Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Friday, July 18, 2003

On cures


AOL's news page was urging me to read this article about Tom Cruise. He's claimed that Scientology has cured his dyslexia. His story: he was diagnosed dyslexic, was struggling through remedial reading classes, and then got into L. Ron Hubbard and became free of his dyslexia (or came to realize that he "had never been dyslexic" -- in either case, he now says he has no problems of the sort).

People are furious that his personal experiences aren't within the bounds of "evidence-based interventions ... that have been published and replicated."

What is the problem? At least as far as I can tell from the article, he didn't say, "don't try anything else -- what worked for me is the only thing that can work." All he said was, I had (or was diagnosed as having) this problem, and, through this method, I no longer have it. What's wrong with that?

But obviously it is a problem for some people. Dr. Spitzer, a non-Christian who believes homosexuality should be considered normal and not a problem, studies people who claim they once felt strong sexual attractions to people of the same sex and now have been able to transfer that attraction to the opposite sex; Spitzer says there is evidence that it is possible for at least some people considering themselves homosexual to begin considering themselves heterosexual, and he gets attacked for saying what he sees and relaying what other people tell as their personal experience. (I suppose his attackers insist that, no matter what they think, those people do or at least have a moral obligation to feel sexual attraction to the same sex.) He didn't say everyone can change; he didn't (and wouldn't) say that people should try to change; all he said was that some people say that they have changed, and he's got no reason to doubt them. But that's evil and obviously showing a fear of homosexual feelings. Or something.

Close friends I have no reason to doubt tell stories of people they've seen raised from the dead (even after a few days), along with no end of smaller physical healings (club foot suddenly straight, deformed leg suddenly whole and normal, my mother's heart arrhythmia fixed) that medicine has other treatments for but that were fixed aside from medical intervention. I'm sure the same people angry at Tom Cruise would get enraged at those stories.

The people I have talked to who have been healed themselves aren't exactly the most popular at Harvard; their constant response to insistence that nothing can happen supernaturally is: "all I know is, I was blind, but now I see."

Who is such slime as to say someone who has been healed of a crippling ailment should not try to share with others the source of that healing -- or even that they should not be healed at all?

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