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Friday, 8 January 2016

Miracles Are A Myth That We Need To Expose And Criminalize

I read 'The Happiest People On Earth', the book about Demos Shakarian, the founder of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) when I was about 10 or 11 and two things (miracles) from the book struck me: the first was the "miraculous" healing of Mr Shakarian's family's cattle of tuberculosis, and the second was when he claimed to have healed a man so disfigured by his paralysis, he was shaped like the number 7.
The latter miracle was described in detail and even my child's mind then wondered why such a supernatural feat was not carried in the international press. We may not have had CNN or Aljazeerah then, but news still travelled fast, and such dramatic event would have at least garnered plenty of attention, even if it was only in the USA.
Mr Shakarian died in 1993, 2 days after his 80th birthday, and I am still baffled that he could publish such egregious lies, because I am 100 per cent certain that no such thing happened. His son, Richard, wrote a 'sequel', 'Still The Happiest People: The Amazing Story of A Powerful Movement That Is Transforming Nations'. I have not read it, and may never do so, but I would like to know how the FGBMFI is "transforming nations" today. Are they spreading more lies? Mr Shakarian suffered a stroke in 1984 that incapacitated him for a long time; this was a man who claimed to have healed a severely paralyzed man.

Kathryn Kuhlman was another charlatan who claimed to have a special relationship with the holy spirit, and was also a well known faith healer. She had a personal physician and died from the complications of open heart surgery at 69. She obviously could not sell her bullshit to herself. She inspired Billy Burke, who claims she healed him of a terminal brain tumour when he was 9 years old and had just a few days to live. Touik Benedictus Hinn, popularly known as Benny Hinn, is another faith healer who was inspired by Ms Kuhlman, although he never met her in person. He enjoys a wealthy lifestyle funded by tax free donations to his church. His wife filed for divorce in 2010, but they were remarried in 2013, an event that was termed a "miracle of God's grace." Mr Hinn has suffered from atrial fibrillation for more than 20 years. He also has been unable to heal himself, or at least enjoy the perfect health that the word of faith (name it, claim it) preachers like him profess.

Benny Hinn (above) and Reinhard Bonnke (another charlatan who mainly operates in Africa, and has been to Nigeria several times, even causing a deadly riot there in 1991) offered HBO unlimited access to film the documentary 'A Question of Miracles'. They found no evidence of miracles after following a handful of persons who claimed to have received miracles. The director of the documentary even said that these two men did more damage to christianity than the most committed atheist.

Daniel Amokachi was a former footballer for the Nigerian football (soccer) team, the Super Eagles. He sustained a knee injury that eventually ended his career, and this was after he had sought a miracle at the Synagogue Church of All Nations headed by prophet TB Joshua. Mr Joshua is currently facing murder charges for his involvement in the deaths of 116 persons caused by the collapse of his illegal multi-storey guest house in September 2014.

Popular Nigerian actor, Enebeli Elebuwa, died in a hospital in India following a second stroke in 2012. He had been 'healed' after the initial stroke, which left him unable to talk and walk for sometime, by an upcoming Lagos prosperity preacher, pastor Sign Fireman (real name: Ofuche Ukoha, who is pictured below wearing a hat, with Channel 4's Seyi Rhodes). Mr Elebuwa soon had a second stroke from which he never recovered. Mr Fireman was arrested almost exactly 2 years ago for his involvement in the ritual murder of a 12-year-old girl but was later released without charge.

Nigeria's own bishop David Oyedepo's wife, Faith, by all indications is severely diabetic. "The God of Oyedepo," a phrase commonly used by members of his Living Faith Worldwide Inc church, has been unable to prove his mettle in this case, despite Oyedepo's ceaseless verbosity about the power of his god.

Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, in his usual manner, released a string of 'prophecies' for the year 2016. I will hold him to account at the end of the year in his claims of the emergence of a new sexually transmitted disease, as well as the war he said would be averted this year. I will remember, Mr Adeboye, and I will remind you at the end of this year that, as usual, your 'prophecies' are, once again, lies.

I have asked many christians who raise the question of the veracity of miracles with me if they have personally witnessed any miracles. The answer, which is invariably a "no" is quickly followed by one of many vacuous examples such as the miracle of waking up every morning since not everyone does so (because they died in their sleep), some minor ailment miraculously vanishing after a prayer, and one of many lucky occurrences which the general population experiences literally on a daily basis.

Something urgently needs to be done about these peddlers of miracles and divine healing. It is no longer enough to just ignore it or chuck it down to 'faith'. Grievous harm is being done daily, all over the world, to those who are chronically and terminally ill. Proper medication has been shown to alleviate and relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and even prolong life. I have been both a victim of abysmally poor medical care, and a beneficiary of world class medical care, and experienced the untold sorrow and immeasurable joy that, respectively, came with both (I lost my brother, and my younger son is alive today). It is not longer right to ignore those who deceive the sick and the dying with false hope of miracle cures. These ravenous predators, with insatiable pecuniary appetites, prey on people's fears, ignorance, insecurities, poverty and superstitions, to fleece them of their money. The placebo effect is used on occasion when a medical practitioner has determined that it is necessary, but telling someone to stop medication and abandon all forms of modern medical interventions for a correctly diagnosed ailment, should no longer be treated with kid gloves; in fact it should be criminalized. If we all believe that the sun will not 'rise' tomorrow, will such beliefs stop it from happening? Most certainly not. Believing the words of men and women who have perfected the art of deceiving millions will also not do anything to help anyone's ill health or condition. Instead of giving or sending billions to these criminal charlatans, we should fund groundbreaking research into medical science, which has continued to supply us with miracle after miracle.

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