Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pastors or Frauds?

We hear a lot from the Skeptic movement about fraudulent spiritual practitioners cheating their clients by claiming powers that they don't really have and then demanding outrageous fees for their use. Usually the targets are members of alternative religious movements of one sort or another, but that's not always the case around the world.

In Nigeria, some Christian pastors have come up with the new scam of charging fees for "deliverances" - that is, exorcisms. The family of anyone with some sort of mental illness can be targeted and some of them are convinced that their relative is possessed by a demon. The pastor then conveniently offers to exorcise the demon - for a price.

The idea of being able to pay a fee to have a loved one instantly cured of a debilitating condition is a powerful motivator, and many pastors have become wealthy working this confidence game. It just goes to show that fraud makes no religious distinctions.

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