I find any form of deceit, manipulation or mind games very upsetting. It’s one of those things I consider tantamount to murder. Why? when you play with people’s thinking you screw up their life path to a certain degree, secondly you erode their capacity to trust their basic instincts/reasoning and finally you cripple them emotionally making them dependent on an external source for confidence. The situation becomes worse when such manipulative practice are carried out in the name of religion.
The story of the self proclaimed Prophet Penuel Mnguni from South Africa who fed live snakes to his members, asked them to drink petrol and eat grass has been making the rounds and it absolutely sets my teeth on edge. Like me, am sure a lot of people would be wondering what would possess anyone to obey such ridiculous orders. The answers are quite simple; ignorance, desperation, a quest for instant miraculous out of this world solutions to life challenges and for others a thirst for power thrills and danger.
On the part of the alleged prophet these acts are tricks and theatrics to keep desperate people hooked onto his every word, believing in illusions. And that what they are attempts at illusions not miracles same as you might see on Derren Browns show only Derren Brown executes well thought-out classy illusions and doesn’t hide under the guise of religion. People such as this prophet in Africa have to hide under religion as illusions are generally viewed from a negative perspective, acts to be condemned by the masses if it isn’t done under some religious disguise. Most of these fraudsters also know that the church/religion is the only way Africans en-mass would willing pay to listen or partake in such acts.
Miracles performed in the Bible shared certain characteristics:
- There was a need for the miracle.
- It never shamed or humiliated the recipient in any way.
- It demanded the recipient have faith and nothing else.
- It was not based on a ritualistic process leading to an end result; each one had a different process.
The “miracles” done by these alleged pastors and prophets are more self aggrandizing for the executor and have absolutely nothing or little to do with the recipient. The entire charade of a church, prophet, members based on the execution of outlandish miracles is simply a front for an illusionist business with a weak leader who preys on the vulnerability of people seeking solace in religion. We need to draw the line separating church and illusion marketers, it is an absolute abuse of a scared trust to mix both for selfish purposes. If you believe in your merchandise stand tall for it. Stop the deceit.
A miracle is an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency. (Oxford advanced learners dictionary)
An illusion is an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience.(Oxford advanced learners dictionary) Illusionists work by giving us the impression that something deemed as impossible has been achieved before our eyes through simply but yet perplexing means.