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David Alexander
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Since I have a bit of experience investigating faith healers I'll make an observation.

When you see a faith healing ceremony what you're witnessing is a religious psychodrama. There is no separate performer and audience. It is a ceremony of a form of magic where everyone is a participant and they all have a role to play - the audience unconsciously following along purposely lead by the faith healer who consciously or unconsciously knows what he must do to get the crowd emotionally invested in agreeing to the suggestions and directions he and others are making.

Participants will act the way they are told to act or follow the lead of others in order to get their healings. Call it a form of hypnosis, waking hypnosis, accepted suggestion or anything else of a similar nature and in my view you’d be correct as many of the techniques of operant conditioning, induction, deepening, and suggestion are used in a faith healing ceremony.

The person getting a healing is then left with what I term a “Religious Catch-22” in that they get their healing by faith, they keep it by faith and if they question their healing they lose it. Not a good psychological place to be, I think, when the euphoria, adrenalin, and accepted suggestions wind down. Many end up looking for the canes, walkers, and prescription medicine they threw on the stage as expressions of faith.

I always liked George Bernard Shaw’s comment when he visited Lourdes. “Look at all those canes, braces, and wheel chairs and there not a single glass eye, toupee, or wooden leg.” I always thought that summed it up nicely.
Vlad_77
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The "Rev." Benny Hinn was actually at one time an Orthodox Christian. However, his "theology" separated him from Holy Orthodoxy. You may read more about Benny Hinn at http://www.rickross.com

I approach these discussions with caution and I hope that others do the same. Sadly, the term "Christian" is used as an umbrella term in which people not of the faith believe that all who ARE Christians are the same or act the same or even believe the same things. Nothing could be further from the truth. Within Western Christianity you will find a plethora of doctrines from the high churches of Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism to the fundamentalists and the evangelicals. Adherents.com estimates over 23,000 protestant denominations worldwide and more surfacing weekly.

And within the spectrum of Western Christianity, i.e., Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants (this includes non-denominationals) basic credal differences exist that widely inform each denominational belief. In fact, certain Baptists REJECT ANY creed.

Eastern Christianity is for all intents and purposes a whole. There never was a Reformation, and the designations of Greek, Russian, Romanian, etc., reflect nationality, and not, as some protestant apologists have incorrectly argued, a schismatic body of churches.

So I end with the plea to be wary of using the term "Christian" to pidgeonhole all. The Orthodox for instance do NOT favour the death penalty while MANY fundamentalists and evangelicals do. Roman Catholics believe in Original Sin; Eastern Christians do not. Protestants believe that the Bible is the sole authority in faith. Catholics and Orthodox reject this.

This is not a polemic for against any particular denomination or pre-denomination. Rather, it is a caution to please be careful that statements that imply "all Christians believe or do the same thing across the board" demonstrates a lack of understanding of the belief system and the events that caused the fragmentation into many bodies.

Reference the Fourth Crusade, The Borgias, The Protestant Reformation, The Uniate controversy, etc. etc.

Yes, there are certain core beliefs, chief among them being the belief in the Holy Trinity and the belief in Jesus Christ as God. But, on MANY issues if one got a Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, United Methodist, Orthodox Christian, and a pentecostal together in the same room, one would see the vast chasms of belief that separate us in practice.

Ahimsa,
Vlad

PS: While I do NOT necessarily believe in the power of these tele-evangelists, I do NOT question that Divine Power exists. I certainly hope my post was "politically correct".
dmkraig
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Vlad, I would just point out that there are some self-identified Christian sects that are not trinitarian or do not hold that Jesus was God. Some completely follow the Apostles Creed. Some completely follow the Nicene Creed. Some only follow partially. So even selecting "core beliefs" is difficult.

As you wrote, implying that all Christians believe in the same thing is problematic.

Namaste!
Zerububle
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I have little knowledge of quantum physics so I keep my opinions to myself. Interesting that people who know little or nothing about religion feel so happy to comment.

Bubble
dmkraig
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That's OK, Bubble.

There are people who post to this forum who only know about hypnosis from TV shows and watching YouTube videos. It's the nature of the internet for people with no knowledge, training, or experience to have their comments listed right next to people who have lots of training and experience. Therefore, for every comment posted, it's important for readers to check out the facts.

Lots of people look to Wikipedia as the end all and be all of information. However, on their own site this is what they say about their information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Risk_disclaimer

"USE WIKIPEDIA AT YOUR OWN RISK
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY INFORMATION YOU MAY FIND IN WIKIPEDIA MAY BE INACCURATE, MISLEADING, DANGEROUS, ADDICTIVE, UNETHICAL OR ILLEGAL.

"DO NOT RELY UPON ANY INFORMATION FOUND IN WIKIPEDIA WITHOUT INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION."
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