Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why Donating to The Family International is a Bad Idea

Maybe you've recently re-connected with an old school buddy on facebook. You remember something about that friend being a Jesus Freak, lost touch for many years, but now images of Mother Theresa dance before your eyes when you learn about the work she is doing in an impoverished developing country. When presented with the "opportunity" to give to support her work, you think, "Why not?"

Admittedly, The Family International has cleaned up its act. Looking at their benign website, we see they are a Christian group "committed to sharing the message of God's love with others."

As a member, I gave heavily. (See Tithing and Financial Fleecing.) Even after leaving, I saw no harm in giving to an old friend who worked with orphans in a developing country. But as the mist gradually cleared from my head, I found I could no longer support her. 

Why not?

No matter what any TFI member may tell you, a basic tenet of the group is proselytizing. And not just the "Jesus loves you" somewhat harmless (although possibly annoying) doctrine of mainstream Christians, but their own brand of bizarre beliefs. I know that any donations given to anyone in that group, although overtly used to "help the needy," also come along with the given that those "needy" will be fed a "spiritual meal" of the TFI version of Christianity.  

These include such choice concepts as:

  • Praying to a plethora of departed saints and "spirit helpers" and receiving from them "prophecies" for daily guidance and help.
  • Imaging you are having sex with Jesus during sex or while masturbating. It's okay if you're a guy - just pretend you're a woman and then it's not spiritual "Sodomy." Don't forget to say "love words" to Jesus while you do it.
  • Using the secret weapon - given only to TFI members (after all, they are the elite Christians of today) - of the "keys of the kingdom." Unlike mainstream Christians who pray "in Jesus' name," TFI members can claim the "keys of the kingdom" to magically release special powers from God.
  • The most important TFI doctrine is "The Law of Love." This all-encompassing rule that "whatever is done in love is lawful in God's eyes" gave license to all manner of abuse - psychological, physical, and most especially, sexual. 
OK, you think, maybe they do have some weird doctrines, but look at the work they are doing for the disadvantaged! Maybe they are doing some good. But what if those people want to join - that is one of the goals, right? "Make disciples of all nations" - another TFI foundational belief. If they join, they will gradually be indoctrinated into all that weirdness and more - a complete rewiring of their sense of normalcy. (See The Stanford Prison Study and More on the Stanford Prison Study.)

Knowing that today's TFI members, in order to retain their group membership, must proselytize is what put the brakes on my giving. I cannot, in good conscience, support a group of perhaps well-intentioned, but definitely delusional, members. The good image they present is only the polished top layer hiding the harmful doctrines within.

1 comment:

  1. "Using the secret weapon - given only to TFI members (after all, they are the elite Christians of today) - ..."

    While TFI certainly has some of the most extreme, bizarre, harmful Christian doctrines (do they still believe heaven is inside the moon, or it's a spaceship coming from outer space?), evangelical Christianity has a lot of con men and fraudsters taking advantage of vulnerable, desperate, naive people. The following article landed in my inbox this morning, offering a "secret faith tool":

    "Peter Popoff, the Born-Again Scoundrel"

    "Once, Peter Popoff was a magical, mystical man of God—a giant among '80s televangelists. And Lord, was he rich! But he was also an enormous fraud who was ruined in scandal. Ah, but here in America, time absolves all that. And if a fellow is clever enough, he can remake his kingdom and amass quite a fortune. For the Lord worketh in mysterious ways.
    "It had been years, and he had changed some: a few more wrinkles, a little hitch in his gait, the hair a bit more aggressively black. But it was him. Peter Popoff was back. And he was as mesmerizing as ever.
    Sitting on a stage, in an upholstered chair, Popoff implored his television audience to call an 800 number so that he could send them a secret “faith tool” that God had recently given him as he was “praying about the four red moons of this year of Jubilee.” If that wasn't incentive enough, there was more reason to reach for the phone. On the screen, below Popoff, flashed the message “Call now for your free miracle spring water.”
    "As if to answer the very question that occurred to me—what does one do with miracle spring water?—Popoff explained that good times were ahead, very good times. “I can see God leading people into new homes, new automobiles!… God gives supernatural debt cancellation!… And I'd like to send you the miracle spring water.”"

    If you believe that, then you believe the moon is made of cheese, or heaven is hiding inside it.