Was the Virgin Mary a Virgin? Does It Matter? – The New York Times

Posted: December 27, 2019 at 1:44 pm

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I also wonder: In embracing miracles, dont we reject our own rationality? In my travels, Ive met all kinds of faith healers who claimed to make the lame walk or the blind see. I dont believe them and Id be even less likely to believe accounts that were written six decades after the fact by someone who had never met the healer (like the accounts in the Gospel of John). Why be skeptical of eyewitness accounts of U.F.O.s but not of Gospel accounts written decades later by people who werent even eyewitnesses?

Most scholars believe that eyewitnesses such as Matthew, Peter, John and Mary were major sources for the Gospels accounts. That said, I agree with your main point. Miracles are overrated as a basis for faith. Jesus disciples, who had seen miracles, all deserted him at his hour of greatest need. Jesus himself refused to perform miracles on demand, to impress the doubters. Most of them came about as a compassionate response to a needy person.

It seems strange to me that we keep wanting God to intervene in the material world. God is spirit, and all the great masters emphasize instead that we need to learn spiritual disciplines to commune with God.

You broke your neck once, and you recovered. Do you believe that was because of prayer? I accept that prayer provides a calm optimism that can promote physical healing, just as a placebo can. But can prayer cure cancer or, say, a broken neck?

I received a lot of prayer support after my broken neck, and it helped in just the way you suggest. Im grateful for the good outcome, but my case doesnt qualify as a miracle. I do have personal knowledge of a few very few apparently miraculous healings. Theyre not the norm, which is why we call them miracles, not ordinaries. Far more common are the gifts of healing that a community of faith can provide by surrounding those who are suffering. Doctors caution that stress, anxiety and fear can be impediments to recovery. If a community surrounds you with practical love, by providing meals, caring for your children and helping out with expenses, that can abet the bodys ability to heal.

Yes, I completely agree. But I note that people claim cases of miraculous cures where there is room for ambiguity, such as cancer going into remission. But prayer never seems to help an amputee grow back a limb.

George Bernard Shaw is said to have wryly observed that although he saw crutches and wheelchairs at shrines of healing, he saw no artificial limbs, glass eyes or toupees. Jesus did not come to earth to solve all our problems. In person, he affected only modest numbers of people in a remote corner of the Roman Empire. But he set loose a movement with the mission of bringing the good news of Gods love across the globe.

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Was the Virgin Mary a Virgin? Does It Matter? - The New York Times

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December 27th, 2019 at 1:44 pm

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