"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Oct 16, 2010

Falling down for Jesus

How does the "power of the Lord" manifest itself these days among the christian faithful? Well, if the first video below is anything to go by the spirit shows itself by making people fall over - at least if you are ministered to by Benny Hinn.

To the sceptical eye Hinn is every inch the picture of the charlatan manipulative US evangelical christian "pastor"  - no doubt complete with some dodgy "doctorate" in divinity and biblical navel gazing from some obscure mid western Christian college. It doesn't take a genius to guess that he will be milking these crowds for donations to his "ministry" as well.

Hinns "ministry" judging by this video appears to largely consist of working his flock of desperate-to-believe believers into a heightened state of emotional and spiritual frenzy then waving his arms at them so that they fall down.

I can only assume that "the Lord" heaps great praise and benefits on those who are prepared to fall down in his name.  Quite where this falling over for the lord malarkey originated or what it has to do with christianity I I don't know but the US has never fallen short when it comes to the zanier side of christianty.

What I find most disturbing though is the sheer number of people who are clearly being taken in and "enraptured" by this complete and utter nonsense. Hinn is clearly using psychological techniques to put his crowd into a state of suggestibility and compliance. What he is doing here is so obvious that it is scary that the people at the event are seemingly still completely taken in  by this.

Still - shouldn't be too surprised I guess. We can all be suggestible if people manipulate us. I had looked up a video of Hitler addressing crowds to show similar techniques and a similar audience reaction, but I decided against that. It's too easy for people to dismiss such a parallel because they see Hitler as such an extreme phenomenon.

The second video therefore is a (much shorter !) clip of a master British magician mentalist called Derren Brown. In it Brown demonstrates how he has set up a crowd in a shopping mall to respond to him. He doesn't use anything like the hyped up atmosphere that Hinn uses but even so elicits the reaction he wants from people. I'll be greatly surprised if you don't see strong connections between Hinn's hysterical performance and Brown's calmer demonstration of crowd manipulation.


Delirious said...

I have to admit that Benny Hinn's methods have always been foreign to me. I've always wondered about him myself.

Looney said...

I had never thought of Benny Hinn as "evangelical"!

rummuser said...

Bunc, you aint seem nothing yet. You have got to see and hear Indian Christian evangelists and Hindu godmen pull some amazing tricks on gullible people. Unfortunately, we do not have videos of any but I am trying to find out from some Rationalist Movement members if they can help, and if I find any, I shall blog about them.

Bunc said...

Looney - you'll excuse me Im sure if I may not be up on the finer points of christian sects - is he not evangelical?

Rum - looking forward to that

Looney said...

Bunc, the usual definition I go by for 'evangelical' is any protestant group that is within the orthodox traditions of the church as dictated by the first few church councils. That includes a broad spectrum of groups, but excludes the mainline groups and much (but not all) of the Anglicans. As with all definitions, as soon as it is made it is being used in a slippery way. With the mainline denominations dying, there are a number of aspiring post-modern clerics rebranding themselves as evangelical, along with other creative uses of the term.

My understanding is that Benny Hinn is part of the Prosperity Gospel movement. This teaches that Christianity is all about making you rich, healthy and prosperous here on earth. This is a lot like traditional Asian Buddhism, albeit with Christian symbols.

Bunc said...

Looney, yes that Prosperity Gospel Movement stuff sounds familiar ( and very strange). I see your analogy with forms of Asian Buddhism.
I'm still not entirely understanding the distinction between evangelicals and others though.

rummuser said...

Looney, this comes as a surprise to me too. I am under the impression that evangelism is the process of spreading the Gospel. Wikipedia confirms this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelism) So, isn't Benny Hinn spreading his own interpretation of the Gospel?

Looney said...

@Rummuser, Gospel technically just means "good news", so any salesman could label himself an Evangelical and be true to the underlying words, but not to the agreed upon meaning. There needs to be some standard, however, to keep things in some kind of order in communication.

We have a similar problem where modernists insist that the notion that Jihad means war is some sort of aberration.

Jo said...

I worry that I am too lazy for saving. I see the attraction but all that thrashing about and swooning seems an awful bother, especially if you pulled a muscle in the process but had to stay on the floor thrashing about (in pain) for the cameras. Och I don't know, these folks obviously believe already or they wouldn't be there. It's just quite .... undignified and pointless. He would have been better serving his God by asking them all to do something nice today and then sending them on their way. What does the posturing and dramatics do to serve God (presuming one believes - which I don't but if you did)? Just seems a bit daft to me.

Bunc said...

Hi Jo - you certainly don't strike me as someone who needs saved. I can't see this catching on over here in the UK fortunately - we are all much too reserved for that I think.

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