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Aug 13 2013

The Faith Healing Scam

I found this meme on Facebook and it makes a very good point. If faith healing con artists like Benny Hinn really believed that they were “anointed” with the ability to heal, why do they only do this in front of sellout crowds paying big money? Jesus didn’t heal only in front of 10,000 people who paid $50 a ticket to get a seat, did he?

bennyhinn

14 comments

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  1. 1
    matty1

    Any God worth the name would heal everyone himself without the need for travelling showmen, or better yet not let them get ill in the first place. It’s almost like this is some kind of scam.

  2. 2
    eric

    I think a better meme is: so why did you send your children to a western hospital when they got sick?

  3. 3
    raven

    In lots of places in the United States, women are living shorter lives than they used to: In 737 U.S. counties out of more than 3,000, life expectancies for women declined between 1997 and 2007.

    Faith healing doesn’t work.

    Recently in some areas of the USA, life spans have been decreasing. We haven’t seen that in a century.

    The demographic is mostly rural white women in the south and west. This is more or less fundie xians.

    No one is quite sure why. But it is clear that faith healing isn’t helping and might well be contributing.

  4. 4
    Modusoperandi

    “Jesus didn’t heal only in front of 10,000 people who paid $50 a ticket to get a seat, did he?”

    To be fair, Jesus would’ve monetized it, had He the time. Paul covered this in his Epistle to the Chamber of Commerce.

  5. 5
    matty1

    I heard somewhere that when Peter is described as a fisherman the actual Greek term implies owner of several fishing boats as a business. So maybe Jesus had corporate sponsorship and could afford not to monetize straight away.

  6. 6
    raven

    Register-Guard:

    The children are a blended family, created when (two people) married after both were widowed.

    Her first husband, died of sepsis in 2007 after sustaining and failing to seek medical treatment for a leg injury, a Lane County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant said deleted for space.

    A state child welfare worker revealed Monday that a spouse from a prior marriage (died at 31), …
    “she was preceded in death by daughters Elizabeth and Emma …”

    The death toll from faith healing can be quite high.

    I’ve found two families that have lost two kids each unnecessarily.

    This family from above has lost 5 people, two adults, three children. I’ve redacted the names because they’ve already been through a lot, having recently been convicted of manslaughter.

    Their church, General Assembly and church of the first born is very secretive but seems to be a Mormon splinter group.

  7. 7
    davidct

    Paul never actually met Jesus and was definitively more about money. All we have from Paul are his claims about what Jesus meant. Paul is more like St. Bennie.

  8. 8
    scottbelyea

    “I found this meme on Facebook …”
    “I think a better meme …”

    At first, I wasn’t sure whether “meme” was a significant and useful concept; or something which misled people into thinking that they were making a worthwhile point by tacking on the “”meme” label.

    By now, I find myself firmly on the negative side – “British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.”

    Quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme#Criticism_of_meme_theory

  9. 9
    Bronze Dog

    I think I’ve seen the argument they should be going hospital to hospital before, but it didn’t really bring up the apparent necessity of big stages and paying audiences. Combined, it really brings out how slimy the faith healing business is. It’s bad enough that they’re claiming miraculous healing powers without widespread use. Putting it into the context of crowded stages helps it stand out that it’s all theater without substance. It’s not about kindness, it’s about sending a message that their tribe is superior. Even if the healing was real, it comes off as selfish, greedy, and arrogant.

  10. 10
    Bronze Dog

    The death toll from faith healing can be quite high.

    I’ve found two families that have lost two kids each unnecessarily.

    This family from above has lost 5 people, two adults, three children. I’ve redacted the names because they’ve already been through a lot, having recently been convicted of manslaughter.

    Ugh. Just remembered one similar incident here in Texas. I don’t remember the details offhand, but my university newspaper posted a puff piece about preachers proselytizing on campus. In the online article, my brother posted a comment that they were from the same church as the family who wouldn’t treat their sick kid and criticized their journalistic integrity. They sanitized his comment.

  11. 11
    democommie

    “Paul covered this in his Epistle to the Chamber of Commerce.”

    Oh! You must mean his “Letter to the Fuckweaslians”.

    Wasn’t Hinn one of the people Randi pretty much pwned in his book, “Flim Flam”?

  12. 12
    cptdoom

    As a contrast to hucksters like Hinn, I think back to the experience of a healing priest in my area when I was growing up. He’d had some kind of near-death experience and afterwards gained a reputation for being able to heal the sick. Normally I wouldn’t believe in such a gift, but know of two family friends with serious medical conditions – a benign but still serious brain tumor and a degenerative hip disorder that left the man dependent on a wheelchair – who had medically improbable and inexplicable improvements, documented by their physicians, after an allegedly healing touch by this priest. The brain tumor began shrinking, which alleviated a threat to the man’s eyesight and the man with the hip disorder actually did walk again, although it took 6 months of therapy; he didn’t spring up magically whole again or anything.

    Whether this priest had any real healing powers, what impresses me now is how he handled himself. Once he had the reputation for this healing ability, his life was basically ruined. Seriously ill people would turn up at his parish house at all hours, and he felt compelled to at least try to help them. He ended up unable to handle normal parish duties and eventually could not go out in public; the diocese finally put him in hiding, from which he came out occasionally for formal masses for the sick. He never promised any cures, and never claimed any power, but only offered comfort for the afflicted. He never, of course, took any money.

    If healing powers really did/do exist – and who’s to say this priest only tapped into some sort of placebo effect – it seems they would manifest in this way – not in big shows and cash donations.

  13. 13
    otrame

    cptdoom

    Tumors, even malignant tumors, do sometimes shrink and wither. We are working on finding out why, but it is a rare enough event that researching it is difficult.

    The man who had hip problems simply got enough courage to work through the pain and get that joint moving again. As someone with fairly bad arthritis, I can assure you that keeping your affected joints mobile is the only way to slow the progress of the disease. Lots of anti-inflamnitories and light exercise.

    I note that you mentioned two out of thousands, and the two in question have reasonable non-miraculous explanations.

    On the other hand, I believe that the priest in question honestly believed in his own abilities, at least at first, and the fact that he made no attempt to profit from his “gifts” suggests that he was a decent man who tried to do right by people. Poor guy.

  14. 14
    democommie

    “He never promised any cures, and never claimed any power, but only offered comfort for the afflicted. He never, of course, took any money.”

    Um, I think you mighta knowed REAL JESUS (TM)!

    How ironic would it be if there was a god who sent his one and only son, JESUS, to this insignificant agglomeration of stardust and he was imprisoned* and then deported by the state of AZ because he had dark skin and a “furri’ soundin’ name”.

    * And, while, in prison he endeared himself to the convicts by turning water into raisin jack and providing illumination so that his fellow inmates might finish working on their jailhouse writs after “lights out”.

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