Are faith healers charlatans?
This week's BBC Sunday morning religion and morality programme asked "Are faith healers charlatans?"
The answer, of course, is "Fuck yes".
Coincidentally, I was in town the previous morning, where a group of earnest men with beards, joined by a number of earnest women also with beards, had set up a row of chairs and a bunch of flappy banners, inviting passing shoppers for FREE FAITH HEALING.
I've seen these people, and people very much like them, in town centres around the south of England of a Saturday morning, in what appears to be a growing trend.
Frankly, I'd rather pay my taxes into a National Health Service that provides FREE SCIENCE-BASED HEALING, but a free show's a free show, and it wasn't long before they were laying hands on the easily-impressed in what was - and let us be perfectly clear - a one-to-one advert for their Invisible Sky Zombie who loves you enough not to kill you if you believe in him.
I think - by now - you know which side of the fence I am on.
Presently, a middle-aged man sits amongst the beards. One lay on hands, speaking to him gently, the words are not clear to the interested spectator, although he is being urged to open himself up to Our Lord etc etc. Then a second beard, closely followed by a Mrs Beard. Then the man bursts into tears, and there is much satisfaction.
They see a rescued soul.
I see a vulnerable man exploited.
They see a man healed.
I see fakery.
TV's Derren Brown saw what is quite possibly the same bunch the following day, posting on his Twitter feed: "Sadly a bunch of 'healing Christians' in Reading town centre doing the leg lengthening trick and others shown in Miracles For Sale. Sheesh"
Nothing but homeopathy for the mind, and that doesn't work either.
Update @ 9pm: I have received, as a result of this article, proper BASH AN ATHEIST abuse from a so-called Christian, because his deity is an all-forgiving deity. I feel as if I have joined some sort of exclusive club.