Saturday, July 21, 2012

Miracles That Are Simultaneous Or Clustered In Some Other Way

Critics of the supernatural often suggest that an apparent miracle may have been a naturalistic anomaly instead. Or a type of healing that naturally occurs spontaneously on rare occasions may have just coincidentally occurred at the time when a prayer was offered for healing.

But referring to an event as an anomaly is merely a way of masking the fact that the critic isn't aware of a naturalistic explanation. And Craig Keener rightly criticizes those who view "coincidence as extraordinarily rife during prayers" (Miracles [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011], 668). Do such alleged anomalies and coincidences occur so often in, say, atheistic or deistic settings? How often do you hear about, say, an atheist conference where a blind person gains his sight and a paralyzed man attains the ability to walk while listening to Richard Dawkins speak? And how often does such a supposed anomaly or coincidence happen to occur just at the time when Dawkins is speaking about the potential for positive thinking to cause healing? Or just when a man sitting next to the blind or paralyzed individual makes a comment about how he'd like to see that person healed? Why don't we see such anomalies and coincidences in atheistic and deistic circles at a rate comparable to or better than what we see in religious contexts? Even when such an event does occur in something like an atheistic or deistic setting, a critic of the supernatural would have to produce an argument for why we should consider the event naturalistic.

But it isn't just a matter of explaining something like a healing that occurs at the time of a prayer requesting that healing. There are some cases involving apparent miracles that occur simultaneously or are associated with one another in some other significant way. The miracles happen around the same time, happen in association with the same individual, or are associated with one another in some other significant manner. Keener gives many examples of such clustered miracles in his book.

He discusses "the simultaneous healing of three mutes" (287). He cites cases in which a healing allegedly was accompanied by an accurate prediction of how long the person would live afterward (303 and n. 270 on 303). Some individuals are cured of multiple illnesses at the same time (307). He discusses a case involving "medical documentation for multiple family members healed at once" (n. 220 on 467). Another healing is predicted ahead of time and is accompanied by multiple other paranormal phenomena (529). A doctor who prayed for a man to rise from the dead was led to return to the corpse and pray by "an extraordinary compulsion" (577). Regarding some exorcisms involving multiple phenomena:

"Some report even physical recoveries in connection with exorcism…In Cuba, Eusbarina Acosta Estevez told me that years ago she was invoking other spirits and was too sick to walk. When two pastors prayed for her in 1988, she recounts, she fell to the ground and all the chairs around her were also thrown back by the force of the spirits coming out. She was converted, and her severe heart and kidney malfunctions ended instantly. Likewise, Leonel Camejo Taze experienced paranormal phenomena just before falling very sick for months; his deliverance from these spiritual forces shortly preceded his healing….In one case [investigated by a psychiatrist], the timing of a mother's deliverance [from apparent demon possession] correlated with the instant curing of her son (who, unknown to them, was suffering schizophrenia in a hospital four hundred miles away), as well as the son's wife's tuberculosis." (816, 839) 

Keener discusses many other such cases. I've only cited several examples.

1 comment:

  1. This dude Kevin Basconi seems to claim alot of miracles have been worked in his ministry - and many of them with body parts regenerated:

    Testimonies on his website: