How Can We Stop
Holy Spirit Con Men?
Hi! I was watching TV the other day, and I saw this Benny Hinn thing where he gives people a knockout and supposedly cures them of terrible diseases in the process. Last year somebody told me that he had cured an HIV patient!
What are the ways we could curb these con men? Next thing you know, a couple of medical colleges will instute a new degree DPHS -- "Doctor by the Power of the Holy Spirit!"
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Ajit Nathaniel"
Subject: Re: about holy spirit con men.
Date: March 02, 2002 3:13 AM
Read about my "knockout" in the response to When To Address Religious Quackery with James Mathew. Back then, it was called "being slain in the Spirit," which, from what I know about it, could instantly step from metaphor to literal reality if anything goes wrong. Talk about quackery! If the authorities ever found out, they'd simply shriek!!
I don't know how they could do it in America, because the uproar about religious freedom would be overwhelming. I mean, even the Roman Catholics came out in favor of Indians being allowed to take hallucinogenic drugs during their ceremonies. So, since the government won't do it, it's basically up to us!
Joseph Lewis tried very hard to bust Oral Roberts, but he flourished well into the 1970s, ten years after Lewis died. I'm not familiar with much of Lewis's angle (his arguments or his tactics), but essentially he tried to bust Roberts as a medical fraud -- a quack -- skirting around the religious angle altogether. Obviously it didn't work, and if anybody had the smarts to pull this off, it was Lewis. I think I remember some civil damages coming out of this, but the fact that he commits these crimes under the cloak of religion somehow exonorates him.
If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise than as if it had happened in a fair or market.
I don't know what we can do other than shout loudly from the rooftops -- but then the quacks and frauds hear us, too, and do that much more to cover up their schemes. Hinn won't let people bring cameras or recording devices into his shows, so all we have are personal testimonies, such as Gregory Tinkler's "Snake Oil in the 21st Century," published in the May, 2001, issue of Positive Atheism. Though others surely have more, that's all we have on Hinn, at this point; he has protected himself from what brought down such predecessors as Peter Popoff, whom James Randi busted for using a radio transmitting device to help him appear to receive direct revelations from God (although "God," it turns out, was, in fact, Mrs. Popoff!).
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