“11. Hope beyond this life. One cannot live well in this life without hope. Life is enhanced if you can bring yourself to believe beyond it as well. No one knows whether we have a higher destiny. If you are so inclined, investigate the matter. But better than inquiry into the immortality of the soul is living in such a way as to deserve it.” -MavPhil, ‘Happiness Maxims 2013.’
Ok that’s not protestant teaching, but I’m not protestant anyway…
And cover an important point - the author makes as a footnote:
Well, the apostles could preform miracles (but not in all cases, as the Got Questions previous link mentions). And the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic saints (as well as saints, from the Sufi and Eastern traditions) - can sometimes preform miracles. And the Holy people and medicine men and women…of the Native American spiritual traditions…can sometimes preform miracles.
But - most of the time…it is healing…happening over time. And we can use traditional medicine…and also alternative or complimentary medicine, like Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and homeopathy…alongside spiritual healing.
This is an important distinction - the author brings up.
How do you know this healing isn’t a natural? Most “miracles” touted by people seem to be the type of no evidence. Like a sickness which one cannot see with their eyes goes away… They say a miracle. But you never, ever, see evidence of limbs growing back. If “miracles” happen, why are they limited in their ability? Just like Paidion telling a story about a Chinese man visiting their church hearing the gospel via tongues in his own language? These are the types of stories that somehow are never verified. What was the mans name? Let me guess, you don’t know. Why would a Chinese man step foot in a church if he wasn’t a Christian anyway? So, like, why did he need the gospel? And if he did, why did he dissapear again, never to be seen? I imagine the church that gave him the gospel would give him a kinship with others there… When you start asking the questions the story falls apart and excuses are made, or rather judgments against the questioner. God always has a way out in the mind of some of his believers.
Look, the disease will get healed or not healed… Our interest is if there is anything we can do or not do to effect change. Is the God of Israel working on our behalf or not… and if so what are the parameters and if not
In most cases, folks feel energy - moving in their body. Whether its from the Holy Spirit, healing energy of God, etc. I have felt this, with the Roman Catholic priest - with the gift of healing And some with things, like a Sufi Saint. Folks don’t go to see him - for the fabulous lectures. But for the spiritual power - Barakah - where they gain healings or spiritual experiences.
And those on the receiving end - can feel the energy. By whatever label you call it.
For example. I read the healings every three months, in the Bruno Groening circle of friends journal. And they always describe this healing process. And EACH of these healings, are verified by someone - in the medical profession. Where they provide commentary. And many come, after seeing a few medical specialists - without any significant results. Same goes with healings at Catholic sites - like Lourdes. Any miracle is verified, by a team of medical specialists. Limbs don’t grow back. Neither did they grow back - in the gospel accounts. You have to ask God why - when you see him.
There is only one God - the God of Isreal. But he has spoken and appeared, outside the Christian framework. We don’t know the parameters. But having an OPEN mind helps.
Let’s return to the Theosofest. You see all these vendors with signs. Some say healers, readers and shamans. And they have prices advertised. Perhaps they might have some reading or healing ability. But they are in it - for the money.
Then my Roman Catholic Northwestern PhD friend - meets me. And I take her to 2 Japanese healing light modalities, a Peruvian shamanic ceremony, and folks from the Vineyard Church - giving readings and healings. But there is a BIG difference. There is NO price tag. It’s free. Gratis. In other words, they are there - to provide a service to humanity. Same goes for the Roman Catholic priest, with the gift of healing…the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends…or the Native American medicine man - Russell 4 Eagles. Sure… All would accept donations. But there is no charge, for what they have to offer.
How do you know this healing isn’t a natural?
-how do you know for certain that it is? Where is your proof that this is not supernatural?
But you never, ever, see evidence of limbs growing back.
how do you know that? Have you seen or investigated such a thing? How can you be certain that it has not happened?
These are the types of stories that somehow are never verified. What was the mans name? Let me guess, you don’t know. Why would a Chinese man step foot in a church if he wasn’t a Christian anyway? So, like, why did he need the gospel? And if he did, why did he dissapear again, never to be seen? I imagine the church that gave him the gospel would give him a kinship with others there… When you start asking the questions the story falls apart and excuses are made, or rather judgments against the questioner. God always has a way out in the mind of some of his believers.
And yet, the story is true - as far as you know, right? How can you be certain that it did not happen exactly this way? **Asking ‘why’ a hundred times does not make a story fall apart - the burden of proof lies on you to prove the story wrong, not just cast aspersions. **
or rather judgments against the questioner.
Not making a judgment, Gabe - just questioning the questioner.
We’ve all had our disappointments with God; but we’ve grown up and realized that we don’t know everything, and that nobody else does either. But faith has many roots; a healthy scepticism is part of a healthy faith. sure, but there is much more to faith than that.
I think you are misunderstanding. I did type those out on my phone last night, so I don’t always go into great detail. What I am saying is that the conversation goes like this and note: This is NOT a straw man.
Claim: My sister had cancer and a tumor and said she had two months to live. We called the elders, laid hands on her and the tumor wasn’t even there on the next X-Ray.
Questioner: Do you have the before and after X-Ray scans?
Claiment: No, but I am sure if you call the hospital they might give it. They saw it!
Questioner: You know I can’t do that, HIPAA does not release medical records like that. I would think she would have a copy of both, as this is such a miraculous event.
Claiment: Well, she doesn’t.
Possible explanation 1 - Maybe the X-Ray’s were screwed up. Files at hospitals get mixed up frequently. Some of the most common. Did you know the one of the main reasons for deaths in hospitals is giving someone the wrong blood type? That is how often things are mixed up.
Possible explanation 2 - Maybe the story is a fabrication. Many people believe that a story, even if fabricated for the right reasons, is acceptable for the greater good. If they are convinced that God performs miracles like this for others, than another motivating story surely would not hurt anything, but would bring more glory to God. Look, you can’t deny people do this. They do it all the time, Christian or not.
Possible explanation 3 - The immune system response somehow took care of the tumor. No idea how.
Possible explanation 4 - The miracle happened.
Here is the thing, I don’t say miracles can’t happen. If I did, then the burden of proof shifts to me to prove it. But I can say that without evidence that such a miracle did happen, then the burden of proof does indeed lie on the person making the claim. If you claim “God healed me” then you need to provide evidence, that is, if you are trying to convince others of it. If you merely believe or think that to yourself, well, then there is no need to provide proof. You are free to think and believe as you like, provided it does not hurt others.
Now, for Paidion’s example, I recall (maybe I am incorrect on this) asking him who the person was. But if memory serves me right, no one ever seen this Chinese man again. So my whole question is this: Why would a Chinese man who never heard the gospel walk into a church? And if he did, it just so happens that the person speaking in tongues spoke the gospel to him. All fine and good… But no one knew his name, where he came from? And most of all, he never came back? Most people I know have a place in their heart for the person/church that brought them the good news. The thing is, you hear stories like Paidion’s all the time. I have heard many such stories. But in all cases that I have questioned, no proof can be obtained. Nothing tangible. Just hearsay and second hand testimony. If you study forensics and profiling (which, you are a republican, so I imagine you support profiling, no?) it is amazing what predictions we can make about people based on evidence and the human nature. Christian’s are not immune to this behavior and so embellishment is likely involved their stories as well and if you can believe it is a for a greater good, all the better for the embellishment. What I find so troubling is that Christian’s are hyper critical about everything except their faith and stories and people surrounding it. It is like a section that is off limits. To be clear, I am not saying all Christian’s do this. But many, the majority in my estimation do. No, I won’t back up that claim. That is my personal believe based on the encounters I have had with hundreds of Christian’s. Maybe it is limited to my area, I have no idea. People are people and Christian’s are no different.
You might not believe this, but even 3 years ago, I had the same exact reservations/skepticism. Nothing changed except my being vocal about it. Now, I don’t desire to be rude or obnoxious and I honestly don’t feel I am, but I feel that I am being made to feel that by some of your responses. I ask that you pretend I am a ‘seeker’ and treat me as such, because as noted before, my mind is hardly made up. As I learn new information, I adapt to it. I am ever learning and ever coming to different viewpoints on situations. But I ask that you don’t just assume I am some trouble-maker sniping from the sidelines. Almost all of my posts are asking for evidence of the claims.
There is zero hostility towards anyone who has faith in these things. I don’t think the person is dumb, or unintelligent. I also leave open the idea that God might have spoken to these people. Maybe he did. I can’t know what goes on inside of people’s head. I can only know what goes on in my head and the experiences that I have. For all I know God revealed himself to everyone except Gabe. I doubt it, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. That said, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted, because other faiths are just as convinced as everyone here! Each person is convinced in their own mind that they are right and why shouldn’t they? They have their life and experiences to consult which differ from person to person.
But I do need to remind everyone, this IS a message board, and provided the rules state that we cannot challenge ideas (such like the introduction thread, which is clear) in certain threads, then we should be free to question, disagree with anything, provided we avoid ad hominem attacks. For the most part, I don’t think anyone has attacked someone else here. We are attacking ‘ideas’ not people. I also don’t particular like the idea of being considered ‘militant’ by you. Have you ever met a militant atheist? I’d be scared to see your reaction, as they are brutal… I don’t particularly like them at all. I see them identical to the hellfire fundies, like West Boro Baptist Church… Not good people. Not likeable, not kind, not anything.
I want to bring up an element here in a separate post that I feel is worthy of a response. I have no issues with the idea of God healing people. I think I made that clear in my previous post. God, if he exists, can do anything he wants, assuming he has no limits. Of course, there are indeed a lot of assumptions there, but let’s just say that I don’t think it is impossible. But I wanted to bring something up that we know.
Let’s go with our presupposition that God heals some people. Let’s take a case sample. Sally has cancer, she has lived a full life, has kids and generally has lived a long life. She is 70 now and has cancer. God performs a miracle and she is cured, lives another 15 years. Great, I am happy for Sally.
Meanwhile, across the world, a mother gives birth to her 4th child, lost a lot of blood, the father died earlier by an infectious disease. People are praying, but the mother dies. She leaves 4 children without a mother or father! How tragic… Sally was near the end of her natural life already, but this mother had neither the money or means that Sally had, didn’t live a full life and not only did she suffer horrible, but her children suffer horribly. Now I ask, why? I know the answer from most Christians is “God has it all figured out” - The trouble is, I can’t accept that and I find that a coping mechanism. It is akin to saying “Don’t ask, and just keep on keeping on” and practically speaking, that is all the theist or atheist can do. Neither has the solution to this “Why?”.
Let’s take another example:
A Christian prays to get into ‘College’ and she gets in! Praise God! Not only that, she gets a scholarship! Never has this girl wanted for anything, and here she wins the lottery with God. He grants her, her request. So God blesses someone with $25,000+ to help pay for school, while children are praying for the next meal across the world. No meals comes and they die. Does someone really believe that God provided that college fund and decided not to provide food for poor starving children? Really? Seriously, please think on that and explain to me why God should do that and why he is right in that? My opinion at this stage is hence: God didn’t answer the scholarship prayer. She worked hard on her grades, was granted the scholarship by people. God had no role in this, other than being the creator of people who made the decisions. Likewise, God had no role in the starving children’s death, other than being the creator of all. People had that role… Society had the role in their deaths by the action of doing nothing.
From my limited knowledge and view, if God exists, it must be as the creator who stands from afar letting his machine work itself out. Whether he rights the wrongs in the end, or whether our existence is no different than that of a basic cell that dies, I have no idea. It is interesting that the writer of Ecclesiastes is basically a deist. That has been my favorite book for a very long time and it still is. Presuming Solomon wrote it (even if he didn’t I care not), then I guess I feel a kinship to him, because I see it no different than the way he saw it. We are granted life, we don’t know if we have life in the next, so enjoy our days and work hard for that is God’s blessing/gift.
I studied for 3 years with militant atheists; I was a Christian at the time.
I don’t have any ill-will toward you at all; when I used the word ‘militant’ concerning you, I was referring to the incessant questioning of any post that you felt had any possibility of being doubted. The possibility of doubt is not proof of anything. I don’t think you are an atheist, and don’t want to paint you with that brush - it sounds more like a Deistic position, if I’m wrong let me know. In any case, it is none of my business.
Free inquiry is a great thing and this Forum has had plenty of it. We have also had our doctrine Nazis that policed every variance from Orthodoxy, whatever that is, and it troubled the saints.
I’ve been exactly where you are now, as you have expressed it. More than once or twice, as a matter of fact. In my 30’s, in my 60’s, were the big periods of this. To my great chagrin (at those times) I discovered that my search for absolute certainty was robbing me of the richness of life, and of the power of hope that is the compost of human growth. So I now look for the degree of certainty that is possible, in whatever I’m researching. For some people, miracles provide that absolute certainty that they think they need; perhaps, but I think that an ‘in-your-face-God’ would be a violation of our free will, to the degree that we have it. (I know the big ‘flap’ surrounding that approach)
Belief and unbelief are choices, not certainties. We who live in the global village have many things to weigh, intellectually and morally, and it is hard to really listen to what others minds are saying and, once we have, to integrate that somehow into our understanding of God and life. But the effort is repaid with a larger understanding, a greater capacity to empathize with the Other, and an ability to experience events and people in ways that are new to us. I think Randy has that ability.
I posted this on another thread, concerning Aquinas’ mode of thought:
What the scriptures teach is that man failed the gardening task and ruined God’s creation, but that God graciously came, as a friend and
cooperator, to help him salvage and recreate. In choosing that way to help man with his original goal God gave man’s life a new goal - that of fellowship with God himself as friend. The journey of this life is no longer simply a journey to the fulfilment of man’s nature, for that journey has been taken up into a journey into the presence of God HImself, into the good and happy state which God himself is.
This is Thomas’s preferred way of describing the relationship between what later commentators called man’s natural and supernatural ends. He does not talk, as they do, of man first knowing God as author of nature, and then as author of supernature. Rather he consistently talks of God, known to man’s learning as the author of nature, becoming through God’s teaching the object of his happiness. The word translated ‘happiness’ has more the sense of ‘happy state’ or ‘blessed state’, meaning a state which has blessedly happened or turned out well - a state of goodhap rather than mishap. It corresponds to the Aristotelian word ‘eudaimonia’, which some modern scholars translate as ‘flourishing’. When Thomas uses happiness as a name for God himself he is thinking of God as fulfilled life; and this explains why he talks of happiness as being accompanied by delight, rather than as consisting in it.
God has destined us for a goal beyond the grasp of reason.
I have prayed that God would heal me of apeirophobia. It hasn’t happened. It’s crazy, because of all things you’d think God would heal someone of, he’d heal someone of fear of eternal life! From my perspective people who don’t fear eternal life are short sighted. They’re just not thinking hard enough about it. I hope with all my heart that I’m the deluded one. Despite all this, I won’t give up my faith.
Well, nobody is going to give you either a logical, philosophical proof. Or a scientific proof. Like I said earlier,
I get the Bruno Groening circle of friends journal - every 3 months. And there is always a medical doctor or medical specialist, who reviews the medical tests, diagnoses, etc. I view them as SME’s or Subject Matter Experts. Maybe once in a while, the miss the boat - but not often.
Or I can read the accounts of miracles, from a Sufi saint in India. Who said his tomb, would speak to his followers. And I read all these miracles of folks. Well, maybe they are missing the boat. Or seeing synchronicity that doesn’t exist. But the probability of that many daily accounts - is rare.
Or I go to a friend from the East, who lives in the Chicago suburbs. Who lived for many years, with a saint from the East. And he and his wife, describe all these miracles. But they never charge me money, for my monthly visits. And they always give me free food and hospitality.
Or my Greek friend Dora, who has a PhD from Oxford. And she describes first hand accounts, of miracles by Eastern Orthodox saints. I’m sure someone of her intelligence and stature - is not easily fooled.
Or I used to hang around, the Two Feathers Medicine Clan. And took part, in many of their ceremonies. And they are Native American medicine men and women. And I have seen the healings - for myself.
Or I go to Father A’s healing masses. And people fall down from his touch - including yours truly.
Or my mom is born, with the gift of prophesy. And she tells me things - before they happen - when she was alive.
Personally, I could never have found these things - by myself. Unless I was divinely guided - to find them. They exist. But I’m NOT here to convince you or provide proof. Just “antidote stories”. Even Thomas wanted proof from Christ. And Christ finally provided it. But - like Thomas - it’s up to you, to be in the “right place”, at the “right time”.
Let me ask this hypercritical question. Actually, it’s based upon a real case. A woman speaking, at one of Father A. masses. The woman had inoperable brain cancer. The medical doctors and experts treating her, say they can’t do - anything more for her. And she goes to Lourdes and is cured of brain cancer. And the Roman Catholic church investigates this. And the RC doctors and medical experts, review all the medical tests, of the original doctors and medical experts. Can you give me an explanation, for why this woman was healed? And why all the doctors, medical specialists and medical tests (both RC and original doctors and medical specialists) - missed the boat?
Unfortunately, I cannot give you any additional information on that one since it was not a first-hand experience of mine. However, my oldest sister, Lorraine, was in that church building and saw and heard everything first-hand. It was she who told me what happened. I CAN give you the name of the church and location—Calvary Temple, in the city of Winnipeg.
I had only one clear-cut instance of personal healing. I had a back condition, went to a doctor, and he told me it was serious. I just don’t remember what the condition was. Later, people in my church prayed for me. I didn’t feel any different afterwards, but when I returned to the doctor, he examined me and said, “It looks as if I made a mistake. You don’t have that condition after all.” You may choose to agree with the doctor—that he made a mistake in diagnosis. I choose to believe that God healed me.
As for limbs growing back, I know of no instance of that happening, but there was a man in our area, a non-Christian, whose arm had been accidentally cut off by a machine. When Christians urged him to entrust himself to Christ, he said, “I’ll do that if He restores my arm!” His arm was not restored, and he never became a Christian.
I would throw out that life may well be a tapestry, a series of interconnecting threads between all of man kind. The human emotional response is to divide and conquer So the tribal instinct of humans may well be to ‘go with their own’
If we look at life, religions, God, and humanity as a forest, as opposed to a series of trees, it is possible we can move beyond some of the walls of closed mind ness, and start to accept that there may be a big… no a HUGE picture ahead We can start to be ‘as they say’ part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem.
I tend to believe that most of the folks here on this forum lean that way.
In the context of healing, if we look at the broader picture and realize God may well have intentions for our sacrifice to benefit and illuminate those around us, and for us to understand and accept, isn’t that somewhat what Paul was talking about to the new churches?
It seems Jesus was the ultimate showing of sacrifice, of love.
Gabe, Yes, I think we all get in that rut where we question everything. Been there, done that myself numerous times. The only advice I can give you is to quit thinking so much and go “work a miracle” for someone else. This may or may not work for you, but it seems to help me in times such as these. As Ecclesiastes says, “much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments.” Hope this helps.
LLC, wonderful and much agreed. What I found most true is to value what God or the universe has given me, and run with it. Be kind and helpful to others. To me, that can and is done by both believers and unbelievers alike. I think if there is a God He would appreciate the kindness of the atheist and reward accordingly every bit as much as a believer. In fact, I don’t believe that “believing” gives anyone extra brownie points with God. The only thing that matters, in my opinion, is our actions.
Even Matthew 25 details this “When did we feed and help you?” They had no clue… They might have been an atheist who were just kind. I think the one thing that angers me is the belief that atheists or agnostics can’t possibly be rightous. I reject that with all of my being and condemn that arrogant opinion.