In preparation for our ministry trip to Porto in June, I was asked to write this article for a newspaper column for healthcare professionals in the City of Aveiro. Publication due 9. May or 15 May.
Facing overwhelming evidence
Next weekend about 1 million people will be making the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima. The idea of a divine visitation is fascinating and irritating at once. Obviously if true, such a visitation is a strong indication of the existence of God. But what is more exciting is the fact, that if God could communicate with three shepherd children, he can probably communicate with anybody.
The implications for health care professionals are enormous. After all, we are always looking for tools that will help motivate the self-healing powers of the body and mind. And we know, if only from the placebo effect, that hope and faith are very powerful forces. So why is the academic world so hostile to faith in God? I cannot think of a more inspiring idea than the idea that God wants to heal and forgive you. This is indeed the core of the Bible message and millions of people around the world hold this same belief.
Search for “Jesus Heals” in the video section of Google and you get 248’000 hits. Now remember that a typical clinical experiment rarely has more than 200 subjects. But here we have one quarter of a million videos claiming that Jesus has supernaturally healed them. Maybe it is time to look beyond a world-view defined by the null-hypothesis method. Instead of assuming there is ‘null’ truth in these reports about God, let us open our minds to the possibility of another dimension and start to think what this could mean for our lives and professions.
If God can communicate with anybody, he can communicate with us and our patients. And if he wants to heal, then we could ask him to. One example, is the Hamburg-based German Doctor Arne Elsen who began to pray for the terminally ill. Taking a “there’s nothing to loose” approach, the Doctor and his patients have experienced many miracles. He hasn’t published a research paper, but you could fly to Hamburg and hear the stories first-hand. Or you could surf the net and find many more. There is simply too much data to ignore. But at the same time, it will not fit into our scientific framework. That must be because we are dealing with a entirely different dimension governed by different rules.
So why not lay aside your preconceptions and imagine for a moment what God would say to you if he decided to talk to you today.