Derren Brown - Miracles for Sale

It's hard to come up with many examples of practices more cruel and exploitative than faith healing because its practitioners deliberately prey on the poor and sick by taking advantage of them in their greatest time of need and desperation. If your kid is diagnosed with an incurable and terminal disease, for instance, and science-based medicine can't help, it's understandable that you might try other 'alternative' methods. What parent wouldn't be willing to try anything to help their children?

And that's precisely what faith healers are counting on. They exploit the general population's lack of critical thinking skills by poisoning the well in such a way that no matter the outcome, it will somehow 'confirm' their doctrine: if you feel immediately better because you've been touched by one of these charlatans (while all the work is really being done by a temporary rush of adrenaline coursing through your body), that counts as evidence of a miracle; but if you don't feel better, or your symptoms come back later (as they inevitably do), it's your own fault for not having enough faith. It's a win-win... for the 'healer'. It's a lose-lose for you.

What kind of purpose drives these healers? No, it's not love for their fellow man... it's greed: you have to pony up a pretty penny to show that you have the requisite faith for the holy spirit to descend upon you (and it takes cash and credit cards... no checks, though).

But the problems don't stop with the healing session itself: because faith is hammered into your head as the cause of your improvement, it wouldn't show much faith on your part if you continue to take the real medicine that medical doctors have prescribed for you. As you might imagine, people stop taking their medication and the result is that they get worse, cancers relapse, medical conditions deteriorate, and some people even end up dying...

Luckily, Derren Brown has been working really hard to infiltrate this group of disgusting con artists and expose them for the frauds they are by training an ordinary man and turning him into a 'faith healer' and unleashing him somewhere in Texas. This documentary should be mandatory in the Bible belt...

And for more, check out The Enemies of Reason.
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