The Religious A priori

"Protestant" Miracles: Good medical evidence.

I call this section "Protestant" not because Protestants are necessarily invovled in all of these examples, in face some may involve Catholics, but because most of them do not have the rigor or backing of the Catholic miracle machinery. Some of them are actaully scientifically rigorious, but even those don't have the same sort of rigor of the Catholic miracles, and some are merely anecdotal. But we can learn something from all examples, even the bad ones. Mainly what we learn is that there are tons of miracle claims still being made all the time. Just because most of them are not well documented does not mean that many of them are not actual miracles. Most people are not prepared to document the amazing things that happen to them. When one's loved one is stricken down, and than by some amazing stroke that loved one is restored, totally unexpectedly, the last thing one thinks of is documenting what happened. It is with this realization that I present the following cases.

Some Medical Evidence.

Study: The Miracles: A Doctor says "Yes"
by Richard H. Casdorph.(Logos International, 1976)

Richard H. Casdroph collected medical evidence, x-rays, angeograms, and other data from 10 cases associated with the Kathryn Kulhman ministry. Now it will of course strike skeptics as laughable to document miracles of a faith healer. Ordinarily I myself tend to be highly skeptical of any televangelists. I am sitll skpeptical of Kulhman because of her highly theatrical manner. But I always had the impression that there was actual documentation of her miralces, and I guess that impression was created by the Casdorph book.

The Casdroph book goes into great deatail on every case. Since these were not the acutal patients of Casdroph himself, there are 3 tiers of medical data and opinion; Casdroph himself and his evaluation of the data, several doctors whith whom he consluted on every case, and they very from case to case, and the original doctros of the patents themselves. The patients gave their permission and were happy to provide the medical data on their healings since they were all people who had written to the Kulhman ministry with words of their healings. Not all of them were healed immediately in the meeting. Some were healed latter when they got hom.Naturally no one had a x-ray machine standing by at the faith meeting to crank out results like a x-rox copy, so all of them took some period of time to see the results. Not all of them were toally healed immediately. But all the cases were either terminal or incurrable and all of them, within a year, returned to full health and pain free existences.

Dr. Richard Steiner, of the American Board of Pathology, head of department of Pathology Long Beach Community Hosptial reviwed several of the slides. William Olson, American Board of Internal Medicine and head of Isatope Department at Long Beach Community Hospital, and several radiologists form that Hospital also consulted on the rest of the cases.

1)Reticulum cell Sarcoma, right pelvic bone.
2)Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis with Severe Disability
3)Malignat Brain Tumor (Glioma) of the left Temoperal lobe
4)Multiple Sclorosis
5)Arterioscloratic Heart Disease
6)Carcinoma of the Kidney (Hypernephroma)
7) Mixted Rhumatoid Arthritis with Osteoarthritis
8)Probable Brain Tumor vs Infarction of the Brain
9)Massive GI Hemorrhage with GI shock (instantly healed)
10)Ostioprosis of the Etire Spine

All of these people were totally healed of incurrable or terminal states. The one commonality they all have is that they were at some point prayed for by the same person, Kulhman. Let's look at a few examples:

1)Lisa Larios: Cell Sarcoma of the right Pevic bone.

Larios didn't know she had cancer. She had developed a great deal of pain in her pevis and was confined to a wheel chair, but the doctors had not found the evidence of the tumor at the time her mother took her to hear Kulhman. Yet, when Miss Kulhman said "someone over here is being healed of cancer, pelase stand up" she stood up wihtout knowing why. She had already started feeling a strange heat in that area and had ceased to feel pain. She went up onto the stage and walked around without pain. She was than "slain in the spirit" which is that odd thing when the healer palces his/her hand on the forehead and the person falls over in a faint. It took some time to recieve the next set of xrays becasue she only learned after the meeting some days latter that she had cancer. Than the next set of xrays showed vast and daramtic improvement. It would still be some time,almost a year, before her pelivis was completely resorted. But she did return to full health. The Catholics wouldn't except this miracle because it could be confussed with a normal remission. The power of suggestion can be ruled out because the heat started before she was called to the stage, and because she didn't even know she had cancer, but responded to a call for healing of cancer. The first dramatic improvement which was immeidate within a few days, and walking on the stage is not characteristic of remission. Casdroph has the medical evidence from several hospitals to which she had been taken.

3)Mrs. Marie Rosenberger: Milignant Brain Tumor.

"Three things make this case an exceptionally excelent example of divine healing. 1) medical evidence of the case includes biopsy proof of the milignant nature of the tumor. The slides were obtained from Hollywood community Hospital and reviewed by the head pathologist at Long Beach community Hostpital who confirmed the diagnosis of milignant astrocytoma or glioma class II. 2) When the healing occurred Marie Rosenberger was down to 101 pounds and was expected to die."

The healing began to manifest immediately and by the next moring was evident. She recieved no futher drugs or medication from that point on. 3) The third thing that makes the case good is the long term nature of the healing. Her diagnosis was in 1970 and by the time Casdroph wrote the book in 76 she was still healthy and happy with no sign of the disease since the healing (which was in 1971 one year after the diagnosis).

8)Anne Soults: Probable brain tumor vs. Infarction of the brain.

"This lady's brain abnormality was well documented by the standard diagnostic techniques and she was seen by man speicialists. Elecrtoencepholagraphic study was performed in each of her hospitalizations.The repeat study dated January 6th reported 'abnormal EEG suggesting left temporary pathology, there is no significant change since 12/27/74.'...the clinical impression was that of brain tumor and her symptoms suddenly and completley disappeared following a visit to the Shrine service."

Wheh she went to the service an unknown christian placed his hands on her shoulders and prayed for her. The symptoms immediately dissapeared and subsequent tests found that the abnormality had disappeared. This is not noraml remission. Remission does not mean that the symptoms immediately vanish.

9)Paul Wittney Trousdale:Massive GI Hemorrhage.

Trousdale was a prominant civic leader and builder in California in the early 70s. On December 12, 1973 he was admitted to St. John's Hospital in Sana Monica with massive hemorrhaging which required many transfussions.His wife called Reverend John Hinkle to his bedside, they prayed and he was instantly healed. All the medical values returned to normal and he went on to live a normal and productive life, ingaging in atheistics and sports. Subsequent examinations revealed no abnormalities.

10) Delores Winder: Osteoporosis of the Complete Spine.

"Mrs. Delores Winder presents us with an unusual case of severe, chronic, disabaling pain secondary to Osteoporosis, which her phsyicians tried to relieve by five differnt spine opporations. The patients symptoms had begun ealry in 1957. By 1962 she had worn a full body cast or brace of some sort...although at the time of her healing she was in a light weight full body plastic shell. Although she did not believe in instant miraculous healing she attened a lecture by Miss Kulhman in Dallas on August 30. 1975.She was miraculously healed begining with a sensation of heat in both of her lower exremeties.She has been resorted to full health, wears no barce or support, takes no medication and has completely normal sensations in the lower extremeities. This is unusual becasue the spinathalamic in the spinal cord had been inturrupted on both sides, and in such cases the resulting numbness is usually permenant."

Time Magazine Article

Time Magazine did an article on Miracles and Nacy Biggs documented several examples which are backed by medical evidence. Some where anecdotal accounts, but at least she interviewed the principles. While she doesn't document the crucial medical evidence such as doctor's names, nor does she interview the doctors, the fact of medical diagnosis is at least present.

TIME DomesticApril 10, 1995 Volume 145, No. 15

Nancy Gibbs

Author Dan Wakefield, a lapsed Presbyterian turned Unitarian, Expect a Miracle (to be published by HarperSanFrancisco next month). Wakefield finds that many miracle claiments are very respectable and conservative, those who would not be taken for "crackpots" or religious zealots.


"He [Wakefield]recalls a woman in Atlanta whose teenage daughter was hit by a car while Rollerblading. Doctors told the mother there was no hope; the best prognosis they could offer was that her daughter would be able to feed herself someday. "The family were Episcopalians and engaged very seriously in prayer, as did their church and the Sunday school," he says. "Two weeks later the girl woke up, and she is now back in school. These are not kooks. They only spoke to me because their minister asked them to. The stories I have are not all religious, and they are from all different religions. It is very vast, and serious. People like to dismiss it as the fringe, but there is a real, mainstream thing."

Biggs Interviews Five Chruch goers in California, each of a different stripe of theology and of faith, but all have encountered miracles in their lives:

"But as they get to talking, they discover that they all have one thing in common: every one of them believes they have experienced a miracle at some time in their lives and were forever changed by it. Roulston was electrocuted on July 29, 1985. "I took 600 amps of 575 volts - it takes 0.15 amps to kill you," he recalls. "I spent a long time in a burn unit. But I survived, the way sometimes people survive being hit by lightning. So now I understand about people who would like a miracle in their life to 'show me that God exists.'"

John Simpson went in for surgery to remove a kidney stone, only to have doctors find that it had disappeared: he credits a prayer wheel of more than 3,000 people that his wife, a Charismatic, organized. Leslie Smith recalls hurtling down a steep hill on her bike when she was seven years old. She began to slip off the seat - and felt hands lift her back up onto the bike. Dorothy Pederson, the most skeptical in the room, believes a miracle saved her husband's life after a brutal mugging in a hotel room seven years ago. John Lashley has had six strokes and two heart attacks. Twice, he says, he was pronounced dead. "Now, this body of mine has been through an awful lot," he says, "but my faith has been up to the task in every phase because my belief works. The miracle is in what it delivers."

Throughout the article she strings us along with the true story of "Elizebeth" an infant with a brain tumor. The story illustrates the power and the difficulty in documenting miracles.

"For five days, says Lennie Jernigan, an attorney, "we prayed for our daughter with a passion uncommon to both of us. And we waited for the diagnosis." The parents agreed to exploratory surgery, which carried a 1-in-5 chance of leaving Elizabeth permanently brain damaged. Surgeons removed part of the tumor from the nerve that controls the movement of the right eye. Trying to get at the rest of it was too dangerous. But when they were finished and the pathology reports came back, the news could not possibly have been worse. Their baby was suffering from an extremely rare malignant meningioma, which has killed everyone who ever had it. Her prognosis: continued growth of the aggressive tumor, grievous paralysis and certain death."

[Fluid began to build up in the child's brain and she had to have an immediate opporation.]

"The night before the scheduled shunt surgery, a doctor arrived in Elizabeth's hospital room and removed so much thick, infected fluid from her brain that he asked to postpone the operation for a few days. But 12 hours later, when he returned to do another tap, he could barely find any fluid, and it was totally clear. The doctor was baffled. Elizabeth was back home two days later. "We now know it was one of those lesser miracles that presage a greater miracle," her grandfather says."

"A month after the first operation, the same surgeons made a last-ditch effort to remove the rest of the tumor. But when they went into Elizabeth's brain, they couldn't find the lesion. As planned, they removed a section of the nerve that the cancer had invaded, knowing that it would leave her blind in her right eye but agreeing that it represented her best hope of surviving. When the tissue was examined, the pathologist could not find any cancer. Regular cat scans since then have revealed no evidence of a tumor. The medical community calls what happened "spontaneous resolution." The family call it a miracle. Even a resurrection."

The case illustrates the problem; thousands of cases happening to ordinary people all the time. The child is on the verge of death, it has in incurable condition, it doesn't die. Medical scinece recognizes the amazing nature of the case but can't call it a "miracle." So, was it a miracle or not? Boarderline cases like this happen all the time, the person affected personally by the situation, the one whose loved one is spared and whose prayer is answered certainly has reason to place faith in God for answering prayer, but the skeptic always has "wiggle room" to claim "naturalistic healing process not clealry understood, amazing things just happen." So which is it? We can't prove it either way, but there is celarly room for belief.

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The Religious A priori