Yet Another Fake Miracle Claim – Why do people believe this stuff?

This past week Hemant Mehta flagged up yet another dubious miracle claim …

Here is a transcript of what self-appointed “global impact evangelist” Nathan French claimed during his live streaming event last week …

… and one lady came because God was growing legs out. You know, sometimes people have misaligned spines, or one leg just didn’t grow and it’s shorter than the other and they have to get heels. And so I see a lot of these legs just go [sound effect]—whether it’s an inch, a half-inch, two inches—and you just command them to grow, and they go [sound effect], and it’s really fun to see that and to see the look on people’s faces. 

But one lady saw people’s legs growing out in the meeting, and then… she’s like, “Can God make me taller? I want to be taller!”

And she was short and she wanted to be tall. And I laughed ‘cause I’d never actually seen anybody ask for that. But I just thought, “Well, if God can grow out a leg, then He can grow out both legs.” 

So we sat her down and we command the legs, you know, “In Jesus’ name, I command these legs grow one inch!” 

And the legs go [sound effect]! Like one inch!

And then her brother was there. He goes, “I’ll check and see… if you grew.” And the brother comes over, and they go back to back, and they’re the same height! And normally he’s taller by an inch! So it’s hilarious. Like, God literally made her taller.

So it’s, like, those things are fun for God. I think He loves to express… just His goodness by showing us that He really is able to do it. Not only able but willing to perform the miraculous. Just to say, “Hey, I’m here. I’m with you. And, yes, I am the miracle worker who still does miracles today.”

We all have questions

  • What was her name?
  • When did this happen?
  • Where did this happen?
  • Where is any evidence that it actually happened as described by Nathan?
  • etc…

Well yes, insert the sound of tumbleweed.

The lady he is telling this story to, Yvon Attia, just sits there listening, smiling, and nodding along lapping it all up. Clearly she is buying this as “truth” without even a hint of, “wait, sorry, run that past me once again

Does Nathan actually believe what he is claiming?

He most probably does.

I was once a personal witness to a dead man being brought back to life

One small flaw, it was not actually that at all. What happened is a great example of how people desperate for something supernatural can grasp and then vigorously run with a “christian” interpretation of actual events that fools everybody.

My story goes back to the days when I was a teen in a pentecostal church that believed in such miracles. In happened during a hot summer Sunday morning. While the usual speaking in tongues stuff was in full flow, one elderly guy collapsed. Everything stopped. The pastor went over to him. The guy who had collapsed, Ralf, was known to have a heart condition, so the general assumption is that something serious had happened to him. As the pastor prayed over him with everybody else joining in, Ralf came around. The claim that then did the rounds later is that Ralf had died and had then been raised back to life. The “evidence” is that a lady sitting on the other side of the room who was a nurse said, yep, he had definitely died, her “proof” was that he had turned a funny shade of grey.

  • Nobody actually verified he was dead, nobody took his pulse, nobody medically qualified examined him.

It was just as assumption and so the “miracle” claim took flight and had a room full of “witnesses” to verify it had actually happened.

Translation: Elderly guy faints on a hot day, is sat down, and soon comes around is not exactly a compelling story. Those who are always desperate for evidence of God went along with the miracle explanation.

My point is this, often when faced with such claims you need not doubt the sincerity of those telling you what they believe happened. The question to ponder over is not “why are you lying to me?“, but rather, “what actually happened and how did you get fooled into believing this was a miracle?

The Leg Growing Illusion

OK, back to Nathan.

The Leg growing illusion is just that … an illusion.

Blend a religious placebo with a bit of unconscious muscle relaxation and you get the desired result. For the exact same reason your limbs will actually feel longer after a decent yoga session, and you might indeed be a tad taller because your spine has uncompressed.

Derren Brown shows you how it is done

Derren is a well-known illusionist based in the UK.

In the following clip he does the full set of “miracles” … he cures a deaf lady, he cures a blind man, and of course he cures a lame man via the leg lengthening con.

He actually does all three. The deaf lady really is deaf, the blind guy has been blind from birth, yet Derren claims no supernatural ability. He then goes on to explain exactly what is going on and how he did each of the tricks.

The clip is just 7 minutes and well worth watching if curious to understand how this trickery works.

What becomes clear is that these “miracles” are all fraudulent. Nothing supernatural is going on.

If Derren was totally unscrupulous, he could get into the religious business, and make a fortune doing stuff like this.

What you can also appreciate, now that you understand what is really going on, is that preachers doing these “miracles” are totally fooling, not just the audience, but also possibly themselves. They just might sincerely believe as well and not appreciate that it is not a miracle at all. However, I do also suspect that most of them doing this also know it is just a scam and do it for the donation$ they then reap.

If you saw the above clip without the reveal you can also perhaps appreciate how the right music and right buildup to it all would indeed work an audience into a frenzy of belief and a willingness to open up their wallets when the collection plate gets passed around.

Two Final Points

The first point is what I term “balance”.

The various miracle claims often strike a degree of balance that is just enough to convince those that believe that something supernatural has happened. However, it is never enough to convince a skeptic who wants real evidence. The claim is often untestable and unverifiable, for example no names or dates. If there are names, dates, and witnesses, then there is no independently verified before and after. Remember my own example of Ralf being raised from the dead … a name, a date, and lots of witnesses … except what people think happened is not what actually happened.

The second point is “reality”.

In all of human history the actual number of times that an objective confirmation of something supernatural has been measured and verified is so far exactly zero.

Many people might indeed believe in such things, and may also, when faced with something they can’t explain, sincerely conclude it was supernatural. Illusionists such as Derren Brown have made an entire career out of fooling people. Luckily he is an honest liar and explains that it is all just trickery and not an actual miracle.

When faced with miracle claims, then your very best friends are doubt and skepticism. This is because we can all be very easily conned and hoodwinked by frauds and charlatans who leverage the human susceptibility to being easily fooled.

Leave a Reply