My Trip to the Faith Healers
I attended a faith healing service in Bella Vista, AR this weekend. I don’t know how relate this event in a funny or interesting way. Whenever I think about it, I’m left completely speechless. I even chickened out and didn’t confront anyone afterwards for conversation. I just wanted to get away from there.
I went with four friends from my atheist group. We tried our best to keep our heads down to avoid being kicked out. It seems this behavior was well advised, because I later found this in an article on the website of one of the hosts:
C) WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
1. Tactfully remove spectators – Just as there is power in agreement, the converse is true, that the healing power may not flow if there is no agreement in the spirit. So, if people around you lack faith in believing God for healing to take place for the sick person, tactfully ask them to stand aside or leave the room (Mk5v37-42, Mt13v58).
Of course, you don’t want any pesky skeptics in your audience. They make it harder for the crowd to maintain their shared delusion.
There were many testimonials given. One of the hosts claimed she was cured of paralysis and deafness in one ear when she first met her husband. He prayed over her and she was instantly healed. She was up and moving around within one day.
Here are some of the things we saw:
- A man was cured of blurry vision. After being “healed”, he claimed everything was now in focus. He left declaring, “I’ve gotta go test this out!”
- A healer blew in a man’s ear to cure his deafness. He claimed it was better.
- A lady was “cured” of her diabetes.
- Another lady was “cured” of an enlarged heart.
- A woman was supposedly cured of a broken arm. She did not have a cast. Her arm was in a sling fashioned out of what appeared to be a pillowcase. I assume this is because these kinds of people don’t visit doctors. The healer declared that the bones were “now snapping back into place”. She seemed very happy.
- Many people with headaches and pains in various places were prayed over. The healer would blow on their foreheads and they’d fall over backwards onto the floor. Someone behind them would catch them, and they’d get a blanket put on them.
Near the end, one of the women in our group got called to the front to be healed. The guy said that she didn’t know it, but one of her legs was shorter than the other. He did a trick wherein the legs appeared to grow out to the same length. He said if she had any back pain, it would be much better now. Another woman in our group then got called up, and they did the same trick on her arms.
James Randi explains how the “leg lengthening” trick works in this video. The explanation starts at 2:26.
Of course, the women hadn’t volunteered themselves. They got called out by the hosts. Did they just want us to not leave without having an “experience”? Did they think the women in our group would be more susceptible to being fooled?
Will the lady with Type II Diabetes now stop taking her insulin? Does the lady with an enlarged heart have medication that she’ll now stop taking? Do any of these people have children that don’t get taken to the doctor? I worry about the real-world effects of these beliefs.
One of the booklets passed out at the event, 100 Divine Healing Facts, says:
If it is not God’s will for you to be well, it would be wrong for you to seek recovery even through natural means.
If it is God’s will for you to be well, then it is only logical that the best way of recovery is by divine means.
In another section of the same book:
Asa died in his sickness because he sought not the Lord, but to the physicians; while Hezekiah lived because he sought not to the physicians but to the Lord.
In other words, going to the doctor is against God’s will.
From the website of one of the hosts:
D) WHY ARE ALL NOT HEALED
1. Lack of Faith – The disciples were unable to set the demon possessed boy free due to a lack of faith (Mt17v20).
2. Lack of Discernment.
3. Doubt and unbelief.
So, if you’re not healed, it’s your fault! You filthy sinner, you.
I just don’t know what to say. It’s fun to watch Benny Hinn on YouTube and laugh at people going crazy. But seeing people in my own town falling victim to this stuff is just really sad. It kinda makes it real, y’know?