The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Devilish deceptions with Gospel

March 06, 05

Satiricus is so sad. Had he been in Bangalore during those divine days, not only would he have been cured of his irritating indigestion, not with Gelusil but with Jesus, and he would also have been miraculously transformed from a hopless Hindu into a holy Hinn-du. Alas, that was not to be. Miracle-man Benny Hinn has come and gone, leaving behind this curious cuss getting curiouser and curiouser. For starters, Hinn is reported to have informed Indians that “Jesus is alive and visits me regularly.” Now, what an evangelist from the Christian ‘God's own country’, America, says must be the gospel truth, no? But Satiricus cannot help wondering-how come not a single one of the saints who wrote the gospels had ever seen Jesus, but the same Jesus visits Benny Hinn regularly? Or should Satiricus misuse the Law degree under his belt and ask the evangelist to habeas corpus ‘produce the body’?

Anyway, what did Jesus talk about when he dropped in on Hinn? Hinn says, “He (Jesus) tells me miralces will happen and people will be cured.” Now that would certainly be a happy happenstance, but will the miracle be so miraculous as to cure even a person who is not ailing at all? For the Times of India reported that they planted a hale and hearty decoy with a fake limp in the prayer assembly, and this friend of Jesus ‘cured’ him. Unaware of the daily's devilish deception, and perhaps inadequately equipped with divine insight, Hinn exclaimed, ‘Hallelujah!’ when one of the American volunteers running the show informed him of the ‘cure’, and called for the gathering's ‘applause for this glorious feat of the Lord’. Did both Hinn and the Lord feel badly let down when the paper revealed the less-than-gospel truth that the glorious feat was an inglorious fiction? To make matters worse, this Indian newspaper not only deceived the Christian God and his American agent, but put to him quite a few rude questions. For instance, why were there no doctors from the city's hospitals but mostly from Hinn's group to certify the cures? Perhaps because, to quote Hinn, “there is a place where doctors stop”. Does that mean Indian doctors stop, but not those imported by Hinn? For the doctors accompanying him were kind enough to explain that they could make out the ‘really cured’, because ‘we check them meticulously’.

Oh well, Satiricus is not a doctor, so he would not be presumptuous enough to think that the medical qualifications of these doctors may be given an equally meticulous check. Then again, there are those whom even the combined curative capacity of Hinn and Jesus cannot cure, for while on the one hand Hinn says Jesus visits him regularly, on the other, he contradicts himself and says, “One question I am going to ask Jesus when I meet him is, why don't some people get healed and some do?” Actually this question was answered by one of Hinn's disciples most satisfactorily. He explained, “If you are not healed by Jesus, your time has not come.”

An NRI doctor once jocularly told Satiricus, “If you take a medicine for a cold, it is cured in a fortnight, if you don't, it is cured in two weeks?”

Now unfortunately for this dimwit, this answer leads to another question-does this mean Jesus has to wait for the right time for his cure to work? In that case, how come an NRI doctor once jocularly told Satiricus, “If you take a medicine for a cold, it is cured in a fortnight, if you don't, it is cured in two weeks?” That would actually mean even when communal Satiricus catches a cold, it will cure itself in course of time, when the time comes, without the intervention of either Jesus Christ or of Benny Hinn, no? Even in the case of those who are declared cured, the doubting Thomas of a reporter raised a double doubt-first, are they really cured forever, and secondly, “how many of those healed will wake up one of these mornings, after Hinn has left for greener pastures, feeling un-healed?” The reporter's own very ungentlemanly answer to his own question is that this is “one question that will probably never be answered”, because, “Like all faith-healers, Benny Hinn Inc. is unwilling to open his healing claims to scientific scrutiny.”

Good God! How anti-Christian (read anti-secular) can one get when one so clearly suggests that Benny's business has been incorproated in partnership with Jesus Christ? To cap it all, the reporter asked, “What actually is the miracle, and what is Hinn's modus operandi?” Again the reporter answers himself, “Neither Hinn nor his stooges have any answer except for a tepid ‘Faith’.” Stooges? Satiricus knows that this reporter must be as illiterate as his profession of journalism requires him to be, but even a journalist should be able to distinguish between a stooge and a devoted disciple.

Most unfortunately, journalist Satiricus finds that this reporter's illiteracy is compounded by his ignorance. For summing up the situation as he sees it through the hype and hoopla surrounding the Hinn-ous miracles, he writes, “the jury is still out on whether Hinn is a fraud or one with connections to the Lord.” This is the limit. Even a Shankaracharya can be a fraud (and worse), but not a missionary, never a missionary. Perhaps the real reason behind the ridiculous suspicion of Hinn being a fraud may be that he is yet to fully master the technology of miracles. He should have visited India much earlier and learnt it from Mother Teresa. Did he not know about her Nobel Prize-winning technique of asking a Kodak Camera to show a saintly halo around her head in her photograph? He must not rest content with simply saying miracles “have happened for 2,000 years, they are found in the Bible”, because then some anti-Hinn Hindu might recall Bernard Shaw's description of the Bible as a bundle of superstitious.

Oh well, Satiricus thinks we globalised Indians should feel happy that globalisation includes not only import of American soft drinks and American jeans, but also of American miracles. Hail, holy Hinn! May Benny's business prosper with patented miracles.


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