Have you ever wondered if there are certain psychological variables that could potentially influence or distort someone’s observation of a “miracle”?
With all the claims of people having witnessed a bona fide miracle today, from both Christians and non-Christians alike, it seems incumbent for critical thinkers and spiritual discerners to evaluate each miracle eyewitness and the potential for psychological misrepresentation.
The 3rdedition of the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religionhas just announced the publication of an article by FaithX Co-Founder and Research Director, Darren M. Slade, entitled “Miracle Eyewitness Reports.”
Here, the article argues that although numerous miracle claims are frequently discredited, there are still countless tens of thousands who claim to have personally witnessed or experienced a miracle in their lifetime, including the vast majority of Pentecostal Christians around the world. The problem is that psychological studies consistently reveal that eyewitness claims are routinely inaccurate, making the existence of miracle eyewitness reports anecdotally difficult from a psychological perspective. Assuming a miracle eyewitness is both suitable and credible, meaning they are not known to falsify, exaggerate, minimize, conceal, or delude information, there are still numerous psychological variables that affect a person’s perception and memory of an event and, therefore, need consideration when evaluating miracle eyewitness reports. The implication for religion is that psychological variables involving memory, postevent misinformation, imagination, and fantasy proneness need consideration when assessing the accuracy of miracle eyewitness reports. The potential psychological distortion on eyewitness testimonials is true of both historic miracle reports (e.g., the New Testament Gospels) and present-day spiritual experiences.
You can read the article for free by clicking on the links above.