Oh for gods’ sake! There’s none so blind etc …

On this date, September 27th, 1944, one of the most famous female faith healers in history, Aimee Semple McPherson, died of an overdose from sleeping pills that sent shock-waves through the world.

The woman was an obvious fraud and charlatan, and  a precursor to the likes of Benny Hinn.

She established the Foursquare Church, of which the Cornerstone Church is an affiliate.

I mention this so as to give some context as one of our well-known bloggers is a member.

One has to wonder why anyone would willingly affiliate themselves in any capacity with a church that had such a controversial figure as its founder? Such controversies as:  Financial irregularities, divorces, lavish very unchristian-like lifestyle, including a chartered plane and a villa in Lake Elsinore, California.

( Just waiting for the “Well, Jesus teed of the Pharisees ….” type comments.)

I am constantly amazed at the credulity of  some  people and also the almost criminal-like nature in which many of these leaders (sic) ply their trade to ensure they rise above the shit and come out smelling of roses.

 

Gotta lurv them Chrischuns, right?

 

The full article is here

Ark

77 comments

  1. Right, said Fred.
    That isn’t exactly an unbiased account. It makes a lot of assumptions.
    The questionable values in personal actions certainly appear negative; however the widely held assumption that good works should be done without personal reward (like how dare social workers expect a salary) can be discounted.
    Then, as with all ‘supernatural’ aspects, comes the question whether it was all smoke and mirrors or with some genuine phenomena mixed in.

    Like

    • The Wiki account covers much of the same stuff.
      Is it possible to offer an unbiased account of someone such as a faith healer or similar?
      Would you say there was a ”good side” to a character like Benny Hinn for example?
      The divorce rate among evangelical Christians is one of the highest, oddly enough.
      So her personal actions seem to run true to form in this regard.

      Are you suggesting the writer was too soft or too hard on her?

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          • Plenty. The only argument is WHAT has made the healing genuinely work in so many instances. Co-incidence? Autosuggestion? Spontaneous adjustment? Or something actually ‘supernatural’?

            Like

          • Do your own research, but base it on personal anecdotes rather than the church etc stuff.
            Some of those accounts exist within my own experience, family, friends etc.

            Like

          • There is no evidence of supernatural so we should probably scratch that.
            Coincidence I don’t believe in or accept. So auto suggestion … possibly,but this would fall in with spontaneous recovery.

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          • I differ on all of those. Lack of evidence of viable alternatives could be evidence of ‘supernatural’ on the Sherlock Holmes prinicpal. Coincidences occur constantly, as do instances of synchronicity. What is there not to believe in or accept? Autosuggestion is quite different from spontaneous recovery. The first is caused by some volition; the second just happens.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You would have to give a definition/example of supernatural if you want this to be considered.

            Yes, you are quite correct re auto suggestion/spontaneous recovery.

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          • Fair enough, but I attribute this to the body’s own natural ability/defense mechanism to ”fight back” if you like.
            I do not consider the body had help ”from above.”
            Intercessory prayer, for example is nonsense, even though it might help those involved to ”feel good”, as an effective cause of treatment it has never been observed to work.

            Like

          • I seem to recall a study that shows those who knew they were being prayed for in hospital settings actually fared worse than the group that had no idea they were being prayed for. End result prayer does not work, and if you know you are being prayed for make them stop!

            Funny part is, the Templeton Foundation funded the study. Oops!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I like to reference this study when the religious go off on their nonsense about the Power of Prayer.

            The Limb Regeneration test is always the clincher, isn’t it?

            Like

          • I’m having an issue getting used to the comment format here. First I went to reply to colonialist only to EGAD! hit the friggin like button. A like I’d like to retrieve.

            Anyway it appears we have a real wooster. It couldn’t possibly be god answered a prayer, but it’s perfectly ok for it to be telpathic empathy? My woo meter went “Sproing!” I think it’s busted…

            Liked by 1 person

          • In cases where there is a dramatic change for the better following a prayer session, I can’t bring myself to believe that some daddy in the sky is responding with, ‘Well, OK then.’ An explanation which could carry more weight with me is a focussing of energy patterns, which would mean the proven-disproven-proven-ad-infinitum telepathy actually does work, erratically though may be.
            In matters like this it is unwise to give completely categorical statements when enough unanswered questions remain.

            Liked by 1 person

          • If you follow/read the link Shelldigger posted you can see the results of the Templeton Foundation experiment. In a nutshell:
            No evidence of improvement through prayer and in fact, when patients were aware they were being prayed for some got worse. Conclusion. To date intercessory prayer has failed.

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          • One test; one result; against thousands of testaments to the contrary, many backed by medical people. Of these, even if a large proportion were false or mistaken, a sufficient number is left to block out the sort of certainty you indicate.

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          • There have been quite a number of such experiments. The Templeton Foundation, as I am sure you are probably aware, are a Christian based organisation that likes to invest millions to find common ground between science and religion.
            Their experiment was one of the most comprehensive to date. It was a failure.

            What else can one say?

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          • A significant result, as I say, but not a completely conclusive one when considered against the sheer volume of contrary claims, including more recent scientific studies which find to the contrary.
            As a web search, ‘proof of positive power of prayer’ gives 70 million results.

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          • This bone is being over-masticated.
            A random sample shows some straight away, and it stands to reason that a good proportion of all graduations has to exist in that many. You might as well ask how many of the contrary findings were biased or ineptly done?

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          • I am prepared to accept if there was one that showed a single limb regeneration.
            If we are going to claim cures for cancer, and a myriad of other claimed cures then I see no reason why limb regeneration should be excluded from such miraculous claims.

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          • Surely the already-claimed resurrections are more spectacular?
            There are instances of flesh, muscle and tissue regeneration vouched for, but an entire limb is pushing it a bit.
            By the way, ‘negative power of prayer’ gets 34 million results.

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          • Tissue is tissue.
            Personally, claims of faith leave me baffled.
            If there truly was any genuine veracity to such stories, hospitals would have those with the best records on speed dial.

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          • @ shelldigger: *soothingly* There, there, I’ve given you a not-meant ‘like’ in response to yours, so now we’re even.
            You are taking the boringly typical blinkered view. The unlikely telepathy explanation is better than the none whatsoever, really, which is what you apparently prefer.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t see why supernatural has to be the option we go to, when we don’t know the natural cause. Given as you say that a great deal of things that were attributed to the supernatural are considered natural today, why would we keep defaulting to supernatural when something is know. I am much more likely to win any bet saying that something I don’t understand has a natural cause than a supernatural one. Can’t we just simply say, I don’t know how that happened?

            When it comes to these cases that you know about where some unexplained healing goes on, we always hear about the ones that worked and we get excited. This is exactly why people think prayer works because the guy who didn’t get the job isn’t going to go around saying “my prayer didn’t work”, he says “God must have a different plan for me”. The one who got the job says “hallelujah, I prayed and God gave me the job.”

            Healing is the same way. How many people have prayed over their loved ones only to have them die? How many have prayed for them to be healed and it just got worse? You say in another comment:

            against thousands of testaments to the contrary, many backed by medical people. Of these, even if a large proportion were false or mistaken, a sufficient number is left to block out the sort of certainty you indicate.

            What you are not doing is comparing what you call “legitimate” cases to the large number of cases where prayer, faith healing, etc didn’t make any difference whatsoever. What percentage of cases would we get then? What does the correlation coefficient have to be for there to be a genuine cause and effect? And using google searches isn’t really a good indicator of anything. If I type in “the earth is flat” I get 209 million hits.

            Whether there is some sort of telepathic positive thought healing going on or not it is clearly a method we don’t really understand, and so anybody claiming that they do is a charlatan. They cannot reliably heal using this methodology, given our propensity for false patternicity and editing out failures and remembering successes are causing more harm than good by offering surety instead of uncertainty which should be admittedly large.

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          • I applaud the thoroughness with which you make your case. Where it falls short in my estimation, however, is the implied preference for a confession of ignorance as opposed to speculation regarding the possible, however remote the possibility might be.
            Some time back: ‘Maybe the explanation for some of these phenomena is that the earth is a globe?’ ‘Oh, rubbish, don’t even think about it!’ The phenomena in question would have been constants, of course, but in fields where many variables enter the equation, consideration of one possible cause as having contributed to the effect should not be cast aside in favour of ‘don’t know’. Further fine-tuning might well, one day, reveal that there is indeed a contributory factor, as well as the principal on which it can reliably work.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t discount the possibility, but that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. When we decide what might be contributing factors we look for correlations. What we have a situation where we don’t have a reasonable statistical data base to make such a correlation.

            In Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins he tallks about “petwhacs” (population of events that would have appeared coincidental. One of the examples he uses is one of his mother-in-law getting an antique watch randomly and finding out that the initials that were already carved in the back were the same as her own. A coincidence. We place importance to such coincidences, but then Dawkins goes to do a rough calculation of how many people in the UK receiving the watch would likely have experienced such a coincidence. He found that it could happen about 8,000 times. A small percentage of the population of the UK, People will tell their friends about the watch they got having these matching initials. Nobody will talk about the watch they got who didn’t have matching initials. With a less than 1% chance of this happening we are unlikely to make any sort of claim that there is some causal mechanism to this coincidence. But if we only hear about stories of watches coincidentally having the same initials as those who receive them we might think something is going on.

            Certainly we can leave options open as to why certain people spontaneously heal, but we have a lot of past history to suggest that the cause will be natural, we have no real idea of how many times it doesn’t work. If prayer only worked 1% of the time would we still then want to leave it open as a possibility? Or would we look for something that correlated more strongly?

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          • I agree. But have we detected such a thing? What has been our method of detection other than anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is valuable in motivating us to find physical causal mechanisms, but we would need to have other measures to confirm an individual’s account of the situation.

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  2. All these indoctrinated fools of Churches make heroes, martyrs and saints out of some fraudulent or\and stupid individual to push their cause, look at how Catholics worship the psychopath and criminal called mother Teresa.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You do know that the terms you use here to describe Mother Teresa are as ridiculous as they are untrue? The hysterical Hitchins, as usual, overstated his case completely. As do others on the same tack.
      According to your assessment, everybody with strong beliefs on which they base their actions are psychopaths, and if there are adverse effects caused by the public at large arising from how they carry out teachings, then the giver of these teachings is a criminal? Illogical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do you know Hitchins was not the only one, he was just the first one unafraid to speak out publicly? There are many sites from newspapers, Wikipedia and blog sites with all the same message about this so-called saint and independently written. This is a very sedate article but relevant comments.

        “After visiting Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in 1994, Robin Fox wrote about the experience in the British medical journal, The Lancet. Fox reported that doctors only occasionally visited the patients (the care was mostly provided by untrained volunteers) and that pain relief provided for the dying was inadequate, leading them to suffer unnecessarily. In 2008, another observer reported, “I was shocked to see the negligence. Needles were washed in cold water and reused and expired medicines were given to the inmates. There were people who had chance to live if given proper care.”

        https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-mother-teresa

        This was written by Joe Carter who is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

        Try this site.

        Posted by Hemley Gonzalez on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

        I expect any evidence I can provide will not penetrate your Christian blinkers. Indoctrination destroys common sense and you call me illogical?

        Liked by 1 person

      • According to your assessment, everybody with strong beliefs on which they base their actions are psychopaths, and if there are adverse effects caused by the public at large arising from how they carry out teachings, then the giver of these teachings is a criminal? Illogical.

        Pyramid schemes and such like are generally regarded as misguided at best , criminal at worst and there are various forms such enterprises take.
        In the end,how is religion truly any different?

        Sadly, such abject credulity is all too often a feature of human nature, and religions are an integral feature of humanity.
        The something for nothing mentality. The hope that a piece of glass really is a diamond. The offer of blood to ward off ”bad spirits”

        In the Real World, people like Mother Theresa would have been prosecuted.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Here, surprisingly, you are blaming the individual rather than the inculcated belief. She firmly believed the RC teaching that contraception is contrary to divine command, and her actions on that score arose from that. I accept that there is a limit to that logic as well, though — Hitler and his ilk are blameless because they firmly believed in the Herrenvolk concept. *sigh* Nothing ever seems clear-cut!

          Like

          • The Catholic Church are ultimately responsible for the doctrine, and in this vein they could quite easily have provided the finance and professional medical assistance to alleviate much of the suffering. But they didn’t. And much of the money she received went elsewhere.
            This much IS clear-cut.

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  3. I haven’t read all of the comments, so I may be just duplicating thoughts here. If Christians can swallow a “prosperity gospel” that requires them to send their money to their preacher, well we already know they are prepared to believe almost anything, but sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In case you haven’t seen this yet. If not, maybe sometime over the weekend. John Oliver, one of my favorite comedians (a humanist and activist as well) announced on his show that he had launched and registered his own church with the IRS. He then demonstrated how easy it is to exploit people’s faith for monetary gain while the government turns a blind eye. I also recommend his two followup episodes ((Pastor John Oliver’s Church and John Oliver’s Church Closes Down), both under 4 minutes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. With regard to “miracle” claims by in Aimee Semple McPherson and Co, this clip explains what she knew and others did not. The vid below is an excerpt from the documentary “A Question of Miracles” (also on YouTube) in case anyone whats to view the full doc.

    Liked by 3 people

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