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The Faith Healers Hardcover – April 1, 1987

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From School Library Journal

YA Are there people chosen by God to heal bodily ailments through the power of prayer alone? Randi's answer is ``maybe,'' but on the basis of his three-year investigation into faith heal ers, he hasn't found any evidence of it and suggests it may be nothing more than a religious con game. The author, a professional magician, has made it a sideline to expose fraud and miscon ceptions in the realm of the paranormal. Leading evangelists such as Oral Rob erts, Peter Popoff, W. V. Grant, Pat Robertson, and others are all shown to use tactics that are at best misleading, to guide the faithful into believing that they have been supernaturally cured by prayer alone. At worst, some of these men are shown to be cynical frauds preying on the desperation of the seri ously ill. The book is not tightly writ ten, but it can be read for enlighten ment. Karl Penny, Houston Pub . Lib .
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Revised edition (April 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879753692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879753696
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). Randi began his career as a magician, as The Amazing Randi, but after retiring at age 60, he began investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively calls "woo-woo." Although often referred to as a "debunker," Randi rejects that title owing to its perceived bias, instead describing himself as an "investigator." He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and was occasionally featured on the television program Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 136 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is almost impossible to read this book and not be outraged by the callous and reprehensible behavior of the so-called "faith healers." Not only does Randi reveal the methods and tricks used by these charlatans, but he provides example after example, including actual documents, to back up his findings. He demonstrates just how disgracefully these individuals use every underhanded trick they can come up with to wring money out of people who honestly believe that their hard-earned dollars are going to support a good cause; they believe they are doing the right thing, when in actuality their donations are used to purchase sports cars, clothes, and new homes for these supposed "men of God."
It is unfathomable how someone like the previous reviewer can accuse Randi of being jealous of the money earned by the "faith healers." Randi is unfailingly respectful of those whom he sees as honestly pursuing their convictions, even though he feels they are misguided; for example, he bears no ill will towards Earnest Angley, one of the most famous faith healers of all, because he feels that Angley is sincere. But as for the charlatans and deceivers who prey upon the weak, Randi spares none of his wrath, and rightfully so. Why shouldn't he take off the kid gloves when dealing with people so vile that they would exploit the honest religious faith of good people for their own monetary gain?
Does the previous reviewer feel that it is legitimate for a minister to mail out packages of kool aid, call it the "blood of Christ," and ask for donations in excess of $100 from simple, hard-working people?
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108 of 113 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on May 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a United Methodist pastor. I serve a local church and work as a hospital chaplain. To round things off, I am a member of the Order of St. Luke the Physician. James Randi, the author of this tome is none of these things but he is a skeptic with an open mind. This book is long overdue and very well done.

My background before entering the ministry was in math, physics, engineering and biology. I know and understand the scientific method and what it can and cannot do. I also uderstand the limitations of theology and anecdotal reporting. James Randi does as well. He make no claims of being religious but is willing to look and consider each case put before him. I rather suspect him of being an agnostic but that does not prevent his outrage from showing at some of the tricks faith healers have been known to use. His book is a well presented expose and it is a shame that more people, including governmental agencies, broacasters and church members across the CHristian spectrum are not outraged by what is routinely done to people of faith.

Nowhere does Randi claim that healing by prayer is impossible, though he does admit to being skeptical about it. What bothers him is seeing flocks being fleeced unmercifully by people who claim to be God's annointed and seeing those same ministers actually hurt people and perpetrate frauds. I respectfully submit that such behavior should bother everyone. I know it bothers me, especially since it eventually hurts the faith of those most in need of healing.

I do believe in the power of prayer and make no apoligies for it. I believe it does work and is efficacious. I do not believe that prayer always gives the desired results. Modern medicine can cure many things, treat many more and fails in yet others.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley VINE VOICE on July 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
For the skeptics that may think this book is an attack on religion or Faith in general this book does not attack either. This book is an angry outcry against those unscrupulous individuals that prey upon those in need. I love the almost scientific scrutiny that is used to debunk these men. He carefully examines several of these so called "Faith Healers", and makes a poiant argument that those that take advantage of others in the name of religion should be prosecuted.
Being a magician himself he is aware of many tricks of the trade when it comes to manipulating an audience, and uses his own personal experience to unveil when others use similar techniques. This book reminds me of the movie "Leap of Faith", but there is no happy ending in this book. Granted those of us that will read this book are the ones that are inclinded to not believe in the laying on of hands, or other types of "Healing". This is a good read and I highly recommend this book.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alexis S. Mendez on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I love James Randi books (even if sometimes he repeats a certain point several times, like trying to get it through our head by hammering it). This one, and "Flim-Flam", are my favorites.
In "Faith Healers" he exposes the tricks of those who claim that are able to cure in name of the Lord. The book is not only an eye opener, but sometimes works as an excellent detective story (as how he exposed Popoff).
Some critics of this book -and other by Randi- express that there is such things as miracles, that we need the Lord, etc... If you read carefully, you will find that Randi is never oppossed to our liberty to select a religion. He is strongly against all those people who take advantage of faith to take other people money and their possibilities of getting appropiate medical attention. Hey, religious people, even the Bible talks against people claiming falsely to have powers from God. Skeptic or believer, you have to support Randi and his causes!
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