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This review is from: The Faith Healers (Paperback)
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. THe minds who have brought medicine thus far are too the gifts of God. I don't think that the "Amazing Randi" would object to very much of what I said here but he wants proof. That I cannot provide.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. I cannot provide that proof for matter of healing through faith do respond on demand. I have seen miracles of healing. Most often, these take the form of a drug therapy or surgical procedure. I believe these too are gifts from God. On a few, rare occasions, I have seen things that I chalk up to pure "miracle" but I am not advising anyone to dispense with medical treatment nor am I soliciting for funds.
Randi's book is a tirade against abuses of trust and against dishonesty. Too many bad people have tainted the whole concept of faith healing and he takes them to task. His goal is not to rehabilitate faith healing but to expose its misuse and fraud. For that we should all be thankful.
He covers the antics of a few famous "faith healers" in detail and provides sketches of others. In doing so, he gives away some of their tricks and publicizes contradictions, lies and plain old trickery. If more people were aware of these methods, fewer people might be hurt.
God bless James Randi.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 19, 2007 12:20:24 PM PDT
Free Thinker says:
Posted on Jan 4, 2008 12:23:36 PM PST
Meerkat Madness says:
Couldn't agree more.
Posted on Jun 2, 2012 10:12:16 AM PDT
Very well said! Thank you for your review!
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