Norah, the world class scam artist!

I have been very thrilled to see that my blogs about Norah the World Class Psychic have caused many people to be sceptical, and to reject her offers to psychically solve all their problems.

Just for fun, I replied again to her advert, using the same email address as before, but a different name. Guess what? I received exactly the same pile of horse- shit as before!

As if that’s not funny enough, she has started sending the very same “psychic predictioms” to someone called Nolan, at my email address!

BEWARE FOLKS!! Norah is a fraud, it’s plain and obvious! Do not send her money! You can continue to receive her emails if you want to see just how far she goes trying to separate you from your hard-earned bucks, but PLEASE don’t be tempted to pay her anything, or provide her with your bank account details!

If you are trying to get a refund from her, I suggest approaching your bank directly. I think your chances of getting a refund from the Frenchman who trades as Norah are remote, to say the least! I would love to hear from anyone who was successful…

A Plea to Wealthy Christians

 

I have just finished reading a book of “Atheist Responses to Religious Arguments” by Frank Butcher. It’s pretty much a confirmation of what I know already, but one of the last points the author made really got me thinking.

Why don’t wealthy christians give away their wealth, as the bible requires them to do if they want to go to heaven?

In the parable of the rich young man, Jesus is said to have declared: “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

and “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven” Mark 10:25

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing we shall be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6: 6-10

Clearly the new testament, which is the bit of the bible christians really approve of, is in favour of poverty. The above are just three of many admonitions to the godly to be happy with the basics and not crave wealth.

“blessed are the poor”

And yet, the world is full of super-rich christians! Some of them are “spiritual leaders” who preach the gospel of prosperity – they claim that the bible teaches that financial blessings are the will of god, that faith, positive speech and donations will always increase one’s material wealth (especially donations!)

A good example is that of Oral Roberts, whose Methodist healing ministries reached millions worldwide. He performed hundreds of crusades, and claimed that he could raise the dead. His organisation raked in $120 million a year and employed 2 300 people, at its peak.

Roberts was a pioneer of TV evangelism. In January 1987 he announced that unless he raised $8 million by March, his god would kill him.

 

His passionate pleas and crocodile tears earned him $9.1 million…..

He’s dead now – maybe he wasn’t making enough money to satisfy his god towards the end there 🙂

Even when times were tough, Roberts continued to wear silk suits, diamond rings and gold bracelets – which were airbrushed out of publicity shots by his staff. (Reed Christopher (15/12/2009) “Oral Roberts Obituary”, The Guardian, London.)

Spreading the gospel has been a VERY profitable business for other evangelists:

  • Benny Hinn’s healing crusades earned him in excess of $200 million a year, with a personal salary of over $500 000. He flies around in a private jet, and has a generally lavish lifestyle
  • Joyce Meyer reportedly earned $900 000 a year back in 2003, thanks to her ministry
  • Kenneth Copeland refuses to tell anyone how much money he makes out of the god-business, but it’s obviously quite a bit because he owns a $20 million private jet, and lives in a mansion the size of a hotel.
  • Creflo Dollar (name says it all) made $69 million in 2006, but refuses to divulge his financial records because he is “concerned for the privacy” of his donors.
  • The list goes on and on…

These preachers lead tax-exempt organisations in the USA, and take full advantage of their “non-profit” status. Obviously, their followers are either unaware of how much money their “spiritual” leaders are making out of them, or they are simply turning a blind eye to the facts.

Copeland’s website, for instance, in his “Financial Accountability” section, merely lists the PERCENTAGES of income spent on the various parts of his ministry – NO actual figures are mentioned anywhere that I could see.

Oral Roberts Ministries “financial report” shows EXPENDITURE, but not INCOME! Sorry guys, that’s not a financial report – that’s you trying to hide the facts.

Benny Hinn’s website actually lists financially relevant questions, such as “How does your ministry spend its money” and then links to a page that tells you what they spend it ON, but not how much they receive, or the amounts they actually spend.

So much for transparency and telling the TRUTH!

So, what about the ordinary, wealthy christian? Do they feel any compulsion to give away their wealth? Especially now, supposedly just before the “rapture”

to be sure of their spot amongst the eternally worshipful and subservient in heaven?

Many christians give regularly to charities, which is very commendable. It doesn’t make them any different from many muslims, jews, buddhists and atheists who all feel compassion for our fellow man, and don’t have any problem supporting worthy causes.

Fortunately, as a Humanist (and atheist), I make my own choices. I am not bound by someone else’s ideas of what’s right or wrong. I’m especially not bound by the “supernatural” ideas of ancient nomadic desert dwellers, and their descendents. I choose to support secular charities such as the National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa. Unlike the TV evangelists, the NSRI really does save lives, every day!

Bill Gates. a well-known atheist, has set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and personally donates a large proportion of his wealth to the Foundation, which does very good work in the fields of health, education and agriculture all over the world. Their audited Financial statements are on the web, completely transparent, for anybody to examine – a nice contrast to the charlatans listed above!

Interesting to note: the Gates’ Foundation’s motto is “All Lives Have Value.” This is an atheist/humanist viewpoint, as opposed to the christian or muslim viewpoint that if you’re homosexual, for instance, you have no right to marriage, children, and at the extremist end – life itself. (Or if you’re a muslim, it’s okay to kill innocents in the name of Jihad.)

Please don’t say “Oh, but that’s the EXTREME view, normal christians don’t think that!” Here’s something to think about:

  • the bible specifically forbids homosexuality, and if you believe the bible, then so should you – even though that view is abhorrent to any rational person – because it is the Word of God
  • extremists don’t just pop out of the air – they start out as normal human beings, are thoroughly indoctrinated as children, and grow more extremist the deeper they get immersed into religion
  • extremists are the ones who follow the bible to the letter – especially the old testament which condones slavery, rape, murder, and other heinous crimes against humanity.

 

In my opinion it’s entirely up to you, the individual, to decide how to spend your hard-earned money. I think it’s most important to take care of yourself and your family, save for your retirement, and enjoy your life. If you have money to donate to charities, by all means do so if you want to.

However, if you’re a christian, and truly want to follow Jesus, then I guess you would feel differently? So, Wealthy Christian, are you going to give it all away – the land, the houses, the cash and jewellery – or hang onto it until death do you part?

What Would Jesus Do 🙂

 

 

Breatharianism: Just a lot of “hot air.”

Inedia (or Breatharianism) describes a person who does not eat or drink – ever.

These persons claim to live on prana (the highly energetic condensation of light.) This is apparently only possible when one has reached a higher state of Consciousness. It is supposed to be a step on the way to attaining perfection on the path of spiritual self-development.

This is a religious tradition – certain Catholic saints, Buddhists and Hindus claimed to have gone for long periods without any form of nutrition, and survived.

In the case of the Catholics, they apparently ate only the eucharist (the bread and wine that represent the body and blood of Christ.) As they were obviously eating something, we can count them out of this discussion.

The famous Buddhist example is Ram Bahadur Bomjon, who wanders around followed by strings of devotees, sits in pits and meditates, and apparently does not eat.

Discovery Channel filmed Ram for 96 hours continuously and did not observe him eat or drink (or move) during that time. Ram did not show any signs of dehydration, even though a normal person would die from kidney failure after four days without fluids.

In Hinduism, there are accounts of saints who “live by the rays of the moon and sun.” (Impossible in the case of the Moon as it does not emit its own light, it merely reflects the light of the sun and the earth.)

Jani

More modern examples, such as Therese Neumann (another Catholic who allegedly survived for years on nothing but wafers and alcohol – big deal, that is not air!), Prahlad Jani (65 years without food – just the nectar dripping from his palate…sounds like a serious case of post-nasal drip) and Wiley Brooks.

74-year old Mr Brooks is a nutcase of a particularly high order. The Breatharian Institute of America site promotes Mr Brooks’ seminars “The Empowered Ascension” and “Immortality” workshops.” For a mere USD 1 000 000.00 Mr Brooks will explain to you how you can clear your past life karma and negative energies, in preparation for the Ascension which will occur in March 2013.

I wish these crackpots would coordinate their dates…..exactly WHEN is the world going to end? Can SOMEONE give me a definite date please??

The list of famous Breatharians is fairly long, and the philosophy is a whole pile of New Age-y religious crap. The book “Life Style without Food” by Joachim M Werdin, downloaded for free, makes for very disturbing reading. Why does anyone buy into this delusional nonsense?

In the cases that were tested, like Jani, the observations were made over days, not years. I will concede that if a person is well-nourished they could survive for a few days without food and water, longer with some water.

It is impossible for a human being to simply decide to change from being a food-eater to a light-energy synthesiser. You can wish, and wish, and lie to yourself as much as you like – but you just can’t do it, sorry. After a few days you will need some water if you don’t want to die.  And after a few more days, you will have to eat some food.

Or you will start to look like this:

And after that, you probably will die, as some who have tried this Consciousness Raising Exercise have done already. People who encourage others to follow these insane ideas tend to deny responsibility for the deaths that occur.

They say that you must take responsibility for your own life – so if you read their book and believe their claims that you will reach a higher cosmic dimension if you sit and stare at the sun without food or water for days at a time, and you ultimately die, it’s your OWN FAULT!

Back in the real world, the cult of Breatharianism has been debunked – thoroughly, and not just once. A quick google search throws up dozens of examples. James Randi has been especially effective at demonstrating that Breatharians are lying about living on light – they eat and drink. You just don’t get to see them do it.

I feel sorry for people who are so desperate for a better existence they would try something like Breatharianism. The recent case of the Swiss woman who starved herself to death in this way  proves that this is an ongoing problem. Only rational thinking and education will put an end to these dangerous ideas.

Faith versus Medical Science

The husband of a colleague of mine has been very ill, and was admitted to a hospital yesterday for tests. I understand he has seen various doctors already, including a neurologist, but there has been no definite diagnosis as yet.

It sounds as though he might have had a stroke, or be suffering from epilepsy, or possibly a tumour – I’m not a doctor, so I can’t speculate. He was admitted to quite a good hospital, they ran some tests, and have decided to transfer him to a better hospital in Pretoria, for further tests. His doctors are obviously taking his plight seriously, and are investigating every angle. I truly hope they can find out what is wrong, and treat him successfully – for the sake of his wife and children.

I asked my colleague today how she was handling the stress, and during our conversation she got quite emotional… who wouldn’t be emotional in her situation? I tried to reassure her, telling her she should be grateful for the doctors, nurses and hospitals, for the sophisticated medical equipment and treatments available – they will do everything in their power to diagnose and treat him.

(If he’d been born in the Middle Ages, he might have been subject to all sorts of horrendous “treatments,” any one of which might have killed him! Blood-letting was particularly popular….. Fortunately, medical science has evolved since then!)

Sometimes an illness is too far advanced to be treated successfully, and sometimes there is no known cure…. Holding back her tears, my colleague said “All I can do is have faith in God to help us.”

That got me thinking: why would anyone think that God can make a difference in this situation? If God cared, wouldn’t he have prevented her husband getting sick in the first place? If he was powerless to prevent the illness, couldn’t he have used his omnipotent superpowers to guide the doctors to make a quick diagnosis, instead of putting this family through this torture?

Of course, the True Believer will respond that this man’s illness, and the pain and anguish of his wife and children are all part of some “Divine Plan.”

I can’t imagine what Plan would consist of such cruelty – clearly this god is a bit of a sadist – but assuming that is correct and there is a Plan of some sort – what point would there be in praying to him for help? He clearly has his mind made up already!


Here’s an interesting thought experiment: take 100 religious people and 100 non-believers. Inject them all with a bacterium which is normally fatal. Isolate each group on a separate island, with food and shelter, and give the atheists the antibiotic known to be effective against the bacterial infection.

Don’t give the religious group any antibiotics – instead send out a worldwide news release, asking people of the same religious persuasion to pray for the religious group to be healed by their god. Naturally, there will be a massive response and the heavens will positively ring with the desperate prayers of the faithful.

Come back to each island in 3 months time, and count the survivors.

Any guess as to which group will have the greatest number still living?

Most people would admit that the group of non-believers would have the most survivors, because the gods don’t really answer prayers. (Ask any religious person you know if they would volunteer to be in the religious group, and I can guarantee they will come up with a really good excuse to not participate!)

My colleague would be better off putting her confidence in the doctors and hospitals who are actually DOING something to help her husband. These people and institutions are REAL  i.e. they can be shown to actually exist

You don’t have to have “FAITH” in them. You can hate and distrust them if you want to. They will still do their very best, apply their knowledge and experience, use their diagnostic tools, and try to help regardless of how you feel about them. They don’t need you to worship them. They WANT to cure your illness, and all they ask is to be reimbursed for their time and skill.

If you need to be convinced of the terrible HARM that can come from relying on faith that a god, any god, will heal you – read this! You can pick up any newspaper on almost any day and find similar stories. Faith is not an effective medical treatment!

I’m not referring exclusively to the christian version of faith healing here – most religions claim that their god has the power to heal, and works through humans, animals or even inanimate objects. (Even bits of rock are supposed to be able to heal – see my article on the Atlantean Power Crystals.)

I feel deep compassion for people who are deceived by faith healing. It’s not their fault – they have been brought up to believe it. They have probably never heard an alternate view – and even when they do, they tend to reject such views outright because they have invested too much in their religion already. It’s a hard habit to break, apparently.

Here is a video by Derren Brown, which explains how faith healers deceive people into believing they have special powers.  Here is James Randi’s expose of Peter Popoff who received radio transmissions through a wireless earpiece during his healing crusades, feeding him information about the audience who had filled out prayer cards before the performances….. Fortunately, this charlatan is no longer in the faith healing business!

Trickery and fraud by faith healers has been exposed many, many times – read James Randi’s excellent book “Faith Healers” for more infamous examples. If so many faith healers are using these tricks, how do you know if any one faith healer really does have Special Powers?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

So far the evidence is stacked high and wide against faith healing.

Supernatural claims are outside of the realm of scientific study, but some scientists have tried to measure the effects of prayer and found them to be largely absent or negative. I found some interesting articles, mostly reaching similar conclusions:

“Meta-studies of the broader literature have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernable effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the three most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.” from Wikipedia

Prayer is often credited with rather unmiraculous benefits, such as recovery from heart surgery which would most likely have happened anyway, especially if the patient is in intensive care, receiving medication and expert nursing 24/7.

I think the real “miracle” is the dedication of the nurses, the intelligence of the doctors and the persistence of the researchers. We are living in an age of amazing advances in medical science – why does anybody bother with the Sky Fairy and his Associates?

World Class Psychic – a true story

My previous blog posts about Norah the “Psychic” (January Archive) seem to have struck a painful chord with some people.

In particular, one gentleman contacted me with a very unhappy story, which I will relate below (I have asked his permission to share this):

Joe (not his real name) is a pensioner. He suffered the tragic loss of his wife on Christmas Eve 2009. They had been married for 42 years. When she passed away, he was devastated, and felt there was a huge gap in his life that he just couldn’t fill.

Joe saw Norah’s advert on the internet, and responded in the hope that Norah would help him to find a way to get nearer to his deceased wife. He was desperate, lonely and in a very vulnerable state.

Like many of us, he received Norah’s seemingly heartfelt, personal communications, and like many people he was taken in by her promises.

Joe bought everything Norah asked him to buy, was deceived into spending almost all of his money on expensive “essential” purchases, and then after 10 months her “help” abruptly stopped.

He is now penniless except for a state pension, and at this writing he is in hospital. His words to me were: “How can what this woman does be legal?”

Joe, my heart goes out to you! To lose someone you have loved for most of your life, and then to be taken advantage of by this unscrupulous psychic in such a cold and heartless way….. 

Unfortunately, Norah’s first, and most exciting, email has a very tiny disclaimer printed on the bottom which states:

The information provided on Premium Astrology.com and in my readings, e-mails, e-books, or other materials you might receive from PremiumAstrology.com, is for entertainment purposes only. Obviously, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of astrological or divinatory information, and we are not responsible for how you interpret or apply it.

If you are struggling with serious problems, including chronic illness, mental instability, or legal issues, please consult with your local registered health care or legal professional as soon as possible.

In other words, please use common sense. Please also carefully read the full Terms of Service. (Emphasis mine)

This disclaimer appears AFTER no less than eight invitations to you, dear reader, to “Click Here Now” and navigate AWAY from the page with the disclaimer to register for “THE MOST COMPLETE, DETAILED AND PRECISE ASTRAL READING OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE”. Promises of great wealth falling into your lap during your once-in-a-lifetime Transit Period, which is due to start is just a few weeks! *Gasp*

If you do manage to persevere all the way to the bottom of the page without being dazzled by the promises of luck, wealth, love and happiness, and click on the “Terms of Service” link you get a very definite re-statement of the disclaimer, and much much more…. Boy, these people are not taking any chances!

So, Joe, I’m sorry to say, I don’t think there’s much chance you’ll ever get your money back from this World Class con artist…..

Please let this serve as a warning to anyone else who is contemplating getting involved with psychics and astrologers. They are only in it for the money. They don’t care about you, no matter what their slick marketing says.

Norah KNOWS she’s duping people. She says it’s “obvious” that astrological and psychic readings should not be taken as anything but mere entertainment…..

Telling you to “use your common sense” in the same breath as she’s telling you to believe the biggest load of BULLSHIT is just so cynical, it makes me ill.

Norah, the Word Class Psychic – Revisited

In the weeks since I wrote my blog on Norah, the World Class Psychic, I have had many readers tell me they received exactly the same “reading” from Norah, and that my blog post prompted them to NOT take up her offer for further “readings.”

Up till then, they were actually considering it….

OK guys and gals, here’s the thing – these people are FRAUDS! You need to realise that simple fact.

ALL astrologers, clairvoyants, psychics and the like are frauds! Please don’t allow yourself to be duped by these people…

Let’s apply a little rational thinking to Astrology:

First of all, what exactly ARE the stars and planets that astrologers claim dictate your future, health, wealth and sex life?

Stars are huge balls of hydrogen and helium gas that burn by thermonuclear fusion, producing light and heat that radiates away into outer space, warming any nearby planets and their inhabitants. At the end of a star’s natural life, after it has exhausted all its nuclear fuel and converted its light elements into heavier elements, it may explode as a mighty supernova, blasting its contents into the interstellar medium, and leaving behind a dim white dwarf star or neutron star.

Supernova

Some time later, those very elements may be drawn into the gravitational influence of a newly coalescing baby star, and form a family of rocky or gaseous bodies in orbits around the new star – planets.

There is nothing mystical or supernatural about stars or planets. They are composed of 100% natural, easily verified substances. If you doubt this, step outside and pick up a handful of soil. What is it made of? Small stones and sand and the composted remains of plants and animals. Those stones and sand may be made up of quartz, silica, bits of volcanic rock and sedimentary deposits…. There will be dead bugs, earthworm poop, dead leaves and twigs and any number of other organic substances. So far, nothing mysterious or supernatural, right?

The ground beneath your feet, all the way through to the ground beneath the feet on the other side of the Earth, is made of absolutely bog standard soil, rocks, magma, iron, and so on (consult the Periodic Table of the Elements for the rest.)

The same applies to the other planets in our Solar Family. They have those same substances in different proportions, depending on how they formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Those closer to the Sun are rockier, because the heavier elements were drawn closer in by the gravity of the newly formed star, and those further out are gassier, because they are made mostly of lighter elements.

Carl Sagan famously pointed out that we are ALL made of star-stuff… I think that is one of the most amazing, thought-provoking things I have ever heard!

As far as we can tell, most of the stars and planets in the universe are made of roughly the same elements. There is nothing mysterious or odd about them – they are just simple physical objects in 3-dimensional space and time. (We won’t discuss back holes, string theory and the multi-verse today! Let’s keep it nice and simple…)

So why do some of you think that these common physical objects, made of gasses and rocks and ice, have some magical or supernatural influence on your lives?

Is it their gravitational influence due to their relative position at the moment of your birth? Stop and ask yourself one simple question: How can that possibly influence the decisions you make today, and every day?

It’s not gravity that makes you decide whether to start smoking, whether to take drugs because your buddies are taking them, whether to marry this man or that woman, whether to enrol at university or go out and get a job – you make those decisions for yourself, or on the advice of the people you trust.

Every decision YOU make determines, to some extent, the future course of your life.

And, you have to define what you mean by “moment of birth.” Is it when your mother starts going into labour, when you are in the birth canal, when your head first crowns, when you emerge, or when the doctor slaps your bottom and you take your first breath? Those events can span 24 hours or more, during which time the sun, moon and planets’ relative positions will have changed quite a bit.

Why is your time of birth more auspicious than your time of conception? Surely when you first form as a human entity is just as important as when you emerge to start breathing air? What about when your heart takes its first little beat?

Which moment do you imagine the lump of rock  hundreds of millions of kilometres away thinks is the most important?

Again, you need to question the assumption that a star or planet’s relative position to another star or planet at any time in the past can make any difference to the decisions you take every day. The Earth itself has the greatest gravitational influence on all of us – if it didn’t we would all fly away into outer space. The distant planets’ gravitational pull is minute, almost non-existent, by comparison, and yet the Earth plays almost no part in Astrology! Have they just not thought to include the most important planet of all?

What about recently discovered planets outside our Solar System? They should also have some astrological significance, shouldn’t they? There are literally HUNDREDS of them, and more being discovered every week – the astrological charts are going to get a wee bit more complicated, methinks!

Artist's conception of one of the new exo-planets (Kepler)

Are you starting to think it’s all a bit implausible? I hope so, because the next step is to ask yourself why only certain people, such as Norah, have a hot-line to what that rocky or gaseous body thinks is in your future? How do they receive that information, and from whom? Can stars and planets speak? In English? In all the languages of all the astrologers on Earth? That’s pretty smart for a heap of iron or a ball of gas!

Or, do they receive the information internally, telepathically, without words? Really? Again, how and from whom? Is a star or a planet really a supernatural being? Is there any evidence of such an outlandish idea? Absolutely none! We know precisely what stars and planets are, how they form, how they evolve and how they die. No supernatural beings involved – sorry!

Astrology does not make any testable hypothesis and offers no suggestions as to how it is supposed to operate. As such, it cannot be falsified, and is considered to be a pseudo-science. It describes natural events in terms of supernatural causes, so like religion it relies on the faith of believers in the face of all directly contradictory evidence.

FINAL QUESTION:

Isn’t it FAR more likely that astrologers are fooling you so they can make money out of you? They count on the average person’s ignorance of astronomy, fear of the future, desire for control over their lives, and I’m sorry to have to say it, gullibility.

People like Norah know that even if only 5% of the “free readings” they send out result in a $79 sale of books and magical nonsense, they will still make enough to live on. They know full well that they are lying to you, and yet they callously continue to prey on your hopes and fears – all to make a quick and easy Buck!

I truly hope that if you believe in astrology, I have given you some food for thought.

I hope you will not send any of your hard-earned money to an astrologer or to any other charlatan. If you get tempted, drop me an e-mail and I will do my best to talk you out of it!

Should A Christian Consult A Psychic?

Let me state right at the beginning that I am not a christian, I don’t even spell christian with a capital C. (I USED to be a christian, but that’s another story.)

However, I do think quite a lot about religion, because it is such an important facet of society, and I like to think I’m fairly well-informed on the subject.

So, when one of my christian colleagues tells me she knows an “incredible psychic” she wants me to see (to overcome my scepticism of all psychics) my first reaction is: Should this person, who believes in an all-knowing, omnipotent god (note, no capital G) be consulting someone who claims to be able to see the future using paranormal powers?

As far as I am aware, this is a very un-christian thing to do. Aren’t they supposed to have faith that their god already has their future all planned out and is taking care of them, and whatever happens will be for the best because it is “God’s Will”?

Don't you trust me??

The christian god doesn’t like his followers to consult fortune-tellers and psychics. His own holy book has numerous passages such as:

  • Deuteronomy 18:10-12
  • There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord
  • Leviticus 19:31
  • “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.

To an interested observer like me, that seems pretty clear!

Assuming we can agree that the christian god has declared consulting psychics, fortune-tellers and mediums to be verboten, the question is: why do so many practising christians do it? There could be several reasons:

  • they have never properly read their own holy book, so they don’t know they shouldn’t be paying some charlatan to contact their Auntie Emily from Beyond the Grave to tell her that her cat just died and will be joining her soon (As if she didn’t already know!),
  • they have read the book but they don’t think it applies to them – so it’s okay to pay a fortune- teller to look into their future – perhaps the tall, dark stranger really is out there, just waiting for you to come into his life, if you cross that lady’s palm with silver….
  • they know it applies to them but they don’t care – which means they don’t take their own deity seriously. Apparently, that course could lead to eternal damnation – fire and brimstone, guys in red latex body-suits with pointy sticks and all that?
  • they DON’T SEE THE HARM.

Let’s examine that last point.

Psychics rely on people’s belief in their apparently “paranormal powers”. People don’t always think critically, so it is pretty easy to fool them using pretty standard techniques. There are many famous instances of psychics cheating – James Randi has written extensively on the subject, and has offered a $1 million prize to anyone who can demonstrate any paranormal ability under controlled conditions. Many have tried, and all have failed.

Psychic con artists take people’s money and feed them lies, prey on their grief at losing a loved one, mislead police investigations and just generally waste everybody’s time.

If you want to read about the harm caused by psychics, please read What’s the Harm? The website draws on reports from all over the world and makes for horrifying, disturbing, often tragic reading.

Here is a very instructive lesson on How To Be A Psychic – do you recognise any of these steps from the last time you visited a psychic/fortune-teller/clairvoyant? You should – they’re commonly used ploys to get you to believe the bullshit they’re about to feed you!

So, should a christian consult a psychic? Should anybody? What do you think?