One of the first things I did after post-graduating in English Literature was to interview a Catholic priest in Kerala who performs a lot of miracles. It was with much difficulty that I managed to get him for an interview. He granted me an interview during his lunch which he took standing because he had no time to sit. (And I had no lunch at all.) The interview was published in a Shillong-based newspaper.
The priest and his establishment claimed (and still claims) that miracles occurred frequently at their centre. Tens of thousands of people gathered for the sake of miracles. Some of them were even cured, as far as I could gather from the people. Curing the sick through ‘miracles’ is not impossible. Quite many illnesses originate in the mind and a public confession of forgiveness can cure illnesses.
The Catholic Church always insists on guilt feelings and the need for forgiveness. Psychology will take a long time to understand each client’s problem and solve it through the same solution of getting rid of negative feelings from the mind. Religion can do it more easily and dramatically too. Make a confession from the open stage and you become a hero. The whole personality changes. From being a criminal one suddenly becomes a saint. This is the kind of healing that took place at the religious gathering I witnessed with thousands of people in the audience. It’s a place which even got a railway stop for the sake of the faithful.
One of my questions that the miracle-working priest could not answer was: “Can you create a limb in the place of a missing limb? I’d like to bring a person who lost his leg in an accident. Can you replace the leg?” The priest staggered. He said, “It’s up to the Holy Spirit what miracle should take place. We have no history of such a miracle taking place.”
“Don’t you think the miracles are psychological rather than divine?” I persisted.
“Psychology studies the mind. The Holy Spirit works at the level of the soul,” he said.
The soul cannot create a missing leg. The Holy Spirit cannot create a new leg. The power of the Holy Spirit is confined – by what?
The Rationalist International has done a kind of sting operation on a godman in Delhi. I welcome you to read its report: http://www.rationalistinternational.net/article/2012/20120308/en_2.html
I assure you, it’s worth reading. At least, to know to what extent we are being hoodwinked by godmen who are fakemen.