Religion tickles everything

I’m sure I’ve posted at least one clip showing the American Charismatic Christian preacher Kenneth E. Hagin (1917-2003). Born in Texas, he preached in that state and later in Oklahoma.  Wikipedia describes his conversion:

Kenneth E. Hagin was born in McKinney, Texas, the son of Lillie Viola Drake Hagin and Jess Hagin. According to Hagin’s testimony, he was born with a deformed heart and what was believed to be an incurable blood disease. He was not expected to live and at age 15 became paralyzed and bedridden. In April 1933 he converted to Christianity. During a dramatic conversion experience, he reported dying, due to the deformed heart, three times in 10 minutes, each time seeing the horrors of hell and then returning to life. He remained paralyzed after his conversion. On August 8, 1934, he says he was raised from his deathbed by a revelation of “faith in God’s Word” after reading Mark 11:22-23.

Apparently, as this video shows, he was only partly paralyzed, for he could walk, though with some support. What’s striking about this is how his mere presence, though suggestion, could drive his flock into a frenzy. Apparently normal and well dressed people would, with a glance or a touch, be transformed into dancing and laughing maniacs.  I worry about them soiling their Sunday best clothing by rolling around on the floor.

I’d recommend watching the whole thing; it’s instructive!

One thing we can be sure of: this isn’t Sophisticated Theology™.


  1. Ken Phelps
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Cool. Trump voters.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      “…it’s instructive.”

      And a bit depressing when you think about political history.

    • Historian
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Certain people have the ability to exert tremendous power over a segment of the gullible masses. Trump and Roy Moore are current examples. Jim Jones in Jonestown Guyana convinced at least some of the dead to drink the Kool Aid voluntarily. All these people were or are cult leaders. The base of the Republican Party is a cult whose members will believe anything Trump says no matter how absurd or untrue. Yes, one of the few true things he has ever said was that he could kill somebody in the middle of 5th Avenue and his supporters would not abandon him.

      The rise of Trump is an indication as to why religion will never die away even though at the moment in certain parts of the world its influence seems to be receding. Some people (perhaps a large minority of the population) are simply “wired” to be duped. Charismatic leaders know how to manipulate these individuals. Hitler was a master. Trump is small potatoes compared to Hitler, but his sway over his supporters seems unshakable.

      • Blue
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        +1 and

        so, so sadly t r u e in re, Historian,
        “an indication as to why religion
        will never die away … … ”

        I concur.

      • Posted November 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, I agree.

    • alexander
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes, wait until Trump learn these tricks to control the House and the Senate. We haven’t seen everything…

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      The group hysteria seems much more representative of what we see on the current left, not the right.

      • sensorrhea
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Wow. Found one.

        • Jeff Rankin
          Posted November 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          What nuance!

          “He’s critical of the left, he must be a Trump supporter!”

      • Posted November 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        The hysteria and other regressive antics are not really representative of “The Left”. The crap you read about happening at universities is being perpetrated by naive college students.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted November 19, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          But rooted in the faculties.

  2. Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    And yet his body guards are not reacting to his magical spiritual field.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Well, it’s just that they’re constantly exposed to it, so they require a much higher dosage of Magical Spiritual Field (MSF).

      If the good preacher were to turn up his MSF to a level that would effect his bodyguards and people not normally exposed were in the area, these latter – lucky – folk would instantly be raptured away.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I noticed that too. None of the helpers reacted, and the camera operator stays steady too.

      I find this really, really sick and disturbing.

      Imagine working with someone who was so gullible this is how they can be made to react? There are too many out there who’ve never learned to think for themselves, and all of them think they do.

      • Posted November 18, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        That’s what makes it so frustrating. The blind insist they can see better than the sighted.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    McKinney Texas – one of the fast growing suburbs North of Dallas. Very familiar with this area as I lived in the Dallas area a couple of times, once in Lewisville, Tx also North Dallas. I remember this one religious guy, Robert Tilton. He was a real piece of work and operated one of those mega churches in Dallas. He would stand up and talk in tongues as they called it. The people couldn’t send in money fast enough.

  4. Christopher
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m attempting to take my grandmother’s advice about the inability to say something nice or not saying anything at all. Then again, she used to watch Jimmy Swaggart…there. I deleted what I wanted to say and will remain polite, but, OY, what I wanted to say! !

    • Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      My mother also was a true believer who truly believed she, and others, were healed by prayer. Throughout their lives, she and my father tithed faithfully whatever the income, however low. Mom tithed even when her total social security income was less than $900.00 a month. Bad, though it made me feel, I stopped giving her gifts of money because I knew she would tithe it with folks like Jimmy Swaggart and other shearers of the flock.

      • Christopher
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        I dearly hope my grandmother never gave that scum any of her money, of which she had very little. I don’t mind that she did drop in the odd dollar when the plate was passed at her local church. At least the preacher was a decent Mr. Rogers type of guy who never touched kids or bought hookers and cocaine. He was essentially kicked out of the church in favor of a younger preacher which helped to develope a deal and early mistrust of religion.

    • Posted November 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Pshaw. If everyone took that advice we’d never make any progress.

  5. Jeff Rankin
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink


  6. Filippo
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if any of the “possessed” accidentally hurt anyone.

    • Filippo
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Also, where are the children or at least the teenagers?

      • alexander
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        They are wiser, they go to discos.

  7. FB
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    More evidence that we are closer to the chimps than a horse is to a donkey.

  8. Mike Anderson
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    This kind of group delusion is also found in martial arts (which can have their own brand of mysticism), with a wise old master having supernatural seeming powers to disable opponents with a touch or a handwave. Unfortunately for the wise old master, his super powers only work on his own students, and the bubble is burst when a truly accomplished fighter is allowed to play. Sam Harris mentions this in his video essay “The Pleasure of Drowning”.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      That Sam Harris video doesn’t seem to cover the B.S. martial arts I though it did. Here’s the youtube video that shows it:


      (rather than load up this page with youtube videos I’ll just put the video ID so you can find it. Or just search youtube for “kiai master vs real fighter”)

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        This is the id of the Sam Harris video I meant to insert: SM9wgJmBfpo

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the link (clickable but non-imbedded):

        The guys in the first half of the video were spectacularly amateurish. You’ll see much more convincing stunt fighting in any TV sword-and-sorcery saga.


    • Blue
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Oooo, excellent analagous example,
      Mr Anderson: in re that ” … … wise old”
      Any Body “having supernatural seeming powers
      to disable opponents … … ”


    • BJ
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      This is what makes BJJ so great: unlike all of the bullshit martial arts (and some of the real ones, depending on which gym you attend), I’ve never encountered that cultish behavior or treatment of the teachers as spiritual masters at any BJJ gym where I rolled. Everybody just wants to learn and enjoy the art for what it is. And no matter how good you get, there are always tons of people who can teach you more.

    • Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      There are also the levitating gurus who fool many (these actually sit on a well concealed stool supported by a single pole that looks like a cane). And ‘yogic flying’, which is always just bouncing up and down while sitting cross-legged.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Good piece on that fraud Steven Seagal & others of the same stripe:

      • Posted November 19, 2017 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        I didn’t know that Steven Seagal was claiming to be anything more than a Hollywood actor until I read that page.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Interesting talk (but then Sam always manages to be interesting). I felt compelled to listed to the whole 9 minutes and no, I don’t think I wasted my time. 🙂


    • Vaal
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      This is exactly what I thought of when watching the Christian vid! I was going to post about that infamous old “Aikido Master” vs a MMA (shootwrestler) match in which the bubble of delusion meets the hard wall of reality. You can first watch the videos of the master being “attacked” by students in his dojo and he’s tossing them around calmly, often not even toughing them and they go spinning due to his energy.

      He actually bought into his own powers and accepted a fight against a young real fighter, full contact. Watching reality crash down upon the Aikido master as he’s immediately rendered helpless is both satisfying, sad and alarming.

      BJJ is an enormously satisfying martial art – the “martial art of skeptics” you might say, because of the realistic, tested way it was developed and shown to be effective. And the moves are just so logically satisfying – like solving engineering problems as you go, and just so effective.

      I don’t do it any more because at my age I enjoy not being injured. But I had fun doing it mostly in the 90’s, including learning from Rickson, Royce etc. (I don’t have to mention who those guys are to any BJJers!).

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I suppose if you gotta choose one or t’other, this beats snake-handling, hands down.

    • Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      And talking in tongues, rolling on the floor, receiving direct messages from god or angels, starting new religions (Mormon, Christian Scientist, Scientology, etc.) and paying for prayed-over hankies to heal you. The odd behaviors and ripoffs are legion.

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I hate to confess it, but I’m so convulsed with laughter at this crackpot stuff that I’m about to have a fit and start flapping my arms and jerking around, and I might just flip over and fall down — this is soooo funny.

  11. John Taylor
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    WTF??? I’ve never seen anything like that before.

  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh I firmly believe it. If the guy tried that on me I’d piss myself laughing too.


    • Posted November 19, 2017 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      If we had had a preacher like that at my local Scottish Presbyterian church, I might have joined. Unfortunately he was a typical “boring for Scotland” minister, a bit like the Reverend I M Jolly. I M Jolly was a parody of a late night TV godslot called Late Call, which fortunately now no longer exists (it was a bit like Thought For The Day.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted November 19, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Unknown to me & excellent! Had to look him up: Robert Kerr “Rikki” Fulton, OBE of BBC Scotland sketch show, Scotch and Wry. That programme must not have aired down here.

        I’ll have to do a YouTube binge – och aye the noo

        • Posted November 23, 2017 at 3:53 am | Permalink

          Somehow missed your reply until now, and glad you enjoyed it. Rikki Fulton’s “last call” became a bit of an institution each year, so you have lots of catching up to do.

  13. Robert Fowler
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Here is living proof that humans are animals, and evolution is true, lol!!

  14. Posted November 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    The guy in the clip from 2:30-2:40, who collapses in the folding chair in a sort of spiritual orgasm, is Kenneth Hagin Jr, the son of Kenneth Hagin. Hagin Jr. has continued in his father’s footsteps with his own gig with Rhema Ministries. Kenneth Hagin Sr. was sort of the spiritual godfather of many of the well know and infamous prosperity preachers of today, like Kenneth Copeland. This crazy shit in the video is known among Charismatic Christians as “holy laughter”, or being “drunk in the spirit”. It’s just one of many strange ideas they have latched onto in the last 40 years, or so. Mainstream Christians, and even many Charismatics frown on this wacky show, and consider it of “demonic origin”. Whateverl the hell that means.

    As crazy as this whole display seems, it just points to the glaring fact that there is not a whole lot of daylight between what you see here, and some of the equally insane religious beliefs that run throughout the conservative political world that is currently running our country.

    We are in some seriously deep shit in the good old U.S. of A.

  15. Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I wonder if there’s a segment of the population who is wired to make “I believe it because it is absurd” an important part of their cognitive makeup.

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