Political and topical news and commentary
Or: How gullible are we?
Published on July 12, 2004 By adnauseam In Religion
Dear Joeuser Bloggers,
I'm on a two month sabbatical so I don't get to write as much as I would like to right now. In fact, I itch to get that laptop onto my bed and pluck away at the keys. Especially when I see adulterated crap on the TV as I did the other night. In fact I was so disgusted I did pull the old laptop out and decided to vent my fury with this missive.

I'm about to be controversial so I need fellow American bloggers to help me on this one: READ first, then I'll ask three simple questions:

The TV programme was about Benny Hinn, a rich evangelist who pulls in people by the thousands to his great tabernacle. He professes to heal the sick and disabled, and he is, if we are to believe him, on God's right hand. His (Mexican/Arab/Portuguese) accented voice soothes the avid crowds as they sing and sway in praise of Him (him?). His hair looks like that of a black-backed jackal and his voice, broken and accented as it is, and his very presence, sends his worshipping minions into a trance-like state.

With the audience eating out of his hand, in anticipation of miracles to come (the wheelchair queue goes round the block), he beseeches his faithful to pray, sing and chant to the glory of God. His grand entrance, filmed for his own TV station, is the climax of all climaxes---and that's just the entrance. He is escorted into his ten thousand seater hall by a grand entourage (he has enough cars, bodyguards, minders, assistants and cameramen to make George Dubya blush!), who see that he reaches his adoring congretation successfully, in good health and looking like the jackal he is.

Now, to avoid going into too much detail, let me briefly say what bothers me about this evangelist and many like him: Firstly, the buckets sent around for "contributions" are as big as laundry buckets---no ordinary collection plates here. Secondly, the great man makes sure to announce that , should "customers" be using Visa etc, they should be making them out to him personally. Third, I hear that all these contributions go to the Ministry (Shucks Maw, I got 3000 people to pay! And 5 Mercedes.), and nowhere does one hear of charities, the poor, the needy, who could do with a goodly slice (has Benny been to Africa?).Fourthly, and most importantly, no-one has any proof that Benny has cured any of the ailing thousands who roll (forgive the pun), into his tabernacle every weekend. The BBC checked and there are no miraculously healed people coming forward to tell of Benny's great miracles.

Let me tell you something: God works in wondrous ways, He's all around us. If we're ill, we pray and He gives us strength. If we're miserable He provides a shoulder to lean on. If we're crippled, He gives us other avenues of life to explore---He is the only one who keeps us going. His power is tremendously comforting. He doesn't need credit card apostles.

Who on Earth told the Benny Hinns of the world that they could act on His behalf? Our church minister helps us to connect with God--all the charlatan evangelists do is divert this connection to their bank accounts.

Here are the three questions I want answered:

1. In the light of so much fraud committed by these people (The history's there-- and it's all done in God's name, by the way), why do people still pour in to see them (and donate so generously)?
2. Why do people believe that a mere man (because he says he's especially blessed), can rid them of sin and cure a spine ruined in a car accident?
3. Why are so many Americans so gullible?

Tell me the answers.

on Aug 14, 2004
In fact, Benny HAS been to Africa. He falsely (last I checked) prophesied that Christ would return onstage there with him.

As to the fraud--because Benny practices what I call "Amway evangelism". It's basically an evangelical pyramid scheme. If you jump in and join with them, become part of their inner circle, you get taught the ropes and how to bring in the suckers with them.

People believe Hinn can heal them because they want hope...they want to believe that the pain they are suffering is temporal. It is 'cosmic vending machine" theology, and they're hoping that the Hinns of this world can "hook them up". They usually go to Hinn only after they've exhausted most other resources, and they "testify" based on their temporal feelings of hope.

Americans as a whole are so gullible because we want everything in 30 second sound bites. This is why the vast majority of Americans who vote against Bush will do so because "he tanked the economy" without looking at the real economic factors and how they do not all fall onto the president, and the vast majority of Americans who vote against Kerry will do so because "he wants gays to marry" or "he lied to get his purple hearts". They simply don't want to look at the facts of the case, despite having incredible resources at their disposal to do so.