Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson: Miracles in the New Testament: anything comparable in modern times? The case of Sathya Sai Baba and some Catholic Saints

No religious scripture contains as many accounts of gross paranormal or miraculous phenomena than the four testaments of the New Testament. Changing water into wine, feeding the multitude , healings, resurrections, walking on water, and the transfiguration where great blinding light shone from Jesus. And there are many more. These miracles had great impact on a developing and expanding religion. Controlling and influencing the laws of nature was interpreted as an act of divinity, a divine intervention.

Assuming that these phenomena really happened, do we find anything comparable in modern times? Starting with what is closest to us in time, the phenomena reported about Sai Baba, are the strongest candidates. There are relatively well witnessed accounts of phenomena comparable to changing water into wine, of feeding the multitude, of healings, controlling gravity (walking on water = levitations), and the transfiguration where great blinding light shone from Jesus. In the lecture, many examples will be given, discussing their strength and weaknesses, particularly concerning data Prof Haraldsson gathered from interviewing witnesses, and when it comes to the Catholic saints – the extent of contemporary sources and their quality. A lot of it, a mind-boggling material that flies in the face of common sense and our present day concept of reality.

Prof ERLENDUR HARALDSSON is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. He has been an active researcher and has written six books which have appeared in numerous translations and editions. Among them are The Departed among the LivingAt the Hour of Death (with Karlis Osis), and Modern Miracle Sathya Sai Baba, A Modern Day Prophet. He has lectured widely on both sides of the Atlantic and in the UK and published over 70 papers in scientific journals.

Documentaries have been made of Haraldsson’s studies of children who remember past lives by broadcasters such as the BBC.

Haraldsson studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, Freiburg and Munich in Germany and at the University of Virginia in the USA. He has been visiting professor in the United States and in Germany.

For more information go to his website ‘both-and’ thinking is key to resolving paradox and integrating ideas in ways that avoid reduction of one idea to the other. In this talk, the history of such thinking in the West and East will be explored, including the Chinese yin-yang model, Hegel’s dialectical reasoning, Jung’s exploration of opposites within alchemy and the psyche, Erikson’s dialectics of psychological development, dialectical behaviour therapy, and both-and thinking in quantum physics. A dialectical model of the relationship between science and spirituality will be discussed.

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