Continuing on the topic of delusional True Believers™ brings us to this news item about a Canadian faith healer by the name of Todd Bentley who’s apparently enjoying quite a bit of popularity in Florida. He claims God has given him the power to heal the sick and raise the dead and the overly credulous are showing up in the thousands:
When Bentley performs healings, often wearing jeans and a T-shirt, aides bring the sick up both sides of an elaborate stage. The preacher’s assistants tell the audience each person’s condition and how far they came to be cured: from Europe, the West Coast, up to the Northeast and beyond.
Like a psychic, he will proclaim someone in the crowd has a particular kind of tumor, growth or affliction.
“Someone’s getting a new spinal cord tonight!” Bentley yelled in one service.
Apparently God will hand out a new spine, but so far there’s no reports of miraculous amputee limb regenerations. Which, honestly, would be very convincing indeed if it were to happen.
Instead what we get is a sideshow with a man who apparently can do anything to his followers and get away with it:
Critics circulate a YouTube video from Lakeland of him kneeing a supposed terminal stomach cancer patient in the abdomen, saying God told him to. In another clip, Bentley explains how he kicked an elderly lady in the face, choked a man, banged a crippled woman’s legs on a platform, “leg-dropped” a pastor and hit a man so hard it dislodged a tooth.
The criticism has grown so acute that Bentley addressed it directly on stage earlier this month. He said he has used those extreme methods only about 20 times in 10 years of preaching, and those cases were taken out of context. Each person was healed, not hurt, Bentley insisted.
“People just can’t understand why God would tell me something like, ‘Kick that woman in the face,’ who was not injured and hundreds were healed,” Bentley said. “Or the incident where I did hit a guy so hard one time that he did hit the ground and his tooth popped out.
“But what people don’t know is that he was a dentist. There’s a whole miracle that took place in his body. He was healed of cancer and he became a (ministry donor) after the incident of knocking his tooth out, because he knew it was God. And he said, ‘I never felt a thing.”’
You know you’re deep in the crazy when you get your tooth knocked out and think it somehow healed you of cancer. Maybe if it was tooth cancer and was confined to that one tooth I suppose, but otherwise you probably need your head examined. Though if getting your tooth knocked out didn’t knock some sense into you then psychiatry probably won’t do much for you either.
Bentley makes a lot of big claims and says he has
victims believers whose cures have been medically verified. Needless to say such proof is hard to actually track down:
The claims of healing range from disappeared tumors to a man who says he can now see out of a glass eye. In more than 20 cases, Bentley says, his revival has even literally resurrected the dead. Such claims have been made by revivalists in the past, but they are not common and some Pentecostals reject them.
Expecting critics, Bentley’s ministry distributed a list of 15 people it said were cured, and vetted by his ministry, with all but three of their stories “medically verified.”
Yet two phone numbers given out by the ministry were wrong, six people did not return telephone messages and only two of the remainder, when reached by The Associated Press, said they had medical records as proof of their miracle cure. However, one woman would not make her physician available to confirm the findings, and the other’s doctor did not return calls despite the patient’s authorization.
Wow, 15 people with 12 supposed verifications out of how many thousands of fools that show up to his revivals? Even if he was actually healing people that’s not much of a success rate.
Not that that’ll stop the True Believers™ from flocking to his tent and throwing money at him in hopes of curing what ails them. Just a shame they don’t realize their real problem lies between their ears.