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Gullibility: Any Known Cure?

As this is being written (a few weeks before publication) the number of known deaths due to the West African Ebola outbreak – for which there is, as yet, no known cure has passed the 1,400 mark. The number of infections is put at over 2,600 although many more are suspected to be going undetected. By the time you read it the statistics will be much worse.

Unless, of course, in the meantime God steps in with a miracle to sort it out – which, presumably, he could if he wanted to. He did, after all, in the case of Dr Kent Brantly. Brantly, an American medical missionary working in Liberia is one of the fortunate ones who, after contacting the disease, made a full recovery. ‘God saved my life’ he assured a press conference after being released from hospital.

The way God did this, it seems, is by arranging for Brantly to be one of the first to receive the very scarce and experimental serum known as Zmapp, and whisking him back to a modern hospital in the US where he received another dose, and the best possible medical care available. 

How effective the Zmapp was in his cure we can only guess at this stage, or what Dr Brantly’s views of it are, but he is in no doubt that it was God who saved his life. Why did God single out Dr Brantly to be saved, we might wonder? Why didn’t he carry out a similar miracle for some, at least, of the other 1,400 victims, including many other committed medical volunteers? Why was it necessary for God to allow the outbreak to occur in the first place? Maybe Dr Brantly knows the answer to these questions, maybe he doesn’t, but of one thing he is absolutely certain. ‘God saved my life’.

To assist God in carrying out further miracles of this sort another, more unorthodox, treatment for Ebola has been prescribed by ‘Prophet’ T B Joshua, one of Nigeria’s five wealthiest preachers. Prophet Joshua, whose fortune has been estimated at between 10 and 15 million dollars byForbes magazine (although that sum is dwarfed by others on the list), has flown 4,000 bottles of his amazing ‘holy anointing water’ to Sierra Leone for use in treating the Ebola virus.

This magical water which is produced at his church’s headquarters is obviously potent stuff. It is more usually taken among his followers for the treatment of such complaints as barrenness, cancer, paralysis and the AIDS virus, although one even confirms that whilst being attacked in his car one night by ten armed bandits his car suddenly became bulletproof and he was saved. You’d give a fortune to get your hands on a bottle of that wouldn’t you? Well, some people obviously do.

‘By using the anointing water, you are symbolically setting yourself apart for Jesus Christ’s special attention as you pray in faith’ he says. ‘I mean, you are positioned for mercy, favour, healing, deliverance blessing, prosperity and fruitfulness’. And it sounds good, you must admit, especially the ‘prosperity and fruitfulness’ bit.

However, there may be a snag. It’s guaranteed to work of course – as long as you ‘pray in faith’, but as with all religious guarantees, if the punter doesn’t have the required amount of faith – well, that could bugger the whole miracle up.

And it’s even been suggested by some, who obviously have nowhere near enough faith in Joshua and his Jesus juice, that it is simply salt water. Obviously this is an outrageous slur. No multi-millionaire preacher would ever carry out such a scam would they?

Hopefully he does provide full instructions for use with the magic liquid though. You obviously need to know whether to drink it or pour it into your car’s radiator. It’s all very well making your old banger bulletproof, but if it’s saltwater you’re pouring in, it could corrode the cooling system internals and make it leak like a bloody sieve. Not exactly the kind of holiness you want in your radiator.

NW