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Derren Brown's 'faith healers'
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Did anyone watch Derren Brown's fake faith healers documentry on channel 4? What did you think? I thought it was very interesting, brilliant in some places, uncomfortable and distressing in others. Also read an interesting interview with him in the radiotimes
Rob

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/pages/Plan-Your-Escape/111760638842355

I watched it and was impressed with his respect for the Christian faith as well as his desire to keep reminding the audience that this was not an attack on our faith, on the Holy Spirit etc. It was an attack on those claiming God's power and actually conning people into the belief of healing and then taking their money.

I started watching it with a very sceptical mind and definitely found some moments uncomfortable, but the team's moral and ethical decisions (particularly with the Christian PR company) impressed me. I was also pleased that the guy who decided to become the preacher already had a Christian faith (although we don't know to what extent), but this shows me that Channel 4 are at least being unbiased in who they choose.

Overal, I'm glad they aired it as it's important to understand that these things go on. Some of the things uncovered completely shocked me. What we don't want now is lots of people merely reacting to Christianity as if that was what the show was about, but more importantly not lots of Christians getting angry for no reasons at all. Derren was actually on our side regarding this and we should respect his ability to present a pretty level show.

@benhollebon | www.nothingissound.co.uk
@elevationmusic | www.elevationmusic.com

I watched it thinking it'd be an attack on faith and Christianity in general, but as above I was really impressed with how they went about it, the decisions they made and the continual reinforcement about this being about uncovering a scam and not being an attack on the Christian faith.

The whole reason they did the show (and consequently what really seemed to get to Derren) resided on three main points:

- People who weren't healed were told it was because they don't have enough faith / had hidden sin etc. and thus made to feel bad about themselves
- People were using cheap tricks to make it look like God was giving them information or faking healings and so on, then encouraging them to throw away their medication as a result
- The "healers" were encouraging huge donations to be given because of the healings and squandering them on huge houses, even private jets in some places.

...and from that perspective, I completely agree. It makes me angry that all the above goes on as well, and I think it should absolutely be undermined and exposed. I believe God can and does heal, but it's also clear there's a lot of forgery going on as well.

i didnt see it, but im not really a fan of derron brown. i just worry about some of his views and mind tricks, and have an issue with stuff like hyponosis etc. i also think some things he does that he presents as harmless (like going to a seance, even to try and prove it is a sham) are dabbling in the occult. i worry that in his athiesm he has no concept of the spiritual realm, ie good and evil spirits.

having said that tho, i might watch the programme after the recommendations above, as i thought it would be a def attack on christianity, which to be honest wouldnt be out of character for derron brown.

its probably good to watch anyway as lots of non christians probably will have so we can give a christian response to them.

and yes, lots of problems have been caused over the years in praying for healing, as mentioned above.

however, i would imagine derron brown doesnt believe that God can heal anyone (being an athiest) and probably wouldnt show a programme where people are getting prayed for an healed, which happens aswell lets not forget.

God bless,
Gav.

isnt it interesting my friend said he was watching darren brown, i said i didnt want to and i didnt.

i had no clue this is what the program was all about, i just thought it would be him attacking the christian faith.

i will have to ask my mate if he watched it and what he thought of it.

If you (or anyone else) wants to watch it it's on 4od: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/derren-brown-the-specials/4od#3182173

Hey Gav, Derren Brown actually used to be a strong christian, he lost his faith partly due to getting involved with hypnosis (which I agree with you is well dodge) and partly due to his inner struggles with being gay, so he does have quite alot of knowledge about christianity and probably the spiritual realm, although he no longer believes any of it. I'm sure there will be non christians who watched it who will try and use it as proof that christianity is a sham, that was my main reason for watching it, so I knew where there argument would be coming from, it was however very unbiased, and also very brave for all involved in the making.
I loved the bit where one of Derren's team got called up by a fake 'faith healer' after writing a fake name on an information card and the faith healer claimed God had told him the guys name, which was unsurprisingly the fake name that had been put on the card.
I think what shocked me most is that these people get away with so much, especially the guys that are proved to be fake, but then carry on and people still believe them!!!
My only concern is whether now I will be too sceptical when it comes to people claiming to have the power to heal. I have been to a healing service before where I was prayed for (and was 'pushed' over) and left thinking I was healed but later discovered I was not, the 'faith healer' did not ask for any money at the end, but he had been paid to be there, now I ask (rhetorically), was I not healed because the guy was a fake, or because of hidden sin (I had been looking at pornography earlier in the day - I would like to add that I no longer look at pornography), maybe it was both, only God knows.
I think it is certainly something we need to be careful with, but I also totally agree with Michael - God can and does heal!
Rob

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/pages/Plan-Your-Escape/111760638842355

hi rob,

thanks for your thoughts.

i was aware derron brown has a christian background yes, but he clearly doesnt believe it anymore so i dont really think he has any acknowledgement of the power of GOd or the spiritual realm even if he has a prior knowledge of it.

as for being skeptical, thats my worry. i have disagreed with people 'pushing' people over for a long time. do we get scared of ever being prayed for and doubt whether God can ever heal?

i also find it hard to think that this programme really wasnt an attack on christiantiy. yes it sounds like the people mentioned did some wrong things, but where was the balance? where were the examples of people being healed?
what would derron brown say about that? coincidence? fake? theres a guy called craig marsh who came to my church (who lives by faith not money) with an amazing healing ministry who has many many geniunue testimonys about healing, i'd love to know how derron brown would say about him if he travelled with him!

i think we need to pray for derron brown and for people put off Jesus as a result of the programme.

God bless,
Gav.

It's quite difficult to know what to think to be honest. It was a lot more objective than I thought it would be and I think it's very important that these scams are made aware of.

But at the same time I agree with Gavin that although it wasn't an attack on Christianity there wasn't a full balance. It's hard to say that there has to be, after all Derren is an atheist and he is trying to prove things aren't real and are scams. So for him to put in things that we believe are healings and he can't find an explanation for would almost destroy the programme. People would just go "but what about that". But as a Christian I would like to see things that are healings.

Another comment on the programme is that when they exposed that guy with the different name on the card I really wished the guy had told him and the congregation there and then. The congregation should have known straight away.

"I think what shocked me most is that these people get away with so much, especially the guys that are proved to be fake, but then carry on and people still believe them!!!"
In fairness, the program didn't really have a huge effect on me because I'm quite sceptical of a lot of "mass healing" type ministries anyway - one minister came to our church once preaching that 100% of people she had touched had been healed, and those that didn't were those who didn't posses enough faith. There was no ambiguity in that, she said something remarkably close to those exact words and as soon as I hear anything along those lines the alarm bells immediately start to ring. I've seen the same a lot elsewhere too.

A lot of these people seem to advertise their healing ministries in this way; making themselves out to be great, blaming anyone who's not healed because of something they've done or doing, being very pushy for big donations, and generally being very loud, pushy, physically pushing people over and that sort of thing. I've long since been sceptical of those that fall into these categories so the fact Derren has shown some at least to be scams isn't at all surprising.

"Another comment on the programme is that when they exposed that guy with the different name on the card I really wished the guy had told him and the congregation there and then. The congregation should have known straight away."
Yes, but it could have undermined all that they were doing and would it really have done the congregation much good if he'd have stopped the service to explain at that moment? Situations like that are tricky (though I admit they did put themselves there.)

Another thing I thought they did very well was the bit at the end. There was no huge "all faith healers are con artists, haha I've just tricked you, suckers" type thing, I thought it was very sensitively and properly handled. For those that haven't seen it it went something like "we all need to be aware of people that claim to heal but don't heal, just use stage tricks, etc. etc." which is correct - we totally do. I think there's a big view that Christians are naive and fall for / grab onto anything they can get their hands on, and on a similar note I think a lot of Christians aren't sceptical enough a lot of the time (at people this is, not at God himself.) Perhaps if more of us did test people like this more before walking straight in and assuming they're working for God and doing good, these people wouldn't be here in the first place! Off topic a bit but I think the same thing goes for other things generally - there was a report a few months back that some explorers thought they'd found Noah's ark, and Christians everywhere started with the "woohoo this is proof told you so" line to be ridiculed later when it was shown to be a hoax. Perhaps if the mass response had been "hmm, interesting but it's not necessarily true and doesn't really show much one way or the other" people would be far more receptive when we did tell them to sit up and take note. This can be hard though, and it is quite a fine line to tread - just food for thought.

"i also find it hard to think that this programme really wasnt an attack on christiantiy. yes it sounds like the people mentioned did some wrong things, but where was the balance? where were the examples of people being healed?"
I think Derren's genuine point is that there aren't any people that are actually healed in this way, otherwise he wouldn't be an athiest! I suppose his argument would be that he's searched and not found any healings of this sort - but who knows what God might have in store for him later eh?

"I think Derren's genuine point is that there aren't any people that are actually healed in this way, otherwise he wouldn't be an athiest!" thats why i think it was an attack on christianity michael, however sensitively it was handled.....

if someone did a programme on the tricks of derron brown and how he is conning people even if it was sensitively said it wasnt an attack on him, im sure he would still think it was! anyone would!

i would be interested to know if channel 4 would have the guts to show a programme where many people were healed
by the power of God and ask derron brown his thoughts on that.

this reminds me of a film with steve martin in from yrs ago where he is a fake healer making money and in the end he becomes a christian.

"but who knows what God might have in store for him (derron) later eh?" absolutely michael, thats where we need to be praying for him.

God bless,
gav.