Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christian adverts banned for claiming miracle healing

According to the National Secular Society a Christian organisation called  Healing on the Streets - Bath has had its adverts banned because they claim to be able to cure specific diseases:

The ASA ruled that 'A video on the website made claims that HOTS volunteers had successfully prayed for healing for people with cancer, fibromyalgia, back pain, kidney pain, hip pain, cataracts, arthritis and paralysis. We noted the testimonials on the website and in the video but considered that testimonials were insufficient as evidence for claims of healing. We therefore concluded the ads were misleading'.
The ASA also 'noted we had not seen evidence that people had been healed through the prayer of HOTS volunteers, and concluded that the ads could encourage false hope in those suffering from the named conditions and therefore were irresponsible. We acknowledged that HOTS had offered to make amendments to the ads, and to remove the leaflet from their website. However, we considered that their suggested amendments were not sufficient for the ads to comply with the CAP Code.
The full article can be found here:

I have written before about a similar organisation in Scotland that seems to be based around churches with links to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Their motivation seems to be that miracles are a "convincer" for God in what amounts to a sales process. Quite different to conventional protestant evangelicals who rely on a forensic (reasoned legal) argument for the existence of God, these new wave Christians use a sales process based around selling the benefits of belief - whether ultimate salvation or current earthly ones.

Some Christians will no doubt see this as evidence of persecution, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and personal testimony just doesn't cut it. For example, I can remember being in a church where a miracle was announced to have happened - somebody healed of breast cancer - but on enquiring it turned out that the lady had felt a lump, gone to the doctors, the congregation had prayed and the lump was found to be benign. I am willing to bet that the lump was never cancerous. Had it been found to be so and then the congregation had prayed I might be more sympathetic to the idea.