Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Televangelist Fraud

So I’m flipping channels and I come across Rod Parsley’s Breakthrough program. I’ve talked about Parsley before and some of the astonishingly stupid things he’s said. But this one may take the cake. He was – naturally – begging for money and making outlandish promises of what would happen if his credulous followers would just “sow their seed of faith”. I’ve heard all sorts of sales pitches for that, but this one I’d never heard before – he was promising them “supernatural protection from deception”.

Specifically, he said that God would bless them with three things. He would make sure they heard His voice more clearly than ever; he would make sure they were “protected from the deceptions of the adversary” (Satan, presumably, but perhaps Bill Clinton); and my personal favorite, he promised them that they would receive protection from making bad decisions – but only for one year. Just think how braindead someone has to be to fall for this kind of nonsense.

They have to believe that avoiding bad decisions is not a function of weighing one’s choices carefully or thinking out all of the options and their results. No, avoiding bad decisions just requires sending $50 to the guy on TV and he’ll take care of it for you. What a relief. I can’t send a check to Rod Parsley and not have to think about my choices for an entire year. That’s such a relief. Thinking hurts my head anyway. What to hear something frightening? These idiots have the right to vote.


  1. #1 Raging Bee
    May 24, 2006

    They have to believe that avoiding bad decisions is not a function of weighing one’s choices carefully or thinking out all of the options and their results.

    To that lot, it isn’t: it’s a miracle beyond their comprehension. This is proof of one of Clarke’s laws: any sufficiently advanced technology (including, in this case, clear rational thought) will be indistinguishable from magic.

  2. #2 Pushpak
    May 24, 2006

    Parsley – my choice for televangalist most likely to wind up on a sex offender list. Just give him time.

  3. #3 Rob Knop
    May 24, 2006

    No, avoiding bad decisions just requires sending $50 to the guy on TV and he’ll take care of it for you.

    It just sounds like a really obvious test. I mean, if you want to avoid making bad decisions for a year, how could you be off to a worse start?


  4. #4 BigDumbChimp
    May 24, 2006

    and my personal favorite, he promised them that they would receive protection from making bad decisions – but only for one year

    And through out that year, whenever anything good happens it will be attributed to the “donation”. If any bad should happen it’s because they didn’t give enough. And so starts the cycle of stupidity once again.

  5. #5 NonyNony
    May 24, 2006

    Sounds like the perfect con to me – the bait on your hook is guaranteed to only work for people who are bad at rational thought anyway, so why not go all the way and offer them an alternative to rational thinking? Your marks are all going to be thinking “hey, I always make bad decisions – this will help me”. And, when it fails to work, they will probably blame their own lack of faith instead of realizing that its because they didn’t really think their decisions through as thoroughly as they should have.

  6. #6 pelican's-point
    May 24, 2006

    People generally believe what feels good to them – they then use their brains to justify it. The difference between you and Rod Parsley’s audience lies in what feels good to you – not necessarily in your reasoning skills.

    Are Parsley’s followers significantly different from Dembski or Nancy Pearsey? The latter are more educated and therefore can use bigger words and more clever arguments to justify those beliefs that feel good to them.

    But believing that $50 will get you good behavior choices for a year is not really much different from believing that some intelligent agent is responsible for the universe.

    Actually, the $50 bet is not as bad as the ID gambit. Wise decisions are often understood intuitively when reason is inadequate or counter-intuitive. Doing something symbolic, like paying $50 or doing the I-Ching can open cognitive paths to those intuitive answers. Paying $50 could actually improve your decision-making in some cases if you belived it would.

  7. #7 Kapitano
    May 24, 2006

    It sounds like one of those newspaper small ads:

    I will tell you how to avoid ripoffs. Send $10 to…

  8. #8 Ahcuah
    May 24, 2006

    It turns out that I live a couple of miles from Rod Parsley. He lives in a very nice neighborhood. The house, if I remember correctly, runs about $800,000. Oh, and his parents live next door, in a similarly priced home.

    There was an article in yesterday’s Lancaster Eagle Gazette. Seems that his World Harvest Church has an interest in the Fairfield County Airport because they want to base their corporate jet there. Corporate Jet?

    Oh, yeah. And I bet Jesus traveled by Cleopatra Chair.

  9. #9 beervolcano
    May 24, 2006

    Just think how braindead someone has to be to fall for this kind of nonsense.

    Hey, MILLIONS follow Benny Hinn. Robert Tilton had an audience of MILLIONS.

  10. #10 386sx
    May 24, 2006


    In that video Hinn says things like: a man turned into a snake right before his eyes (witnessed by 2000 people, of course), a tumor fell out of a lady onto the platform and broke into pieces, yada yada.

  11. #11 Beaming Visionary
    May 24, 2006

    This guy is the only televangelist worth listening to. (His sermon is not work-safe, though.)

  12. #12 Beaming Visionary
    May 24, 2006

    Oops — link is expired. Try this one instead.

  13. #13 Anonymous Former Ignorant Person
    October 5, 2006

    The only reason why Rod Parsley says that his “blessing” will only last one year is for Subscription purposes!

    Rod Parsley wants people to Subscribe to his prayers again next year! All of us should do that! That is a fraudulent way of making money!

    I used to be one of the ignorant people that supported people like Rod Parsley, and other false prophets from TBN.

    TBN actually said that they were capable of reaching people in Iraq with their satellite broadcasts. I wanted to help the people in Iraq, so I was one of the people who gave $2,300 to TBN, and I gave $1,000 to Rod Parsley’s ministry.

    Well, I was reading the news one day, and I saw that Saddam Hussein controlled the media in Iraq, and he did NOT allow the people of Iraq to receive satellite broadcasts like that!

    The staff of TBN and Rod Parsley was OBVIOUSLY telling lies!

    First, I took TBN to court, and I ended up getting all $2,300 of my money back.

    But listen to this:

    Before I went to court, TBN’s lawyer was literally saying things like, “But don’t you think it is the will of the Lord for us to use your donation for other purposes that we think are best.”

    I simply said, “No, I specifically said that this money is targeted towards the people of Iraq, and your people on the phone confirmed that was possible.”

    However, after TBN lost the courtroom battle to me, TBN’s lawyer was LITERALLY swearing at me on the phone!

    Next, I was all set to take Rod Parsley’s organization to court. I ended up receiving only 2/3 of the money back, because I settled out of court.

    Listen to this:

    Rod Parsley’s lawyer started out saying, “I can give you $300, but that’s it.”

    I then said that I would see him in court, because I had already defeated TBN, and I thought $700 was too much for me to lose.

    Then, Rod Parsley’s lawyer said, “The absolute best I can do is $500.”

    I still said that wasn’t enough, especially when I already had a victory under my belt.

    At that point in time, I thought I would use some of Rod Parsleys own stuff against him, so I said, “The Lord is speaking to me right now, and telling me that two-thirds of the host of heaven remained with him when Satan rebelled, so, I supposed I would be willing to accept 2/3 of my money back out of court.”

    I said that if they gave me $700, I would settle out of court. Rod Parsley’s lawyer agreed to this.

    Ummmmm, Geeeee, I thought that “The best he could do was $500.”

    It sounds to me like someone is telling a LOT of LIES, just to get money!!!

    I should also point out that I went to a Benny Hinn “crusade” before, and there really were people who did stupid acrobat moves. I didn’t feel any sort of “energy” from God.

    Benny Hinn is the biggest liar there is! Anyone who is on TV just as much as someone on one of those “reality” TV shows, but CLAIMS to see a man turn into a snake, but conveniently DOESN’T capture that on tape is a FALSE PROPHET!!!

    Just like Pat Robertson: He is a false prophet, too! Pat Robertson claims that he was working out one day, at age 73, and God gave him the power to leg-press over 2,000 pounds! Very conveniently, Pat does not have any sort of video of this, although he claims there were witnesses.

    There is actually a video that Pat Robertson shows to people where he APPEARS to be doing several repetitions where he is leg-pressing 1,000 pounds…BUT, there IS a catch!

    A person who doesn’t know about weight lifting might fall for Pat Robertson’s lies.

    HOWEVER, when you look at Pat Robertson on the video, you can see that he ABSOLUTELY 100% does NOT leg-press 1,000 pounds!!!

    Pat Robertson actually does NOT possess the strength to even move 1,000 pounds with his legs when it is at its initial starting point! The only reason Pat Robertson is capable of leg-pressing 1,000 pounds with VERY SHORT REPETITIONS is because he uses the 45 degree angle of leverage on the leg-press machine to his advantage when he places his hands on his legs, and LITERALLY Bench-Presses his legs while using his legs to push the weight! This is called CHEATING!

    That is the reason why Pat Robertson claims that his highest lift is 2,000 pounds, but Florida State University has a leg-press record less than 600 pounds weaker than 73 year old Pat Robertson! Pat Robertson also claims that his doctor could leg-press 2,700 pounds!!! What a joke!!! NEWSFLASH: Bench-Pressing your legs DOESN’T COUNT!!!

    You can read about that here: cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/26/national/main1662789.shtml

  14. #14 tier
    October 20, 2006

    If anyone wants to learn more about the role God plays in making good decisions, or surfing the internet, send $100 to my account. As a note, God will bless you for each time you send this gift, so if you send the gift 10 times, you’ll have 10 times the amount of insight as any other religious person!
    But act fast, I need to pay off my Porche.. And by that I mean, God has only a limited amount of blessings in his God sack.

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