Baby (Jesus) needs a new airplane?
December 2, 2006 2:59 PM   Subscribe

What does God need with a private jet? Benny Hinn's latest pitch for donations. [via]
posted by clevershark (201 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't know about anyone else, but my Firefox balked at this link and the certificates it attempted to use. I know enough about Benny Hinn to not give his site the benefit of the doubt around my computer.

I'll bet he would screen it for viruses the same way he screens his flock for cancer cells. Lay his hands upon the monitor, make some clownshoes overtures to Jebus, tip the monitor over and declare my system secure.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:07 PM on December 2, 2006


SOULS! SOULS!
posted by luftmensch at 3:08 PM on December 2, 2006


ditto, ETW. Can someone bolder enlighten us?
posted by ibmcginty at 3:13 PM on December 2, 2006


On Sunday night, March 6, 2005, Dateline NBC, which covers investigative reports and personal stories, devoted one hour to a documentary on the millions sent to Benny Hinn Ministries. The program revealed that besides Hinn's salary being upwards of one million each year, Hinn also owns a $10 million dollar mansion, a private jet with $1.5 million in maintenance costs each year, and two Mercedes valued at $80,000 each. Layovers between Crusades at locations such as Hawaii and Milan cost from $900 to almost $3,000 for one night. Receipts showed that Hinn received $25,000 in petty cash for a Crusade that was 30 minutes from his home. (source)
posted by rolypolyman at 3:15 PM on December 2, 2006


Steve Martin, paraphrased: "We're counting on your money to build our new baptismal pool... with jacuzzi jets!"

What vile snake oil, this man. With the nerve to fundraise for a private jet of all things, what else has he already suckered the masses for.
posted by moonbird at 3:15 PM on December 2, 2006


Here is part of the text for those too timid to brave the full glory of Hinn's words:
Dear Partner,

I am writing you, as one of my closest and most faithful partners, to let you know about a tremendous and historic opportunity for the Gospel of our wonderful Lord Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit will speak to you as I share this glorious news!

The central mission of our ministry is to use today’s cutting-edge technologies to fulfill our prophetic destiny to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

....

As a result, we have recently taken delivery on our Gulfstream G4SP plane, which we call Dove One. I have enclosed a beautiful photo-filled brochure to explain more about this incredible ministry tool that will increase the scope of our abilities to preach the Gospel around the globe. Now we must pay the remainder of the down payment, and I am asking the Lord Jesus to speak to 6,000 of my precious partners to sow a seed of $1,000 in the next ninety days. And I am praying, even as I write this letter, that you will be one of them!
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:18 PM on December 2, 2006


Actually it's an HTTPS link, but accessible (via redirect) from HTTP. The reason I posted the HTTP link is that I kept getting an error when trying to post the original HTTPS link.

Anyway, the short story is that the Benny Hinn ministry is in dire need of a Gulfstream private jet in order to carry on its mission. They're recommending a donation of $1000 or more. It just saddens me that even one dollar that could be spent with a *real* charity would be spent to feed this greedy fucking bastard's megalomania, and I thought it would be a good idea to expose this absolutely shameless scheme.
posted by clevershark at 3:19 PM on December 2, 2006


Nothing new under the sun here as far as charismatic, cult leaderish religious leaders wanting lavish forms of transportation.

At least he received enough donations in recently to make his horrible combover not so conspicuous.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on December 2, 2006


And ... to add to KAC's comment:
"For your gift of $1,000 or more, you will receive these thank-you gifts to show my appreciation:

You will receive a beautiful art-quality model of Dove One for your desk or mantle as a constant reminder that you are a vital part of this last-days harvest for souls.

Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels, where I will also pray for you and your family as I go around the world preaching the Gospel. Everywhere I fly, your name will travel with me, millions of miles and for years to come, reminding me that you have made it possible for me to go and preach as God has called me to do."
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on December 2, 2006


My firefox didn't do anything weird on that page, maybe because I'm using noscript but I'm not sure. Anyway, it's a donation page where you can fund Hinn so he can pay off his "state-of-the-art jet aircraft, the tool we must have for declaring the Gospel to the nations in this last hour, and the miracle the Lord has provided—Dove One, an aircraft that became available just as the door of opportunity began to close on aircrafts the ministry had previously been utilizing."

It's a page with a payment form, hence the https.
posted by bob sarabia at 3:22 PM on December 2, 2006


and I need to type faster apparently.
posted by bob sarabia at 3:22 PM on December 2, 2006


Next he'll be asking for donations to procure meth and call-boys.
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on December 2, 2006


Is he maybe taking the plane off the hands of Dr K. A. Paul, the evangelical minister who had that private meeting with Denny Hastert after the Foley scandal broke?
posted by maryh at 3:24 PM on December 2, 2006


...

wow.
posted by kdar at 3:27 PM on December 2, 2006


"Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels, where I will also pray for you and your family as I go around the world preaching the Gospel. Everywhere I fly, your name will travel with me, millions of miles and for years to come, reminding me that you have made it possible for me to go and preach as God has called me to do."

AKA Specially printed toilet paper.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:29 PM on December 2, 2006 [2 favorites]


I don't know much about this Hinn guy, but I kind of like the idea of being part of a 'last-days harvest for souls'. Do we get to eat them after we harvest them?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:30 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


The first thing Jesus did for Benny Hinn was his hair. Only supernatural forces can maintain such a combover.
posted by The Deej at 3:33 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ah, Benny Hinn. My grandfather has given a good chunk of his estate to that slimy bastard.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you back...oh...about 20% per annum.

My small satisfaction came back in college when I heard that wonderful riff Alex Paterson did on a Benny Hinn faith healing on Orb Live '93. Anybody remember that? "He had a morphine drip...inside of his stomach!!!
posted by felix betachat at 3:33 PM on December 2, 2006


Perhaps Benny should have started by raffling his soul to raise the money.
posted by clevershark at 3:33 PM on December 2, 2006


Why is this surprising? This is what religion is for. This is why the priesthood was invented. What do you think happens to all those sheep you take to the temple for sacrifices that will impress god? The priests eat them.

There are a million examples of sleazy men using the stupid to buy themselves cars and planes in the name of religion.
posted by interrobang at 3:33 PM on December 2, 2006 [2 favorites]


It's not all bad. Next time an airline bumps me from a flight and gives me first-class upgrade coupons for my troubles, I'll fly knowing that there's a zero-percent chance of being seated next to Benny Hinn.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 3:36 PM on December 2, 2006


felix betachat, thanks for that memory jar. Most of Orb Live 93 is somewhere in a slightly hard to reach portion of my brain due to time and, um, other factors.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:36 PM on December 2, 2006


Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels

The "Sucker Wall."
posted by The Deej at 3:36 PM on December 2, 2006


This video that is linked in the comments is really interesting. I had no idea he was from Toronto :(
posted by jamesonandwater at 3:36 PM on December 2, 2006


I actually wanted to go see this guy when he came to Houston a few years back. Not to give my money but to see if he had some kind of actual power of hypnosis or was otherwise some kind of adept with chi or energy. But alas, I showed up a bit late and apparently thousands of people had been waiting for almost 12 hours to rush into the basketball stadium to bask in his gaze and shelter in the shade of his combover shadow.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:39 PM on December 2, 2006


Okay, I see Paul's plane is a 747sp, not a Gulfstream G4SP. But my tinfoil hat it still on and cocked jauntily to the left.... Having a large private jet that can be rented out to political allies, particularly the kind of political allies who have have shown a fondness for secret rendition in the past, might be a useful tool, right? The CIA seems to have a fondness for Gulfstreams, too.
posted by maryh at 3:41 PM on December 2, 2006


maryh, it could be a conspiracy. Or it could be that this guy has been close to enough rich men to know that he would really like to trade up from waiting on commercial or chartered flights to fly like the executive he thinks he is.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:43 PM on December 2, 2006


Burhanistan: I hear you. Grandpa gave his money to crooks and got the masses' opiates in return. Me? I took Marx a little more literally and gave my cash to Keith down the hall. It always felt a little weird to realize that we were both tripping out to Benny Hinn while doing it.
posted by felix betachat at 3:43 PM on December 2, 2006


Here's a veritable offering basket full of links of critiques of Benny Hinn from other Christians. Whether or not you agree with the Christian angle of the critiques, reading these articles leaves no other impression than he is either deluded, or knows exactly what he is doing, with no regard for traditional Christianity, or even a passing respect for the Bible which he claims to be preaching from.
posted by The Deej at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2006


Tt's a big pretty white plane with blue stripes, curtains in the window and wheels. It looks like a big Celebrex.
posted by pyramid termite at 3:58 PM on December 2, 2006


interrobang : "Why is this surprising? This is what religion is for. This is why the priesthood was invented. What do you think happens to all those sheep you take to the temple for sacrifices that will impress god?"

Actually, in quite a few religions, they're just completely burned (far beyond where it's possible to eat). I know that doesn't sound as cool and edgy and iconoclastic as saying "all religion is a scam to fatten the wallets of the priesthood!" though.
posted by Bugbread at 4:00 PM on December 2, 2006


Wow! Jamesonandwater, I've only gotten through the first five minutes of that video link, but already I've seen Benny claim that he's seen a man turn into a snake (in front of 2000 people!), a man raised from the dead . . . and, oh yeah, now he's asking people to put their dead loved ones in front of the TV so that God's healing power can come through the television. I don't know what part of the spectrum God's healing power occupies, but apparently it's somewhere in the VHF. Oooh! Neat, now he's saying that immigrants are bringing demons with them when they move into the country. OK, OK. . . I'll stop, but this is entertaining as hell if I can forget how disturbing and sad it is.
posted by veggieboy at 4:06 PM on December 2, 2006


Benny Hinn should be damned.
posted by bwg at 4:11 PM on December 2, 2006


veggieboy, wait til you see the teenager who refuses his doctor's advice to get a kidney transplant because he thinks Benny Hinn will save him ... it's too sad.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2006


You know, one of the main reasons having a privet jet would be sweet is that you could carry on a twelve pack of 2 liter Dr Pepper, an ice ax, and all the fucking shampoo you wanted and not be hassled about it.

Granted that may be a small reason to get the jet but...
posted by edgeways at 4:13 PM on December 2, 2006


I've seen Benny claim that he's seen a man turn into a snake (in front of 2000 people!)

snakes on a jesuslovin' plane!!
posted by pyramid termite at 4:18 PM on December 2, 2006


Motherf*cking snakeoil on a motherf*cking plane.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:25 PM on December 2, 2006


Hope springs eternal because there's a sucker born every minute.
posted by chance at 4:30 PM on December 2, 2006


What do you think happens to all those sheep you take to the temple for sacrifices that will impress god? The priests eat them.

I honestly never thought of that. And so very likely true.
posted by frogan at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2006


I can't believe that after almost 40 comments, no one has yet complimented clevershark on his Star Trek V reference.

Well played, sir, well played. I salute you.
posted by The Tensor at 4:39 PM on December 2, 2006


Why does this remind me of a South Park episode...

Pat: You know, Susan, there are so many great missionaries doing work, out there in parts of Africa, and we're trying to get Bibles to people all over the world. And what we need is the help of everyone out there so that we can continue these, these projects. Now, listen to this, Susan. One of our missionaries in North Africa has made an amazing discovery. A new planet, in the galaxy Alpha Seti VI, that has intelligent life on it.

Susan: Amazing.

Pat: Yeah. We're not sure what these hyper-intelligent beings look like, but one thing is for sure: they've never heard of Jesus Christ.

Susan: What can we do at the 600 Club to help those poor aliens?

Pat: Well, what we need, Susan, is we need money to build an interstallar cruiser. Now, this space ship will be able to travel through a wormhole and deliver the message and glory of Jesus Christ to those godless aliens. Send your money now. Amen.
posted by mazatec at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2006


As an atheist, I only pay my tithings here.
posted by Balisong at 4:46 PM on December 2, 2006


rolypolyman : The program revealed that besides Hinn's salary being upwards of one million each year, Hinn also owns a $10 million dollar mansion, a private jet with $1.5 million in maintenance costs each year, and two Mercedes valued at $80,000 each. Layovers between Crusades at locations such as Hawaii and Milan cost from $900 to almost $3,000 for one night. Receipts showed that Hinn received $25,000 in petty cash for a Crusade that was 30 minutes from his home.

What I find so frustrating about televangelists is that their parishioners never ask the important question. Why does their holy man need a ten million dollar home? or $80,000 dollars worth of cars? Does the Lord need him to not drive a Honda? What is he doing that he's spending $3000 on a one night layover? And what exactly kind of transportation costs $25,000 to travel a half hour? Is he renting an albino Rhinoceros that has been dusted lightly with rubies and emeralds?

Honestly, I do understand that some people believe that giving to their church helps others. And I'm sure in many cases that true. But how can someone who is so clearly using his ministry for personal gain still get away with asking his followers for more? And how brainwashed as a follower do you have to be to see all this, and still give?

He goes on these 'Crusades' (he calls them 'Crusades'? Really? This guy has got some serious stones.) Anyhow, he goes on these 'Crusades' to help and convert new followers, right? How many bibles would the $10,000,000 that his house cost have bought for the poor? How about hot meals? Or clothes for winter? Or whatever other charitable things that ministries are supposed to do with the money they take in?

I mean, how obvious does he have to be before his followers stop sending him money?
posted by quin at 4:51 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Baby (Jesus) needs a new pair of wings?
posted by papakwanz at 4:52 PM on December 2, 2006


I actually wanted to go see this guy when he came to Houston a few years back. Not to give my money but to see if he had some kind of actual power of hypnosis or was otherwise some kind of adept with chi or energy.

It's totally hypnosis. You can watch his show on TV (it's usually on channel 37 or somewhere else way up on the UHF dial) and everything he does, right down to the patter, is identical to any good stage hypnotist.

What do you think happens to all those sheep you take to the temple for sacrifices that will impress god? The priests eat them.

I honestly never thought of that. And so very likely true.


Not likely. It's right there in the Bible.
posted by EarBucket at 4:55 PM on December 2, 2006


Benny Hinn is pretty much the reasons why atheists are angry. Well, him and Deepak Chopra
posted by Sparx at 4:56 PM on December 2, 2006


Why does their holy man need a ten million dollar home?

Horrifyingly, it's not a home, it's a "parsonage". So all taxes, utility bills, etc paid by the business.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:57 PM on December 2, 2006


quin, I think guys like Hinn who take Prosperity Theology to its most corrupt conclusion argue that all those shows of wealth are manifestations of God's blessings. That there are people willing to buy into that argument is... well, very depressing. For the rest of us, I think his 'ministry's' tax-excempt status should be questioned heartily. Some Evangelical criticsim here.
posted by maryh at 5:05 PM on December 2, 2006


Funny, my ministry is taking donations for a Hand of God Surface to Air Missile to take this blasphemer's air machine out of the sky. Righteousness isn't cheap though.
posted by fenriq at 5:23 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


I am writing you, as one of my closest and most faithful partners, to let you know about a tremendous and historic opportunity for the Gospel of our wonderful Lord Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit will speak to you as I share this glorious news!

Weird. It totally did. And said that Heifer International might be a better choice for my money.

The central mission of our ministry is to use today’s cutting-edge technologies to fulfill our prophetic destiny to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

"...not as the world giveth, give I unto you..." (John 14:27)
posted by namespan at 5:36 PM on December 2, 2006


Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
posted by Flunkie at 5:40 PM on December 2, 2006 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a Jewish priest (now out of service) who had to learn too much of this, uh, stuff, as a kid, most meat sacrifices were split in some ratio by the priest and the offerer, with the priest also acting as butcher. God got a minority share--probably parts nobody much wanted.

There were also more serious sacrifices, in which the entire carcass was burned. The ancient Greek religion (Zeus, etc) also did this, and gave us the word for it, holocaust.

Wikipedia has a pretty good description of Korban, the biblical hebrew word for sacrifice.

Anyway, the priest business has been pretty much on hold for the last 2000 years, so I write computer programs for a living.
posted by hexatron at 5:43 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Buh Buh Buh Benny and his Jet"

(sorry, couldn't resist)
posted by itchylick at 5:53 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Benny Hinn Benny Hill
posted by itchylick at 5:54 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Funny. There is a man at my church-an older man, who with his wife has been a missionary all his life (much of it in the Phillipines), and who still goes on healing crusades to Africa occasionally where he prays for the sick and God heals them.

He flies economy.

That's all I have to say about it.
posted by konolia at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2006


I will be accepting donations in order to fund a spiritual journey that will determine whether God exists.

The plan is simple -- go to Amsterdam, take lots of magic mushrooms, and look at the sky until I can see Him. It might take a while, but I'm willing to put in as much time as the task requires!
posted by clevershark at 6:07 PM on December 2, 2006 [2 favorites]


I love my Saab convertible, but God told me I need a new one. To spread His word. So I am going to go buy a new one, and I am asking my fellow Mefites to donate enough to pay it off before the first payment is due. All contributors over $500 will have their name written on a piece of paper which I will keep in the glovebox.

Thank you in advance.
posted by The Deej at 6:23 PM on December 2, 2006


interrobang writes "Why is this surprising? This is what religion is for."

Bzzt, wrong, sorry. I know that's a central tenet of the Atheists' Creed, but you're quite wrong.

Religion is for giving those of us who choose to a sense of something larger than ourselves. For some people it's a moral framework. For others it's the non-Douglas-Adams version of 42.

This is a scam artist using religion. Big difference.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:26 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Big difference.
Two sides of the same coin.
posted by Flunkie at 6:30 PM on December 2, 2006


Two sides of the same coin.

This will end well.
posted by dw at 6:48 PM on December 2, 2006


all those ______ people are alike
posted by pyramid termite at 6:50 PM on December 2, 2006


Your name will be placed prominently in a special area of Dove One where I study and pray during my travels, where I will also pray for you and your family as I go around the world preaching the Gospel.
posted by carsonb at 7:03 PM on December 2, 2006


Oh, but we made it to 61 posts without a flame-out! Aren't we still weary from the Harris/Prager title fight?

*scanning for bile bears*
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:03 PM on December 2, 2006


...of Korban, the biblical Hebrew word for sacrifice.

Interesting that the Arabic/Muslim term for a sacrifice is Qurban. One more similitude between the Abrahamic faiths.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:10 PM on December 2, 2006


I mean, how obvious does he have to be before his followers stop sending him money?

Usually it requires sex. E.g., Jim Bakker.

The Trinity Foundation has been picking Hinn's finances apart for years. Here's their 2005 case to the IRS re: revoking Hinn's church status.
posted by dw at 7:11 PM on December 2, 2006


Benny Hinn and other prosperity gospel televangelists use language and ideas that have a superficial (mostly) relationship to Christianity as it's practiced in the mainstream, but I'd argue that his 'theology' has much more in common with cargo cult religions. His believers are encouraged to give him donations as a way of procurring 'blessings' (that is, money and possessions) for themselves. This kind of belief system dovetails very nicely into the kind of multi-level marketing schemes that flourish within those churches. It almost feels like a fetishization of capitalism with a specifically Christian frosting on top. My 2 cents, anyway...
posted by maryh at 7:12 PM on December 2, 2006


This is what organized religion is for.
posted by dopeypanda at 7:12 PM on December 2, 2006


It's totally hypnosis. You can watch his show on TV (it's usually on channel 37 or somewhere else way up on the UHF dial) and everything he does, right down to the patter, is identical to any good stage hypnotist.

Yes. Throw in the slow binaural music playing throughout, the lighting, the usage of shills in wheelchairs to get the action going...

It's really quite a show, "This Is Your Day". If you haven't seen it, check it out--it's a hoot. As noted, TBN is available pretty much everywhere throughout the world, so it's easy to find. It's got all the fun Penecostal/Charismatic things like speaking in tongues and knocking people down ("slain in the spirit"; there are people on stage specifically to catch people when Pastor Benny "touches" them and they fall backwards), and in addition to physical ailments, Benny also cures folks of witchcraft and homosexuality. It's some powerful television entertainment, I shit you not. I mean, he told Larry King he was home sick one night watching his show and he put his hands up to the screen and healed himself!

BHM also apparently provided a great deal of inspiration and material for the film "Leap of Faith" with Steve Martin a few years back.
posted by First Post at 7:13 PM on December 2, 2006




Oh, but we made it to 61 posts without a flame-out! Aren't we still weary from the Harris/Prager title fight?

*scanning for bile bears*


USC losing to UCLA today proved indisputably that there is a God.
posted by dw at 7:15 PM on December 2, 2006



You should check out his latest music video!
posted by mulligan


Awesome!

For an even more disturbing document of mass hypnosis, see this old video Pentacostal Gathering.(not sure if this has been here before or not).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 PM on December 2, 2006


konolia writes "There is a man at my church-an older man, who with his wife has been a missionary all his life (much of it in the Phillipines), and who still goes on healing crusades to Africa occasionally where he prays for the sick and God heals them. "

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Proof? Objective, verified-by-science proof?

I thought not.

Flunkie writes "
Big difference.
Two sides of the same coin."

No, it really isn't. Atheists, for the most part, have an unbearably smug little attitude of superiority. You're not superior to me. Nor, of course, am I superior to you. I happen to believe some things that you don't. I don't ask anybody else to believe them, I don't ask that laws be enacted as a result of my beliefs. I merely ask to be left alone to believe as I choose. And yet you self-righteous little bastards seem to think that it's perfectly alright to scream and point fingers and say "YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE".

There is an enormous difference between scamming people and using religion as the framework to do so, and people believing in something you don't. If you are unable to see that distinction, I pity you for your narrowness of thought.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:28 PM on December 2, 2006 [2 favorites]


dnab: I've long since gotten past the point of getting exercised over that kind of shrill, sophomoric atheism. What could you say to someone who insists that a Rembrandt is just paint on a canvas? Or that a Schubert string quartet is just a bunch of people swinging sticks on strings? It's all a matter of perspective and there really is no reasoning with those who insist on the bluntest materialism in the face of the sublime.
posted by felix betachat at 7:37 PM on December 2, 2006


Well, angelboy, I am not concerned whether you believe in my friend's ministry or not. However, rich he ain't. Private jet, he ain't got. Not asking for one either. And nobody on TBN knows his name. He's just a quiet servant of God.
posted by konolia at 7:38 PM on December 2, 2006


...or, I hasten to add, with those who insist on equating real art with scam artists.
posted by felix betachat at 7:39 PM on December 2, 2006


(konolia: the God who gave us reason and intelligence would be better served by giving those people proper medicine and health education, not faith healing and laying on of hands. You should take another look at Dtr 18.)
posted by felix betachat at 7:43 PM on December 2, 2006


As a total derail, the people in Africa really need access to abundant, clean water far far more than any other "help" outsiders could presume to give them in any other form.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:46 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


konolia writes "Well, angelboy, I am not concerned whether you believe in my friend's ministry or not. However, rich he ain't. Private jet, he ain't got. Not asking for one either. And nobody on TBN knows his name. He's just a quiet servant of God."

I don't give a flying fuck whether he has a private jet or not. You're making the outrageous claim that he's healing people. Show proof.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:56 PM on December 2, 2006


my uncle has always credited benny hinn with curing him of his anorexia.
posted by RockyChrysler at 7:57 PM on December 2, 2006


(Oh, and for those who would find the idea of a theist asking for proof laughable and/or hypocritical: I am not asking you to believe anything that I believe. It's my personal business, and has absolutely no effect on your life whatsoever. Indeed, 'secular humanist' would be the nonreligious way to describe my social policy leanings. Bottom line, kornholia is asking us to believe that some guy can heal people by praying. I'm not asking you to believe anything. Thus, she needs to provide proof; I do not. Saright? Saright. Sokay? Sokay.)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:59 PM on December 2, 2006


RockyChrysler writes "my uncle has always credited benny hinn with curing him of his anorexia."

I don't have permission to view this photo.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:00 PM on December 2, 2006


durh... that's a private photo... anyway, see, the joke is, he's kinda tubby. apologies...
posted by RockyChrysler at 8:02 PM on December 2, 2006


At first pageload I thought his uncle was a dog on flikr's login page. That made sense to me at the time, given the subject character of this post. Hmm.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:02 PM on December 2, 2006


Is this the "I beat anorexia, ask me how" picture that everyone's already seen?
posted by clevershark at 8:10 PM on December 2, 2006


On Sunday night, March 6, 2005, Dateline NBC, which covers investigative reports and personal stories, devoted one hour to a documentary on the millions sent to Benny Hinn Ministries.

That's great and everything, but haven't the media been doing more or less the same story for the last twenty years or so? I mean, does any of this really qualify as news?
posted by Clay201 at 8:25 PM on December 2, 2006


Firefox is unable to verify the identity of www.bennyhinn.org as a trusted site.

Says everything that needs to be said, really...

Am I the only one who, when "Benny Hinn" first started appearing in the TV guides a few years ago, thought it was a typo?

(Nowdays I know it's not - I did some work in their local ministry office a few years ago. These people are deadly serious about something, though I'm not sure it's "spreading the Lord's word")

And, c'mon - are these guys really real? Benny Hinn I can understand - just an unfortunate coincidence of names. But how could you read the name "Creflo A. Dollar, Jnr" and not think it was a parody?
posted by Pinback at 8:26 PM on December 2, 2006


His jet runs on Souls.
posted by pmbuko at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2006


My new minister name: Cashious Monie Goodcheck
posted by The Deej at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2006


"Buh Buh Buh Benny and his Jet"

Very funny.

That Hinn,and all the other tele-fucking-vangelists of his ilk, are walking around free says volumes about our priorities and criminal justice system. Like Woody Guthrie said" Some men will rob you with a gun, others a fountain pen..."
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:56 PM on December 2, 2006


"Buh Buh Buh Benny and his Jet" (sorry, couldn't resist)

'Benny and His Jet'
"Televangelist Benny Hinn recently boarded his private Gulfstream jet with his entourage for Nigeria, but his healing crusade didn't do so well there. Only 1 million showed up for the three-day event, compared to the 6 million predicted by local Pentecostal pastors. His specially brought public address equipment for massive crowds was unnecessary. On day three his irritation bubbled over and he yelled '4 million dollars down the drain!' into his microphone. I'm shocked, shocked he would worry about money when lost souls are at stake."
posted by ericb at 9:17 PM on December 2, 2006


Pinback writes "But how could you read the name 'Creflo A. Dollar, Jnr' and not think it was a parody?"

No kidding! I caught a glimpse of his show one insomnia-plagued Sunday and I thought there was a chance I might have hallucinated that bit...
posted by clevershark at 9:24 PM on December 2, 2006


You know, as I read this thread, I'm reminded of the excellent book by Chris Moore, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, which is about cargo cults (mentioned in the thread? check), a corrupt missionary (check) with a Gulfstream jet (!) (check), a group of easily indoctrinated followers (check) and cannibalism (not yet, but I'm hoping...)

It would appear that fiction and reality cross paths once again.

Now all we need is talking bat named Roberto.
posted by quin at 9:56 PM on December 2, 2006


'Creflo A. Dollar, Jnr'

My parsing skills are failing me, I see the [flow?] A Dollar bit, but is there more to this?
posted by quin at 10:00 PM on December 2, 2006


Am I the only one who, when "Benny Hinn" first started appearing in the TV guides a few years ago, thought it was a typo?

YES! Must have been the mid-80s.. I can't count how many times I was looking for something on TV and thought I found Benny Hill. That never ceased to piss me off.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:04 PM on December 2, 2006


Chris Moore rocks.
posted by maryh at 10:13 PM on December 2, 2006


kornholia is asking us to believe that some guy can heal people by praying.

First of all: "kornholia"? Grow up.

Second: Konolia's point wasn't that her friend performs miracles. Her point was that her friend does good work — at least, tries to do good work — without asking anybody to buy him an airplane. It's a salient anecdote in this context, and I don't see a need to derail into the incidental details of her story.

Third: No, she's not asking us to believe anything. In fact, she pointedly said as much. If you can say, "God exists" without asking me to agree with your belief, why can't Konolia say, "My friend heals people" without asking you to agree with her belief?

And lastly, even if she were asking you to believe that her friend performs miracles — who cares? Lots of people on the Internet want you to believe plenty of crazy stuff. It rarely merits a profanity laced tirade, especially when you agree with her basic point — that charity doesn't require a private jet.
posted by cribcage at 10:15 PM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, there's another one born every minute. These days it's probably more like several per minute.
posted by caddis at 12:02 AM on December 3, 2006


namespan: "I am writing you, as one of my closest and most faithful partners, to let you know about a tremendous and historic opportunity for the Gospel of our wonderful Lord Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit will speak to you as I share this glorious news!

Weird. It totally did. And said that Heifer International might be a better choice for my money.
"

Huh?

"Learn how Heifer is using a two-pronged approach – better livestock and training in sustainable agriculture – to fight the HIV-AIDS pandemic."


Somebody ought to let them know that good cows and farming implements aren't actually that effective at preventing the transmission of blood-borne viruses.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:13 AM on December 3, 2006


Every great thing that religion has ever done for the world would be better without the religious context. Africa doesn't need bibles and prayer. That's materials (bible) and time (prayer) that would be much better spent doing some concrete, verifiable, useful work.
posted by tehloki at 1:26 AM on December 3, 2006


...of Korban, the biblical Hebrew word for sacrifice.

Interesting that the Arabic/Muslim term for a sacrifice is Qurban. One more similitude between the Abrahamic faiths.


Not to put a damper on an attempt at interreligious harmony, but it's actually just similitude between Semitic languages. Arabic and Hebrew have a lot in common linguistically, but that has not much to do with commonality between Judaism or Islam.
posted by camcgee at 2:00 AM on December 3, 2006


This Benny Hinn fellow seems pretty benign compared to Fred Phelps or the Scientology organization. Ecclesiastical inefficiency is a pretty minor offense compared to, say, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
posted by ryanrs at 3:55 AM on December 3, 2006


No, it really isn't. Atheists, for the most part, have an unbearably smug little attitude of superiority. You're not superior to me. Nor, of course, am I superior to you. I happen to believe some things that you don't. I don't ask anybody else to believe them, I don't ask that laws be enacted as a result of my beliefs. I merely ask to be left alone to believe as I choose. And yet you self-righteous little bastards seem to think that it's perfectly alright to scream and point fingers and say "YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE".

There is an enormous difference between scamming people and using religion as the framework to do so, and people believing in something you don't. If you are unable to see that distinction, I pity you for your narrowness of thought.
For someone being extra-special careful to point out how non-superior you are to the vast group of people that you sweepingly claim are:
  • unbearably smug, and
  • self-righteous, and
  • with an undeserved attitude of superiority, and
  • little bastards, and
  • screaming finger pointers, and
  • insulters of other people's intelligence, and
  • with pitiful thought processes,
you sure do, um, make sweeping claims about the various ways in which a whole group of people are inferior.

Moreover, the idea that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion is, frankly, patently absurd.

Finally, you should note, with all your highly impressive but non-claimed superiority, that I never said there wasn't a difference between people who scam the religious and people who are religious. I said that they were two sides of the same coin.

Which they are, and which is independent of whether there is an enormous difference between them or not.
posted by Flunkie at 4:52 AM on December 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


Pinback : "Am I the only one who, when 'Benny Hinn' first started appearing in the TV guides a few years ago, thought it was a typo?"

I did too.
posted by Bugbread at 4:56 AM on December 3, 2006


Konolia: who still goes on healing crusades to Africa occasionally where he prays for the sick and God heals them. He flies economy.

Whoopdeedoo. An economy ticket to any part of Africa from the US runs about $1500-2000 round trip these days, and leaves a nice fat carbon footprint in its wake.

Your friend might as well stay home in splendid comfort and send a check to buy real medicine for people in Africa so *people* can heal themselves. Economy class or not, this is vanity bullshit for your missionary friend. God doesn't heal people, or at least you can't prove it. Anti-malarials save thousands of lives a day in Africa, but there aren't nearly enough to go around. Have your friend spend his $2000 on enough of those to really save, oh, 20 or so kids. Then talk to me about how "God" works through him.

You Christians always have some bullshit line. Missionaries, on balance, have done much more to fuck up the world than to help it, though the record is not black and white. Hinn just shows up the worst of it.
posted by spitbull at 5:30 AM on December 3, 2006


Don't shed a tear for the idiots subsidizing his un-Christlike lifestyle. Everyone gets the God they deserve.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:42 AM on December 3, 2006


Flunkie : "Moreover, the idea that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion is, frankly, patently absurd."

The idea that they're the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in MetaFilter on the topic of religion is right on the money, though. MeFi almost makes me ashamed to be an atheist. But then I remember it's not that all atheists are obnoxious asses, just the really vocal, visible ones. Same as religion, actually.
posted by Bugbread at 5:57 AM on December 3, 2006


cribcage writes "First of all: 'kornholia'? Grow up."

You're right, that was unfair.

Flunkie writes "you sure do, um, make sweeping claims about the various ways in which a whole group of people are inferior."

No, I'm pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in the attitudes of 90% of atheists.

Flunkie writes "Moreover, the idea that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion is, frankly, patently absurd."

I said that when? Kindly do not put words in my mouth.

Flunkie writes "Finally, you should note, with all your highly impressive but non-claimed superiority, that I never said there wasn't a difference between people who scam the religious and people who are religious. I said that they were two sides of the same coin. "

Which is, at best, a semantic difference, and you know it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:14 AM on December 3, 2006


You Christians always have some bullshit line...

And that's why MetaFilter is so fun: Because people like you, who would never think of typing "You Jews" or "You blacks," can type "You Christians" without perceiving himself as a bigot.
posted by cribcage at 8:23 AM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


No discussion of Benny Hinn would be complete without a link to his wife Suzanne recommending a Holy Ghost Enema.
posted by EarBucket at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2006


This Benny Hinn fellow seems pretty benign compared to Fred Phelps or the Scientology organization.

I gotta disagree with (at least part) of this statement. According to his wikipedia entry, Fred Phelps' "group has slightly fewer than 100 members, 90 of whom are related to Phelps through blood or marriage or both...." They do happen to be very vocal and crazy, and for this reason they get infinitely more airtime than such a radically insignificant fringe group deserves. The problem here seems to be with douches like Sean Hannity and Tyra Banks and others inviting them on their shows. Yes, I saw Shirley Phelps on the Tyra talk show once. Tyra is so dumb that Shirley, a woman who is probably a diagnosable sociopath, actually out-argued her on air. Truly embarrassing.

As for Hinn, he runs a multi-million(billion?) dollar industry that runs on bilking the poor and the old and the stupid (or any combination of the three) of their small savings. The man is a massive parasite. Phelps could never, ever have the resources or the reach of Hinn (thank the FSM).

Now, as to Scientology, who knows. Again, according to Wikipedia, independent estimates put their membership at probably well under 500k in the world, and approximately 55k in the U.S. Based purely on anecdotal evidence and speculation, I would bet that Scientology targets mostly middle/upper class people with a sizeable disposable income, not the kind of struggling poor that Hinn and his ilk target for their scams. Plus, I don't see many Scientology TV shows on Sunday mornings asking for donations. (Although I do remember all those commercials for Dianetics when I was in my teens back in the late 80s/early 90s. I was always curious as to what it was... I'm so glad I never picked up the book in those impressionable early years.)

Anyway, my point is that while Phelps and Scientology are vile blights on humanity, I think that Hinn probably outstrips them both in reach and effect.
posted by papakwanz at 9:38 AM on December 3, 2006


No, I'm pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in the attitudes of 90% of atheists.

You sound like my dad: "It's not all the blacks, but 90% of them!"

But it's atheists who are the smug bigots.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2006


On MetaFilter, everyone is the smug bigot. Smug and bigoted is what we do well here.

...he says smugly.
posted by Bugbread at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2006


Thank you, Flunkie, for saying what I felt.

For the record, I call myself a cynical agnostic. Or, if I'm feeling more cynical than usual, an athiest. Do I think that makes me superior? Probably exactly as much as a religious person's beliefs make them feel superior to me for my "lack of belief", so it all evens out.
posted by fenriq at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2006


cribcage writes "You Christians always have some bullshit line...

"And that's why MetaFilter is so fun: Because people like you, who would never
think of typing 'You Jews' or 'You blacks,' can type 'You Christians' without perceiving himself as a bigot."

Fair enough, but change it to 'you fundamentalist/evangelical Christians always have some bullshit line' and it becomes quite, auite accurate.

dirigibleman writes "But it's atheists who are the smug bigots."

Atheists really are smug, especially the MeFi breed. For the most part, they think they're vastly superior because they don't believe in something that other people do. Take a look at any thread dealing with religion, with the occult, with the paranormal, and you will see exactly what I mean. Your choices are different, that's all, and for those of us who have zero interest in imposing our religious beliefs on you, perhaps you should take a moment to realize that evangelical atheism is just as fucking offensive as evangelical religion.

fenriq writes "Probably exactly as much as a religious person's beliefs make them feel superior to me for my 'lack of belief', so it all evens out."

Yeah but here's the thing: most of us don't feel superior to you because you choose to not believe. We choose to believe. It's just different, and there is no superiority/inferiority implied.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2006


No, see. The plane's for spreading the word of God all over the world. That seemed pretty clear in Hinn's letter. Why can't you people understand that?

And the reason Hinn spent $400 on salted nuts, stayed at the most expensive hotel in Rome, and spent thousands of dollars on tips and limos in that CBC documentary is so he could establish the lifestyle that would allow him to have his own plane -- to spread the word of God all over the world. Besides, God ain't cheap.

The main thing to remember is Hinn does everything for God. Every million-dollar house, every exotic car, every lavish luxury is paid for in tax-free cash with one eye humbly uplifted to the heavens.
posted by luckypozzo at 10:12 AM on December 3, 2006


Atheists really are smug, especially the MeFi breed.

Paraphrasing a baseball player, it ain't smugness when it's true.
posted by frogan at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy wrote, Yeah but here's the thing: most of us don't feel superior to you because you choose to not believe. We choose to believe. It's just different, and there is no superiority/inferiority implied.

Sorry but this is patently untrue. Believers almost always feel a mandate to convert non-believers. If there were no built-in superiority then why do they feel a need to try and convert me? And note, I'm not saying you, in particular, I'm saying believers, in general.

I'm wasn't aware that you had been made a spokesperson for religious folks. Can you point me to the annointment thread?

You're applying a double standard to your logic and conclusions. You're willing to give yourself and believers the benefit of the doubt but not willing to do the same for non-believers.
posted by fenriq at 10:29 AM on December 3, 2006


Basing your thoughts and beliefs firmly in observable reality is not smug. Getting angry when people base theirs in the imaginary is not bigotry.
posted by tehloki at 10:31 AM on December 3, 2006


frogan, truth, in this case, is relative.
posted by fenriq at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2006


fenriq : "Believers almost always feel a mandate to convert non-believers...You're applying a double standard to your logic and conclusions."

Well, to be fair, so are you. Some believers feel a mandate to convert non-believers, and some non-believers feel a mandate to convert believers. And you don't notice the believers and non-believers who don't feel that mandate, because they don't get involved in discussions like these much.

tehloki : "Basing your thoughts and beliefs firmly in observable reality is not smug."

Neither is basing your beliefs on non-observable stuff. Smugness isn't an aspect of one's beliefs or non-beliefs. It comes out in how you express them and how you treat people who disagree.

Think about a smug athlete. We don't call them smug based on whether or not they're really good athletes or not. We call them smug based on their attitude towards their athletic ability. Dennis Rodman is (was? I don't keep up) a good basketball player, and he's smug as hell. K-Fed is a lousy musician, and he's also smug as hell.
posted by Bugbread at 10:40 AM on December 3, 2006


Getting angry when people base [their beliefs] in the imaginary is not bigotry.

No, but it's borderline psychotic. If you want to criticize evangelicals for, well, "evangelizing," that's perfectly reasonable. But getting angry because you don't agree with their beliefs? Seriously: Why the hell should I care whether somebody believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old? That's supposed to make me angry?
posted by cribcage at 10:45 AM on December 3, 2006


fenriq writes "Believers almost always feel a mandate to convert non-believers"

Not any of the believers I know. I think you're making the mistake, as so often happens here, of conflating 'evangelical' with 'religious'.

fenriq writes "You're applying a double standard to your logic and conclusions. You're willing to give yourself and believers the benefit of the doubt but not willing to do the same for non-believers."

Not true. I'm just sick and bloody tired of smug atheist assholes who think they're better than the rest of us.

frogan writes "Paraphrasing a baseball player, it ain't smugness when it's true."

And that's more or less the shortest example of what I'm talking about, right there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:50 AM on December 3, 2006


tehloki writes "Basing your thoughts and beliefs firmly in observable reality is not smug."

*sigh* no, but the attitude of superiority is.

tehloki writes "Getting angry when people base theirs in the imaginary is not bigotry."

Well, to put it as bluntly as possible: who the fuck are you to judge what I believe, as long as I have absolutely no interest in imposing it on you?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:52 AM on December 3, 2006


And note, I'm not saying you, in particular, I'm saying believers, in general.

What a cop-out.

"I'm not saying that you, Mr. Obama, are shiftless and lazy, I'm saying blacks, in general."

Honestly, the bigotry and stereotyping some people (on both sides) are exhibiting here is really sad. It's like the White Citizens Council lost religion and took up polyamory.
posted by dw at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2006


Ah, so the bile bears surfaced after all ... who's got the baking soda and asbestos?
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2006


Bless ETW Ministries with a gift of $1000 or more and I'll see that we sort this conflict out with a few rounds of Halo.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:10 AM on December 3, 2006


dirtynumb, I would wager that I'm equally sickened by equally loud and annoying religious types thumping the Bible and then, behind closed doors, behaving in ways that are the complete opposite of what they espouse.

Of course people are going to believe what they believe and think that its right, that applies to both believers and non-believers.

I try to approach any religious conversation with an open mind. Until it becomes apparent that we're not having a conversation so much as an attempted conversion. At which point, all bets are off and, if someone feels justified in attempting to convert me then I have every justification to de-convert them to the best of my abilities.

I'm an empiricist, my father was a physical scientist and my grandfather was a physicist. If I can't experience it, replicate and subject it to objective observation and proof then I cannot support it. If that makes me smug in your eyes then I feel sorry for you. Its not smugness, its how my own belief system works.

dw, no, I was saying that dnab, in particular, is not demonstrating that behaviour. My experience is anecdotal but still valid in my case. My exposure to religious types almost always ends up with a conversion masking as conversation. Is my experience a cop-out? Not to me.
posted by fenriq at 11:13 AM on December 3, 2006


Wait, no Halo has too religious a connotation ... Maybe Soul Caliber ... no, shit, not that either ... Dead or Alive! That's the ticket!
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2006


Why the hell should I care whether somebody believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old? That's supposed to make me angry?

Because they run the school board?
Because they work in the Oval office?
Those are possible reasons to get angry.
posted by papakwanz at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2006


papakwanz wrote: As for Hinn, he runs a multi-million(billion?) dollar industry that runs on bilking the poor and the old and the stupid (or any combination of the three) of their small savings.

It appears he's personally pocketing a couple million per year. Compare that to the California Lottery's 3.3 billion in sales last year. See also Scientology's fee schedule.

Anyway, my point is that while Phelps and Scientology are vile blights on humanity, I think that Hinn probably outstrips them both in reach and effect.

Of the three, I believe Scientology has the lead in aggregate evil and Phelps wins on evil-per-capita. Hinn takes second place by either measure.
posted by ryanrs at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2006


ryanrs: yes, the lottery is a huge tax on the poor (and also the stupid, and the stupid poor).

When you say that Hinn is personally pocketing a couple million per year, I imagine that is just his take home salary, and doesn't include the salary of his staff, fuel costs for his jet, property taxes on his mansion, "personal expenses", tips for his male masseuse, etc etc etc.

My point was that Phelps really only reaches a few people. 100 or so. And yes, he is pure evil, but I'm not too worried about my poor grandma getting conned into sending him her social security check. Nor am I too worried about her spending 300k to have her body thetans purged, or whatever the hell it is the scientologists do. The scientologists have a certain target group, and poor grandmas it is not. Poor grandmas are, however, Hinn's bread and butter. That's why he is, in my opinion, worse than the other two.

Note: I don't actually have a poor grandma.
posted by papakwanz at 11:56 AM on December 3, 2006


dw, no, I was saying that dnab, in particular, is not demonstrating that behaviour. My experience is anecdotal but still valid in my case. My exposure to religious types almost always ends up with a conversion masking as conversation. Is my experience a cop-out? Not to me.

So, we've gone from the broadbrush to the "those people" argument ("But you're not one of 'those people'") to the appeal to personal experience. Wonderful.

Both of these things just chafe me as signs of intellectual laziness. It's the same sort of reasoning people use for "All Muslims are enemies of America" or "black men just don't want to work" or "atheists are all loud, humorless, hateful, and out to convert everyone to their world view." And then they run into a flag-waving Republican Muslim, African-American businessman, or a quiet and polite atheist, and suddenly it's all "I didn't mean YOU, I mean THOSE PEOPLE. That's my EXPERIENCE."

Of the three, I believe Scientology has the lead in aggregate evil and Phelps wins on evil-per-capita. Hinn takes second place by either measure.

And Hinn is in third place if you measure media appearances. Seems like there's a neverending stream of Phelps progeny being made available for TV bloviation.
posted by dw at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2006


Those are possible reasons to get angry.

There will always be people who hold, simultaneously, (1) beliefs you don't share and (2) positions of authority. In other news, life isn't fair and even kittens die. Part of being a well-adjusted human being is learning serenity toward stuff you can't change.

If you want to feel angry because John Doe believes that Noah built an ark, knock yourself out. I'm just saying, that sounds like a recipe for a bitter life — and if you're going to spend your life angry, there are probably more deserving targets than the guy who believes that prayer can heal.
posted by cribcage at 12:09 PM on December 3, 2006


I would bet that Scientology targets mostly middle/upper class people with a sizeable disposable income, not the kind of struggling poor that Hinn and his ilk target for their scams.

Not to derail, but that's not really true. They target people who are emotionally vulnerable, and a good portion of those people don't have a lot of money. What they do is put you in debt for their "services" and have you do menial work to pay it off, essentially indentured servitude. An ex of mine who joined the cult sells Blue Blocker sunglasses on the beach with her husband in order to pay off her massive debt (in less than a year, it was already over $10,000).
posted by krinklyfig at 12:21 PM on December 3, 2006


Flunkie writes "you sure do, um, make sweeping claims about the various ways in which a whole group of people are inferior."
No, I'm pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in the attitudes of 90% of atheists.
Oh, so sorry, not a whole group. Merely 90%. And as for pointing out hypocrisy, after the sweeping, insulting claims of that post of yours, I suggest that you might want to re-read Matthew 7:3-5.
Flunkie writes "Moreover, the idea that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion is, frankly, patently absurd."
I said that when? Kindly do not put words in my mouth.
Oh, so sorry. You didn't state that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion.

You merely said, in a post on people and religion, wherein you were speaking about "the most part" of atheists, that the "self righteous little bastards seem to think that it's perfectly alright to scream and point fingers and say 'YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE'."

If we're going to cavalierly stereotype the force and ubiquity with which whole groups of people impose their religious opinions upon others, which you seem set upon doing, then I'm afraid that I'm going to have to once again refer you to Matthew 7:3-5, and think about it in the context of your particular group.
posted by Flunkie at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2006


dw, heaven forbid anything I do chafes you.

dnab was not, to my knowledge, trying to convert me to his beliefs in this thread. Other people I deal with in the real world do.

Sorry, conversion is the wrong term, the correct term is proselytizing. From the Wiki, Many Christians consider it their obligation to follow what is often termed the Great Commission of Jesus, recorded in the final verses of the Gospel of Matthew: "Go to all the nations and make disciples. Baptize them and teach them my commands." The early Christians were noted for their evangelizing.

Some Christians make a distinction between proselytism (illegitimate) and evangelism (legitimate).
and later on Most self-described Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which in whole or in part includes proselytism of people of other faiths (including sometimes other variants of Christianity) or none. and from the Wiki on evangelism The evangelist is one that travels from town to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. The evangelical movement in Protestant Christianity encompasses denominations and parachurch organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which, among other characteristics, focus on evangelism and the drawing-in of new converts.

So, the fact that evangelism or proselytizing is an inherent tenet of many religions makes me intellectually lazy and guilty of stereotyping? Bzzzzt, try again.
posted by fenriq at 12:37 PM on December 3, 2006


cribcage: Way to totally misread what I said.
I don't give a shit if John Doe believes that prayers can heal. I do give a shit if John Doe is a government official and decides that he's going to cut funding to health care and medical facilities because, hey, let's just pray that stab wound to the head will heal itself.
I don't care if John Doe believes Noah built an ark. I do care if John Doe then prevents my children (assuming I had any) from learning about evolution in school and instead presents the "alternative theory" of ark-olution. Glad to see you can be so sanguine about it, though.

krinklyfig: I don't think it's a derail. As I said, I don't really have any evidence for that, I was just judging off the appearance that all scientologists are rich celebrities. But still, if the estimate is 55,000 scientologists in the US (according to Wikipedia), and let's say all of them send all their money to the Church, how many hundreds of thousands of people send their cash to Hinn? Possibly even millions? The difference is that Hinn is a slow bleed, whereas Scientology fucks you in the ass immediately.

dw: Hinn is in third place if you measure media appearances. Seems like there's a neverending stream of Phelps progeny being made available for TV bloviation.

How so? Tom Cruise going crazy on Oprah's couch does not count as an official Scientology marketing drive.
And yeah, Shirley Phelps has been making the TV rounds, and as I said above, gets way more media coverage than her wacko cult deserves. But they are always portrayed as batshitinsane fringe freaks. Do the Phelpses have a weekly tv show airing "on various Christian television networks, including Trinity Broadcasting Network, Daystar Television Network, Revelation TV, and The God Channel" or hold "revival meeting/faith healing summits... in large stadiums in major cities."*

We *notice* Phelps and his crew because they are so fucked that they stick out. We don't so often notice Hinn (unless it's something ridiculous like a pledge drive for a new jet) because he's part of the cultural landscape. And that's what makes him so much more dangerous. Also, I'd bet that he provides a much less extreme/more mainstream version of the kind of hate that someone like Phelps preaches. Phelps will only ever appeal to sociopaths. Hinn can appeal to the average joe and thus a much wider audience.
posted by papakwanz at 12:46 PM on December 3, 2006


dw wrote: And Hinn is in third place if you measure media appearances.

Actually, most Scientology orgs keep a very low profile. They tend to operate through front groups like Narconon and CCHR. Most people only hear of Scientology in connection with its various celebrity members.
posted by ryanrs at 12:58 PM on December 3, 2006


papakwanz wrote: Tom Cruise going crazy on Oprah's couch does not count as an official Scientology marketing drive.

Of course it does. Celebrities are the public face of Scientology. See Wikipedia: Scientology and celebrities.
posted by ryanrs at 1:03 PM on December 3, 2006


But I agree that Hinn has greater media reach than Scientology. Scientology is pretty secretive.
posted by ryanrs at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2006


And Hinn is in third place if you measure media appearances
what papakwanz said - also, those networks have international reach - buying advertorial slots for Creflo and Benny every week, all over the world.

It's all about the Benny Hinns.

YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE

Project, much?
posted by Sparx at 1:33 PM on December 3, 2006


papakwanz writes "Fred Phelps' "group has slightly fewer than 100 members, 90 of whom are related to Phelps through blood or marriage or both....""

Am I the only one who giggled at the "or both" addition?

Something else -- although I do think that the sort of "magical thinking" behind religion generally does make one more susceptible to be sucked into scams like Hinn's, I am a little disappointed that this turned into the usual "atheist are angry smartasses vs. Xians are smug proselytizers" pointless debate. Maybe I should have known better than to make the post in the first place? Anyway, I shan't be touching religion with a ten-foot-pole in future posts, because I'm becoming increasingly convinced that there's no way the resulting discussion can possibly stay on message.
posted by clevershark at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2006


YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE

Project, much?


that's not projection, i've seen a couple of atheists use both phrases in metafilter ... and, as usual, there's plenty of examples of pissiness in this thread, aren't there?

I am a little disappointed that this turned into the usual "atheist are angry smartasses vs. Xians are smug proselytizers" pointless debate.

all i'm going to say is that some people have poisoned the well when it comes to this subject which is why a lot of theists stay out of it now ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2006


that's not projection

Of course it isn't (probably - only his therapist knows for sure), but it was such a rant by dnab that "doth protest too much" immediately occured to me and I couldn't resist a little snark. Plus the correct terminology is INVISIBLE SKY-BULLY, for future reference.

But more the the point. I think dnab is being disingenuous by accusing most atheists of being smug and superior. Many just enjoy a good argument. I, for one, always warn people that mentioning religion around me in alcohol-related settings can lead to protracted conversations of a voluable nature. But I'd never call anyone "stupid", when irrational fits much better. You know who else wasn't stupid? Hannibal Lector.

Hopefully, by now, it will be obvious that my hyperbolic examples of rhetorical trickery are not meant to score points but to illustrate other perspectives (albeit sometimes very tangentially indeed). Or perhaps I'm flattering myself. Curse that innate atheistic superiority complex!
posted by Sparx at 2:17 PM on December 3, 2006


Seems to me that this is one thing Christians and nons can all agree on: Benny Hinn is perpetrating fraud and using religion as a means to get rich.
posted by The Deej at 3:18 PM on December 3, 2006


all those ______ people are alike

pyramid termite has identified the big problem, and it's been buried by all the usual virtiol. Screw those underscore assholes!
posted by Kwine at 3:42 PM on December 3, 2006


I'm not sure what "virtiol" is, but apparently I think it's capable of burying.
posted by Kwine at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2006


Flunkie writes "Oh, so sorry. You didn't state that atheists are the driving loudly vocal and insistent force in our society on the topic of religion."

You're absolutely right. An apology for putting words in my mouth would be nice.

Flunkie writes "If we're going to cavalierly stereotype the force and ubiquity with which whole groups of people impose their religious opinions upon others, which you seem set upon doing, then I'm afraid that I'm going to have to once again refer you to Matthew 7:3-5, and think about it in the context of your particular group."

Why do you assume I'm Christian?

Flunkie writes "You merely said, in a post on people and religion, wherein you were speaking about 'the most part' of atheists, that the 'self righteous little bastards seem to think that it's perfectly alright to scream and point fingers and say "YOUR INVISIBLE SKY-GOD DOESN'T EXIST, LOOK AT HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE".'"

The sky-god bit was a direct quote that I have seen multiple times here on MeFi, and often approved of/echoed by the rest of the athiests participating in the thread. My apologies--I really should only use examples I've made up out of whole cloth, and put words in peoples' mouths.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2006


Sparx writes "I think dnab is being disingenuous by accusing most atheists of being smug and superior. Many just enjoy a good argument."

You can think what you like, but you're wrong.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2006


Christian vs. Atheist, Summarised:

Oh yeah? Well my God could beat up your God ... if you had one!
posted by bwg at 4:24 PM on December 3, 2006


bwg, maybe it should be summarized as, my God can beat up your dog?

Or is that the argument between theists and dyslexics?

The Deej, yes, I think that we can all agree on that. Hey, common ground? Maybe there is hope for us all?
posted by fenriq at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2006


dnab writes: "You can think what you like, but you're wrong."

Funny, that's a perfect summary of my position as an athiest.
posted by papakwanz at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2006


papakwanz writes "dnab writes: 'You can think what you like, but you're wrong.'

"Funny, that's a perfect summary of my position as an athiest."


But that's the thing. You cannot prove that there is nothing out there in the Universe--call it God, if you must, but that's a term laden with all sorts of problematic nuances--just as I cannot prove that there is. You can think I'm wrong, and you are absolutely welcome to it, but please don't mistake your belief for fact.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2006


Why do you assume I'm Christian?
  1. I didn't. Why did you assume that suggesting that you re-read Matthew 7:3-5 implies that I think that you're Christian? At best, it implies an assumption that you have previously read Matthew 7:3-5, which, I guess I have to point out, is an extremely famous verse from an extremely famous book.
  2. On the other hand, you assumed that I am an atheist ("you little bastards", you grouped atheists and me as). Why?

posted by Flunkie at 5:06 PM on December 3, 2006


Oh yeah? Well my God could beat up your God ... if you had one!...

"...and my God agrees - which gives us the majority opinion."

The sky-god bit was a direct quote that I have seen multiple times here on MeFi,

And just because I can't leave well enough alone.

Perhaps you mean this one, the only one that came up in search (not necessarily an absolute result, but indicative). Allow me to quote it for you

Just when we use rhetoric that reduces all people of faith to buffoons worshipping the invisible sky God, we're pissing people off unnecessarily. It's part and parcel of this elitist stereotype that is perpetuated about liberals.

Oh yeah, baby. That's just frothing at the mouth.

You might have done better with invisible sky superhero, wizard, parents, gods, buddy, elf or guy.

Anecdotally, the ones screaming the loudest tend to be either natural screamers about stuff in general or the ones for whom religion has had a profoundly negative effect on their lives (not that you appear interested at all in their reasons, perhaps just it takes much less time to simply judge their actions). The quieter ones you'll never even notice. And worse, you're trying to prove it by pointing to arguments on the internet. Where people are always so perfectly polite. Anecdotal evidence, it's useful to bear in mind, isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Especially on the tubes.

But still, sorry you met some real scum-sucking vermin. I suspect you'd have hated them regardless of their religious affiliation.
posted by Sparx at 5:15 PM on December 3, 2006


You can think I'm wrong, and you are absolutely welcome to it, but please don't mistake your belief for fact.

Yeah, but a religious belief isn't even based on anything measurable. In other words, my belief IS based on facts. Observable, repeatable, etc. But, whatever. Rock on with your sky god. Just please don't VOTE how your sky-god tells you to.

And as for smugness ... how do you feel about Wiccans? Scientologists? If I tell you I believe in Thor and Poseidon, do you laugh? Everybody's smug about something.
posted by frogan at 6:04 PM on December 3, 2006


dnab writes: "...please don't mistake your belief for fact"

Uh... isn't that EXACTLY what you were doing when you suggested that most athiests were smug and superior?
posted by papakwanz at 6:04 PM on December 3, 2006


frogan: I'd be fine if people voted how their sky-god (or sea-god, or wood nymph, or tooth fairy, or sun diety...) told them. If you get a memo from Zoroaster telling you which lever to pull, that's awesome.

I have a problem with people voting the way the very fallible and corrupt self-proclaimed interpreters of the sky-god's words tells them to vote.
posted by papakwanz at 6:07 PM on December 3, 2006


Oh, and

*snickers while frogan performs a ritual dance for the solstice*
posted by papakwanz at 6:07 PM on December 3, 2006


frogan writes "And as for smugness ... how do you feel about Wiccans? Scientologists? If I tell you I believe in Thor and Poseidon, do you laugh? Everybody's smug about something."

Wiccans piss me off, and most Scientologists mean well, but are trapped by a moneymaking scam. Sure, yes, everyone's smug about something, but it's the patronizing "there, there, you poor deluded little fool" bullshit that many atheists subscribe to that pisses me the fuck off.

papakwanz writes "dnab writes: '...please don't mistake your belief for fact'

"Uh... isn't that EXACTLY what you were doing when you suggested that most athiests were smug and superior?"


Er, no. But nice try.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:10 PM on December 3, 2006


Ok then, why wasn't it? Do you have a scientific study that proves that athiests are smug and superior? Seems to me it was based on your own personal experiences and anecdotes, not on any sort of "fact."

Er, no. But nice try.
I know it's difficult to transmit tone accurately over the internets, but that seems a little smug and superior to me.
I'm just saying.
posted by papakwanz at 6:18 PM on December 3, 2006


You know, dirtynumbangelboy, from the other side, smugness feels great. At the end of the day, if your G-d only makes you grouchy and pissed off, you should try a bit of atheistic smugness for a change.
posted by boaz at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy : Wiccans piss me off,

Why?

I was trying to stay out of the athiest/ religion clusterfuck this thread has become, but this pulled me back. Why do Wiccans piss you off?

[full disclosure: not a Wiccan myself, just curious]
posted by quin at 6:25 PM on December 3, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy, my beliefs are based on observable facts, my belief system is verifiable, repeatable and provable. What are theists beliefs based on?
posted by fenriq at 6:31 PM on December 3, 2006


it's a good thing people have avoided being smug here, because then they'd REALLY be unbearable
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on December 3, 2006


papakwanz writes "Seems to me it was based on your own personal experiences and anecdotes, not on any sort of 'fact.'"

Oh, right, okay--so observed reality--which is cited below as the basis for one person's atheism--is not fact, now?

boaz writes "At the end of the day, if your G-d only makes you grouchy and pissed off, you should try a bit of atheistic smugness for a change."

No, people piss me off. My relationship with Divinity is quite the opposite.

quin writes "dirtynumbangelboy : Wiccans piss me off,

"Why?"


Not going to get into it. If you feel like emailing me, please do so.

fenriq writes "dirtynumbangelboy, my beliefs are based on observable facts, my belief system is verifiable, repeatable and provable. What are theists beliefs based on?"

Absence of evidence is not etc etc. My point is, you take it as an article of faith that there is no--for lack of a better word--God. You cannot conclusively prove that there isn't one--it's a logical impossibility. (And yes, I'm well aware that the very same argument can be used in support of the existence of unicorns, unselfish Libertarians, and the conspiracy to kill JFK). I will absolutely grant you that there is no empirical evidence in support of the existence of God--but again, absence of evidence, and so on.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2006


Nobody knows nuthin, till the day they die.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:58 PM on December 3, 2006


which is cited below as the basis for one person's atheism

Oh, smugness isn't the basis for my atheism. Not being a moron is the basis for my atheism. The smugness, as demonstrated in that last sentence, is just a happy side effect. Felt great too. ;)

No, people piss me off. My relationship with Divinity is quite the opposite.

But if you had that smugness, then those people wouldn't piss you off. Emphatic misanthropy wasn't even charming on Bukowski, so what hope do you think you have?
posted by boaz at 7:10 PM on December 3, 2006


boaz writes "Not being a moron is the basis for my atheism. "

Ergo, I'm a moron? That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from that statement.

Fuck you very much.

I'm curious... do you belong to a lodge?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:14 PM on December 3, 2006


Not being a moron is the basis for my atheism.

is this anything like the cretin paradox?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 PM on December 3, 2006


I think we've fairly well established that both outspoken atheists and outspoken theists at MeFi are smug, frequently moronic assholes.
posted by Bugbread at 7:24 PM on December 3, 2006


Not being a moron is the basis for my atheism.

I don't know whether you're a moron, but that comment — clearly intimating that only morons believe in God — shows that you haven't learned much about our world or its history. Most of humanity's greatest leaders believed in one deity or another; and while they might have been mistaken on that particular issue, it's difficult to take seriously anyone who insists that they were "morons."
posted by cribcage at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2006


Most of humanity's greatest leaders believed in one deity or another

Excellent point. In fact, so excellent I'm going to ignore the preceding three.

So yes, political leaders have nearly without exception adopted the religion of the people they lead in either act or fact, for reasons that, say, the presidency of GW Bush should make eminently obvious. Heck, if I had any desire to be president, I'd be whining with the theists right now too. Occupational hazard, and the other tack, taken by Mao, Stalin, et al, is quite a bit worse. However, since I'm not planning on being president or prime minister of anywhere, I would be a moron if I adopted a God for the purpose of being more easily led.
posted by boaz at 7:54 PM on December 3, 2006


fenriq thanks for agreeing. Whatever we are right now, maybe we can start our own religion/philosophy/belief system based on that agreement.

Antihinnism???
posted by The Deej at 8:19 PM on December 3, 2006


So yes, political leaders have nearly without exception...

I didn't say "political." In fact, I avoided specifying examples — like Stalin, or Isaac Newton, or Bach, or Charles Dickens — because I didn't want to drag the discussion into an argument about why X is an exception and why Z was a fraud. My point was simply that, whether you look at politics or music or literature — and yes, even science — the men and women who have contributed most to our civilization(s) have overwhelmingly been people of faith. You can insist that they were mistaken if you like, but you can't expect to be taken seriously if you insist that they were all "morons."
posted by cribcage at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2006


dnab: Oh, right, okay--so observed reality--which is cited below as the basis for one person's atheism--is not fact, now?

What you have observed: some people who self-identify as athiests you judge to be smug and superior.

Have you organized your observations into some sort of statistical chart than can prove a certain percentage of the athiests you've had contact with are also smug and superior?

Have you verified your observations with others? That is, checked to see if these people were generally considered smug and superior, or if it was only your opinion?

Have you run experiments to determine if the athiesm was the cause of their smugness and superiority, the other way around, or just a random correlation of two factors?

No? OK then. Your claim remains in the realm of anecdote and opinion. Which I may not agree with, but I will defend to the death, etc.

cribcage: Most *people* in the history of the world -- leaders, villains, or average schmoes -- have believed in some sort of diety. What's your point?
posted by papakwanz at 8:42 PM on December 3, 2006


Er... that first line was a little odd... translation: You judge some people who self-identify as athiests to be smug and superior.
posted by papakwanz at 8:48 PM on December 3, 2006


I didn't say "political."

You said leaders, so I naturally assumed you were referring to people who, you know, lead. I mean, Bach, Dickens, and whoever your other non-examples are, may be talented artists, but I'd hardly call them leaders. I guess Newton was the leader of the Royal Society in his day, but he mostly used that position to slander Leibniz, not move civilization forward.

And yes, I fully believe that people who lived in a time where they'd be shut out of any meaningful occupation or ostracized if they were to declare their atheism, to not be atheist. Similarly, I'd bet most of the paragons of culture, science and art (and the leaders too) in, say, Communist Russia were atheist.

And finally, you folks need to lighten up. That line was, as pointed out in the very next sentence, an example of smugness, not intellectual rigor. I'm not quite sure why you're all so opposed to smugness. After all, it feels good, it's nicer than misanthropy, it's more fun than sincerity, and it only offends people who want to be offended any way. It's almost like smugness is to mefites as gay sex is to fundies. Right down to how many of them are closeted smugs.
posted by boaz at 9:00 PM on December 3, 2006


dirtynumbangelboy, you defeated your own premise. No, I cannot conclusively prove that something that doesn't exist, does not exist. But I can prove that the world exists and I can prove that we have an understanding of how things came to be the way they are, we have cause and effect, we have chemical interactions, we have a whole body of knowledge dedicated to understanding more and more of the known universe.

And what does the theist have? Blind faith?

By the way, boaz and I may both be atheists but we are most certainly not the same kind of atheists. I do try to respect other people's belief systems as best I can. I do not, however, feel any requirement to respect them when they do not similarly respect my belief system. If believing makes you a better person, more respectful to the world at large then I have no problems with your believing. If, however, you use your beliefs like a club to abuse others then I definitely have a problem with that.

People like Hinn use religion like a tool to get what they want, jets, expensive houses, cars, whatever. He's a scumbag user hiding behind the Bible. The person who lives a spiritual life guided by morals instilled by whatever text works for them is no enemy of mine.

The Deej, I don't think anti-anything is a good place to start. I'm very pro really, I love the world, I'm constantly amazed and humbled by nature and awed by its beauty. I don't think my belief system is against another, just not for them either. Call it humanism, call it realism, call it naturalism.

And I do not automatically discount the possibility of a higher intelligence watching over everything. I am highly skeptical but I do not have that door fully closed. That's why I tend to refer to myself as a cynical agnostic.

I do generally hate organized religion because it cows a people into a mindset from which tremendous horrors can be justified. But then, populations of people are manipulable by people of charisma and fire, they always have been and always will be, for better or for worse. On an individual scale, religion can be a superb guiding light. On a large scale, it can cause one people to attempt to annihilate another based on differing belief systems.

Much earlier in this thread, dw accused me of intellectual laziness in regard to a generalization I had made based on my experience. I have given religion and religious thought a tremendous amount of consideration, I've studied theology in college, I've read religious texts, I know more about religion than many people. I don't hate religion, I hate people that use it to make other people do what they want. If that makes me smug and superior because I refuse to believe then so be it, I don't think it does but, in reality, at the end of the day, I don't care. I believe what I believe because it works for me. Believe what you want if it works for you.
posted by fenriq at 9:04 PM on December 3, 2006


gah, I'm trying to remember what the linked quote on the FPP is from. Anyone?
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 9:27 PM on December 3, 2006


Bach, Dickens, and whoever your other non-examples are, may be talented artists, but I'd hardly call them leaders. I guess Newton was the leader of the Royal Society in his day, but he mostly used that position to slander Leibniz, not move civilization forward.

That's precisely the sort of pedantic tripe I was hoping to avoid. The point, again, was that most of the people who have led every society's achievements belie your intimation that "only morons believe in God." If you want to defend the merits of smugness, that's fine by me — but it kinda defeats the point when you use a smug air to make dumb statements.
posted by cribcage at 9:37 PM on December 3, 2006


Subcommandante Cheese writes "gah, I'm trying to remember what the linked quote on the FPP is from. Anyone?"

It's from the Star Trek V movie ("what does God need with a starship?"). I'm told it's the least worthy ST movie of the lot (then again I don't want to get into this debate, not being a big ST fan).
posted by clevershark at 9:40 PM on December 3, 2006


Oh, dude, clevershark... It's terrible. When people ask me why I'm an athiest, I point to Star Trek V and ask them, "How could a loving God allow this to happen?"
posted by papakwanz at 10:05 PM on December 3, 2006


The Deej, I don't think anti-anything is a good place to start. I'm very pro really, I love the world, I'm constantly amazed and humbled by nature and awed by its beauty.

fenriq, that's a good attitude to have. Obviously my proposal was in jest, but your response is rather interesting.

I am a Christian, and have seen the best and the worst (a lot of the worst) of organized Christianity. I only avoid disillusionment by not starting with illusions.

Not to sound too hokey, but your positive attitude regarding life really struck me, as I am currently in one of those possibly-disillusioning situations. So thanks!

(But I still can't stand Hinn! I saw him in person a few times before he became a big name. Even then.... :: shudder ::)
posted by The Deej at 10:10 PM on December 3, 2006


That's precisely the sort of pedantic tripe I was hoping to avoid.

One man's pedantic tripe is another's obvious clarification. But pay attention for a second here. I've already given two separate examples, political leaders and people living in oppressively religious societies, of whole classes of people who are not morons for being theists. So can you please stop telling me that I'm intimating that all are? I didn't say it, and I didn't intimate it. You, however, may be in a situation that you would be a moron for being a theist, which is one possible explanation of the level of confused umbrage you're showing here. Which is a smug observation, admittedly.
posted by boaz at 10:20 PM on December 3, 2006


I didn't say it, and I didn't intimate it.

Well, let's take a look.

boaz: Not being a moron is the basis for my atheism.

Have a nice day, though.
posted by cribcage at 10:35 PM on December 3, 2006


Oh for Fuck's sake we already have an atheist/ religion thread active. Come on people, let's just all agree that,

Metafilter: smug.

Honestly, this is just getting stupid. Atheists are smug. Religious folk are smug. Everyone with a computer and power and food and clean water can pull out their dicks (metaphorically) and state their opinion on a Deity that may or may not exist with great and verbose language.

But it solves nothing.

This was an interesting thread about someone who was clearly a scam artist fleecing his flock, but we have managed to fuck it up and turn it into yet another 'you theists/ atheists are stupid because...'

If you care, you can read my history and see where I fall on this argument, but come on. 1.) we don't need to turn every thread that concerns a religious figure into a debate about whether god exists, and 2.) just because someone is stealing money in the name of a god that you may or may not believe in, that person is not righteous, but he is still making money.

I didn't see a single person in this thread defending the preacher at fault (rightly so) and here is where we can all come together. This person is not religious. This person is not following the precepts of his bible. This person is taking money from the easily confused and susceptible. This is not a man of god. This is a con-man. A villain. And god fearing or not, I think we can all agree that his tactics are deplorable.

This shouldn't be a debate about whether god exists or not, this should be a discussion about how we can stop con-men from taking money from people who 'believe'. And thereby hurting honest followers how think they are helping others.

You don't have to believe in God to want to help people. And anyone paying attention can see that this person is not helping people, he is in it for the money. So let's all come together and agree that Benny Hinn is not helping people, he's just making the world a worse place to live.
posted by quin at 10:53 PM on December 3, 2006


Can we add a "smug" flag for comments? Or would that shut down metafilter in about an hour?
How about an ironic "smug person accusing someone else of being smug"?
posted by papakwanz at 10:54 PM on December 3, 2006


This is not a man of god. This is a con-man. A villain.

That's one possibility, but there's another. Maybe he believes in God, and, as he is rewarded for it, he believes more strongly. There's a very rich real estate developer I know in my city who's also very religious, and the previous sentence pretty much sums up his theology.

Either way, he's obviously fleecing his flock and a big poopy-head. However, he can't do this without his flock. So my question is, (considering how deep we've already delved into the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy), are his flock also not men and women of god? After all, they're the ones buying some dickweed a plane instead of feeding the poor, giving to the sick, burning the heretics, doing all the classic Christian activities.
posted by boaz at 11:16 PM on December 3, 2006


Personally (and back on topic), I'd like to see Jesus beat up Benny Hinn for all the crap Hinn perpetrated in His name.
posted by bwg at 11:20 PM on December 3, 2006


Smug?????? I prefer to be glib.
posted by The Deej at 11:24 PM on December 3, 2006


Good question boaz, and similar to one I asked when the thread first started. Still haven't gotten a final answer on it yet though.
posted by quin at 2:57 AM on December 4, 2006


metafilter: not being a moron is the basis

*snickers*
posted by pyramid termite at 4:13 AM on December 4, 2006


I can prove that we have an understanding of how things came to be the way they are, we have cause and effect,

well, to be fair to the philosophers, actually, you can't. We've talked about this so many times that there's no need to go into it again, but suggesting that religion is inherently prone to this kind of con game is like suggesting that the printing press naturally leads to propaganda. In a way it's true that it's a particularly useful tool for an evil end, but that doesn't make it an evil tool in itself. If you look at actual people in the world, there are many who use religion for good.

I'm not religious, but it's unfair to paint all believers with one brush stroke. There are more sophisticated conceptions of god that some very non-moronic people ascribed to, and there are also plenty of irrational beliefs that people take for granted that don't require god (even just the "truth" of basic social norms, etc).

What this guy does is sickening, though. The relation of materialism & christianity in america is such a bizarre one, too... there was an interesting piece on NPR this weekend about dealing with money & religion.
posted by mdn at 4:51 AM on December 4, 2006


papakwanz, thank very much for proving my point by example. You believe, I'm sure, all sorts of things without referring to statistics and charts. How about, say, love, or your opinion of the people in the White House?

Ah well, you're exactly the sort of atheist that drives me insane. Much like boaz, I'm guessing you think I'm a complete moron--and so, therefore, is the massive overwhelming majority of the Earth's population. Clearly, Gandhi was a moron, Mother Teresa was a moron, Mozart, Newton.... shall I go on? It's so very nice that we have you obviously superior atheists to set the world free of all of this art and music and social justice that people of faith have been involved with.

Yes, obviously, much of the troubles we have today wouldn't be aorund without organized religion. But try to see my point, if you're capable of doing so.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:59 AM on December 4, 2006


mdn, actually, yes, you can prove cause and effect, being fair to philosophers has nothing to do with it. And using my words to lead into a rip on sweeping generalizations is unfair and demonstrative of the fact that you didn't actually read my comment. I make it very clear that I don't regard all religion as evil.
posted by fenriq at 6:44 AM on December 4, 2006


You wankers are still knocking heads about God and religion?

Think of all the material or spiritual delights you could've delighted in in the past few days if you weren't so concerned with a)what other people think about God and religion (notice only God was capitalized), b)what other people think about what you think, c)all delusion between.

Move along.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2006


Hey dnab,

I base my opinion of people in the White House on news reports, facts and figures about the Iraq War, no WMDs, doctored intelligence, voting machine scandals, corrupt lobbying, the Valerie Plame affair, tax cuts for the rich... etc. etc. You know, facts and observed reality with more than personal anecdotal evidence behind it. If it was just, "Those guys seem smug and superior to me personally," then you might have a point.

And I *didn't* think you're a moron, until your last post. Actually, I still don't, but I think you might be a little bit of an oversensitive cock. I never said anything about religious people being morons, but thanks for jumping to that conclusion. I never said anything about religion being the cause for all the world's problems, because I don't think it is. People are the cause for all of the world's problems.

I *did* say that I have a problem with religious people in power using their beliefs to set public policy that affects me. And I have a problem with religious figures using their pulpit to promote political causes and candidates.

I've known many people far smarter than me who believed in some sort of diety. I've know many people far dumber who didn't. It has no bearing, in my opinion, on a person's worth or intelligence.

I was pointing out your hypocrisy in saying one person's opinions about religion or about atheists or about whatever were not fact, but your opinions about atheists were, with absolutely no basis for it. Try to see my point, if you're capable of doing so, your unsmugness.
posted by papakwanz at 7:19 AM on December 4, 2006


Wow Burhanistan, now THAT is the smugness I think we were all looking for. Do you really think anyone gives a flying fuck about your dismissal of people arguing here about religion? I can't speak for anyone else but I certainly couldn't care any less.
posted by fenriq at 7:49 AM on December 4, 2006


mdn, actually, yes, you can prove cause and effect, being fair to philosophers has nothing to do with it.

okay, well I dunno if you have an intricately tuned kantian argument in mind or a 'naive realism', duh-there's-cause-&-effect, attitude, but in any case, it is certainly not proven to the satisfaction of everyone, and the notion that we can prove "how things came to be the way they are" is even less well grounded. We can work out how to get from A to B, but we have no sense at all of where A came from, which is what religion is trying to account for.

And using my words to lead into a rip on sweeping generalizations is unfair and demonstrative of the fact that you didn't actually read my comment.

sorry, that wasn't directed specifically to you - paragraph break was meant to mark it as a general statement. I think superficial atheism makes more sense than superficial theism, but once you go beyond the superficial level, I think it's a lot messier a question than that, and these threads just end up being a fight between the simplistic versions of these philosophies. and we've done it countless times... I see now that you & I have even been over this before, so I suppose that's good reason to drop it here :)
posted by mdn at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2006


mdn, cool on the misplaced arrow. Thanks for clarifying.

As for the cause and effect argument, it doesn't have to be accepted by everyone. Evolution isn't accepted by everyone but it is accepted as truth by people who matter. Maybe cause and effect is a convenient assumption of the fundamental nature of the existence of this reality but without that assumption we're just disembodied brains floating in a tub of water and dreaming all of this up. Which would be depressing.
posted by fenriq at 8:43 AM on December 4, 2006


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