BBC News Looks at Faith Healers — Skeptically

A BBC reporter looks into the healing power of prayer and is oddly unimpressed.

“Can I put my hand on your face?”, asks Alun Leppitt.

Alun is the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Southampton. He’s a burly man who works as a video editor to pay the bills, but his passion is curing people through the power of prayer. I don’t have much wrong with me apart from a nagging mouth ulcer, but he’s willing to give it a go.

“We command this mouth ulcer to go, in the name of Jesus,” he says, palm on my cheek. “We command any pain, infection or trauma to go.”

I don’t like to disappoint Alun, but I can’t feel any difference. He has two more attempts but there’s no change.

Nonetheless,

He and his wife Donna tell me of a woman who had a child despite having had a hysterectomy — of people with advanced cancer who suddenly become well after prayer.

From another healer, Ian Andrew in Somerset, I heard of a woman who got a new heart as a result of prayer.

“Literally, a new heart?”

“Yes.”

“What happened to the old one?”

“It was replaced.”

It’s depressing to see that these insane beliefs have jumped the pond to places like the U.K. and the Netherlands.

As always, the question is “Where’s the proof?” If the exploits of faith healers and deadraisers were real, these people would have an amazing gift that, demonstrated properly, could make lifelong converts by the millions.

The reason they don’t appear to be winning (m)any souls for Christ is because what they do reeks so obviously of either flimflam or self-delusion. Why not remove all skepticism and perform a few miracles in front of (1) an independent medical team, plus (2) a professional bullshit buster à la James Randi, and finally (3) a video crew that may record the events from every conceivable angle? Just erase all doubt and people will be falling over themselves to join the miracle religion.

What makes the basic “show us the proof” demand so hard to understand for these folks? Why are they content to be laughingstocks if they could be spiritual heroes who can totally perform real miracles?

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.


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