You may have heard that Adrian Holloway is heading to Lancaster soon. He’s a Christian fundamentalist celebrity who some people say has a ‘healing ministry’. Indeed, if you go on his website, you’ll find ‘healing testimonies’ from those who claim to have been healed by God under his ministry.
But let’s just take a step back from all the hype surrounding Adrian, and guys like him, just for a moment. Let’s apply some basic logic. What I like to call ‘the Science of the Bloomin’ Obvious’.
In our globally-connected world, mobile phones with cameras are ubiquitous throughout the developed nations and increasingly so in the developing nations, too. It has never been easier to capture a picture or video and publish it on the Internet. Consequently it is now possible to see just about anything that happens anywhere in the world. Want to see a cat climb vertically down a fridge? Enormous pimples being squeezed? A real live beheading by an extremist group? Any number of sexual perversions? Sadly, all these and more than we could imagine are available to anyone who wishes to go and look. This level of access to all of human experience is the unfortunate downside to our technological advances. In short: if it goes on, it goes on the Web!
So here’s the thing: try and find yourself a video of an irrefutable healing. Now I’m not talking about ‘testimonies’ by people who say they’ve been healed. I’m not talking about ‘internal’ healing, like the disappearance of a headache or other pain that someone has had (or claimed to have had) for years. I’m not talking about people entering a meeting in a wheelchair and walking out without it (if you need me to explain why that one isn’t irrefutable, a healthy dose of objectivity wouldn’t go amiss!) No, I’m talking about real live video footage of the type of events I’ve heard so often recounted over the years: fingers, toes, limbs growing back instantly, hair lips and cleft pallets disappearing in seconds, visibly-withered arms stretching and growing instantly strong and full-muscled. All these and more are claimed by those with ‘healing ministries’ when they peddle their hype to bring the crowd into a state of mass hysteria. And yet video examples of this ‘external’ healing are never seen. Oh, sure, you’ll find someone (deluded or worse) who says they’ve seen them. But in an online world stuffed full of video evidence of just about every other aspect of human reality, not one such video ever made it to YouTube. Why not? Because it doesn’t happen. Cats climb vertically down fridges. Enormous pimples get squeezed. People get beheaded. Sexual perversions of any type you can imagine are going on right now. But as the complete lack of video evidence from anywhere in our camera-swamped world demonstrates resoundingly, people do not get instant, irrefutable, external healing from God. If that’s not ‘bloomin’ obvious’ to you, then you’re probably a Christian fundamentalist…
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt as far as fundamentalist, way-out, all-singing-all-dancing Christianity is concerned. Before settling for the rather more sensible and worked-out theology of the Baptist church, for several years of my life I was thoroughly taken in by fundamentalism’s attractive blend of supernatural promise and feel-good fake love. I fervently hugged people I hardly knew, uttered any number of pseudo-Christian platitudes, regularly quoted Bible verses completely out of context to fit with my increasingly deluded view of reality and often prayed for instant healing, both for myself and others. On one occasion I was even convinced that I had been instantly healed from pneumonia. (I hadn’t.) Fortunately, by the grace of God I eventually woke up to the Science of the Bloomin’ Obvious.
When I did wake up to reality, having worked through the guilt and embarrassment of having spent a few years of my life spouting a right load of tosh, I started to become aware of a God who is infinitely more impressive than the snake oil pitch of the ‘faith healer’. The undeniable truth is that God has given us bodies which are incredibly complex, wonderfully made, and designed with a bewildering array of built-in healing mechanisms, many of which are not yet fully understood. Believe acupuncture will work? Then your amazing brain will probably take care of the damage. Put your faith in homeopathy? Again, you may well find yourself getting better (despite the HILARIOUS science behind that one!) Why? Because when God made you, he not only put bodily functions inside of you that enable you to repair yourself, but also a fascinating array of psychological processes and abilities that connect directly to those physiological systems. Putting your intellectual trust (faith?) in any healing method can help trigger those systems. No surprise, then, that many who attend healing meetings find themselves healthier. As if this gift were not enough, God also gave us developmental brains, capable of continuing to discover and advance new medical techniques to enhance the self-healing process. So, is healing from God? You bet! He’s amazing! But probably not in the way you’ve been taught to think, particularly if you go to the type of church that Adrian Holloway is visiting. Isn’t it time to wake up to the reality of a God who is so much bigger than a healing meeting? (Where they’ll often take your money, too).
I know that some Christians will start quoting the Bible at me (mainly out of context like they do) in order to ‘prove’ I’m wrong about Adrian, about healing, about fundamentalism. But they will do this in desperation and/or denial because they have no logical argument or reply to the Science of the Bloomin’ Obvious. To them I say this: show me your videos, then I will listen to your protestations. Or better still, just be honest with yourself about why those videos don’t exist. Stop buying into faith healing, and instead just do what Doubting Thomas did. Faced with a theological point (Christ is risen) he asked to see the proof, and Jesus gave it to him. If it was wrong to ask, Jesus would have refused. God gave you the ability to reason – why be so quick to ignore it?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go and see Adrian Holloway. But if you must, go with your eyes open with regard to him, his ‘ministry’, and the deluded and cynically-manipulated theology of some who will be there with you. (Don’t forget your video camera.)
More importantly, be immensely thankful to a God who loves you and doesn’t need Adrian or a big meeting to heal you: He loves you so much that He’s already given you everything you need to be as healthy as it is possible for you to be right now. And if that isn’t as healthy as you’d like, there’s probably a good reason for it.