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Monday, February 18, 2013

Faith Healers Professors and the Almighty Dollar

When I see these so-called faith-healers on television it's very faith-harming to me. Thousands of people—millions?—are taken in and the worst part is that I can't say for an absolute fact that they are the charlatans that they so seem to be, but I know they are, just the same. If all sickness was caused by Satan and it was God's will that the sick be healed, then I could see where faith-healing would have its place, but I don't believe that sickness, old-age, and death are necessarily the work of Satan and all the things we think of as "good" are necessarily the work of God. Faith, man's will, and God's will are irreconcilably intermingled. Consider that while a man's faith may well be strong enough to move a mountain, is it God's will that the mountain move? I believe it takes a perfect aligning of faith and will to achieve the truly miraculous.
Matthew 17 KJV 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast [the demon] out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
It is in a similar fashion that faith may cure a disease or heal a wasted limb or even raise a man from the dead, but is it God's will that these things happen? Old age is surely God's will. He made us this way so that after our three-score and ten years on Earth, life would begin to grow ever more vexing. It grows harder and more painful until finally we begin to long for something—anything—better. I think of old-age as God's gentle push. Just as mama bird nudges her terrified fledglings to the edge of the nest until they finally take that glorious leap and then soar, God nudges us with a thousand annoyances and frailties until at some point we too are ready to take that final leap and—we hope—fly.

Peter Popoff is a famous faith-healer discredited on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show back in the eighties. He's almost certainly a shameless, evil, money-grubbing scam-artist who makes his living from the naïveté of innocent Christians. The pure evilness of this is monstrous and manifold. Peter Popoff takes money from those who are already struggling with bills they can't pay or from infirmities and sicknesses. These victims are the blind, the deaf, the cancer-stricken, palsied, paralyzed, desperately poor, or drowning in debt. They hear about the miraculous Peter Popoff, and they come from miles and miles away—some from hundreds of miles—all for the chance at a miraculous solution to their problems.

Let's start with what these victims pay just to get there. It costs time away from work or time away from family. They have to get dressed-up, maybe get that suit or dress dry-cleaned; they have to drive to the event and for some of the victims that's perhaps a hundred or more miles. They have to cajole and inveigle friends and family to help them get there, or watch the kids while they're away at the show. There's gasoline to buy and snacks. There are all the tiny things that nobody ever thinks about but that slowly drain the wallet on any road-trip. There's almost certainly a stop for a meal on the way there and another on the way back. This journey of hope could easily cost a hundred dollars or more on travel expenses and another hundred dollars from lost wages, and that's just in getting there.

You can't watch that video for ten minutes and come away with a stronger faith in God. Just the reverse is the case, and so it's my opinion that Peter Popoff is in Satan's employ, and for his services Peter is well compensated. Peter Popoff provides the secular humanists, atheists, skeptics and free-thinkers, with more ammunition to shoot Christians with. It's always the same kind of "Christian's are stupid" bullets, too. We believe in God so we're all a bunch of rubes. We're a bunch of misled morons who can't be trusted to come in out of the rain without being led inside by our caretakers.

The argument goes: because some Christians are idiots, and because some faith-healers are anything but faith-healers then God doesn't exist. Because there are scumbags conning Christians with the old faith-healing scam, this is somehow proof for those on the never-ending quest for proof, that God doesn't exist? Think about that for a minute. An evil man doing Satan's work and scamming money from Christians by using their own faith against them is somehow proof that God doesn't exist. Why? Because if he did exist Peter Popoff the scam-artist would be more successful in what? healing the sick or magicking money into somebody's bank-account? If you believe that God doesn't exist because there are stupid people and evil men, then it seems to me as if Peter Popoff is doing double duty for his evil lord and master. From some Christians he takes money, from other Christians he takes faith, and for the secular humanists, Atheists, skeptics and free-thinkers he provides ammunition.

Here's what I believe: you can spend years in college jumping through all kinds of hoops and after four or more years of study come away with a diploma and a complete lack of common sense. You can study the Bible for years and though you might have memorized a thousand verses, though you might have reviewed the relevant passages through the eyes of a thousand Christian philosophers, though you might speak Hebrew, Latin, Greek—perhaps even Aramaic—even with all of that study you still might not have the slightest idea not only what all those verses in the Bible mean, but what God's will is for you. One more thought that I bet you never thought about: Peter Popoff, your local church pastor, as well as your university professor all ask you to give time and money for which consideration they will provide you with some kind of ephemeral benefit of questionable value. Is there really that much of a difference between a pastor lecturing behind a podium and a professor? They both believe they have something to teach us; I just wonder if what they're teaching is what God wants us to learn.

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