By J. Harold Ellens
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Additional resources for Miracles: God, Science, and Psychology in the Paranormal, Volume 2, Medical and Therapeutic Events (Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality)
Like the transitional object, God is both a product of the subjective world of the person and of the objective world of culture and of personal experience. ’ ” According to Rizzuto, God becomes both a carrier of the individual’s parental object-relations as well as a point of reference for the interpretation of events in the world. Any and all events affecting a person will fall under the lens of his or her life history as well as under the eyes of his or her image of God. A natural catastrophe, such as a massive flood or earthquake, may lead one to seek comfort in one’s image of God, using it to explain the event as a test or a punishment for ill deeds.
Instead of actively seeking to understand Relocating, Reanalyzing, and Redefining Miracles 29 and be in the external world, religion drives us to seek illusions that satisfy our narcissistic desires and dependency needs. Among these is the desire to find personal meaning and security with which to exorcize the terrors of nature (Freud 1961). 3 Under the lens of this psychology, miracles seem to express the wish for an omnipotent parent, God, who will do away with humanity’s hardship by intervening in the physical world of time and space.
I wish to analyze miracles from a phenomenological and psychodynamic perspective and define miracles as experiences of meaning making. Hume’s Paradigm of Miracles In An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume (1777, sec. 90) defines a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature. A wise person, he argues, shapes his or her belief in accordance with the available evidence of personal experience. A miracle, defined as a violation of natural law for Hume, is a violation of everyday human experience.