God believers on News24 constantly tell us about their wonderful gods and what their gods want and how their scriptures are to be interpreted. Which is all very well and good but what the peddlers of these gods fail to explain is what these gods actually and verifiably ever do. I have never got a credible straight forward answer to that question so I decided to examine some of the claims that we know the preachermen make on behalf of their gods in their houses of worship, pamphlets and advertisements and to see how they stack up against reality. This is #1 of what is to be a series looking at the validity and veracity of a wide range of religious claims.
The Claims for Faith Healing
Every day around the world people are led to believe that if they pray, individually or in groups, to some god or other, asking the god to perform some form of magic miracle spell or intervention to make some sick person well again, then these people will in fact get well.
So we have this sort of thing:
“Dear god, granny is complaining about her gout again and she can hardly walk. Please God make granny's gout better”.
Or the groupie prayer,
“Let us pray for James Rumbleguts of this parish who is lying dying in hospital with terminal liver cancer.”
Say these prayers and the god will stop was he was doing (Helping the Blue Bulls or an Oscar winner), consider the plea, and occasionally decide to perform the magic supernatural trick that results in the prayed for immediately recovering to full health?
The Reality of Faith Healing
The reality is that no verifiable or compelling evidence has ever been produced to demonstrate that praying for someone's to get well makes any difference at all. In fact an independent scientific study indicated the opposite: that telling a sick person you are going to pray for them is more likely to make their condition worse!
“ …. researchers at the Harvard Medical School and five other U.S. medical centers found, to their bewilderment, that coronary-bypass patients who knew strangers were praying for them fared significantly worse than people who got no prayers.,"
And this article, “Have studies proven that prayer can help heal the sick?”, is interesting and poses the question, “Are Jewish or Muslim prayers as effective as Christian ones? Within Christianity, are Catholic prayers better than Protestant ones?”
Quite obviously, praying for the sick achieves nothing but to make these doing the praying feel better.
Praying on its own obviously does not work so the next method is to rely upon preachermen with special faith healing talents, the likes of silver tongued Benny Hinn or the loathsome Todd Bentley, who make millions doing public faith healing entertainment. These guys will heal you on TV! People actually believe these guys heal the sick even though Benny Hinn obviously wears a wig to hide the fact he cannot cure his own baldness! And Bentley, who beats up sick people on stage as part of his god blessed entertaining show, is such a sick puppy that the UK government even denied him a visa because “The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good.”
Another scumbag, Peter Popoff, amassed a $9.6 million fortune operating a blatant faith healing fraud using secret radio transmitters to pretend to use god given powers to correctly diagnose people before being exposed by James Randi. But he was never even criminally charged, kept the money and reinvented his “anointing ministries” and now peddles a cure all holy water. One privilege of religion is that you can commit fraud and fleece the stupid but never go to jail.
The most noticeable thing about all claims for faith healing is, of course this. Gods never heal amputees. You cannot ask a god to restore an amputated limb, cure you if you are a quadriplegic or to miraculously restore a young girl's face destroyed in an acid attack or a fire. Gods only cure invisible ailments and, if they do, then only for a very short period of time (enough time for the preacherman to make the deposits in the nearest bank). The issue of faith healing and gods' inability to cure amputees is exceptionally well explained at this web site – http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/.
The other great faith healing scams are those appalling theatres of lost hopes such as Lourdes, where many waste their life savings for a fruitless visit to this disgusting faith healing Disney Land. And the Catholic Church heartlessly keeps drumming up the business by making periodic announcements of another Pope approved Lourdes miracle cure. The only truth about Lourdes is that when the Pope gets ill he is never carted off to Lourdes to be miraculously healed.
Faith Healing is Bad for your Health
We could just laugh at the faith healing claims of the preachermen if the results were simply some disappointment that “God said no”, to a plea for someone to get well. But claims for godly faith healing often have far more extreme and fatal consequences. These cases just leave one aghast at human gullibility and stupidity.
Oregon judge tells church members to stop killing children with faith 'healing', parents jailed 16 months for son's death
"Faith healer" parents who let their teenage son die, believing medical intervention was against the rule of God, have been released on parole after pleading guilty to negligent homicide. Austin Sprout, 16, died last December after his appendix burst, his parents' well-meaning prayers no match for the condition.
11-year-old Kara Neumann lay on a mattress on the floor of her family’s home in Wisconsin while parents and friends around her were praying. Within minutes she had died from undiagnosed but treatable diabetes.
This type of cretinous behaviour is promoted and spurred on by death cults such as Jehovah;s Witnesses and Christian Science who are not only after your money but are likely to take your life as well.
Obviously the claims by preachermen that praying to gods to heal people are patently dishonest and untrue. It is a thriving industry with many fortunes made publishing books and operating faith healing sessions promising or claiming miracles.
South Africa has not been spared the attentions of hope dashing fraudsters and even the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in to stop at least one local operator from advertising false faith healing claims and another offering “faith” pills that cure everything from malaria to tuberculosis and Aids. In the UK, their ASA has also banned pamphlets distributed by faith healing Christian fraudsters. These are positive steps but more needs to be dome to educate and protect the ignorant and the superstitious.
Finally, if faith healing worked then we would no longer have any need for doctors, hospitals, medical science or medical aid schemes. We could all just troop off to some local religious establishment, get prayed over and walk back home fit as a fiddle. We would live for ever. And no one knows just how ridiculous is that notion than the authors of books on faith healing miracles and the likes of the faith healing preachermen, the Pope, Benny Hinn, Peter Pofoff and Ray Creepy Crawly, who when they get ill, resort to the finest medical attention money can buy.
So what does your god ever actually and verifiably do? Faith Healing?