Humanity’s Constant Propensity of Being Deceived
I just finished watching a documentary called “An Honest Liar,” which is about “The Amazing Randi” (James Randi). That’s not his real, but adopted stage name. You may have heard of him for the way he has used deception to expose charlatans, fakes, and those who would take advantage of people’s good nature to enrich themselves.
The documentary is about an hour and a half long. What becomes very clear is that people want to believe in the supernatural or psychic abilities. People really, really want that area to be true. There are several things that prove this and whether this is one of the intentions or simply the byproduct of the documentary is moot. The fact remains that this is brought out throughout the documentary.
Throughout the film, the abilities of Uri Geller, Peter Popoff, and numerous others comes into question. As a kid, I recall watching an episode of “Truth or Consequences,” hosted by Bob Barker. In this particular episode a guy came on as a guest who said he had psychic abilities. He claimed that he could move things without touching them and went onto show the audience there and at home just that. He was able to “turn” the pages of a phone book or move objects across a table by waving his hands above them.
Enter the Amazing Randi, who quickly set things up to prove that the guest was simply blowing on them in a way that could not be discerned by the average person. So, Randi set out small, lightweight piece of Styrofoam all around the open phone book. If the guest was blowing on the pages with his mouth, then some of the pieces of Styrofoam would also be displaced. Interestingly enough, the guest was “unable” to turn the pages after Randi placed the Styrofoam. In essence, nothing moved. The “magic” was gone.
You can see the clip here (starting from the 3:43 minute mark.
In other examples, Randi then set his sites on a person who purported to be a Christian healer by the name of Peter Popoff. Randi attended one of the services with a friend who was also a magician (stage name, Banachek). During the course of the evening, the friend saw something in Popoff’s ear and pointed it out to Randi. Clearly, it appeared as though Popoff was using a wireless radio receiver to receive instructions and information from someone.
From that point, Randi hired the services of a private investigator with surveillance experience. He dressed as a security guard and brought his surveillance gear to the next service. While there, his scanners were able to pick up the frequency that Popoff was using to receive wireless instructions. It turns out that the person giving the information via radio waves was none other than Popoff’s wife, Elizabeth.
In fact, in this video clip below – starting at the 2:53 mark, you can hear Elizabeth’s voice calling out to her husband, Peter, “Hello Petie, can you hear me?”
The Amazing Randi has always enjoyed and been part of magic. That’s the key. What he has also always disdained is when magic is presented as something it is not. For instance, in magic, deception is used for the purposes of entertainment. People pay to see a good magician and come away wowed and amazed. Even though they cannot figure out how many to most of the magic was performed, they know that it was sleight of hand, done deliberately to fool people into thinking they saw something they cannot explain. Good magic always borders on the unexplained or the supernatural.
The problem that Randi has always had is when magicians use their presdigitation to pretend they are something they are not. Whether it’s Uri Geller, Peter Popoff, or someone else, these people are using deception to cause people to believe that they (the performers) have psychic abilities directly from super (or supra) natural realms. Because of this, people wind up giving them money hand over fist.
Even though The Amazing Randi proved that Peter Popoff was/is a fake, ultimately, it didn’t make that much difference. Maybe he lost some followers, but his “ministry” is still going strong. He continues to do what he does. Now, instead of using a radio transmitter in his ear, he has moved onto things that are even more outlandish.
People want to believe and this very desire leaves most people open to being deceived as well. It is not simply a phenomenon that began yesterday or twenty or thirty years ago. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. Imagine how perfect (yet untested) they were in so many ways. They were likely extremely intelligent. They did not have to be concerned about fatigue, tiredness, negative thinking necessarily and a host of other things that people today have to deal with and are often overtaken by.
No, Adam and Eve really had it “going on” yet they were able to be deceived to the point that they chose deliberately to follow the wrong choice. This problem is endemic for the entire human race. We cannot rise above this. Even with the Holy Spirit living in our hearts (after we receive salvation and are sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption), the real tragedy is that we can still be fully deceived. The only possibly way to avoid this is by always having a humble heart, always realizing that we are truly dependent upon God and that we cannot go it alone.
I enjoyed the documentary, “An Honest Liar.” Though I could have done without all the background on the references to the fact that The Amazing Randi is a homosexual (came “out” at 81) and has lived with Jose Alvarez for a quarter of a century), the information concerning his work to expose lies of the charlatans is well worth knowing. But the information about Randi’s personal life, in some ways, seemed not to fit. Then again, I suppose this was the “secret” that Randi is to have had, apparently.
The ultimate message I heard loud and clear from the documentary is that all people – regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or religious persuasion – have the ability within to be fully deceived at some point in their life. The documentary proved it repeatedly by showing many examples of Randi’s life work.
Is it any wonder why there are so many people who have exchanged truth for lies today in the political realm? It is any wonder that political correctness (the worst kind of lies there are) has replaced truth with emotional virtue? People want to believe that their way of understanding life is the best way. The documentary even showed how when The Amazing Randi proved that Uri Geller was simply using trickery to bend spoons and keys, how people would become so angry because Randi was not a “believer.” They missed the point entirely.
It really doesn’t matter what the topic is either. It can be religion, politics, sports, magic, or something else. People want to believe. They want to know that what they are emotionally invested in is the truth. When they find out it isn’t, the reaction is to often condemn the messenger who has exposed the lies.
Peter Popoff, like many other “faith healers” and charlatans who got their start in the Charismatic Movement of decades ago, not only continue to do what they did then, but they do it better today. In spite of the proof that shows them as the charlatans they are, people refuse to believe those facts. Why? Because their “feelings” tell them something else and they would prefer to go by feelings than recognize that truth has a higher and much more demanding calling.
The Amazing Randi has had a lifetime of work where he has shown the fallacies of what people call psychic energies. If any of its real at all, it’s because of demons working behind the scenes. But all too often, it’s not real, but only looks real. For many people, that’s all that is needed to be convinced.
Of course, the other downside to skepticism is that people like Randi, due to their unqualified intellectualism, tend not to believe anything that is even remotely supernatural. It’s not as if he is an intentional enemy of it. He just wants proof. Because of that, his area of difficulty will always lie in the area of faith. God says blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed (John 20:29). For someone like Randi, the ability to believe that which cannot be adequately explained is extremely difficult. Because of that, even seeing is not believing. While Randi does a tremendous service to the social community, rooting out one charlatan after another, his intellectual make-up keeps him from even entering through the door of faith. That tragedy is far worse than learning that someone like Uri Geller or Peter Popoff are charlatans.
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, salvation. Tags: an honest liar, faith healers, james randi, peter popoff, the amazing randi, uri geller.