Sunday, April 28, 2013

Homeopathy Minus Water Plus Jesus

When I go to these things, I make a point to do my best to blend in.  Given the topic, and some recent news[1], I decided to go another way with it.

I got a few interesting looks on the way in.  Although, since it was an event by a small church, I probably would have gotten looks in any shirt.

Niles was introduced as someone who specializes in "healing spiritually".  Among what he's claimed to have done with it is to help people overcome mental abuses.  I wonder if he's ever addressed the mental abuse inflicted by religion.  Or by scam artists.

He told a story about going to Army Ranger School.  He talked about the fact that it was physically demanding as if he hadn't expected it to be.  He then segued into a standard story about going to church during his training.  Standard story about God's love.  Blah, blah, blah.  Kingdom of Heaven.  Blah, blah, blah.  "You usually have to die go there."  In other words, we cannot verify its existence.

Then the woo started.  "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you."  I instantly felt like I was being told about one the many derivatives of Vitalism[2].  "Christian Science, at its core is about understanding the Law of Harmony".  He might as well have been talking about Chakras[3].

And to give himself credibility to those who want to pretend they're critical thinkers, he gave lip service to the Scientific Method[4], talking about things being provable and repeatable.  What followed a serious of anecdotal examples, that were neither provable nor repeatable.

When a friend got there late, her 11 year daughter whispered to me, in a "What did we miss?" kind of way, "So, how funny is this?" Skeptical kids make me happy.

Soon after, I missed his story about an accident & a concussion.  It's often difficult for me to not instinctively tune out bullshit.  But I did catch him saying "Accidents are unknown to God."  I don't think he understands the implications there.  Either his god has limits, or it intentionally caused that accident, as well as gives babies AIDS or parents who withhold medical treatment from their own children who then die of curable ailments.

When his cuts healed more quickly than expected, he thought it was a miracle.  The guy who had the genetics to be able to qualify for Ranger School healed some minor cuts quicker than he expected.  WOW!  This entirely common scenario is a goddamn miracle!  Or maybe its confirmation bias[5].

We're now half way through this thing and this guy has said nothing.  It's just a standard sermon, with a homeopathic twist, presented as something else.  Maybe he was trying to make the Jesus more powerful by diluting it in stories about the Army.

Almost as if he knew this was the time in the talk where he expected people to begin to question his honesty, he began talking about how "There's no truth in a lie."  Lies only seem true to a believer of the lie.  No shit.  He talked about "facing the lie head on."  In the middle of telling a giant lie.  Also giant is his brass.

More rambling led him to talking about Spiritual Sense.  "Spiritual Sense is our ability to understand God."  Oh, okay.  I don't have that.  I've got critical thinking skills instead.  Then he called Spiritual Sense "the ability to discern good."  See what he did there?  It was a clever segue to equate his god with good.  Is this the same god who lets kids get raped in its name[6]?

Back to the Army stories.  They taught him how to react to an ambush.  Oddly enough, they taught him to fight.  Not to pray.

After the Army, he was a Christian Science practitioner at a summer camp.  I wondered if that camp had a real doctor or nurse.  There was no mention of it having one.  I wonder what they did when a kid fell & broke an arm or leg.

I soon got my answer as he went into a story about a guy who they thought was dying.  They left him alone with the "dying" guy.  No mention of a doctor at all.  They thought someone was near death and made no effort to call a doctor?  I hope the reason they didn't get medical help was because they knew the guy, who had been working outside in Summer, had heat exhaustion and just needed to rest a bit.  But unfortunately, I doubt it.

And that was the whole thing.  Just stories about things that were all explainable, but were still attributed to magic.  No substance whatsoever.  If only I could expect any of the religious attendees to understand that the guy was so transparently full of shit.  No wonder there's so many scammers out there when people make it so easy for these con artists.

The face of a scam
Before this meeting began, I had a headache come on.  My friend offered me some ibuprofen.  Because it fucking works.  Then there's prayer.  Prayer gets kids killed[7].


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