Sunday, October 22, 2017

Frauds in Religion

In Korea recently mass media has carried the stories of religious people involved in con schemes. This upsets the religious people in society and a question to the Catholic Peace Weekly on the feelings of a reader when he hears these stories and wonders about his own faith life when those who are leaders in religion show this kind of behavior.

The columnist begins by telling the reader that one mud fish can easily muddy the water. Crooks are present in religion as in all the other areas of life. Moreover, in religion it's actually easier to con a person for the victims are more open to believing the person is speaking the truth. In many other fields persons are quick to doubt but religious people when they encounter priests, ministers or Buddhist monks are ready and conditioned to believe, making religion an easy place to deceive people.

Since a con person is asking for money it is rather easy to determine and distinguish the motive but since they are clever even when they succeed their followers don't quickly decrease in numbers. We have a number of ways in which they do their deception.

The defense mechanism they often use is speaking in a way that is just opposite to what they are truly about: reaction formation. An example would be speaking about justice and the poor and acting contrarily. Love for the poor is a natural trait of a religious person and when this is done to an extreme one's antennas go up.

When justice and welfare and the like are overly stressed there may be a search for material things and honors. People have difficulty criticizing  their actions. Externally they are just persons showing an interest in the welfare of the poor and this image is not easily attacked.

The second category are those who use treats in their approach. You feel their energy when they approach you. This is seen in the new religious groups but also in the traditional  groups, where prayers are asked to a degree that is beyond a persons possibility and asking for donations and  thanksgiving gifts.

In this case believers find it difficult to reject for they are afraid that something will happen if they refuse a person who is doing so much good. These persons know the weak points of the common person and manipulate  their anxieties  for their benefit. They make threatening prophesies about the family and the souls of the dead because of their sins and  push people into a neurotic state.

They are not the object of rejection but of respect because people think that rejecting them they are rejecting God. In conclusion  he recommends what to do to avoid being caught in a religious fraud. We need to be mature Christians and know the teachings of the Lord. When you have a integral understanding of the Gospels and their flow you will feel an instinctive rejection of the behavior of these con artists.

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