Modern Day Con-Artists
The point of this piece is not to offend anyone who may or may not be inclined to fit into of the many systems of faith that exists now a days. Rather it is to look at specific groups that through various different channels have over the years either caused more harm than good, or present a direct threat to any one who may be caught up with said belief system. Sometimes this risk might be extremely small, small enough that is easy enough to ignore. Other times however there can prove to be an extreme hazard to the well being of the people who are caught up in some of these practices.
Faith healers are very dangerous for the public at large. Like any physic they use cold readings as well as other common tricks (such as having people fill out their information prior to the service). There has never been a single case in which someone has been healed by one of these scammers. In most cases people end up getting worse physically while lying to themselves that they have been healed by a higher power. When you analyze the way a faith healer services goes down it tends to mimic a stage show more than any normal religious ceremony that you may find.
The same tricks that illusionist use are the same ones these so called men of god use. On top of the fact that none of the people who attend such services will ever heal from these kind of public spectacles but faith healers also demand a certain level of donations in order for a person to be called up. There have been stories about sick folks being rejected because of the fact they hadn't given enough money. Since faith healers hide behind the religion blanket it can be difficult to expose these kind of people, and even when they are exposed they tend to still maintain a following and very little in the way of repercussions for their actions tend to happen.
The basic idea of this kind of healing is that people shouldn't take part in medical procedures no matter what their condition may be. This requirement is something that all members of the faith have to take part in. Even if the aliment that the person in question is suffering from can be cleared up with a simple pill, they must resist the temptation. The ministers generally push that they have the power to cure them and that they will basically become blessed when they heal themselves this way. Needless to say, this could lead some people to forgo procedures that could end up saving their lives. There has been no evidence to support the claims that are made by many of the various faith healing sects that exist today.
Psychics are one of those things that have been talked about since the early humans. Being able to predict the future or talking to the dead has always been something many have tried to achieve. While at times this can a harmless thing, there are cases where this does more damage than good or the people who are claiming to have these kind of powers are really looking to make money off of people who are suffering. Using the same tricks that you would find in a faith healing service, these so called psychics use crafty tricks to get you to pay high prices for their services. John Edwards who had a popular show where he claimed he could talk to the dead, after numerous people calling him out was eventually found to be tricking everyone.
The same holds true for Christian psychic Sylvia Brown who has made up stories to parents whose children had been kidnapped (in one case saying they where alive when in fact they had been murdered). As with any profession that prays on people who are desperate, the battle to show the world the true color of these people is one that is always important. Don't be fooled by claims that sound to good to be true, in most cases it's just someone trying to take your money and toy with your emotions for their own gains.
Performers who are basically using a form of mentalism to give off the illusion that they have other worldly powers, doesn't have to be a bad thing. If the performer is honest up front with what they are going to do than these is nothing wrong with in. The problems comes from when people try exploit others in order to gain a finical advantage. Think about this, why would your dead uncle really care about talking to a psychic? Was he really that friendly of a guy, or would have more than likely told these kind of folks to kick rocks? It is amazing that with all the advances that we have made that this medieval parlor trick of a scam is just as popular now than it was in the past.
New Age Mysticism
New Age is a term that is extremely deceptive. Many of what people consider to be new age beliefs are Pagan or Folk religion practices that while losing popularity for a wide variety have been making a come back over the last decade or so. New Age beliefs can really first be seen formulating during the 1960s where many people where looking to break out of the cycle that a more conservative society had imposed on many people. While kind of phasing out in the 80s and 90s, these practices have been booming.
While most of what you are going to find with in these practices to be harmless and in some cases like yoga, can be beneficial to people, there are in fact many unproven aspects that can put many people at risk. From this camp you can find anti-vaxers and crystal theory treatments, as well as wide variety of other non-sense ideas. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to live a healthier life style, you should question the information that has been given to you.
In the case of vaccines which many people view as an unnatural there for evil thing to do to someone. Instead of spending time on why this is wrong, instead I will go through a couple of the different alternatives that people will try to do just to not get a vaccine. Most of these alternative methods are in fact much more dangerous than the vaccine could ever be. Take for example the practice of bleach enemas. There is a strong subculture that uses a type of beach administered by an enema to clear out the disease. Needless to say, browsing any of the forums that promote this idea you will see a lot of red flags that there is something not right with the people who are attempting this disproven method.
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While this is a topic that can go on for a while, I will tackle other modern misconceptions in other hubs. Most of the people who fall into these groups, by their nature, are good people. The problem rests with their spiritual leaders and the establishments that they find themselves stuck with in. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, but they don't have the right to put other people in danger just to inflate their egos. There are many systems at there they while on the surface they may seem to not be of to much trouble, can harbor some dark secrets when you look past the first label. Again, the point of this hub wasn't to offend out right, rather it was to act as a candle in the dark. A way to shine light on some dangerous mentalities that exists within our modern world.
© 2015 Jon Peloquin