I was happy to see this (tweeted) web page today. We need more talk about parapsychology. Awareness and intelligent debate about parapsychology and its link to spirituality (and nuttiness) could help those overly invested in the medical perspective on self and others.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-psychiatry. Far from it. Medications can help, short and maybe even long term. But anyone concerned with their overall health would be wise to consider alternatives. Different approaches might enable some to discontinue their meds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but over the long haul. And that would be a good thing. Not only would their bodies like it. Others on our planet would be happier too (see Drugs in the Water).
Glancing over the articles in today’s tweet, I see a problem that often crops up with parapsychology research: The method does not match the madness, if you’ll pardon my pun.
Take, for example, intercessory prayer. One article concludes that intercessory prayer has no verifiable effect on health. But this begs at least two questions:
- What kind of intercessory prayer?
- What kind of health?
Intercessory prayer takes different forms. One is vocal (or internally vocal) and the other is more contemplative and quiet.
For me, the latter is more effective. I often liken vocal prayer to using a squirt gun to put out a fire, while contemplative prayer is more like rolling out a heavy duty fire hose. Kids play with squirt guns. Adults risk their lives with fire hoses.
Mind you, all prayer is good and we’re all different. At the same time, I think there are differences in power between vocal and contemplative prayer.
But I could be wrong. Only God knows for sure.
The second question – What type of health? – is actually related to the first.
Intercession may not be visible to everyone. But I believe it helps us, psychologically and spiritually. And contrary to what some religious people say (especially those who pass themselves off as saints while behaving more like angry nuts), I believe intercession is a multi-directional interpersonal dynamic. It’s not just one-way.
Intercession may involve degrees of effectiveness but my analogy of squirt guns and fire hoses is only that. An analogy. Life is far more nuanced than putting out a fire.
And it takes all types to make life complete. 🙂