6. Miracoli!

March 10, 2018 Mind-Body Column No Comments

Every miracle cure is an ordinary healing. And each ordinary healing is a miracle.

We are living in quite rational times…

For example: exorcisms, magic needles, holy healing water, unholy healing water, healing magnets, hypnocus pocus, etc. And, why not, also miracle healings. And even an infallible pope who ‘saw that it was good’. Why don’t we ask that pope to just say whether something is a miracle or not, I wonder… But no, a committee is required that will drain a lot of funds and efforts in order to decide if the miracle is ‘legitimate’. Part of the proof is the opinion of a medical board. Sure. It is all good. Still I wonder (as I often do):

are these physicians aware of the immense powers of placebo?

Since they only approve a miracle when it falls outside the domain of rigorous science, the placebo-explanation would disclaim the miracle. Even if the miracle was previously acknowledged.

Look. We do not even have to accept this is the case

however that is not what this paragraph is about. One should only accept the possibility. That will readily get things moving. Then the balance will have some counterweight with the miracle (special act from Above) on one end and the placebo (earthly psychic act) on the other. At face value very different things. A certain Ockham (of the razor, for the experts) said: when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions, appearing least irrational.

Unambiguous miracles?

  1. If He would like to provide us with a recognizable miracle, then I believe He whould amaze us all by growing back an amputated or missing arm or leg. Or perhaps it might be interesting to witness a person with a brain tumor who becomes tumor-free from one moment to the next. If one wish to prove oneself, as papal reasoning goes, then one should be crystal clear, especially since He is almighty and has created heaven and earth. Compared to that, what is an arm or a leg? Should be easy as pie, no?

We are skipping a few steps in our reasoning, fair enough. I could assume He (if existent) has plenty of reasons to instantly make this happen. The hot potato of the suffering in this world forms a much larger moral-God-issue than the origin of a few trickles of direct miracle-solutions. The issue that remains however, is that we, down here, keep looking for evidence.

Miracoli  (*) or no miracoli?

Well, such evidence we never obtain. We can only assume therefore that in such rather vague circumstances, placebo can play a rather underestimated role.

From deep within

It is mentioned in the bible: “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” [Luke 18, 35; 40-43] It does not say ‘I’ or ‘God’, but ‘your faith’. Very wise words from someone presumably knowledgeable. According to the Catholic Church this has to be the most irrefutable instance of a miracle… and then it says ‘your faith’.
Probably what is meant is that true miracles come from within. Hence the real saint is not an external miracle worker or go-between, but the person who benefits from the miracle. If that person does not always behave like a saint, this is no objection. The depth of his or her faith is crucial.

If God meddles with people, I believe the medium of choice is what we can call ‘soul’

or ‘deeper layers’, the ‘subconscious’, ‘spiritual self’. Something like that. From deep within. In others words: real miracles happen every day and everywhere. Therefore true miracles hardly have any significance. Nor need a committee.

I am very open and ready to rationally investigate each hypothesis. And yet I do not swallow the so-called approved miracles. With all due respect, but Vatican Based Medicine is not my cup of tea. I’d rather prefer a bowl of spaghetti. The fact that it whets my appetite just to think about a delicious spaghetti, is to me already miracle enough.

(*) the name of a kind of spaghetti that I used to (have to) eat in childhood.

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