False arguments? – many healings, many gods

October 6th, 2011

One of the evidences often quoted for the existence of God is miraculous healings. There are many responses a sceptic might make, but one of them is the argument that since healings are claimed by many different religions, they cannot be used to support the existence of any particular God.

My friend Steven at Think That Through expressed it this way:

The last thing to be said about the argument from personal experience is that people of all faiths have them. If they aren’t proof of Krishna, then they can’t be proof of Allah either.

How should this argument be evaluated?

The known and the unknown

I wonder what you would think of a person walking alone in the jungle. They stop for the night, and in the dark they hear a deep growl. But they reason this way.

Growls like that could come from a lion, a tiger or a leopard. I can’t be sure if it’s a lion. But if it’s not proof of a lion, then it’s not proof of a tiger either. So I don’t need to be scared.

It is obvious that this is poor logic. The man may not know which type of big cat it is, but he sure as anything knows that it’s something.

It’s the same with healing miracles and other experiences of God. If something “unnatural” has occurred, we may conclude that God has done it, even if we cannot be sure about the details. A plausible healing miracle may be seen as evidence of God’s existence but we may need to depend on other information to decide which God.

But can we trust the stories?

Each person will have their own requirements for believing a healing story, some will believe anything, some won’t accept the evidence no matter how good it is, some will treat each case on its merits.

What do you think? You may like to check out a brief account of ten healings investigated thoroughly by an experienced doctor and medical researcher.

What is the probability that ten people prayed for healing and received it, and the medical facts have been documented? Of course other prayed for healing too and weren’t healed – so what does that add to the picture?

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