Problem

Religious superstition


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Belief in miracles
Incidence:
A Gallup poll found that 83% of Americans believe in miracles. At the same time people have a conflicting urge to dismiss miracles as fakes because credence in them seems to demonstrate naïveté or ignorance.
Claim:
1. Belief in miracles inspires cultism. Cults of the miraculous can be found in most societies and religions. They range from belief in the supernatural power of sacred relics or places, to visionary experiences, levitation, talking with tongues, exorcism, weeping statues. Miracles are not necessarily approved of by the Church. The miraculous cures of Lourdes are severely vetted by Catholic medical committees and prove to be very few in number. Christ himself never made much of his miracles: the only genuine one would be human regeneration and a spring of universal love. Cautions are given to students of yoga not to become too impressed with visions and acts of levitation and physical transformation.

2. The universal need for reassurance in the pace of poverty, misery and the exactions of the tyrannical State breeds the hunger for miracles and seems to make them happen. Of course, a hunger for the supernatural may tune in to the wrong wavelength. If there is divine good it has to be balanced by satanic evil. The revival of spiritism, the cravings of the so-called counter-culture and New Age for the irrational, messiah cults, the feminist reinterpretations of witchcraft and the glamour or the coven, rituals in which drugs and sexual perversion are elevated into the sacred, belief in nature spirits, devas, and communications with other non-humans - these are examples of the milieu of popular mysticism which have been thrown into questionable light.

Counter Claim:
1. Belief in God may not be necessary, but without a sense of the oceanic, the inexplicable, the eternal mystery lapping around the world of take-aways, taxes and credit cards, nobody can be fully human. Miracles spring from the openness of people to the inexplicable. It is no paradox that miracles are much more common in simple communities with faith that the extraordinary is part of daily life. One is not led to discover evidence for the supernatural. It comes of itself when you can no longer bask in confident unbelief. There is a doubtful difference between a life of doubt diversified by faith and one of faith diversified by doubt.

2. Miracles are gifts of faith rather than promoters of it, except among the superstitious.

3. Do not believe in miracles -- rely on them.

Broader Problems:
Superstition
Supernaturalism
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
08.03.1997 – 00:00 CET
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