Friday 25 November 2011

Editorial: Taking Medicine and Talking Miracles

It is an outrage!

There are very few occasions that I am so utterly incensed about some situation and those are usually with reference to child sex abuse, injustice to women, homophobia and religious abuse.

To varying degrees, I could either submit a whole range of opinions on Twitter or in the heat of the moment craft a blog on the matter.

This morning I overheard on SkyNews that some churches had been advising people with apparently incurable and sometimes terminal illnesses especially those infected with HIV to come off their pills because they had been healed.

I believe in miracles

In the interest of full disclosure, I was brought up a High-Church Anglican but converted to Evangelical Pentecostalism almost 3 decades ago. Within this setting we have a whole range of belief systems that allow for supernatural intervention in natural circumstances in matters of prayer, confidence and miracles.

However, I subscribe to that leaning that engages the intellect fully, demands deep religious scholarship and mixes all the vicissitudes of faith with an abundance of reason.

I am wont to using a very basic analogy on the matter of the interaction of medicine and miracles. If you need A wheelchair and after prayer you cannot verifiably discard of THE wheelchair, you still need THAT wheelchair. In essence, you cannot pretend you can walk if you cannot walk.

When it comes to the miraculous healing by reason of faith and all the ceremony that could include the laying on of hands and other obscure activities beyond the understanding of outsiders, some things are self-evident.

The use of medical opinions

Before the person seeks healing, that person would probably have obtained a medical opinion, will most likely have a confirmed diagnosis and usually have begun a treatment regime.

The desire for healing is not an alien thing to human-beings; people need succour, respite, palliation and possibly cures for their illnesses – some of these can be achieved through medicine over a period of time, if medical science offers that prospect or the good grace of a miracle may offer either accelerated improvements in welfare or a sudden change for the better.

The most important thing to know is that a medical opinion remains the certified opinion until a new medical opinion is sought signifying a change for either the better or the worse accompanied with the particular instructions of the medical expert, the condition is technical still the condition before the "miracle".

Medical science must validate miracles

The faith healer, no matter how sensational, amazing, wondrous or even magical the performance that suggests a person has been healed is NOT a medical expert and as such because the same cannot offer certified confirmation of changes to the physiology and state of health of the person supposed healed – the faith healer MUST NEVER assume the role of medical expert and offer medical advice like stopping the usage of medication.

The faith healer can trust that a person is healed, the person may feel in themselves some change either real or imagined but this all must be verified (to fulfil all righteousness) inconvertibly by the medical profession even with the option of a second and third opinion for the certainty and assuredness of the supposed miraculous healing work.

Unconscionable religious irresponsibility

In terms of the news story - Church Tells HIV Patients To Stop Treatment [1], the church after having engaged in their esoteric activities assumed the role of a medical expert service advising those infected with HIV that they had been healed and urging them to stop using their medication.

The story suggests that six such persons who presumably had received healing had needlessly in my view died because the church in a callous, irresponsible, outrageous and reprehensible egregious extension of influence overstepped its remit as an unregulated religious organisation to become an illegal laboratory for guinea-pigs of snake-oil miracle healings.

The law must act

The church failed woefully in its duty of care to its flock and the health of those concerned to ensure that those who they considered healed should first sign-off with medical advice that allows for such people to then come off their medication.

In an ideal world, such an organisation should be proscribed forthwith and the cop-out that they do not heal but God heals cannot hold water if they as intermediaries between God and man portend to speak in God’s name when projecting themselves as a faith healing organisation and then shirk from responsibility when faced with scrutiny for practices that are at best fraudulent and plain deceptive or murderous at worst by reason of the fact that people had placed their lives in the trust of leaders of those churches.

Miracle happen, medicine works

Now, there are records of people who have obtained amazing miracles in this modern age but they all have medical proof of the changes and the medical advice that allows them to discontinue medication because the need for such had been miraculously removed.

On the matter of medicine and miracles, medicine is NOT evil, it is NOT witchcraft and it serves a purpose in the management of illness. Many people of faith have combined their beliefs and medicine to have accelerated results from the use of medical science.

There are amazing advances in medical science that allow for people with HIV to live productive lives with the virus in the blood diminished to undetectable levels, there is no particular reason not to use medical science and religious beliefs in the finding solutions to illness.


Reading the detail of the news story, the said pastor suggested persistence of diarrhoea and vomiting show the virus is leaving the body – Bunkum! That is probably evidence that the condition of the person is rapidly deteriorating and such a one is in need of immediate medical attention.

I will to God there was a law of the land to bring those people to book and punish them severely for being quacks, charlatans and dishonestly assuming roles of a qualified medical practice.

These people give Christianity a bad name, pervert the gospel for the spectacular and they are sepulchres for the macabre masquerading as churches – their cultist activities must for all that is good, safe and tolerable in modern society be shutdown with immediate effect.


[1] HIV Deaths: Church Tells Patients To Give Up HIV Drugs After Claiming They Were 'Healed' | UK News | Sky News

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