Pharyngula

It’s like Kung-Woo!

So…is Benny Hinn like a Kiai Master? This video is disturbingly nuts, with ol’ Hinn waving his hands at the True Believers and knocking them over. We need to smuggle some godless people in to one of his shows to just stand there and give him a quizzical look.

Or even, perhaps, sue the silly little rodent. Here is a story about one of those gullible believers falling down, injuring herself, and suing the pastor. I have no sympathy. Engage in stupid behavior and reap the rewards, I say.

But the pastor of this congregation … oh, he is a piece of work.

“The Bible, uh, ethics and God’s word says that Christians are not to sue Christians,” the suit quotes Williams as saying at the rally, ” … and so we have to assume that if that’s the case, that she must have renounced the faith, and that’s what I am very concerned about, that she has renounced her faith in Jesus, just for the sake of, uh, you know, mammon.”

“Christians are not to sue Christians” is not a rule I’ve ever heard of before; which commandment is that? And if it actually were true, I think the American legal profession would be about to implode.

I do appreciate the raw sleaziness of the preacher’s tactics — sue him, disagree with him, and poof, you’re going to hell, sinner. You’d think he’s so transparently a fraud that nobody would want anything to do with him … but no, the story reveals that he has a congregation of 4000 people and a 43 acre church estate. It’s OK to be a predatory, grasping coward if you’re also a Christian, I guess.

(via Daniel Morgan)

Comments

  1. #1 Corey Schlueter
    April 30, 2007

    I figure Hinn a plant in the crowd. So when that person falls, everybody else will fall.

  2. #2 Corey Schlueter
    April 30, 2007

    I meant, “Hinn has a plant in the crowd.”

  3. #3 Krystalline Apostate
    April 30, 2007

    “Christians are not to sue Christians” is not a rule I’ve ever heard of before; which commandment is that?

    It’s a cherry-picked set of passages – 1 Corinthians 4-7:

    4 If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing in the church?
    5 I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers?
    6 But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers?
    7 Now indeed (then) it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?

    I’ve seen this kind of nonsense before, at least once. My ex-GF was booted out of her church for divorcing her hubby. & disputes among the congregation were resolved via the elders.

    So an argument can be made, that xtians are exhorted not to ‘air their dirty laundry’ in front of us infidels.
    All about setting an example, I gather.

  4. #4 TAW
    April 30, 2007

    I half expected him to start kicking people.
    Who the hell does this guy think he is? a ninja?

  5. #5 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    I think there was a video on here a while back with a martial arts instructor knocking his students over with his chi. We should stage a fight between him and Benny Hinn.

    Thursday Thursday Thursday!
    Watch as reigning champion Chi-Guy battles with Benny Hinn’s Jesus-force for the Woo-weight Champion Belt! Brought to you live from 13,000 feet over Las Vegas. With special guest Deeeeeeeepak Chopra!

  6. #6 Geral
    April 30, 2007

    I don’t understand how he has so many followers. Surely the bible condemns him for pretending to be a false god of sorts.

    I always wanted to go to one of those to see how it works.

  7. #7 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    Matthew is very clear on Benny Hinn:

    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    But what fun is being a Christian if you have to listen to that smelly-hippy Jesus?

  8. #8 mmarkey
    April 30, 2007
  9. #9 Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD
    April 30, 2007

    Let’s see if he can make a blind person see…

    “there’s a sucker born every minute”

  10. #10 rcriii
    April 30, 2007

    “Christians are not to sue Christians” is not a rule I’ve ever heard of before; which commandment is that? And if it actually were true, I think the American legal profession would be about to implode.

    Actually, many christians believe this. See: http://ctlibrary.com/6508 (result of a quick google search).

    A simple google search of ‘benny hinn lawsuit’ finds numerous examples of Mr. Hinn suing others, maybe he doesn’t consider _them_ christian? But wait, some of those he threatened to sue were christians objecting to his theology!

  11. #11 Martin Wagner
    April 30, 2007

    Actually (surprise surprise) no one gets up on stage unless Hinn’s handlers can be sure they’ll not only play along with the gag, but are not in fact actually ailing. So if you’re using a crutch, not as a prop, but because you’re really crippled, you don’t get onstage.

    Check the MySpace page for the Center for Inquiry Community of Austin, where I’ve posted a 45-minute expos from Canadian television thoroughly raking this scumbag over the coals. It’s the kind of investigative journalism you don’t get in the US, or at least only rarely.

  12. #12 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    This:

    but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven

    reminds me.

    You’ve all seen those “Don’t let the car fool you — my treasure is in Heaven” bumper stickers? I saw one on a brand new Lexus the other day. No kidding.

  13. #13 Peter
    April 30, 2007

    Here’s some more on Benny from Peter Bowditch, apparently Benny’s healing technique is copyright!

    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/index.html

  14. #14 LARick
    April 30, 2007

    You know, everytime I run across Benny Hinn I have to do a double take, because I see him as a dead-ringer for Jon Lovitz, whose two most famous Saturday Night Live tag lines are, as Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar – “Yeah! That’s the ticket!” and as the Master Thespian – “Acting!”. Gives me a chuckle every time.

  15. #15 Stanton
    April 30, 2007

    Wait, is this Benny Hill or Hinn?

  16. #16 Captain Al
    April 30, 2007

    We need to smuggle some godless people in to one of his shows to just stand there and give him a quizzical look.

    We need to smuggle some godless people in to break his legs and see if he can heal himself.

  17. #17 beepbeepitsme
    April 30, 2007

    I’m tempted to ask how making people fall over has anything to do with gawd. More likely Benny has a chiropractic business on the side.

  18. #18 Alison
    April 30, 2007

    Hinn is a total fake from start to finish. He’s lied about his past, rewriting his autobiography regularly without changing the details from the last one. He has made a fortune with this stuff, and his preaching contradicts his own holy book at least a couple of times per sermon. If you’re interested in details, give him a google. I was looking for one site in particular for a link to give youse all, but there are just too many good ones to choose!

    However. . .I used to go to a gym with a friend, and Hinn’s show would be playing without the sound, so we’d make up our own dialogue. That was fun.

  19. #19 Louis
    April 30, 2007

    [i]We need to smuggle some godless people in to break his legs and see if he can heal himself.[/i]

    I’ve thought similar things with the Animal Rights lot. Stroll up to them protesting outside my work place with a shotgun and blow a couple of kneecaps off. When they ask for analgesia, refuse on the grounds that it’s been tested on animals. When they ask for any form of medical intervention other than a bandage, refuse on the same grounds.

    There is a nasty, curdling little bit of my psyche that does want these anti-reality bozos (woos, extremist animal rightsers, creationists and Hinns alike) to suffer the consequences of their ideologies in a preferably gruesome and schadenfreude inducing manner. But then I remember that I’m a vaguely decent bloke, relatively tolerant on occasion, and staunchly on the side of reason and Enlightenment values and that kneecapping people with sawn offs is a teeeeensey bit of a no-no. Reading around I discover that (according to Hume) even a cricket bat to the back of the head is a tad over the top.

    Sometimes it sucks to be one of the good guys.

    Louis

  20. #20 Hank Fox
    April 30, 2007

    Few people know it, but earlier in his career, Benny Hinn was an electrical lineman for a major power company. He was struck by lightning while in contact with a high-power line, transforming him into THIS GUY.

    Though he eventually gave up his villainous lifestyle, he retains some of his electrical powers, and can make people fall by hitting them with a taser-like electrical charge.

  21. #21 Daniel Morgan
    April 30, 2007

    PZ,

    Thanks for the props.

    Christians even hate this guy — check it out:
    here

    Steve_C (Secular Elitist) FCD:

    Let’s see if he can make a blind person see…

    You know, that’s the actually saddest part of all this. The dumb ones just come in to get their Jebus buzz, but the desperate ones are wheeled in riding wheelchairs. And wheeled back out the same way, of course.

  22. #22 forsen
    April 30, 2007

    I’m rather embarassed to admit that I’ve seen Hinn live in my teens, when he visited Sweden. Even though I was an xian at the time, it was a truly embarassing display of crowd manipulation (and rather bad manipulation, that is) and collective psychosis. Even as one of the most secularized country in the world, we do have our share of bible nuts who have no problem with getting “slain in the spirit” at a Hinn meeting – although they’re not that many. For those of you who follow South Park, the guy is a serious contender to John Edwards for the title of “The Biggest Douche in the Universe”.

  23. #23 forsen
    April 30, 2007

    *typo* countries, that is

  24. #24 Rich
    April 30, 2007

    I used to like it when he slapped that old bald guy on the head, and Hinn’s angels were hot…

    *moment of realization*

    …ohh.

    KRISTINE IS STILL A WITCH, THOUGH.

  25. #25 Andrew E.
    April 30, 2007

    I don’t even know what to say when I see this kind of thing. If people can fall for this lunatic’s charades, it isn’t hard to imagine that Jebus, 2000 ya, was able to trick people into believing all his associated nonsense. PZ is right, this is “disturbing.” Kind of makes me want to move to Iraq.

  26. #26 ffakr
    April 30, 2007

    Having taken Akido classes, I have to say that it’s impressive what you can accomplish with a little basic knowledge of Physics, Kinesiology, and psychology.

    For the most part, you go flying in akido class because you realize that if you don’t, you’ll get hurt badly. This is why it looks like people are hamming it up.

    Another large part is the appropriate use of leverage and a knowledge of how the human body moves. The final big part is a bit of intuitive knowlege of psychology. You can make a rational person do things that seem irrational.
    There is an excercise where you strike in front of the face, up and over the forehead. You don’t make contact, but you barely miss your oponent as they are being swung around off balance. If it’s done properly, you fall down. Your body REALLY doesn’t want to get hit like that especially when you’re being whipped around. The projection of force has, to some extent, the effect of real force. To the ‘victim’, you really feel like you were compelled down.

    I suspect you’re seeing the same here. People are in a highly suggestive state (it’s called brainwashing) and it’s easy to trick them into accepting the apparent projection of force. Granted, this is easier to understand when you’re spinning around an axis (the defender) off balance and someone comes within a couple centimeter of knocking your head off.
    I doubt the people on stage are plants. Notice how the goob only pushes them up high and notice that they are relatively stiff. He positions them in an inherently unstable posture then gives the a shove and kapow.. they go flying. If they stood in a fighting position with their hips low he wouldn’t be able to budge them.

    (there’s another fun Ki exercise where you find your center (around pubic bone) and you envision walking forward from that spot. You effectively rearange your center of gravity so that you are extremely stable. I was able to push around people larger than me with relative ease and I was pushed back while leaning into smaller people.. with my feet skidding aross the mat like I was a child holding back an adult 🙂

    As for the crowds.. there may be plants. starting a cascade of bodies is a pretty good way to knock people down. I wouldn’t be shocked to find the same psychological tricks pushing down the front people though (true believers) and those bodies bowling everyone else over.

    It’d be fun to go and see what kind of instructions he gives people. I suspect everyone would be instructed to stand up straight, feet together, and to focus on lifiting their heads up to heaven or some such nonsense. It’d be a great way to prime someone for knocking them down.

  27. #27 mikeQ
    April 30, 2007

    “I meant, ‘Hinn has a plant in the crowd.'”

    I’m not so sure of this. I’ve worked in theater, and interactive theater, for many productions. People always assume that–in order to get responses you want from the audience–you have to have a plant. It’s cheaper, and more fool-proof, to figure out ways to do what you want without plants in the audience. Plants are an unnecessary cost and an unnacceptable risk.

    If Hinn has two brain cells to rub together, he’s figured out that audiences are malleable enough that you REALLY don’t need plants. I guess it all comes down to how clever/polished he is. If he’s enough of either, I will almost gurantee he doesn’t have a plant.

  28. #28 Robert S.
    April 30, 2007

    Very interesting explanation ffakr. I suspect there’s a large amount of simple self-fulfilling prophecy, too. People go to these events wanting to have an experience; they’ve seen other people fall down on his show; so when Hinn approaches them and pushes someone (or near them) they fall down like dominoes because that’s what they were *expecting* to do. In other words, they’re making themselves physically fall down, but don’t realize it (and/or wouldn’t admit to it) because they’re caught up in the whole (nauseating) experience. Simple power of suggestion.

  29. #29 Norman Doering
    April 30, 2007

    We need to smuggle some godless people in to one of his shows to just stand there and give him a quizzical look.

    Are you thinking of something along the way of how James Randi dealt with Peter Popoff?

    It would be worth getting some skeptics together to do it. It could be profitable if you get a film crew involved.

  30. #30 Tom Morris
    April 30, 2007

    With the background music, he looks like he ought to be a pro wrestler who uses his special Jesus power to knock people down without touching.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    April 30, 2007

    Brilliant.

    Is there any equivalent in any other area of life? I mean, people keep saying that there are a lot of rational, pro science, whatever, religious people out there, and I suppose this is true. Then there are the millions who dig this weird push-me-over insane shit. An I suppose a spectrum in between.

    So, for example, think about science for a minute … you’ve got scientists working in labs, in the field, writing stuff, gazing at dials and indicators and peering into scopes and sniffing test tubes and slicing and dicing tissues and so on.

    Is there an equivalent in science? Hawking going up in a big plane to get weightless for eleven seconds? Dawkins cracking a joke now and then? PZ Myers breathing a little fire now and then?

    None of this cuts it… We just don’t have anything like this. Shouldn’t we get some of this mojo? Maybe at the next Evolution conference, this can be our Minnestoa Contribution:

    Saturday 1:00 PM – 3:38 PM Organized Session, Trancing and hypothesis testing.

    (Who would we get to be discussants?)

  32. #32 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 30, 2007

    This looks like a “show-biz” version of being “slain in the spirit.” This is one of the manifestations of religious ecstacy that are part of Pentacostalism. Others are speaking in tongues and faith healing, as well as snake handling and poison drinking (which are kind of not talked about much).. I found out about this “slain in the spirit” stuff when I was investigating the Alpha Course, which is presented as an introduction to Xianity in a friendly atmosphere of shared dinners with a talk followed by small group sessions. What they don’t tell you about is the final weekend session where it culminates in the participants becoming “slain in the spirit”, if they happen to be “lucky” enough. Friendly exploration of Xianity, my ass.

  33. #33 RedMolly
    April 30, 2007

    The Slayer version of this (set to “Reign in Blood,” IIRC) was shorter but much funnier. Alas, it looks as if it’s gone the way of all good YouTube content, as this probably will as well, courtesy of “the World Healing Church d/b/a Benny Hinn Ministries”… copyright violations, schmopyright violations.

  34. #34 Coathangrrr
    April 30, 2007

    I’ve thought similar things with the Animal Rights lot. Stroll up to them protesting outside my work place with a shotgun and blow a couple of kneecaps off. When they ask for analgesia, refuse on the grounds that it’s been tested on animals. When they ask for any form of medical intervention other than a bandage, refuse on the same grounds.

    Wow, you’re a dick. You know what the difference here is, animal rights people, for the most part, base their opposition to animal testing on the fact that much animal testing, especially that research that helps those with the worst medical problems, is painful and deadly to the animals. If you would like to say that humans are more important than animals thats fine, but if someone disagrees, as do animal rights activists, then it makes no sense to lump them in with the crazy Christians and Lefty Charlatans just because you disagree with what they believe.

    In addition, I have yet to see a real non-religious argument that humans are somehow better than animals in a way that justifies the treatment of animals in testing that wouldn’t also justify the use of some humans in painful and/or deadly testing.

  35. #35 Cathy in Seattle
    April 30, 2007

    I wonder if any of these people feel foolish the next day?

    I mean, when they’ve come down off their Holy High, and the pain and sickness is still there.
    Or do they rationalize it?

    What I’d like to see is spontaneous re-generation of of a lost limb. Or bringing the dead back to life.

    Or gosh, anyone can fall down, how about making people fly through the air?

  36. #36 beepbeepitsme
    April 30, 2007

    It’s simple. You only need a few people in front to fall and the rest go over like tenpins – willing or not.

  37. #37 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    I find it amazing that people think they can say things like this:

    I’ve thought similar things with the Animal Rights lot. Stroll up to them protesting outside my work place with a shotgun and blow a couple of kneecaps off. When they ask for analgesia, refuse on the grounds that it’s been tested on animals. When they ask for any form of medical intervention other than a bandage, refuse on the same grounds.

    without opening themselves up to legal trouble. Say things like that enough times, and the scienceblogs webmaster is going to be troubled with a subpoena so that angry men can come put you in handcuffs. Let’s make everyone’s lives a little easier, and stop with the violent threats, yeah?

  38. #38 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    Oh, that reminds me. I heard this on the drive home. That ought to keep everyone supplied with enough animal-rights stupidity for the rest of the week.

  39. #39 Kevin
    April 30, 2007

    whoa…he beat the crap out of the Kiai master.

    now we need someone to do that to the xtian master.

  40. #40 Allison
    April 30, 2007

    You’d think he’s so transparently a fraud that nobody would want anything to do with him … but no, the story reveals that he has a congregation of 4000 people and a 43 acre church estate.

    Yup, and my 85-year-old grandmother, who has high blood pressure, yet still relies on Hinn, a few other “prophecy” liars, and right-wing talk radio for her entertainment. I’m still considering giving her a challenge to take a one-week media blackout. Her BP would probably drop down into the normal range for once.

    This looks like a “show-biz” version of being “slain in the spirit.”

    Oh, for sure. One of my funniest memories from my FundieGelical youth was being at a youth camp where post-sermon, during what would normally be the altar call, the preacher went around and laid hands on all of the teenager in the audience. Once by one, we (yes, I admit it. I was 15.) dropped to the floor. Then there was the girl next to me, Angel. She stood her ground. The (miffed) preacher said, in a ‘spooky’ voice, “quit resisting, quit resisting.” Angel looked him dead in the face and said, “Well, quit pushing, then!”

    Even though I was one of the “flock” at the time, I still lay on the ground snickering. And, once I got past my eternal need to please my family — by believing things with absolutely no evidence, sigh — I moved on. Heh.

  41. #41 Mark Plus
    April 30, 2007

    I hope in the coming war of the mutants, Hinn sides with Professor Xavier instead of Magneto.

  42. #42 Dustin
    April 30, 2007

    I hope in the coming war of the mutants, Hinn sides with Professor Xavier instead of Magneto.

    I do to… but only because that means I’ll get to use my mutant powers against Hinn.

  43. #43 ArtK
    April 30, 2007

    Damn! I want a job where I can knock down old ladies and get paid for it!

  44. #44 Great White Wonder
    April 30, 2007

    I’ve thought similar things with the Animal Rights lot. Stroll up to them protesting outside my work place with a shotgun and blow a couple of kneecaps off.

    How about you stick an electrode in their heads, put them in a steel cage, and then inject them with all kinds of experimental shit. That would REALLY show them. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!!!!!!!

  45. #45 Great White Wonder
    April 30, 2007

    the guy is a serious contender to John Edwards for the title of “The Biggest Douche in the Universe”.

    Hey, let’s not get carried away here.

  46. #46 Great White Wonder
    April 30, 2007

    I mean, seriously, just look at this:

    http://www.johnedward.net/

    There is no competition.

    At this time, we will NOT be adding any names to the private reading waiting list. John will be working from the current list, which is closed out. No names will be added and absolutely NO EXCEPTIONS will be made to the list. He works strictly from the list. Opportunities for private readings will become available again after the current scheduled waiting list diminishes. We thank you for visiting the official John Edward website worldwide.

  47. #47 Hank Fox
    April 30, 2007

    The people who get up on stage, I don’t think any of them are plants.

    I’d bet few of them feel ashamed the next day, either – no more than pro wrestling fans, anyway.

    They’re EXPECTING to be overwhelmed and fall down up there. Girls throwing panties at Elvis and fainting in Beatles concerts was the same kind of thing – something close to sexual, perhaps, but channeled into this swooning displacement behavior.

    YOU might not play along with whatever game it was just to get a chance to stand in the spotlight with a superstar, but you probably know a half dozen people who would. That’s the kind of people who approach the stage.

    Heh. Think of them as Rapture Whores. … They WANT what Big Benny can give them.

    And come to think of it, there’s probably a Rapture Whore equivalent of Deadheads, who follow Benny around the country and catch every single one of his “concerts.”

    ( Curse you, Internets! I was gonna say I originated the term Rapture Whore, but I’ve found at least three existing references on Google. I can say I independently discovered it, but … Damn. There goes my trademark and percentage. )

  48. #48 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2007

    From the linked article about the lawsuit:
    Dadd claims that on previous altar calls, trained ushers were available to catch those who fell to the ground. When she fell in 2002, she says, no one caught her.
    Gosh, seems to me it’s God’s fault she got hurt. I mean, he’s the one supplying the power to knock these people down, right? Why would he need ushers to catch them? Typical — claims omnipotence, but does only half the job; expects fallible, clumsy humans to pick up the slack for him.

  49. #49 Andrew Cooper
    May 1, 2007

    Hinn, based on my extensive research at Wikipedia, just seems to be a common or garden con man. It’s astonishing that he should be allowed to take people’s money and that he isn’t behind bars, but I guess that’s America for you.

    In a way he captures the very best and worst of the USA. The best: America is so free that it won’t even interfere with people like this. I guess the argument goes like this ‘OK, he’s a dishonest flake, but if we take him down where do we stop? Should we arrest the Pope the next time he turns up kissing airport runways?’

    The worst: well, I would just be embarrassed to live in a country in which so many people were happy to be conned like this. Presumably everyone in his audiences goes home thinking that they’ve had a great night out and have witnessed something truly out of this world.

    I hope (and I’m not sure about this, but I’d put 5 on it) that if he ever appeared here in the UK he’d get very short shrift. A few poor deluded people would turn up at his venues but they’d be way too reserved to do the falling over thing and Mr Hinn would be sent back home to sulk in his private jet to his “ocean-front mansion valued at an estimated $8.5 million in an exclusive gated community in Dana Point, California” (See Wikipdeia.)

    Money talks, as they say.

  50. #50 Hank Fox
    May 1, 2007

    Ooh! Ooh! If you’re younger than about 35, go listen to some of these incredible audio files of Kathryn Kuhlman, the evangelist-healer who influenced the knock-em-down style of Benny Hinn.

    If you listen to nothing else, try “If You Only Knew” or “Money Isn’t Everything.”

    Imagine the voice of a small, female, William Shatner, but with ten pounds of extra ham. You’ve got Kathryn Kuhlman down pat.

    Seriously, listen.

  51. #51 Great White Wonder
    May 1, 2007

    Presumably everyone in his audiences goes home thinking that they’ve had a great night out and have witnessed something truly out of this world.

    I’m sure one or two go home with a sick feeling that leads them to kill themselves or attack someone else with a blunt object a few weeks or months later.

  52. #52 Luis
    May 1, 2007

    I think a spandex suit and a mask la Nacho Libre would suit him better.

  53. #53 wrg
    May 1, 2007

    I hope (and I’m not sure about this, but I’d put 5 on it) that if he ever appeared here in the UK he’d get very short shrift.

    Are they just not fond of such flamboyant religious woo there? I’m not too sure that it’s a particularly more sceptical nation than America. It certainly has its share of woo, including the promotion of homeopathy by His Ridiculous Highness the Prince of Wales and others.

  54. #54 Andrew Cooper
    May 1, 2007

    Hmm wrg, point is that 99.5% of the UK’s population would agree with you that Charley is totally ridiculous. He’s seen as a very sad figure of fun – the result of centuries of inbreeding. If/when he becomes monarch it’ll be the death of that institution.

    As a rule, we don’t take anything seriously over here which is one of the reasons that attendance at religious institutions is in melt-down. Plus, of course, we have Charles Darwin’s picture on our bank notes to keep us real. Of course not everything’s perfect – we love doing ourselves down – but I think there are some major cultural differences which help to inoculate us from infection by jerks like Hinn.

  55. #55 sinned34
    May 1, 2007

    Allison,

    I feel your pain. I remember the church I used to go to as a teenager did the “slain in the spirit” garbage. I tended to avoid the flakier parts of worship like this (and dancing in the aisles, babbling in tongues, etc). But I do remember heeding an altar call for prayer one evening, and all the people that were touched by the paster ahead of me fell down. When it was my turn, I didn’t drop on the first push. This resulted in the paster praying at me much more intensely, and he pushed a lot harder on my forehead, making it impossible to do anything but fall backwards into the arms of the ushers behind me. After they set me down, I remember laying there wondering what the heck I was supposed to do while on the floor, because I sure as hell didn’t feel anything.

    Man, I’m glad those ridiculous days are behind me. Since then I’ve had better “religious” experiences at concerts (Tool, Opeth, and Pantera spring immediately to mind)…

  56. #56 Peter
    May 1, 2007

    I hope (and I’m not sure about this, but I’d put 5 on it) that if he ever appeared here in the UK he’d get very short shrift.

    I hate to disabuse you but

    http://www.bennyhinn.org/articles/articledesc.cfm?id=180

    and, according to his events schedule, he’s back in the UK this month so it must have been a success.

  57. #57 Peter
    May 1, 2007

    Hmm wrg, point is that 99.5% of the UK’s population would agree with you that Charley is totally ridiculous.

    I don’t think there would be so many courses in alternative medicine offered by UK universities, including BSc degrees, if they were only catering to 0.5% of the population.

    http://tinyurl.com/36vn5x

    Andrew, I think you need to pay attention to what’s going on around you. Go and check your nearest pharmacy and see how many woo-woo products (homeopathy, magnets etc) are available. They stock them because people buy them. Prince Charles is a lot more representative than you seem to think.

  58. #58 pyramus
    May 1, 2007

    Very interesting explanation ffakr. I suspect there’s a large amount of simple self-fulfilling prophecy, too. People go to these events wanting to have an experience; they’ve seen other people fall down on his show; so when Hinn approaches them and pushes someone (or near them) they fall down like dominoes because that’s what they were *expecting* to do. In other words, they’re making themselves physically fall down, but don’t realize it (and/or wouldn’t admit to it) because they’re caught up in the whole (nauseating) experience. Simple power of suggestion.

    There’s that, but there’s something else, too. These people are very heavily invested in being healed, and truly believe that if they want it enough, their god will provide it to them (through the offices of his humble servant). Being knocked down–“slain in the spirit”–is evidence of the healing. If they didn’t fall down, it would mean that they had actively refused the healing. Not only wouldn’t they be healed: they’d be shamed and humiliated in front of the people they came to the service with.

    And then the aftermath: of course they aren’t healed. Of course nothing changed. (The healers won’t go near severely autistic children, people with withered and useless legs, or those missing limbs.) And so the unhealed blame themselves. They didn’t believe strongly enough. They didn’t want the healing badly enough, not like the others they saw who were healed.

    It’s a masterstroke of psychological manipulation. It’s unspeakably cruel. I don’t know how these would-be healers can live with themselves and their consciences. Oh, wait–they’re sociopaths.

  59. #59 Ginger Yellow
    May 1, 2007

    Are they just not fond of such flamboyant religious woo there? I’m not too sure that it’s a particularly more sceptical nation than America. It certainly has its share of woo, including the promotion of homeopathy by His Ridiculous Highness the Prince of Wales and others.

    There’s tons and tons of (mostly medical) woo but much less explicitly religious nonsense. That said, we’ve been having a bit of an evangelical revival on two fronts – the so-called Alpha Course, which is marketed as evangelism-lite to middle class white people, basically, and the African churches, mainly in London. For the most part though, the general public is extremely skeptical of “showy” or moneygrubbing religion. We don’t have that tradition of televangelism. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might want to look at this article on the first homegrown televangelism channel in the UK. It’s still noxious, but it’s a world apart:

    “We’re empty inside, so we need to fill ourselves with the word of God on a daily basis,” adds Howard quietly. “Although we read the newspapers, we really need to read the word of God. Sorry, I’m giving a bit of a plug for the Bible this morning.”

  60. #60 paulh
    May 1, 2007

    U’m pretty sure that when Hinn does his UK appearances, he’s required to formally disclaim that any “healing” actually takes place and state that the whole performance is for entertainment only.

  61. #61 John
    May 1, 2007

    I hope (and I’m not sure about this, but I’d put 5 on it) that if he ever appeared here in the UK he’d get very short shrift. A few poor deluded people would turn up at his venues but they’d be way too reserved to do the falling over thing

    I wouldn’t bet on that if I were you! Unfortunately there are a lot of poor deluded people in the UK crowding ‘evangelical’ and ‘charismatic’ churches who would lap this up and love it. Or at least there were when I was attending them; although that was 10 years or so ago, judging by a wedding I attended a couple of years ago, they’re still very much around.

    I still remember when Reinhard Bonnke (german faith healer) held a ‘mission’ in the UK (it was held just outside Maidstone, if memory serves me, about 15 years), it was packed out, and heavily funded by a large number of churches in Kent. In the intervening time, I’ve seen nothing to convince me that someone like Benny Hinn won’t receive the same lavish treatment.

  62. #62 forsen
    May 1, 2007

    sinned 34, allison: I’m glad to hear sb has been through the same BS as myself =) I was drawn to a charismatic, fundy megachurch in my teens, which contained the whole package… faith-healing, tongues-babbling and “the slaying in the spirit”. The last part was probably the worst. It was like the emperor’s new clothes… everyone with an ounce of brains probably KNEW the pastor interceding for them was pushing them down to the floor, but it was taboo speaking of it… “Nooo, that’s GAWD’s power”. I had problems with the more spectacular parts all the time. Once I reached my 20’s, the problems had reached full-blown resentment and despise, and I left the entire circus. I still go completely Sam Haris when I think of it.

  63. #63 BeachMonkey
    May 1, 2007

    __
    __
    __

    Can someone PLEASE make an edit of this with “Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting” as the soundtrack?

    Please?


  64. #64 forsen
    May 1, 2007

    Great White Wonder: Ok, I’m nearly convinced. The text you quoted is indeed one humongous heap of doucheness. Still, I don’t think Hinn is very far behind that. In my world, they’re about equally bad snake oil mongers. Whatever happened to your fine, American tradition of rolling frauds like these in tar and feather?

  65. #65 dorid
    May 1, 2007

    dang. I was hoping both videos would end the same 🙁

    Back in the day when I was still a believer, albeit one hanging on the fringes of Christianity, one of my twins had a certain attraction to churches of this type. I admit I not only let her go, but went with her on an occasion or two. After witnessing this kind of thing going on, I was curious to see if there was anything to it. After all, I’d recently been diagnosed with a chronic and incurable illness, what did I have to loose? After watching people hit the floor around me, I was rather disappointed that I did not. Afterwards, I was invited into the pastor’s office, told that I was NOT welcome back at their church, and escorted out.

  66. #66 Greg Laden
    May 1, 2007

    I mean, when they’ve come down off their Holy High, and the pain and sickness is still there.

    Yea, and they’ve got a bump on the head from being mugged.

  67. #67 forsen
    May 1, 2007

    dorid: That’s what I’d call self-regulating idiocy. Those who are not stupid enough to play along get kicked out. Perhaps you should thank them.

  68. #68 ordinarygirl
    May 1, 2007

    The people that go to this sort of service feel like God is working through the minister. If they don’t “fall under the spirit” then that means God didn’t touch them. For many that’s unthinkable, so they play along and hide the truth from themselves.

    People will believe a lot of crazy things if they think everyone around them believes it.

  69. #69 John Danley
    May 1, 2007

    Fucking insane.

  70. #70 another
    May 2, 2007

    “We need to smuggle some godless people in to one of his shows to just stand there and give him a quizzical look.”

    Godless people? There being no god, all people are godless people.

    Yes, I know what you mean, but doesn’t that usage play into the hands of the deluded godless people who imagine they are not godless?

  71. #71 cm
    May 2, 2007

    Not sure if anybody said it, but major applauds to the person who edited that together with that soundtrack. If you can ignore the disappointedness-with-humanity of the situation it is a delightful montage, very X-Men/Matrix kind of stuff. This song is way better than “Kung Foo Fighting” would be as a soundtrack. “Let the bodies hit the floor…” and the raw power of it is a perfect fit!

  72. #72 Keith Douglas
    May 3, 2007

    Hank Fox: Small William Shatner? Isn’t that oxymoronic?

  73. #73 Julia D Atkinson
    June 15, 2007

    The most disturbing thing about this video clip is that most people in the audience can breed and vote, albeit not simultaneously.

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