they were miraculously cured of this or that disease, is this: they didn’t actually have that particular disease, in the first place. Often because they had simply diagnosed themselves as sick – but they were mistaken. Or the doctor himself misdiagnosed them with this or that disease. Then, when they prayed, and then went to the doctor … and the doctor examined them again, and told them they did not have the disease they thought, everyone mistakenly concluded, that they had been ill, but were somehow cured. Whereas in fact, they had never been ill, in the first place.
So what about this case then: the case of our MD? Who say, suggested in a letter to a televangelist, that she had a first X-ray, that showed that she had cancer … but then spoke of a later X-ray, that showed nothing. In this case, our doctor and preacher too, mistakenly concluded, that she a) had been cancerous, and b) now was miraculously cancer-free; and that a miracle cancer cure had taken place therefore. But perhaps, after all, the original X-ray that said she had a tumor, was just wrong. Or was mis-diagnosed by the radiologist. Perhaps she never had cancer at all. So she was not “cured”; she never had that specific disease at all.
ii) Or perhaps she had the disease … but the second, follow-up X-Ray was wrong, and did not detect it. So again, everyone might easily, mistakenly think, she was “cured.”
Such cases of simple laboratory error and misdiagnosis, are probably far more common than one might think; are commonly unreported, or are not clarified. Because, after all, what doctor wants to tell many patients, that one of his reports was false? No doubt, most doctors would rather just let the patient believe a “miracle cure” had taken place, rather than have it known that the doctor had earlier, made a mistake in diagnosing the patient.
Thus, no doubt, even many doctors allow patients to think “a miracle” took place … when they know better.
More: Psychological Effects
In addition to simple laboratory errors and so forth, which can cause the appearance of a “miracle,” there are other psychological things that can cause this too.
jj) Consider the case where a sick person gets wrapped up in the drama and attention and status of being an alleged “miracle cure”; many people who are sick, like being on stage in front of many other people, and being the center of attention. (See Passive Aggressive behavior).
kk) And then too, on being told by the preacher that God has healed them, they temporarily feel exhilarated … and temporarily feel better in fact. While then too their mind is playing tricks on them from all the attention (see psychosomatic illnesses above; also Munchausens’ Syndrome?).
ll) All these tricks that the mind plays on itself, are compounded in faith-based Christianity: remember, most Christians are told they must have absolute, total “faith” in what preachers say about God, and his miracle cures. So, when the preacher tells them they have been, or will “always” be, cured by God, Christians feel compelled to … make their minds believe or have faith in that; to believe that they were cured.
Being told to absolutely believe and have “faith” in faith-healing, causes their minds to play tricks on them. So that they are no longer objective, and will ignore any objective evidence, signs, that they are still sick. Though follow-up examinations will often find their assertions, their blind faith, was in something false; they were still sick, after all.
7) And if the patient was well, and did get sick? Consider too in fact, the natural recovery rate from many “fatal” diseases. Statistics tell us that indeed, in many diseases, there is often some chance of recovery (from unknown causes). Often indeed, doctors will tell you that your
chances of recovery from this or that disease, are say, one in one hundred or so; and on the basis of the low rate of survival or recovery, will tell you to expect to remain sick, or die. Yet to be sure, note, when the chance of a recovery from a disease is say, one in a hundred, then after all, there is one case in a hundred, that will recover.
a) If you are that one, it is not a miracle; just statistics.
To be sure, one might wonder why you are that one in a hundred.
b) Yet if you are that one, it is not exactly a miracle; it is standard luck. You just happened to be the one in one hundred, that recovered.
c) Among other reasons, you might just have a better immune system, or whatever, as per the above.
d) Or perhaps when people pray for you, others – including doctors – pay more attention to you; and give you better treatment.
There are therefore, lots of good reasons to reject your average preacher or Bishop’s assertion that a medically-documented miracle has taken place.
Consider this one: even if a woman really did have a tumor – which is not sure, given all the above – still, for many diseases, sometimes some not- fully-understood but natural healing ability of the body, will cure some individuals in some cases. Indeed, consider all the times that you yourself had a cold … but then eventually, just got over it; your body just took care of it. In point of fact, our bodies have various things in them naturally, to fight diseases. And often, therefore, these things in our bodies cure us naturally.
So if you were sick, and prayed, but then got well … perhaps after all, it was not the prayer, but something in your immune system, say, that finally kicked in an made you well. And, since the bodies of different people are different, there will be cases where some individuals are protected from, or recover from this or that disease, and yet others do not. It is not a “miracle”; it is just that they have different disease-fighting things naturally, in their bodies. Aspects of immune systems that we just don’t understand yet.
This in fact might be considered by many, the most fruitful avenue for future research; to find out whatever truth there might be in faith-healing.
8) Keeping in mind all these things, you should be aware that today, many scientists and educated people, today do not believe in miracles; indeed, they believe that miracles have been firmly disproved.
9) So that indeed, the vast bulk of scientific journals today, do not accept tales of “miracles” at all, for publication.
10) While most medical schools do teach some classes on spirituality (Newsweek, Nov. 10, 2003, p. 54), they not not teach prayer or faith-healing as their primary means of curing people; or only a few a very little. Indicating that the people who know diseases and cures best – medical doctors, teachers in medical schools – overwhelmingly believe that faith-healing prayers and so forth, are far less effective, than scientific medical treatment.
11) While often preachers indeed teach people today to accept diseases; with spirituality in fact. Which comes into play primarily as “consolation” when nothing has worked – not even prayer. Even according to the preacher. And the patient is going to die. Much of spirituality having to do with reconciliation with death.
12) In fact, too, many newspaper stories remind us that those religious persons who refuse conventional medical treatment, often get sicker and die, for lack of it. For lack of medical treatment that would have probably cured them; whereas, faith-healing almost certainly would not have.
Outright Fakery and Fraud
13) No doubt, many miracles are at first, apparently related in the Bible. Yet in fact, finally, eventually many preachers came to interpret them not literally, but as metaphors for spiritual things. So, we cannot even be entirely sure we really were promised miracles at all, many would say.
14) Then too, some parts of the Bible, we say – came increasingly to doubt “supernatural” spirits and miracles. Paul asking: “Do all work miracles.”
15) Eventually in history, in addition to biblical warnings proper about many false things in our holy men, likewise, whenever real scientists and honest people with “judgement” looked at cases of alleged miracle-healings, they found that the people who thought miracles were happening, were simply mistaken, or ignorant. Or often they were people who just wanted fame, and attention – and who imagined or pretended to be sick, and then get well; in order to get attention and prestige.
16) And throughout history too, many alleged miracle-promisers were finally exposed, as frauds: as “Charlatans,” “Hucksters,” “quacks,” “snake-oil” salesmen, and so forth. (Cf. Elmer Gantry, a novel about a preacher by Lewis? Or other accounts of deceitful priests).
Not too long ago, from the 18th to the 20 centuries, investigators began investigating people, preachers who promised miracle cures; and often they found that various deceitful ministers and medical quacks, were even deliberately deceiving people. Fraudulent miracle-workers, would travel with accomplices that would pretend to be sick; then they would undergo this or that “treatment” or prayers from the minister or quack … and pretend to “recover.” When the many sick people in the audience, say this, being thus convinced of the minister’s or quack’s powers, they would give the minister or quack much money. In the expectation that they too would be similarly cured.
Never knowing that they had been fooled, by “false signs”; or by a simple deception, fraud, or lie.
Turn on your TV set, to a religious network like CBN or TBN, or a major televangelist; you will see TV preachers with their eyes closed, hands flat to the screen, praying … and announcing that for sure, some sick person, is even then and there, being cured of this or that disease. With the clear historical implication, that the preachers’ prayers are helping that miracle healing come about.
Many preachers therefore, are still promising miracles; and claiming to be all but perfect and reliable in that and other claims too. And such promises of giant miracles have no doubt, been enormously profitable, financially, for churches. People go to see preachers, people send money to the televangelists, in large part because those preachers in effect, are promising them huge material benefits if they do so; promising especially, to heal sick persons, through faith and prayer. Ultimately, then, millions of people have gone to church – and ultimately sent millions, billions of dollars to the church; huge amounts of money – because they hoped that the church would cure them, of this or that disease. Through faith and prayer and so forth, alone.
And most televangelists encourage this; promising faith healings all the time … and then, asking for money, to demonstrate our “faith” in the whole process, etc.. Specifically, recently, televangelists involved in this, include Pat Robertson and his son Gordon of CBN (Christian Broadcast Network). And Benny Hinn and Rod Parsley of TBN: of “Trinity Broadcast Network.” Whose satellite footprint, we were told c. 2001, (on that network itself, by Mrs. & Mrs. Crouch, the owners), covered substantially the whole world.
Promising faith-healings then, is big business. To the point that basically, the whole world, the whole earth, has been long since been covered by the religion, that promises miracles.
1) For millennia, many billions of people, have been firmly or implicitly promised, prophesied, lots of huge, wonderful, amazing wonders, by our holy men and preachers, our priests and ministers and other religious leaders. And 2) our preachers have assured us firmly, that their promises are absolutely true; the “word of God.” While they firmly told us over and over, 3) that we must absolutely trust and believe and trust these and other promises of our holy men and preachers, with total “faith”; believe in them as the “word” of God and absolute “truth,” “sacred” and “holy.” Without any possibility of error.
Our conservative, traditional preachers covered the earth, with their truly enormous promises of miracles. And their assurances that they spoke the holy truth; the word of God. And 4) yet however, surprisingly, we will have been finding out, in our own books here, that what our preachers always told everyone, was not really what the Bible actually, fully, said.
Our preachers 5) always read to us misleading parts of the Bible, that seemed to support their claim. But the fact is for example, that 6) our Bibles themselves, overall – in passages your preachers did not feature very prominently in church – did not support the authority of our holy men all that much. As it warned for example, that “all have sinned”; even our holiest men and angels in heaven itself. And as it warned that there are many “false” or bad things in religion, including Christianity itself.
That is startling enough. But it gets worse. Furthermore, 7) because of these many bad, false things even in Christians and what is normally called Christianity, religion, the search for truth, real Christianity, should not be faith-based. Because there are so many false things in even the best prophets and angels, we should not be so totally, loyally trusting and following these old promises; 8) instead, we should carefully examine then with real “science,” to see if they come true, “come to pass” in the real world, here and now, or not.
And 9) if science tells us our holy men do not get real material results here, in a timely way, on earth? Then actually, far from continuing to trust and believe and have faith in them as the holy word of God, instead, we are supposed to deduce that they were words, promises, false promises, falsely attributed to God by a false prophet or bad priest; words that were not really from God after all; no matter how holy and sacred they were said to be.
And so we now add, 10) what if we now apply science to promises of miracles – and discover that they were false? That such things do “not come to pass” in real life? No doubt, 11) this revelation would seem to shatter our traditional (idea of) heaven itself. But if so, then we have yet another amazing revelation: one “day,” our old traditional heaven itself is supposed to be destroyed. 12) But all in order for God to show us something “new” and better, after all (2 Peter 3; Mark 13.31; Isa. 34, 65-6; Rev. 21, etc.). In order for God to show us a Second Coming; a “new” and better, more “mature,” “full”er vision, coming, of God. One beyond even the New Testament.
While in fact, 13) we will here be finding that in point of fact, the old promises of miracles were false; were in effect, the foretold false religion, false “worship,” Magical thinking, that, the Bible warned, would cover, dominate the whole earth. (Rev. 13). And we will be finding now, it was not a “harmless” sin or error either; many billions of people were severely damaged, by false promises of miracles; especially, we add now miracle-healings.
Are promises of miracles – even, finally, miracles like faith-healing – partially false? Could there be something false in our faith? At first, this seems impossible; or to be against God and the Bible. But actually we will have found here, the Bible itself told us, in seventy or more places, that indeed there have always been great sins in our holy men and angels; and that one “day” we are supposed to discover those huge, gigantic sins and errors. In order to move on to another, better vision of God and good.
While in point of fact, that is what is happening right now. Even now, many of us are noticing problems, apparent sins – in especially, our preachers’ promises of big huge miracles. Few of us today, see anyone at all, walking on water, or making bread appear out of thin air; though we were assured constantly in churches – until about 1967 or so – that Jesus himself did such things, and that believers would also be able to do “all the works” that Jesus did; and even “greater works than these”; “whatever” we “ask”ed, in fact. And finally, find there are problems, errors, even in most claims of “scientifically-proven” faith-healings.
But if so then after all, all this is according to the Bible itself; one “Day” indeed, we were supposed to discover sins in all our holiest men and angels. And then move on to something better; to a second and better vision, of truth. Which we are beginning to see, even now.
Have many miracles been proven to be true? By real science, doctors? Let’s take a look now, at a typical, semi-hypothetical case, of what might appear to be among the best, most authentic, most scientifically-documented cases of miracle- or faith-healings. Let’s take a look at a case of an alleged faith-healing … where a doctor, is reporting on her own cancer; and seems to be telling us that she herself, a doctors, is in fact, being cured of her disease … by faith and prayer.
As it turns out, while we are grateful for the testimony of doctors on such matters, in the end, the quality of science in such cases, is not so good. In fact, we will note here, many typical shortcomings, in nearly all alleged “scientific” verifications of miracles. We will note that they are not good, honest, fully competent science.
A Case of an Alleged Miracle Faith-Healing,
Testified to by a Doctor
Consider a hypothetical but typical case of an alleged faith-healing, verified by a doctor: put together from one or two actual cases on TV. Here, a sick person – who was herself a doctor – sent in a letter to a televangelist. In that letter, she that said that the doctor herself, had cancer; but the letter also said – we were told by the televangelists – that the doctor was trying alternative remedies, not conventional medical treatment – and was trying, among other things it seemed, prayer. Furthermore, we are told by the televangelist, (cf. Pat Robertson, c. 2003, 4?), that the doctor told us that so far, her prayers were working; an X-ray confirmed that her cancer disappeared, after she prayed.
Here therefore, we have a doctor who said that she was sick – but that she had tried what the preachers advised, faithfully; praying for God to heal her – and where the doctor asserted that her prayers worked; that medical science – an X-ray – confirmed that she had in fact been cured of her cancer. While the doctor promised to send periodic up-dates, to let the TV preacher whether her cure was genuine and permanent. (In one closely related case, Pat Robertson reviewed such evidence to stand, with only minor reservations; Pat himself barely shaking his head merely once, and saying “I don’t know”?).
In this type of case, many believers would feel that here at last, we do have scientific proof, that a miracle has taken place. Indeed, many similar stories reported successes, here, especially in this type of case: sick persons are reported to have been sick, in a way often incurable by conventional medicine; but then they prayed, or were prayed for … and they got unexpectedly well. Thanks to faith in God. And so here it would seem that at last, we will have real, scientific proof of a miracle: a real, fully competent witness – a doctor herself – confirming that a healing miracle has taken place.
Here it seems at first, we have a real medical doctor telling us that she tried prayer, and that it worked. But finally, are reports of even alleged medical miracles that are said to be witnessed or experienced by even real medical doctors, fully scientific and absolutely reliable and true? As it turns out here, even those reports of healings, which holy men claim are fully documented and witnessed by medical doctors – turn out not to be entirely, “full”y accurate, or reliable, or fully scientific. We will find in Biblical language, that their “witness” was often largely unreliable, or “false witness.” And false science. For dozens of different reasons.
First: 1) are our preachers really reporting, and accurately interpreting, what the doctors, science, really said? As it turns out, they are not. Typically, our preachers and churches who claim this or that doctor or scientist confirmed a miracle, the preacher, the church, is simply misrepresenting what the scientist or doctor really said.
But then too, we will even ask here, 2) even if the report says what the doctor really said … are all reports, even by doctors themselves, always true? As it turns out, often even doctors themselves, make mistakes in their diagnoses; first, a) about 20% of their diagnoses are wrong, (according to one c. 2007 Harvard or Johns Hopkins scholar). Or related to that, often even doctors’ reports of miracles, are false, because b) even doctors are not necessarily fully trained, publishable experimentalists; they aren’t really evaluating things with full scientific method. While c) in any case, even when doctors know full experimental technique, many of the cases of miracles they report, were not conducted with all the proper experimental controls; but were just informal, off-the-cuff observations.
Are doctors, scientists, really confirming miracles are taking place? We will find here that often, even when doctors themselves are quite competent, still, in most cases of “miracles” said by today’s preachers and churches to be verified, confirmed by doctors, we aren’t really hearing, in those reports, what the doctors themselves actually said about the case. What we are hearing about such cases, is only whatever the preacher or church chose to tell us about. What the preacher said, that the doctor said.
That is, often, all we’re hearing, are second-hand reports. All we know about what the doctors said, is what is being reported to us, after all, by interested, biased parties: by preachers themselves. Preachers, churches who are, more often than not, desperate to “prove” that they themselves, or their promises, are absolutely holy and true. Preachers and churches that often, rely heavily on promises of miracles, to get people into their churches, leaving lots of money in their collection plates.
The fact is, we usually are not hearing about such cases directly from the doctors themselves … but from unreliable witnesses: preachers, churches. And indeed, preachers and churches have reasons not to be objective. First, churches after all, have a very, very strong vested interest – and indeed a very firm prior commitment – to a biased point of view: preachers aa) having previously sworn over and over, to absolutely believe and have “faith” in, a God of miracles, often. So that first of all, in effect, our preachers were sworn to have “faith”; which means in effect, they have sworn not to be objective in such cases. Indeed, the whole idea of “faith” (as perceived by most preachers) is to ignore any and all material evidence, science; and to continue to believe in whatever their church tells them – that there are miracles for example. Even when our “eyes” and other senses, signs, tell us continually that just promises are just, false.
Therefore, in effect,
all our preachers and believers, have been systematically taught, not to be objective; but instead, indeed, to ignore all objective evidence, and just continue to “have faith” in what they believe. To be precisely the opposite of objective. They were taught that the old promises of miracles were delivered to us by God … and must be true; that we must therefore not believe any evidence offered against them; and must just continue to believe and have faith that miracles for example, are true and good.
Therefore, our preachers, believers, trained to have “faith,” are anything but objective witnesses; indeed, they are highly trained to be the exact opposite of that; they are trained to have “faith” in what they believe in, in their preconceptions … no matter what. No matter how much evidence is offered that contradicts what they believe.
Therefore, no scientist or rational person, should ever take the testimony of a religious person, on religious matters, at face value; a “believer” as we might call him, is anything but an objective and reliable “witness” in such cases. Indeed, believers have been thoroughly, continually trained not to be objective. Thus, when a preacher assures us that science, a doctor, says this or that, we should keep in mind, that we are hearing a highly unreliable “witness.”
Not only are aa) typical, faith-based preachers, systematically, explicitly, repeatedly and thoroughly trained, to be exactly and precisely the opposite of scientific, objective witnesses, to rigorously oppose objectivity and empirical evidence; then too, bb) preachers have many other personal motivations, for not being honest or objective here. The fact is, a strong personal and even monetary interest is at stake here, in confirming or dis-confirming miracles. There is a personal interest here, that all but utterly destroys whatever residual objectivity a preacher has in such matters. First preachers of course, have a long-term, vested interest in “proving” miracles are true; since miracles are part of the religious tradition that they are in; their who world-view, their whole way of thinking, is based on the belief, the faith, that miracles are true; and indeed, preachers have made their living, and have gained much prestige, in standing before congregations and convincing them that they are right and true. So that aaa) preachers have a strong personal interest in proving miracles are true; their jobs, and bbb) their valued, respected reputation in the community (see the Bible on Pharisees, who like to stand in front of the people as leaders), depends on their finding that their tradition is true.
While, even more specifically: ccc) preachers, churches, stand to gain not only lots of listeners, followers, the respect of the community – but also, out of that, many contributions; money. If people think they are working miracles. Indeed, promises of miracles are probably, historically, the main source of money for churches and preachers. Lots of people go to church, and follow preachers – and give money to them. Because the preacher has assured them that is they do, the preacher and his god will give them miracles. Sick people will go to church, and give the church lots of money – because they believe, they have been assured, the preacher and his God, can and will heal them. Therefore, preachers and churches, are again, anything but objective and disinterested here; they have a great deal to personally lose or gain, according to whether people perceive they are working miracles … or not. Therefore, preachers and churches are anything but, objective, disinterested (or scientific) reporters on such subjects as miracles. Indeed they have been commanded to have “faith” in them no matter what; and they have in immense personal stake in finding them real.
So that finally, for many reasons, we will find here, that the people should have very, very little confidence 1) in ordinary, typical, (pre-scientific) preachers and their testimony, particular on religious matters. 2) Not even in their reports that this or that thing, has been “scientifically proven” as some will say; even 3) by “doctors.” Not trusting to any intermediary agencies, or even “messengers” or “angels” (“angel” means “messengers”) allegedly from God – like preachers or holy men or even bishops or even “angels.” Not trusting them to report to us accurately, what our doctors or experimentalists (or God) really, fully said. While 4) for that matter, while we have far more confidence and trust, in doctors and scientists and just ordinary honest working people, finally of course, even they can make mistakes, on their own. So that 5) finally we should listen only to real, trained, objective PhD experimentalists themselves; particularly and only 6) those who have published their results in reliable, peer-reviewed, respected, scientific journals. And 7) we should read their original reports, ourselves, “full”y. To find out what they really say. 8) All this, before we even begin to believe and have faith. While 9) even then, we should keep in mind that even the best journals and articles, often make mistakes.
Indeed, remember, the Bible itself often warned that “all have sinned”; while God warned often about many “false” things in our holiest men and angels; while indeed, Jesus himself once called St. Peter himself, “Satan” (Mat. 16.23); while Paul himself admitted he was not yet “perfect,” even as he was writing his part of the Bible; and St. James admitted that “we” apostles, “all make mistakes,” as he said, even as he wrote his part of the Bible, too.
So, if we ever have the least amount of confidence or “faith” in any preachers, clearly it should be only the very, very tiniest amount – a “mustard seed.” And we should finally allow even that tiny amount of faith, to grow, only in real soil: in a new and better, more “mature” breed of scientific preachers; preachers who are thoroughly trained not in the typically, endemically blind faith in ancient but flawed religious traditions; but in the Science of God; in real, objective, recognized, classic, science. (See our Science of God.) Finally, we should only begin to put any “faith” or “confidence” at all, only in a future breed of religious “counselors,” say; who are based in classic science. On science which is recognized and respected by the entire scientific community, of Biologists, Physicists, and so forth. As expressed and published in respected, peer-reviewed, scientific journals.
In religious terms, let us therefore, henceforth, follow a much higher standard, for what is considered to be what God would himself call a reliable “witness”; one whose “heart” is not “deceived” or “deceptive.” Let us trust only witnesses, who are thoroughly trained in, and who continually follow, real, actual science. And indeed finally, that standard should be high enough, that the informal report of by an alleged holy man, on what a doctor is alleged to have said, is by no means in itself good, scientific evidence. While indeed, even the first-hand report of a medical doctor, we will find here, while infinitely better than the testimony of a preacher, is still, not quite firm, “full” enough proof; is not what we ultimately need. Which would be at least a full, published, accepted report of a fully, scientifically documented situation.
Why are our standards so high? Because 1) our preachers and holy men, God warned, are often unreliable, “false.” While we add, 2) in particular, even their accounts of science, what doctors are alleged to have said, are typically unreliable. Then too, 3) even doctors make mistakes.
But most of all, the main problem with reports by preachers, churches, that “science” or “doctors” supports this or that position, their authority – and especially their promises of miracles – is that our preachers, churches, are simply not reliable, even according to God himself. And they almost inevitably, mis-report, seriously misrepresent, what science and doctors really, actually said.
The Majority of Statistical Evidence –
In Faith-Healing Too
First remember, the vast bulk of scientific and informal evidence, is overwhelming, crushingly, against miracles in general.
Yet some preachers will a) next tacitly admit that they themselves are not working the big huge miracles that the Bible seemed to have promised; but b) many preachers today will say that our preachers today can at least, work more minor miracles: c) can especially, heal sick people, with faith and prayer and so forth;
that faith-healings at least though, are true. While d) many preachers will even point to cases where – they claim – “science,” “doctors,” appear to verify that miracle faith-healing did occur.
1) But first of all, against such cases: most of us, to be sure, will find in normal life, in what does or “does not come to pass” in actual life, that by far, to date, most attempts at religious faith-healings, also fail.
a) Remember all the times you prayed that your sick, dying grandmother would get well and live here on earth with us? But she didn’t?
b) From this, consider indeed, in fact, the probable general statistical failure rate, of the total of all attempts at, prayers for, miracles – even c) specifically within the small category of miracles, called faith-healing.
d) Consider first of all, the total number of persons prayed for in just one TV prayer, say, for faith-healings. In many cases, a television preacher prays for listening audiences of hundreds of thousands; even millions, even billions of people (evangelists often praying for all people on earth; currently about six billion people). Of whom thousands, even millions, must have some health problem. Indeed at times, the televangelist’s prayers for faith-healings, pray for in effect, all the people, all over the world; currently a little more than six billion human beings. Of whom at any given time, probably at least one billion have one disease or another. Thus the preacher is praying for anywhere from tens of thousands, to billions of people. Yet, note, out of this enormous number of sick persons prayed for just one time by one man, note, the televangelist often gets only one or two letters a day, testifying as to some success. So that the televangelist – by some counts – has a success rate of … as small as one in a billion. Which is of course, a devastatingly, disastrously low success rate. One well below statistical significance. Indicating up front that overall, praying for health, is a disastrous failure.
e) Indeed, consider too, that probably most of all the people on earth who had some warning they were about to die – tens of Billions of them – prayed for longer life, healing. And yet of course, obviously, they died anyway. All of us die sooner or later of old age and so forth. So that finally, almost all those billions of prayers to live a supernaturally long life, here on earth, have failed.
f) Why don’t preachers notice this? In part, it is because our preachers have not been trained to think critically, scientifically. In fact, they have been systematically trained not to think critically; but instead to just have blind “faith” in old promises, and to systematically ignore and deny any evidence that the old promises are false.
Specifically, one general distortion in all preachers’ reports on the success of prayers for miracles is, that our preachers are – as is typical of preachers – reading to us only tiny, misleading parts of the evidence. First, they are speaking aa) only about faith-healings … while ignoring the massive failure of other types of miracles. Then too, bb) since they are not trained to think scientifically, our preachers often cite bad or atypical results, mere parts of the true, overall picture even of faith-healings.
g) In particular, when you hear a tale of this or that single person saved by miracles, consider … this interesting distortive factor: those who survive are reported far more often than those who don’t. There are some inherent distortive factors, in the way miracles are reported. For example: suppose you have a huge flood, that kills a thousand people; but one survives. And he was praying. He will then tell you, often, that he prayed, and thus was saved. And the preacher will point to him, as proof that prayers work. But consider what the preacher has overlooked: the likelihood that most of the other 999 drowned, were also praying. But we don’t hear their testimony … because they are not here to give it to us; often those who were not successful in prayers for miracles, are not here to tell us about it.
Thus, when we interview those who had apparent successes in miracles, there is an inherent distortion there; we are interviewing only possible successes – but we are not considering all the failures. The interview technique itself, therefore, is itself inadequate here; the vast majority of more typical cases, cannot be interviewed – because they are dead.
For this reason, the occasional personal interview of testimony of someone who says they got a miracle is, in itself, highly prejudicial, grossly unfair, “part”ial, and grossly inaccurate. It fails grossly, to represent the overall truth; that by far, overwhelmingly, the vast number of prayers for miracles are unsuccessful.
2) The massive failure of miracles – the great, shocking secret, catastrophic failure in Christianity; the black elephant in the living room that no preacher had the intelligence, courage or conviction to talk about – is all the more shocking; considering that these promises of miracles were issued to us in the name of God. And they therefore, should have been totally reliable.
If promises of miracles really were completely from God, then they should have succeeded, therefore, not once in a million tries, but every single time, no doubt. Since God “always” does what he actually said. If such promises really were from God, they should be totally, absolutely, reliable. They should work every single time; at least as reliably as a light switch.
3) And yet not only do they not work as well as an ordinary human household appliance; typically, they do not even remotely appear to work, one time in a billion tries. Not even as well as a product of ordinary human labor; the light switch.
4) So that indeed, again, we will see, the science of God reveals something contrary to what we always heard in some churches: compared to promises, prayers for miracles … ordinary human labor, is far more approved of, favored, by God himself; than praying for miracles. As proven by its “fruit”fulness.
5) So that this is really what real science says, overall, overwhelmingly: most promises of miracles are false. And furthermore, allegedly “scientifically-proven” miracles are false too; even those that appeared to be supported by “doctors.”
Here, we have not offered a very technically scientific account of looking into miracles; we have here was written by and for laymen. And yet, this would be a first hint at massive problems in all those who suggest that science supports miracles.
In any case though, really, no very complex scientific account is really necessary: surely any honest twelve-year-old of average intelligence, can look around him- or herself – and see that the larger promises of religion, are false? Surely any honest reader, knows perfectly well that no one at all today, is getting the exact miracles that the Bible in classic interpretations, sermons, promised?
Look around: is anyone at all actually, physically walking on water? Is anyone … making bread appear out of thin air? (Anywhere other than on the magician’s stage?).
It is not necessary to invoke, or mount, a full scientific experiment at all. While anyone who differs with our conclusion on technical grounds, sophistical “scientific” grounds, should simply ask him- or herself: are you really being honest? Are you bearing “honest witness” to what you yourself really see and hear? Are you really being a good Christian? Or aren’t all those who claim to see miracles, really false, dishonest persons, after all? And therefore, they not really Christians, at all.
END OF NO MIRACLES,