Anthony Campbell is a conventionally qualified physician who has 30 years' experience in the study and practice of specific forms of complementary/alternative medicine. Until his retirement in 1998, he was a consultant physician at The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.
He has strong leanings towards skepticism about many things, including--perhaps surprisingly--much of the current enthusiasm for alternative medicine, which seems to present many of the features of a belief system, something which he deplores.
Campbell has been touched by several religious or spiritual belief systems during his life but now prefers to be free of all of them. He does not, however, refer to himself as an atheist; he prefers to avoid labels such as atheism and agnosticism because they leave so much room for argument and misunderstanding.
He writes from the position of what could probably best be described as metaphysical naturalism; he does not look to find any transcendental realm beyond what we can perceive. He feels no need to postulate a Platonic or Absolute source for the world; as he puts it, "world is all we have, but that is more than enough."
Please visit his web site at: www.acampbell.org.uk
In recent years skeptics have often applied Richard Dawkins' "memes" idea to religion. This does go some of the way towards providing a naturalistic explanation for religion but I think it over-emphasizes the importance of belief at the expense of narrative. Religions, I suggest, mostly begin with narrative; belief arises later and is, in a sense, a secondary development. It is probably our Christian heritage that leads us to attach undue importance to the role of belief. Narrative depends largely on language, and there are important similarities between religions and language in the way in which they are acquired. This way of looking at religion suggests an explanation for its seeming ubiquity in human culture and also for its persistence in our modern society.
From time to time we read reports of people who have recovered from serious or normally fatal illnesses thanks to what appears to be miraculous intervention. Are these apparently "miraculous" cures evidence of divine intervention? If not, what is the explanation?
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