For many, miracles are distant legends. Others believe they are real events in the here and now. Here radio and TV presenter Roger Bolton recounts his sceptic's attempt to reconcile the two.
I don't think I believe in them, except of course when anyone I love is seriously ill or in danger, in which case I certainly pray for a miracle.
I was brought up in the evangelical protestant Christian tradition which disapproves of the prominence given to the Virgin Mary, dismisses any talk of her appearing to Bernadette in Lourdes, and positively revolts at the suggestion that the sick should go there to be cured.
But when I went to that little town in the French Pyrenees, armed with my scepticism, I was strangely impressed.
For a start, few physical miracles are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church as having occurred there - only 67 in the almost 150 years since Bernadette had her visions - and the church has a very rigorous screening process in place to evaluate the thousands of claims that are put forward.
The Church is more concerned with what might be called miracles of the soul, and there is no doubt that for many the pilgrimage to Lourdes is a life-changing experience.
I went there in the off-season, so was spared the mass crowds and perhaps the mass hysteria. What I found was love, compassion and concern.
Christianity's most visited place of pilgrimage after Rome
It's the focal point of pilgrimage 6m believers make each year
Many believe that there, miracles happen and that the sick can become well
In 1858, Bernadette said she saw Virgin Mary 18 times
The Bernadette "snow shakers" could be bought along with other religious tat, but the shops were well away from the true heart of Lourdes.
I have no doubt that many of the sick who go there are uplifted, given the ability to live with their illness and feel part of a community that transcends place, race or time.
Is that a miracle ? Whatever it's called, it is something wonderful.
Many people, like Dr Raj Persaud and Uri Geller, think that what we call miracles are simply examples of the power of the mind to command the body.
We still know so little about the way the mind functions that it would be rash indeed to rule out this explanation of what are otherwise inexplicable "cures".
Katie Pring, of Essex, knows what a miracle is - she thinks she's experienced one. Eleven years ago when she was 16, she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, a debilitating condition which has no known cure.
Pilgrams queue for holy water
"For me it came on very quickly, my mum was sizing up wheelchairs for me because when I got up in the morning I was so stiff I found it very difficult to walk. Everyday things, like turning on the taps, became impossible."
Drugs helped with the pain but soon became ineffective. She turned to her church, and at a healing service, Katie felt her prayers being answered.
"I received prayer on the Sunday morning, and played hockey that afternoon. Prior to receiving prayer, I had barely been able to walk. It had to be a miracle."
Her doctor, unable to explain how she had been instantly transformed back to full health, tried to explain her illness away as a misdiagnosis.
But what of those who appear to be able to bring about those "miracles" like Damian Stayne, of the Roman Catholic Cor et Lumen Christi organisation?
He is as far from those suspect US televangelists as is possible to get, and he certainly does not make any money from his work.
Yet he is sure that God works through him to cure people and is prepared to open his books to anyone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, believe they have been cured as a result of his ministry.
At his rallies, he asks God for guidance about what to pray for.
"The Lord may show me that there's a lady here who's being healed of an ear condition, somebody here being cured of a throat condition," he says.
"I was in Australia recently and there was a man who had cancer in his mouth. We asked the people with cancers to stand, and I commanded the cancers in the name of Jesus to disappear. Two minutes after the prayer, there was no cancer in his mouth; it was a perfectly new mouth. His doctor came over and verified the healing. That's slightly challenging if you don't believe in these things, isn't it?"
He does not believe that he has natural healing ability; rather that he is God's vessel.
"I do believe God has given us faculties through which we can enter into divine gifts - gifts like faith, compassion┐ and that can unlock something of the power of God, so God is free to act."
Of course I still have many doubts and questions about the whole thing. For a start there is the obvious question, if God can intervene directly in our lives in such small ways, why doesn't he intervene to stop the Boxing Day tsunami or the concentration camps?
Even believers have no easy answers to that.
And one sceptic told me he would believe in miracles if an amputated leg began to grow back. Why, he wondered, are so many of the cured conditions invisible to the eye?
I have tried to keep an open mind. But just don't ask me what I believe, because I'm still making my mind up.
Being the Easter Weekend it certainly would be a miracle blessing indeed to have an whole new lease on life again. Lately, I have felt only a need to exist for those who depend on me. This is not the way to go through life is it?
Linda Laine, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Please allow me to recommend John Dickson's book entitled 'If I Were God: I'd End All the Pain' as a useful tool for thinking through some of these issues.
Catherine Renouf, Lancaster, UK
Do people really believe that a compassionate God would pick and choose who to heal; that he would heal the cancer of the man mentioned in this article but let the hundreds of children that are prayed for every day die?
Colin Hughes, Leamington Spa, England
It seems to me that miracles carry the danger of drawing people for the wrong reasons. This may a reason for them - where they are genuine - to occur in a restrained way, not to compel our free will, and not necessarily even to prevent disasters or cure serious illnesses.
Miland Joshi, Birmingham
My view is that miracles involving crying statues, instant healings and mysterious signs are at best pleasant coincidence, and at worst opportunistic fabrication. I believe that the Biblical miracles were tools used to illustrate God's willingness to assist the faithful. The world would be a much more hopeful place if we held an individual's successful struggle over adversity with a higher regard than sudden, unexplainable occurrences. Thus speaks the non-Christian.
Rich W, UK
I don't go in for happy clappy miracle making but there is something spectacular about Lourdes- it made me believe in the miracle of serenity. I have no doubt that Bernadette spoke the truth.
E.A Byrne, Cambridge
As someone with a chronic illness myself, and a child with autism, I've lost count of how many miracle cures we've been offered over the years. Some of them unscrupulous and exploitative. Praying for people is one thing, preying on them is quite another.
Yeah right! If it were possible to heal cancers that quickly, then everyone with cancer would go there and it would be well documented, publicized, video taped and gain the attention of mass media. Who are these gullible people who believe everything they hear/read. Religion should be outlawed, then maybe there could be peace. It's a freakin' miracle people believe this stuff.... that's the miracle.
NC, New York
I am an evangelical Christian, and it sounds as if Mr Bolton has a church background I identify myself with currently. It is true that there is indeed much supernatural activity today, but the crux is "are these 'miracles' from God or not ?" I sincerely believe that there WERE miracles wrought by God, as recorded in the Old and New Testaments, but they served ONLY to validate the messages of God's servants at that time. For example, prophets in the Old (such as Moses) and Christ Himself and the apostles (such as Paul) in the New. But now we have a complete Bible, we no longer need to seek out "signs and wonders." Indeed, Christ called such who seek signs an "adulterous generation." As Christians, we are to live by faith - and NOT sight - in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, not only are so-called miracles in heathen religions denounced, but also the claims of the heretical charismatic movement and Catholic claims eg Lourdes. The problem with Lourdes is that though things MAY happen!
there, are they of God ? The answer is an emphatic "no" - as the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic church does not sit squarely with God's Word, the Bible. Also, it is interesting to note that in the Bible, all references to "miracles" in the last days are attributed to Satan's deceptions....I sincerely hope you post these sobering comments.
Cliff, Milton Keynes
It is in our nature, as the world ages, to question everything more and more each day - whether it be the trust of a new found companion or questioning the authenticity of a new technology. So it is natural to question the existence of miracles. But I think miracles are only seen by those who believe in their ability to happen because faith plays such a huge role in our spiritual lives, irrelevant of whether you have a religion or not. I am an everyday cynic, but I have seen several miracles in my short life, all of which have amazed me to the point of humility and great affirmation that God truly does exist.
Leah Marikkar, London, England
"I received prayer on the Sunday morning, and played hockey that afternoon. Prior to receiving prayer, I had barely been able to walk. It had to be a miracle" Absolute rubbish. Even if the arthritis or whatever it was had 'miraculously ' disappeared the muscles would need building up before she could play hockey. And imagine this scenario - diabled girl is pushed into church in a wheelchair. Prayer enables her to suddenly walk again.
So what do the family do? Celebrate? have a party? Phone their friends? No.......They suggest a game of hockey.. Yea rite!
For those of us who have experienced miracles there is no need for scientific evidence. Sceptics must be who they are. What I've learned after the majority of my life lived as an atheist is that faith is a true "leap" - there is no scientific proof that there is a God, none that there are miracles, no proof that prayer works - it is a personal journey and trial that cannot be judged by others. Oh well. . .
Colleen Chapman, Edmonton, AB, Canada
There are no miracles - only, as yet unexplained spontaneous remissions.
David de Vere Webb, Washington, Tyne & Wear, UK
My wife died of cancer recently, long before her biblically allotted three score and ten. Do the religious people who contributed to this programme believe this was due to her being wicked in the eyes of God, not praying hard enough or not attending the right sort of church? This is called blaming the victim. Oh, and Roger Bolton is obviously a far more generous soul than me. I too have visited Lourdes out of curiosity. The atmosphere of religious hysteria blended with commercial tackiness left me feeling physically nauseous.
I also believe in miracles. Specially the Ethiopian Orthodox church has a grant from GOD (Holly Water) which is a number one miracle maker. If you have the chance I would invite any of you reading this message to go and see the ENTOTO MARIAM CHURCH whihc is in Addis Ababa on the way to the American Embassy, and witness the miracle happening there.
Getahun Gima, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Wrong!! Religion is not what is going on. Some people have powers that our present culture does not recognize. Those powers are real. I knew a person who could make a table stand on two legs while keeping her hands flat on the table top.
How about dousing (using a Y made of willow to find underground water. Nobody with these powers advertises them because even for them it is weird and unexplainable. You show a lack of understanding for religion and these powers by mixing the two.
Miracles aren't just cures, 2 of my friends were helping at an orphanage in Brazil a couple of years ago, when a woman in the neighbourhood brought a cake for the children. The cake was obviously not going to be big enough for everyone, but, they formed a queue, the cake was cut and everyone got a slice, including all the staff at the orphanage (a modern feeding of the 5000). God still works miracles in the world, unfortunately, there are no easy answers to why there is so much suffering in the world.
Miracles do happen.Why they happen,when and how are questions which we have no answers for.
Sometimes we may become angry and sceptical when we lose someone dear or fail, after trying so hard, in spite of hours of prayer.
We should not judge because the Lord uses his discretion in all situations and it is always for a reason.
we are alone and will live and die in solitude
Before the RCs corner the market, I'd just like to add that divine intervention happens with other creeds and faiths as well. God is alive and well and involved in your neighbourhood.
Surely a god who was capable of performing miracles and healing the sick would be evil were they not to cure all the suffering people in the world. After all, if one is able to stop pain and suffering - surely to do this only occasionally and randomly would be cruel. What possible reason do believers in god suggest for some people's suffering to be continued and for them never to be cured? 'God' certainly does move in mysterious ways.
Jackie Ladbroke, London
Having watched Richard Dawkins' TV series "The Root of All Evil" earlier this year I am more convinced than ever that so called miracles are the results of exerting mind over matter. Much has still to be learned about the human brain but I am convinced that God (if such a being exists) has nothing to do with it. The problem with all major religions is that they are finding it hard to keep up with the developments and discoveries of modern science so that pulpit platitudes seem increasingly out of touch to many modern ears.
I once heard an interview with a Nazi concentration camp inmate who summed up for me the irrelevance of God to the ways of this appalling world. "Either God exists," he said, "or he doesn't exist. If he doesn't exist, then there's nothing to debate; but if he does exist - who gives a stuff?" Two further points: first, I thought the Bible claimed that God doesn't intervene in the affairs of Man, but simply let him make of the world and its affairs what he could, both for good and for bad. In which case I cannot see how his apologists can claim he is a useful moral guide. Secondly (and this point leads on from the first) I find myself growing irritated, bordering on angry, whenever I hear someone "thank God" for some minor or major stroke of good fortune. If God actually is willing to intervene on occasion, how can we respect a being who picks and chooses his interventions so arbitrarily, and so often such trivial issues, while turning his back on the great natural and man-made horrors of this or any other age. The more I think about it, the angrier I get - if such a power for good does exist in the universe, and such power is withheld, then the possessor of such power is himself morally bankrupt. To respond that God's ways are unquestionably for the good but incomprehensible to mere human beings, isn't good enough. Such a posture merely emphasises the pointlessness of God to our daily lives: if he makes no sense, why give him the time of day?
John Lilley, Sunbury, Middlesex
Lourdes has 6m visitors a year and has generated 67 miracle cures in almost 150 years. That is around a 1 in 3million cure rate.
Any hospital that did as badly as that would be out of business. Sometimes people get better for no obvious reason whether they pray or not, and of course the placebo effect is very powerful, this does not make it a miracle. It is also worth pointing out that none of the certified miracles at Lourdes had any limbs growing back or anything truly miraculous.
Tony Goslihng, London, UK
I do think that there is something phenomenon out up , which is really taking very good care of us althrough our lives. As is evident on this story.
I believe in miracles, I truely believe in them. I also believe in a little bit of magic too, I think we should all have something to believe in.
andy feast, manchester,uk
Although I am not a Catholic, a couple of years ago I sent a message to Our Lady at Lourdes asking her to look after a friend's mother who was seriously ill in hospital in America. She was Catholic, and when told what I had done she appeared to approach her illness in a more positive way, and recovered. A miracle? I do not think so - what happened was a change in mind-set, the power of mind over body.
Philip Meers, Birmingham, England
God does not cause suffering on this earth,it is caused by man with his greed for wealth and power. Mankind is destroying this earth with his pollution and bombs all in the supposed name of democracy and freedom. God created miricles to show us his compassion and to believe in Him, this is where our faith comes from, we should not be dissapointed if all our prayers are not answered because we were not promised a perfect life in this world, but in the next. Miricles happen every day when a child is born,will he be the one to save mankind or to destroy it---maybe he will be a great scientist and grow back the leg of the sceptic amputee. Believe in the miricles of Our Lord and you will be cured in His Kingdom. God has His reasons for not letting everyone be cured, I certainly do not question them.
I believe that God can do miracles and us too. The only things which is important is to believe. And if it is impossible to overcome the illness, it doesn't matter because after dead there is the Light and life!
see you & enjoy ;)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he was a healer yesterday, he would be a healer today, tomorrow and forever.
I have an open mind on whether miracles or 'supernatural' events can happen, because I realise that such things might be explained scientifically in the future. However, I also believe that if people are ill they can recover by believing they are going to get better (mind over matter?) - that's how placebos work. So if someone believes that visiting a shrine, etc., will cure them, it might actually trigger a recovery which otherwise wouldn't happen. This could be called a miracle by some.
Harry Lee, London, England
In all fairness, believer or not, science does allow for so-called miracles to occur. The Uncertainty Principle, among other scientific principles tells us that, one day, all that could happen, will happen. It also tells us that there are an infinite number of 'alternate' realities, in which these events have/are/will happen. What we can't say is that these realities may sometimes 'overlap' our own. This may give us the source of our 'miracles' and other paranormal experiences. As Arthur C Clarke once said, any technology sufficiently advanced from our own would appear as magic. Maybe this is just a side of the universe we don't fully understand yet? After all, there's more evidence of this than there is of God!
Glenn Willis, Kettering, Northants
God is certainly still in the Miracle business. I know of many people who's testimony includes being healed by God. Sometimes it's instant sometimes it takes a bit longer, but they are healed. Jesus died not only so that our sins can be forgiven, but also to heal us. It says in Psalm 103 Vs 2-3 "Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases."
Through faith in Christ, all our sins are forgiven and all our diseases are healed!
Allis well in good faith and words
cosmos dcunha, Mumbai-India
" Her doctor, unable to explain how she had been instantly transformed back to full health, tried to explain her illness away as a misdiagnosis. "
Why are you so sure it wasn't misdiagnosis? Because it wouldn't be such a good story then would it?
Things that science can't explain aren't 'miracles', they are just things that science hasn't answered yet.
William Bailey, Bedford, UK
I find it rather surprising that your "Two minutes after the prayer, there was no cancer in his mouth; it was a perfectly new mouth." story did not make it to the media here in this far off miracle land of Australia, where a crippled pigeon stranded on a stoby pole deserved headlines.
Mal Walker, Adelaide, Australia
I believe in the occurence of miracles, not because I am a naturally gullible person, but because I have been convinced beyond a doubt by seeing many of them in the churches that I attend and hearing countless stories from trustworthy people. I've even been the recipient having had healing of a knee which was injured by being hit by a car. People are not always healed, but it shouldn't be a surprise when it happens: the same Jesus who healed yesterday is the one who heals today. As he said "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. . ."
It's worth pointing out that a Lourdes "cure rate" of only 67 in nearly 150 years, given the millions of ill people who must have gone there, is indistinguishable from blind chance. Why can't people admit that Lourdes represents pure superstition.
David, London, UK
Pish, Tosh and Humbug. A load of feeble minded idiots who are getting conned this way instead of another (aromatherapy, homeopathy). I just hope that noone stops seeing their doctor because some quack pronounces them "Cured".
If "Damian Stayne of the Roman Catholic Cor et Lumen Christi" (or "Katie Pring of Essex" for that matter) can really cure diseases which medical science cannot, simply through the power of prayer, then they can easily win a million dollars for the good cause of their choice!
The James Randi Educational Foundation (http://www.randi.org) will pay that much to anybody who can present proof of such an ability.
They won't though. Why not? Because they have no proof: only vague testimonials with no proper supporting medical evidence, supplemented by wishful thinking. And the 'ability' to produce such an effect will mysteriously 'disappear' when tested under controlled conditions.
Get real, everybody. The only miracle present here is that anybody, anywhere still believes in miracles.
Bruce Walton, Banbury, Oxon
Having seen a couple of friends get involved with the Evangelical mob, I am utterly cynical when it comes to spontaneous healing. At one healing meeting I have seen despondent parents pushing a wheelchair away, still occupied. It's heartbreaking to see people's emotions being toyed with in this way. It's always vague stories, about invisible healing, i.e. "A man in Australia," "deafness cured." Why is it never Bill Smith from No 27? And why isn┐t it ever a leg grown back? Specifically, where are the medically authenticated accounts with specific patient names and specific Doctor names? Before and after photos, x-rays and medical notes. I am sorry people, wishful thinking doesn't mean it happened. There is no such thing.
Creationism and miracles are part of the same religious parcel of egotistical belief that humans are somehow better than, and different from, the other animals on the planet. Miracles do not happen, the unusual does, and when we cannot explain the unusual, it's often labelled as a miracle. The word miracle is simply another way of expressing our ignorance of how the universe works.
Andy, Southampton, England
The marian shrine drawing the biggest crowds is medjugorje in bosnia. Miracles are still happening there after 25 years. It has been featured on various talk shows around the world and has been the subject of a hollywood film starring Martin Sheen. I'm surprised the BBC has not featured anything about it.
ross, middx, uk
This is a fruitless debate; having been raised in the Southern United States I have often been caught in the middle of debates over religion and miracles. Who is right and who is wrong is not what matters. Skeptics will remain skeptics and believers will remain believers. What is important about "miracles" is that they raise the issue of hope. Hope for a cure, hope for an answer, hope for peace. What does it matter if someone thinks the miracles are a hoax, so long as they have been able to uplift someone else in a world that is not always kind?
KC, Atlanta, USA
Funny how all the claimed miracles are things that could clear up on their own. No one has ever gone to Lourdes and, for example, regrown a leg lost in a car accident. Funny that....
Ian, Manchester, UK
Im sorry but i dont believe this. hundereds of years ago if people had seen what we can do now they would have said its a miracle, but i think to go around nowadays claiming to have a magic touch is a lie exploited by too many hoaxers.
Jack Wood, Derby UK
I'm 100% positive that miracles still happen today (even visible ones!). I'm a Christian and I have seen God work mircales in many ways, not just healings. I've seen someone in a wheel chair walk again, I've seen people on oxygen breathe for themselves and I've read many stories of healings. My husband was healed of a hernia and I'm currently suiffering from a chronic disease that I trust jesus to heal-I'll let you know when he does. Aside from healings I have seen many answers to prayers and have heard God's voice. We need to wake up, turn back to God and ask Him to show us His power.
Tsunamis are natural physical events. But, as you know, animals and primitive tribes saved all their lives because they were "civilised" and they have not lost their original instincts... and this instincts call them to go away from the danger, in time! Instead tourists were captiveted with the phenomena, taking photogrfs1
About wars and many diferent kinds of concentration camps (like Indian Reservations in USA, today) have nothing to do with God but with "civilisation", and these are no natural events at all...
Sorry, but God has nothing to do with our "civilisation"...
joao sans, caen, calvados, france
The reason that amputated legs are not cured by miracles is that even the most incompetent doctor can hardly misdiagnose a missing leg!
Gerard van Wilgen, Bilthoven
One thing people commonly forget regarding biblical teaching is that if someone gets healed miraculously at Lourdes for instance, there is nothing special at Lourdes that caused this to happen; it happened by faith alone. There is no point going to Lourdes: - if you have sufficient faith, there is no need to bother.
Graeme Phillips, Guildford, UK
I like this article its balanced and sane... which really helps if you're trying to figure out what you think on the whole healing subject. The thing is about healing or any matter of faith it seems to me people will either believe or not, and if someone doesnt believe, it dont matter what evidence you put before them, and if you do believe, its just the same, so i guess we all just have to find our own way.
Karen, Tunbridge Wells England
Whether you believe in these miracles or not, everyone has got to accept that any physical healings, including the ones Jesus did, are only temporary. The person who is cured from cancer will, one day die. If there are genuine miracles that God performs today, then they cannot be an end in themselves, they are only designed to point people to God and their ultimate spiritual need of Him and the death of Jesus on their behalf - the only thing that will last beyond death into eternity.
God does not intervene to stop tsunamis, and concentration camps, because these are they of which he prophesied and warned, and as we know, the word of God is said to be true, so the Word comes to pass.
Des Currie, Umdloti ,South Africa
We all should believe on Miracles, for all those who have got sceptic views about miracles should not forget that isn't it a Miracle to come in this world from a dirty drop of water.
Mukarram Ali, London
We believe the reason for disasters is because of Man's sin. Genesis 3 records the fall of man and the entry of sin into the world. God does not author sin, Satan does. For the more open-minded readers, read John Blanchard. He can explain this better than I can.
I'm not a Christian, so find it difficult to accept that somebody else's "God" is performing these "miracles". Is there any case on record of a Buddhist or Muslim being cured of cancer by the Christian God or any of his 'agents'? In other words, do miracles transcend the boundaries of faith? If not, then I humbly suggest that it is the faith itself that is providing the miracle, not the object of the faith. It's still clear that something special is indeed going on, but I rather feel that the answer lies more in the potential of the mind than a supernatural cause.
Rob, London, UK
I have been to Lourdes a few times and attended a school with that name.
It is easy for people to scoff about the importance of Lourdes especially when you see the town next to the sanctuary. It is like Las Vegas without the charm. But, the sanctuary area is an island of spirituality, tranquility, equality, compassion, thousands of pilgrims and their attendants.
It is humbling to see so many people, hopeful, who are so ill, disabled, accepting their lot and the attentiveness of their helpers is an inspiration. Touching too, in the autumn to see people gathering the chesnuts that fall from the trees. Every person should go there, it is the ultimate people place.
Stephen Doyle, Forres, Scotland
I too was very sceptical before visiting last October.
I don't have answer to the feeling I had once there. A feeling of wholeness, calmness and identity is the nearest I can put into words. Words are so limited, just go and see what happens, I feel that to be the best answer
peter lee, morecambe
Miracles are BUNK. You are wrong about the Catholic Church vigorously verifying "miracle cures" happening at Lourdes. The have no medical experts who verify the "miracles" and many sick people leave Lourdes disappointed. Many of the cures you hear are anectodal, just like the ones about cures from wearing magnets.
Nyakairu, Novi, USA
Miracles are either mind games or currently unexplaninable scientific phenomenon which might have explanation as science developes further. People with a weaker mindset think of miracle. Thats why many people in trouble hope for a miracle while the same people not in trouble might question the existance of miracle.
vivek, Cleveland, OH, USA
Miracles are diffrent from magics. Only people who posses gody nature can do miracles..Like Lord Krishna, Rama, Jesus and so on..Currently I had some experinces with Bahavan Sri Sathaya Sai Baba who is an incanation of god. If you want to find more about Baba's miracles please visit his websites / his centers around the world.
Nada Manivannan, UK
I am a Muslim. Islam says that Jejus was Prophet of God. I believe in Miracle because one who practice meditation regularly and have faith in God can do miracles.
Pyarali Alwani, Karachi, Pakistan
i do think in god miracle,i believe in god,i trust in god
pritz jowaheer, surinam mauritius
"Two minutes after the prayer, there was no cancer in his mouth; it was a perfectly new mouth." Since when did the BBC use the Onion as source material.
Arch Trout, Falkirk
Reel those suckers in!!People will believe anything.The cure percentages don`t look so good though.The NHS is a bit of a lottery but it`s a better bet than witch doctors.
My theory is stay away from doctors and priests you may not live longer but you`ll die richer!!
Lawrence Taylor, Osaka ,Japan
67 miracles out of tens of millions of pilgrims is statistically insignificant. If this was a clinical drug trial the drug would be an unmitigated failure.
We know very little about most diseases, and even less about the mind/body interaction. People 'miraculously' recover from disease all over the world, regardless if they do or do not believe in deities.
Martin Graney, The Netherlands
If indeed there is a god with the power to haal on his command, I would suggest he is a real son-of-a-bitch for allowing all of the suffering in the world, and I certainly never want to meet him. PS
I believe in God's miraclous healing.He said on the cross it is finished and by his strips we are healed so we are victors not victims if we believe in him.
Gloria Mahama, Tondernstr. 24, 22049 Hamburg, Germany
Why didn't God intervene with the Boxing Day tsunami or the concentration camps?
- Because He wants us to understand for ourselves that we are doing something wrong. I'm sure that science will soon prove that the tsunami happened because of a fault of mankind, that we, humanity, are destroying the Earth, and things like tsunami's happen as a knock-on affect of something bad we have done to our planet.
And concentration camps happened because God wanted to show us that we were doing something wrong. And only when something huge and drastic happens, will mankind change and understand. Unfortunately, in this world, it takes something radical to change the way people act; and make people wake up to reality.
It's hard to rule out miracle cures, but if they do happen at all, why don't they work the way I think they should? For some reason, God doesn't dispense with miracles like a vending machine. If you look at the Gospels, faith is always the issue: in Jesus' home town, because they knew him as low-born, they refused to believe in him and he worked few cures. But for others, even foreign enemies, who readily trusted him he performed miracle cures immediately and from a distance.
I've prayed for things and nothing happened; I've prayed for things and got amazing results. I can't explain it other than to say that God is sovereign, I'm not.
Tom Bick, London UK
The problem as far as I am concerned is not with the "miracle" itself, but with the attributed cause and effect. There are lots of unexplained things in the world, and science may or may not ever have an explanation for any of them. That still does not mean that what someone claims to be the "cause" of a "miracle" is a verifiable truth (even though that person can be sincere). In my opinion a ┐we do not (yet) know what causes this┐ is perfectly acceptable. But since many people seem to have a need for an explanation, Jesus, god (of whichever persuasion), keeps cropping up.
Ronald, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sorry to all those believers if this sounds harsh, but the very notion that there is a god out there that ignores so much global suffering except that of a select few makes me feel quite ill.
If the chances are one in a million, it's easy to find the other 999,999 people who died. That's not a miracle.
Healing happens in all sorts of ways and I would encourage anyone who is ill or suffering to pray and involve God in your situation. I've known some people who have received amazing physical healing and others who have not despite praying but the whole process of going through it with God can be enriching and can provide healing in non-physical ways.
Having visited Lourdes a few years ago while on holiday in South West France, I have to say I was appalled by what can only be termed an 'industry'. I'm not religious in any case, but could not believe the throngs of people filling containers of 'holy water' from what looked like a public cistern. There are also streets and streets of shops selling all manner of religious tat. Add to that coachloads of Italian housewives on their annual pilgrimage, and you have an idea of what it's about. Spirituality is a personal thing, and vast public displays of mass hysteria do not convince anyone that there is a higher power at work. My recommendation is to give it a miss.
Vic Rodriguez, Peterborough, UK
Jesus said that those who believe in Him would do the same things that he had done - and even greater things. (John 14:12) Consequently, miracles occur frequently around the people who believe in Him (i.e., who take Jesus at his word). Today there are not only thousands of miracles taking place around the world, but many of these have medical evidence. Cancers are healed, aids victims set free, paralysed people are able to move again freely.
It's all in the mind. When you ask a church goer "If God exists, why do many innocent people die?" Their response is "God moves in mysterious ways". Ask a phsychic why they haven't won the lottery, their answer "It doesn't work like that".
Ask a faith healer to cure a badly shattered pelvis, by waving their hands around the patient - I rest my case.
al tuson, leyland
At the end of the article you mention about wanting to see people's legs grow back. I have seen for myself a leg extending a few inches to solve back problems through a Catholic with a healing ministry. This difference in length is recognised by doctors as the cause of many back problems so it is not surprising that Jesus may work through christian healers to correct problems in this way. My house mate went to a christian conference a few weeks ago in Salford where he saw the same thing happen through an evangelical christian minister.
Stuart Gibson, Salford, UK
Oh yes, God can make arms and legs grow back. I haven't seen this with my own eyes but have heard many reports...anything asked in Jesus' name is possible.
Hamish Jordan, London, UK
What a load of crap. Sorry but come on.
Luke Perritt, Newcastle
Who needs expensive imaging equipment, when Australian doctors can just "come over" in the middle of a rally, and verify that a cancer has disappeared?