Why televangelists are not (all) con artists
At the end of my recent post “Let me introduce you to a con man (probably)” I discussed the possibility that these televangelists might not be con artists. It’s possible that they really believe their own drivel. Today I’m going to defend that argument, and explain why that’s actually much worse than if they were all frauds.
Now, I realise it seems naive to even entertain the idea that these guys aren’t con men. Just look at the bullshit they spout!
This is from R.W. Shambach’s book, You Can’t Beat God Givin’. It’s a story called “The Twenty-Six Miracles,” which my dad read to me as a boy. Here’s the full text; I’ll just give you the edited highlights. Read the rest of this entry
Five Most Epic Creationist Fails
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Carl Baugh. This “Creation Scientist” (a term found in the oxymoron dictionary between “American culture” and “Microsoft Works”) is so spectacularly full of bull that even other Creationists have tried to distance themselves. Seriously, even Answers in Genesis wants nothing to do with him.
So you may feel I’m attacking a straw man. And, well, if I were, it would still be a fun straw man to attack.
Actually, there are a couple of serious reasons to discuss Baugh. For one, he was brought to wider fame by my childhood hero Kenneth Copeland. I watched the two week TV series they made together as a child in the mid-90s, and I believed every word of it. VHS copies are still out there. I think I saw it still for sale on Copeland’s website earlier this year, but it’s not there now.
The other reason this is relevant is that it seems Carl Baugh had some influence on the Creationism taught in Accelerated Christian Education. Admittedly, I never saw the most barking of these claims in my PACEs, but Baugh was mentioned by name. Several of the claims that he makes which are denied by other Creationists show up in the PACEs. It’s not surprising; Baugh’s Creation Evidences Museum is just 69 miles from ACE’s Texas HQ. Both Baugh and ACE are at the loonier end of the already unhinged Creationist spectrum. They are the only Creationist groups I know of who still support the Paluxy tracks idea, for example.
So, here are some outstanding claims Baugh makes in his Evidences for Creation series, with Kenneth Copeland. Read the rest of this entry
How to Con a Christian
Voltaire said those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. The philosopher might have added that they can also empty your wallet.
“For every pound you put in this offering bucket, you will get a hundred back.” This is the doctrine of the hundredfold return.
I hate telling people I used to believe that. The reason I hate telling them is the thought that went through your head when you read that first sentence:
“No you won’t!”
You didn’t even have to think about it. It’s just not true. If you put a pound in an offering bucket, the net result is that you have one less pound in your pocket, and that is all. I will always envy you for that. You didn’t lose twenty years to it, and I did.
For me, it was the indisputable truth and anyone who couldn’t see it was just deceived by the devil. I hate seeing the blank, unimpressed looks on people’s faces when I tell them this. This was the whole of my life for two decades, and you can dismiss it in less time than it takes me to say it.
How is this? As you can (hopefully) see, I am not stupid. How can it be that men with slicked back hair and expensive suits have conned hundreds of thousands – in Britain, not just America – with something so blatantly, transparently false?
I am a Cult Survivor
This is the Faith preacher Kenneth Copeland. Or, to put it another way, this is my childhood in 3 minutes.
I grew up in Bath, where Kenneth Copeland Ministries has its European office. I have Kenneth Copeland’s autograph in a Bible that was given to me on the day I was born. This is not Texas or Arkansas. This isn’t even London. This is middle class England.
When I watch this stuff, I still feel the same sense of awe I felt as a child. God, Creator of the Universe, the most powerful being in existence, had gone to all this effort to make me blessed. It’s an incredible thought.
What is the Word of Faith?
If I told you that, for every pound (or dollar, US visitors) you gave me, you could expect a hundred back, you would bite my hand off. Think of what I’m saying. If you give me £100, I will give you £10,000. You’d be crazy not to take it.
Well, as a reader of this blog, I would expect you to treat my claim with great scepticism. But this is the offer that Word of Faith preachers make to their congregations. The Word of Faith, if true, is the best news ever. It guarantees that you can be rich, free from sickness, and conquer all of your problems. Their insistence that “You can have what you say” has led to it being dubbed the “blab it and grab it” lot.
This prosperity gospel has thousands of adherents in the UK. It is followed by a significant proportion of Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians.