I’ve seen quite a few stories from the USA, a country with religious freedom enshrined in its constitution, featuring people, often children, dying from treatable illnesses because they or their families put their faith, literally, in the power of prayer. It seems this corrupt practice is spreading to the UK, at least partly financed by American evangelists.
And it is corrupt. I can understand desperate people grasping for anything that might help them, however implausible. It isn’t those people who anger me.
It’s the ones who prey (no pun intended) on the vulnerable, sometimes for financial gain (have you ever seen a poor televangelist?), or for status within their religious group.
I know a lot of Christians, and while they believe in the efficacy of prayer, nobody I know would consider it sufficient by itself.
The people behind Believe TV (fined £25k by Ofcom) and HOTS in Bath, whose advertisement was banned by the ASA, do seem to think prayer is sufficient, or at least they claim it is. If desperate, vulnerable people believe them, they may well forgo the conventional medicine that could save their lives.
No doubt when people die, they will be deemed not to have prayed hard enough.
More about the ASA’s adjudication of HOTS here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-16871116