23 January 2005

Maybe miracles will keep you from heaven

A friend has sent in his report of the Benny Hinn prayer meet. For those of you who are not aware of the controversy that built up around the event, this might be useful.

"The day began quite early for me since we had to take my aunt to the cancer hospital. She had been operated upon for ovarian cancer and chemotherapy was to be done.

Later I set out with my mom-in-law for the faith healing event. Though I am thoroughly skeptic about faith healing, I try to go to such events just for the heck of it. Since there was so much controversy about this guy, I was desperate to check out. But my and mom-in-law is a firm believer.

Police had diverted the traffic to Hosur ring road and we were wondering how to head back to Jakkur (the venue). We found two guys on a bike who suggested that we head back as there was trouble ahead. We then asked them how we were supposed to reach the venue. Their statement was amazing, "Neevu namma deshada anna thinthira illva, solpa deshada bagge abhimana itkolli." (You live off this land. So cultivate some sense of respect for the country.) This made me furious. I said, "We do eat deshada anna, you guys seem to eat some shit," and sped off on my bike. They followed us and started abusing us. Since I didn't stop, they went further ahead, joined an angry mob and waited for me to make a turn towards Jakkur. Thankfully, I could see them from afar and didn't turn towards them. We finally reached the venue, after much searching.

We went inside the welcome arch and the stage was built nearly a km from there. The sight was truly awe-inspiring. There were 72 giant screens with thousands of halogen lights flooding the place. Police were doing metal detector frisking of every visitor. Why there were 22 ambulances in a faith healing event was my typical skeptic thought while entering the place!

After an hour of singing by the 2000-strong choir, Benny Hinn came on stage. In typical evangelist style, he started praising the crowd, India, the Chief Minister, the choir, God and everything around him. There were another hour of singing and praising halleluiah. His preaching was sad with just a recital of verses from the bible and an explanation on it. No real life instances or his personal experiences!

But the shocking thing was him talking about God TV and how it is affecting the lives of people all over the world. I knew some commercials were bound to be there and here they came. Finally, it's all about money honey! To top it all, he said he is not taking any offerings from the event today (Jan 21). But what about tomorrow and day after?

The climax was the healing process. I was wondering how different he is from other Christian healers in India. He created a frenzy of praise for the lord and halleluiah. My mom-in-law was fully immersed into it while I was busy looking around. He called all people in need of specific blessing to the stage. The way the foreign compere was introducing the patients and their pain, it was clear that the show was orchestrated.

The first one was a girl who couldn't walk since her childhood; she was jumping around with joy. Benny Hinn touched her and she fell down as if she got a shock. She was carried off and next came a ovarian cancer patient. Similarly about a dozen people were brought on stage and cured. Just when you thought all this is a farce, he called out for a James who was feeling a lot of pain. Suddenly out of the crowd, there emerged a James from Mysore who had tremendous headache. In one stroke, Hinn swept his hand across and everyone on stage fell down at that instant!

While my mom-in-law was totally taken in by this cathartic moment, I was wondering if my aunt could be cured of her cancer in one stroke. They say it is not the healer, but the faith in the patient that matters. My aunt was a retired nun, who spent a pious life praying and meditating. She doesn't ask god that why she is a victim. She says her god wants her as soon as possible. If Benny Hinn can cure her in a stroke, then would he be preventing her from going to heaven…?"


Praveen Bhat said...

I couldn't help but laugh at this statement from your first Deccan Herald link: "The evangelist said Jesus had asked him to accept money offerings from the people." There was a quote I remember from somewhere that, in effect, says: "Religion is the best business". I don't care much about the (fake) miracle healing but its really strange how he got away with:
(i) abusing other religions in his pamphlets
(ii) saying that he won't collect money earlier and then sweeping out pockets to the tune of Rs. 25C (so I hear)!!!

Vijayalaxmi said...

Rs 25C? It's not clear what you've typed. But I hadnt heard of this.

Praveen Bhat said...

Benny Hinn's monetary collections in this visit to B'lore amounted to Rs. 25 Crores as per some article yesterday! Earlier, he'd said that he won't collect money.

Well, excuse my obscure writing. (Inspired by your DoodleBoard topic & comment, I blogged a confession today :)

Durairaj Raju said...

Do you really believe in miracles? Or, they are the imagination of ignorance? Your thought processes will travel in a new and peaceful path if you read the ebook I, Thy Saviour at www.ithysaviour.com