None so blind
It is said that their is a sucker born every minute. And the easiest way to sucker people in, is to tell them what they want to hear. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. As long as you confirm what they already believe they will applaud you and shower you with praise. Con artists frequently get rich telling their victims what they want to hear.
And the stronger the belief the easier it is to con them. Take religion as an example. Religious folk, most of them, honestly do believe the stuff they preach. And they very dearly want their to be “proof” for their beliefs. They may talk about seeing with the eye of faith but they would far rather have a good look with the eye of flesh. No matter how much they preach faith they really yearn for some evidence. That is why they get taken in over an dover again.
Noah’s ark has be discovered numerous times. It is now apparent the old fool didn’t have an ark. He had an entire fleet. It has been :”discovered” several times and each time an expedition is needed to go get the proof. And people happily fund the expedition. And a few years later the ark is found again, in a different place. There is no water to float on up on top of those mountains but that ark sure gets around.
The believers want the ark to be there. And amazingly some of them convince themselves that it has been proven to exist. I watched faith healers in operation and saw precisely how they con people. Their favorite technique to heal people who are hypochondriacs. The easiest disease to cure is the one that doesn’t exist. Or take the testimony I heard one old woman from the hills give. She said she had a really bad cold and she prayed to Doctor Jesus and within three days she was feeling better. The congregation around her had ecstatic fits over the miracle. And I was think that virtually every person I know who comes down with a cold is usually over it in around three days.
I watched healers claim that people were healed of some horrible disease. The congregation would shout and whoop it up for the Lord. But no one bothered to ever find out if the person had actually been diagnosed with a disease and if they were later pronounced cured and even then you have to ask if the person continued to take normal treatment for the problem.
Now one way to con the Christians, if one is so inclined, is to have a really sinful testimony. If you can claim to be a gay Satanist, abortionist, liberal who is not a heterosexual, born again Jesus freak, pro-life conservative you could do very well for yourself.
The evangelist Marjo Gortner was conning Christians as a faith healer since he was a little kid. Marjo finally admitted he was a fraud and filmed a documentary exposing himself. Though I understand he went into a very similar profession and now works as an “astrologer” to the stars. Right! And I prayed to Dr. Jesus and in three days my cold was better.
There were “ex-Satanists” who claimed to be high priests for the Devil and who invented fanciful tales of slaughtered babies and orgies for the Devil. Christians just ate it up. The more gruesome and pornographic the claims the more they felt the Holy Spirit moving through their loins. And over and over such charlatans are exposed for being total liars with no such past at all.
Remember “Michelle Remembers” about the “recovered memory” fraud. She claimed to have been involved with Satanists who were molesting children in day care centers. She wasn’t. She invented the whole story.
Not long ago fundamentalists fell for a bullshit artists who pandered to their typically vicious anti-Catholic prejudices. He claimed to have been a priest and involved in all the secret plots of Rome. He was a liar. But the fundamentalists just ate him up and came back for seconds.
Or take the case Eric Harrah. He was a gay man who ran a clinic where women had abortions. Whoa! Fundamentalists go livid over that. Well he claims to “find Jesus” as some Assemblies of God asylum and in a matter of weeks he is on the Hallelujah Trail preaching how he’s a born again, right to lifer who has been turned away from being gay.
Now that is precisely the kind of “sinner” find’s Jesus tail that these people love to fantasize about. To them this proves that their religion is true. After all here was this man who is now magically changed into the complete opposite of what he was before. Now there are things that people can change. A pro-abortion type of fellow can have a change of heart. A socialist can discover the virtues of free markets. But gay into straight ---- well that’s pushing it a whole lot.
Harrah was all over the circuit speaking to churches and getting paid well for it. And now and then he just didn’t show up but kept the funds anyway. Well Harrah was still gay. And in the end he renounced the religion he has just embraced.
It may well be that he had a “conversion” experience. That sort of thing happens to lots of people and often they get over it. Some people enjoy it so much they keep having them and get converted over and over again. And he may well have believe the line they fed him. That happens to lots of people. And there is a wilful blindness that plagues the religious. So here is Harrah, still a gay man, trying to convince himself that what he knows is true is actually a lie and what he knows to be a lie is actually true. Plenty of ex-gays do exactly that.
Well, they do it until they can no longer pretend or until they get caught. The “ex-gay” movement is filled with such frauds. But they are not like Marjo who knew he was a fraud. They believed that they were just “struggling” and being “tempted by the Devil” and that they were still “in process of being healed”. There are hundreds of justifications for why the lie has to be true.
Well, Harrah had a lot of fundamentalists who wanted to enlist him on their campaign to establish a Taliban like government in the US. The 700 Club even went ahead and promoted him after it was already clear he was fraud. Focus on the Family had to promote him as well. So did the right-wing nuts at Coral Ridge Ministries. Harrah was doing quite well for himself. And even when people discovered he was making up facts and warned others they were ignored. Why? Because he was telling the suckers what they wanted to hear.
Of course they have excuses for being conned but only when they are clearly caught in the fraud. The line on Harrah is that he went into preaching too quickly and he needed more time to “heal”. One Christian group that pushed him says that miraculous converts need “time and resources to work through the painful memories of the past and building an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.” Of course that is the excuse for Harrah who got into the business almost immediately. Other’s hang around the church for years before going into the ministry and then when they get exposed there are other excuses for why it happened.
The amazing thing is that this Christian publication, now admitting that Harrah is not genuine still says: “God has already been glorified through Eric’s life, and we pray that the best is yet to come.” Get that. God was glorified by Harrah’s false testimony. He wasn’t what he said he was yet they still insist that this brought glory to their mythical deity. Why? Because to them it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not. As long as people think it’s true then that is all that counts. Their deity is still glorified by testimonies, true or false, real or fake.
In the end it boils down to this: they believe something because they want to believe something. They enjoy the story. It’s not just Christians who fall for this sort of line of bull.
I remember several incidents where individuals attempted to expose the tricks used by psychics, mediums and the like. So they claimed to be one of these “gifted” people. They would put on a show and the true believers came running. Then as they were getting a huge amount of publicity they admitted that it was con and that they were pulling the same fraudulent tricks that the others in that field were pulling. They would show people how it was done.
And what do you think would happen? Even after they admitted it was all a hoax true believers would come up to them on the sly and tell them they understand and know that this self-confessed fraud really did have the powers and was hiding them for some reason. Even after it was proven that the “mystic” had no special powers large numbers of believers simply continued believing anyway. It’s sort of the way you have Republicans who still think George Bush believes in small government, balanced budgets and the Constitution.