Sometimes I miss faith healings.
I don’t miss watching them and seeing the hope and despair of individuals as they cry out for healing. I don’t miss the shame and discouragement of those who didn’t get what they wanted.
But I do miss the possibility of miracles unexpected.
I never liked ‘healing services’ where people had to walk up long isles and have small groups of men ask their deep problems and pray loudly for them in front of the whole service. Not at all.
I don’t miss travelling to churches overseas and being swarmed by locals asking to recieve healing. It is heartbreaking to see people starved and overworked looking for salvation where it doesn’t exist. I, having studied nutrition, wanted to talk to them about their diets and water supply, not sprinkle oil on their heads. Dealing with parasites and sanitation seemed to be a better use of time. They wanted none of that, just a miracle, like Jesus.
But they did get some miracles. I’ve seen them. I have seen paraplegics walk. I’ve seen crippled arms grow.
I do miss small encounters, quiet and unexpected.
As I and a few other friends were touching a woman with a bad back, she felt shoots of hot air and her back straightened- completely better. I knew her and could tell she was not putting on a show. No one would perform heavy labour with a crooked back for weeks so in a quiet prayer meeting she could pretend a miracle.
I do not know what caused those things. Placebo effect? Certainly part of it. Is it worth dangling a carrot in front of so many that only a few can access?
I don’t know. There are people who seem to have healing gifts, like those who have psychic gifts. The skeptic community often derrides these topics as irrational.
I think there is something to them. I have no explanation, but I cannot dismiss what I’ve seen as lightly as mass hallucinations.
I don’t think a bearded sky god is the cause. I can’t even concieve of a diety that makes sense to me.
It seems like the athiest/agnostic community has no place for this type of discussion. Certain New Agers and Christian groups do have a revered spot, but the attempted explanations are anywhere from laughable to dangerous.
Maybe there are more people who are willing to talk about it without pure mockery, but maybe they are shy. Or maybe people just hear about such things and have never experienced them.