Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Now I’m a believer

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 29 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3982
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    When I was a student I attended a public faith healing meeting. I went as a joke, but what I saw angered me. The American evangelist—to my eyes obviously a crook—told the hopeless cases assembled there that if they believed deeply and sincerely enough they would be cured. They weren’t, and therefore it was their own fault. I found it cruel, repellent, and grossly exploitative.

    I grew less ill disposed to faith healing when I attended the annual ceremony of the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Guatemala many years later. There the halt, lame, and paralytic were promised nothing, and there was no implication that if they failed …

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