Showing posts from May, 2013

How Do We Know the nature or even existence of Salvation?

A reader asks:

How can anyone really know if or how salvation is possible (or even necessary) if, to quote a certain blogger, "God is beyond human understanding because God is transcendent." It seems to me like the concept of a need for salvation in the first place is man-made. Isn't it a huge leap to get from "It's rational to believe in God due to the universality of mystical experiences" to "All humans are sinners in need of salvation?"
....In answering this questoin we can catch a glimpse of a phenomenologically oriented theological method in action. The short answer is the concept of  "salvation" must have evolved out of the sense of the numinous. Of course its "man made" in the sense that it's a theological response to a felt and perceived need. Theology is the participation and study of a faith tradition. Classically it's defined as "faith seeking understanding," the modern definition…

The Emprical Supernatural

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman writes about the dichotomy between natural and supernatural and how unnecessary it is. He quotes a question ask him form the general public, a question that shows the extent to which supernature has been discredited and slandered: The supernatural seems irrational, superstitious, archaic and primitive. So far, the natural world has provided explanations for the previously mysterious unknown: social psychology, psychiatry, chemistry, mathematics, biology, medicine, physics, astronomy, geology and history have aided humanity and preserved our mental and physical health and extended our lives. So why do we refer to G-d to as a supernatural being? Where is the evidence that the supernatural exists, or has any bearing on our lives? Does the word "supernatural" even mean anything, other than "I don't understand this (yet)"?[1] Here we see several of these misconceptions about the supernatural, not only because it’s linked to superstition, which it…

Medical Historians Agree Lourdes Cures are Unexplainable

In an article entitled “The Lourdes Medical Cures Revisited” Bernard Francis, Ester M. Sternberg and Elizabeth Fee provide something closer to a scientific appraisal.[1] They studied 411 patents cured in 1909-14 and thoroughly reviewed 25 cures acknowledged between 1927 and 1976. By “acknowledged” they mean cures that were officially declared “Miracles” by the church. “the Lourdes Phenomena extraordinary in many respects still awaits scientific explanation.”[2] They took the 411 cures from the era known as “the golden age or Lourdes.” This is the period from 1909-14 which was the time when the popularity was at its height, the medical committee was functioning smoothly with new rules, and crowds were pouring in. In the early days right after the visions began there were many claims of miracles that went unrecorded, or that were not help up to a scrutiny of criteria or that weren’t recorded in a systematic fashion. This state of affairs evolved through the late ninetieth century with …