Promising miracles as a path to wealth

I posted about Pat Robertson’s idiotic response to a question as to why nowadays miracles seem to happen only in places like Africa and not in the US. Why was god not showing the US any love, given that we are his chosen people and all? According to Pat, it is because we have become a nation of skeptical smartypants

I had not realized that apparently there is a huge industry in Africa of preachers promising miracles and becoming extremely wealthy in return as vast numbers of people go to their churches and give money, hoping to experience a miracle that they desperately need to solve their physical or financial problems.

Al Jazeera has a video about one Nigerian who represents this trend of preachers claiming to perform miracles that has resulted in him having the largest church in the world, with 500,000 people attending his services in a building that is two kilometers long and one kilometer wide. US mega-preachers must be envious. He seems to have succeeded in fleecing his poor parishioners enough that he lives in a mansion and has a private jet, which are of course taken as signs that his god backs him.

This preacher claims that if there were no miracles, then people would stop coming. The testimony of people that they had a miracle come is taken as a sign that miracles do happen. But course, this may just be statistics. Even if the probability of someone experiencing something that could be construed as a result of praying (getting a job, doing well on an exam, getting better from an illness) is tiny, the chance of at least one person in 500,000 getting it is high. And of course, those isolated positive stories are seized upon as ‘proof’.


  1. smrnda says

    This is pretty alarming. Do people just not demand evidence for these miracles? I’d say not, since in the States I attended a few churches and noticed anecdotal reports of miracles were just believed and never investigates, and details are always kept pretty vague.

  2. sailor1031 says

    When has there ever been any evidence at all (and I mean evidence not hearsay, rumour or lies) of any miracle ever having occurred? Yet billions of the religious, including many of the world’s most highly educated, accept that miracles have occurred. They are central to their religions. Also central to their religions is Faith, the ability to believe something wholeheartedly without any evidence whatsoever. And faith, as we are told, is a great virtue. This is a problem!

  3. Thorne says

    Do people just not demand evidence for these miracles?

    Not only do they NOT demand evidence, they will actually condemn anyone who provides evidence AGAINST the miracle. As recently happened in India when a skeptic proved that “blood” from a statue was actually rusty water from a leaking pipe. The Catholic Church actually filed blasphemy charges against him for telling the truth!

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