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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?

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