I’m writing this in part to vent a little, but mainly in the hope that there will be some helpful commentary.
I’ve been dating a young woman who is very much a believer in Christ. I am Catholic-by birth, though I wandered and found there is only one Church.
Although she is Christian, it is difficult to say of what denomination (she was born/baptized Catholic but left the Church following her mom at an early age).
I have attended several “events” with her and have been trying to be patient and polite, but I must say that my patience is wearing thin.
I’ve been to a Benny Hinn event. I was utterly flabbergasted. In my opinion he’s a false prophet and a charlatan. I can go into detail but will that be considered attacking someone on this forum?
I have been to two Carlos Anacondia events, and several small independent “sermons”. Honestly, I find it mind boggling to hear some of the things these “pastors” claim-and am shocked to see people accept their statements without question.
The theme seems to revolve around prosperity, healing, blaming the devil for everything, claiming that “organized religion” is against the bible (funny as it was the organized Catholic Church that put the bible together), the Holy Spirit, and speaking in “tongues”.
I’ve heard that “the key to heaven is speaking in tongues”, that the Holy Spirit is a type of “tool” or method the angels use to speak to God, and that receiving the Holy Spirit allows us to speak directly with God.
I’ve seen people blame the devil for their computer not working.
I’ve heard people say that they prayed over a broken computer or car to make it work.
Losing a job, getting a flat tire, getting hurt… it was the devil.
[BIBLEDRB]By the way, we DESPERATELY need apologetics materials in Spanish form! Spanish speaking Catholics are being assailed at a TREMENDOUS rate and with INCREDIBLE aggressiveness by Spanish speaking “evangelicals”!
In a certain person’s “event” they supposedly heal people. It starts off mellow, soft music kicks in, the man begins to plead with God “Jesus I have no more strength-forgive me-heal me-I surrender…” This intensifies into yelling in a tone of utter despair.
He then commences to call out demands to the devil to release these people. Some of the comments are “spirit/devil of (pain/hate/depression etc.) I command you in the name of Jesus to release this person”!
The “tone” steadily intensifies to the point of it hurting your ears-this man SCREAMS into the microphone. It seems to me that it is basically a type of hypnotism or suggestion. In my opinion it follows a very distinct system, or sequence, of psychological manipulation.
People go in despair and they get easily worked up.
There’s sometimes a second “pastor” pacing around the stage yelling out exclamations “OH!” “YES!” “AH!” etc.
Soon people start yelling out as well, dancing, waving their hands… Some even blow horns while others engage in calm conversation as if nothing is happening.
The “pastor” throws in phrases in “tongues” as he speaks.
Example: “Jesus deliver these people/UrrraBabashiba-Rrrabakaya-Kiama”…
“UrrraBabashiba-Rrrabakaya-Kiama” is the ONLY phrase this person repeats.
I’ve heard the people who go to this person’s “sermons” pray, and they repeat that same phrase.
I have audio of this.
And I have been to several places where people claim to speak in tongues-including a Catholic one, and honestly what I heard in each one was babbling-literally random sounds being made. I think we can often tell when a language is being spoken because it has a certain system to it, a pattern, repetition…
I don’t want to knock people’s beliefs but it just seems like speaking in tongues is very abused!
After the “healing” people are invited on stage and asked what happened.
It always goes as follows:
“I had _________ for ________ years. As you spoke I felt a warm/tingling sensation and now I am cured!”
The “pastor” praises Jesus and asks the person to do something using that “healed” part of their body: dance/jump/run/pick that up… The person complies and people clap and praise the Lord but nobody seems to wonder if the supposed illness had been previously diagnosed, or if there’s proof of the disease or the healing.
As we walked to the car I overheard an old person talking about how their foot was not healed-but it was their fault for not being fully committed that night or something of that nature.
My girlfriend’s friend-a very caring and giving older man-goes to these things too. I’ve seen him sobbing at the Benny Hinn event, then sobbing-**sobbing **as he praises Hinn.
He has been testing the waters with me because he knows I’m Catholic. He started with certain comments about his beliefs, which I respected and left alone, and now got to the point a few days ago of commenting that the Catholic Church went wrong and that whenever men make religion organized Jesus is no longer there.
I made my beliefs clear and defended the Church.
He tried several typical anti-Catholic myths, but I countered with facts, in a patient way.
He wants to have a “discussion” about it (He was very civil and expressed kindness mind you).
I agreed to discuss-still waiting.
He claims to be a Calvinist but attends these things and puts down organized religion.
He say that a person knows when he or she receives the Holy Spirit because he/she will fall down and cry, and praise God for hours.
He’s made statements about men change the meaning of the bible to their personal views.
My head almost explodes from confusion.
It’s like someone telling you that math is a precise system as they give you three apples and say its five grapes.
I know he means well and many of these are good people, but I am just near my wit’s end with the utter chaos and absurdity of some of this.
I hope to read some comments.