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Topic: Exposing fraudsters
Message: Posted by: NeoMagic (Mar 6, 2006 05:11PM)
Sue-Anne, I read with interest in your bio that you, [i]"use [your] knowledge of magic to expose the frauds who use sleight of hand and psychology to further a belief in the occult..."[/i]. It reminded me of the kind of work Houdini used to do.

Could you give some examples of the kind of fraudsters you've been able to expose and how (without naming names I guess)? Thanks in advance, and welcome to the Magic Café.
Message: Posted by: Sue-Anne Webster (Mar 6, 2006 09:27PM)
Thankyou...

I don't do a James Randi - but whenever possible I'll let the public know of fraudulent practices.

I get people asking at my walk-around gigs "is magic real?" - that they "went to a psychic and was told..." etc. A lady described my 'aura' - and some have said I was better (and more impressive) than the psychic they paid a small fortune to see. Women are more prone to chat about things like that on a first meeting with an unknown person, than men. They get excited when they see a woman doing magic and strike up these sorts of conversations. I'll certainly expose Uri Geller in my general presentation (you'd be amazed to know how many people are surprised to know about his ruses).

BTW Tim exposed Uri Geller back in the 80's when a mining company named Zanex hired Uri to wave a pendulum over a map while flying over their mine in hopes of finding gold.

I also get asked to speak at schools from time to time, to talk about deception from a Christian point of view - and how fraudulent practices can deceive the unsuspecting public and the damage it can ultimately cause. Magic demos (with no exposure, of course) are a great way of getting the point across. They're entertained and learn important lessons at the same time.
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazing (Mar 7, 2006 04:59AM)
Just curious; how do you expose Uri Geller without without exposing? Do you show that you too can perform the same effects as he did? (and then leave it at that?)

Also, what are your criteria for deciding who and what to expose?

Thanx
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 7, 2006 05:40AM)
Hi, the Uri Geller thing was interesting.

He had been hired by Zanex mining to find gold for them on an island they were mining. He did so by holding a pendulum over a map while they flew over the island.

My role was to appear on a current affair TV show and explain a little bit about who Uri was. I demonstrated some spoon bending (Uri had impressed the island's native chief with that effect) and made an offer to the mining company to do exactly what Uri had done for free.

But Uri's plan was perfect. Zanex was a publicly listed company. In order to justify his decision and protect his own job the CEO who hired Geller HAD to make sure Geller paid off, otherwise share prices drop and he's no longer CEO. Brilliant. Did they find gold? No. They found other minerals... but as was pointed out by a geologist, the island was so rich in minerals you could have dug anywhere and found something of value. The CEO announced that the decision to hire Geller had paid off!

What is our criteria to expose... I hate seeing people ripped off, so nowdays I tend to expose those within the magic community who copy other's creations for their own profit. (See our MAGIC FAKERS page).

Sue-Anne tends to expose practices rather than people. Often the people involved in fraudulent practices are just as deceived as their victims. (I'd better let her answer in more detail).


Actually, we met during a lecture on how to make money giving Astral Travel workshops! ;)
Message: Posted by: NeoMagic (Mar 7, 2006 06:07AM)
This might be of interest to some... a short clip of Geller on the Johnny Carson show some years back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O90yvyTd5Y

And a longer version with James Randi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e39fBmh2lkk

The debate continues!
Message: Posted by: Sue-Anne Webster (Mar 7, 2006 06:53AM)
Yeah, we DID meet during a lecture on how to make money on Astral travelling by Richard Webster from New Zealand. I think all the magicians were dumb founded. Tim was beside himself worrying that he could have been my father - or husband.

Anyway - yes, I show people I can do the same stuff, rather than expose magic - because I have access to that type of material.

I do it because I cannot bear to let anyone go around thinking that some imperfect human being who doesn't know you from a grain of salt, but willing to take your money, is concerned at all about your welfare. Too many people are placing their trust in what? Too many people spend their lives focused intently on looking out for a dark haired man or somebody to walk into their lives with the first initial "M".

What a great distraction from truly important things in life. What's a deck of cards going to tell you? What's a piece of quartz going to do for you? What's a clear ball going to tell you? What are the planets going to reveal when they're already 5 degrees off their original course? NOTHING!

So, I take the opportunity from time to time, or when it's called for, as a magician who can do the same things to hopefully alleviate an unecessary burden.
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Mar 7, 2006 09:54AM)
Do you guys ever find that perhaps your view on this issue is somewhat more narrow than it needs to be? Now, I am not advocating openly ripping people off, but it sounds to me that you are more lampooning those that go to a reader than you are "showing them the error of their ways". I do know one or two readers that have provided much help to those who came to them and do care a great deal for the complete strangers that come to them seeking guidance. This is no different than someone going to a priest that they do not know and asking for guidance. The only difference is the costume. All it is, is someone giving advice based on their beliefs. And here you stand saying to others that those beliefs are fake. I do hope you look at what you are doing and reconcider your approach towards this subject. I feel that it is no better than walking up to someone and telling them that their religious beliefs are wrong and they are doomed to burn just because their beliefs do not match yours. All that is likely to do is make an enemy, not bring someone to your side of the table.
Message: Posted by: JordanMalfreed (Mar 7, 2006 10:23AM)
Tim & Sue-Anne,

Greetings. Interesting discussion you have here.

Do you use a disclaimer when you perform?

Have you personally conducted any scientific study of the specific individuals who you are exposing, or is your evidence anecdotal in nature? If you have done any studies, please tell us about it, and point us towards your research. I'd be very interested in reading it.

Do you know how everything in the world works and which beliefs are correct with no doubt whatsoever? If yes, then how did you come to this conclusion?

It's interesting that you both met at an astral travel workshop, yet you seemingly would denounce such an event as bad. Why would you tell someone something is wrong and bad when you personally know that some there are wonderful things that can come from it? It seems to indicate a conflict you have with yourselves.

Following the protocols,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Mar 7, 2006 10:54AM)
Hello Tim and Sue Anne, I did enjoy your dvd's and the sense of fun that you conveyed.It was great seeing Tommy Wonder on holidays!
As well as fun with magic though I also like to feel like sometimes what I have seen may be 'real'.I mean when I saw Uri Geller bend a spoon it was so powerful that it was such a different feeling to just watching a 'trick'.Sure he has'nt written a book or released a dvd about his methods but that is something else I like about him!Anyway good luck and thanks's for sharing that Crazy Man's Handcuffs as an opener idea.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Mar 7, 2006 01:17PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-07 11:23, JordanMalfreed wrote:
Have you personally conducted any scientific study of the specific individuals who you are exposing, or is your evidence anecdotal in nature? If you have done any studies, please tell us about it, and point us towards your research. I'd be very interested in reading it.
[/quote]

Jordan, I find it hard to believe that you didn't mean what I just quoted to be aggressive and confrontational. You don't need a scientific study to demostrate how something done by someone that is claiming supernatural powers can be done with sleight of hand. You don't need to publish studies. I was alive in the 70's and Gellar claimed that he used supernatural powers to bend spoons. I watched him on television and remember his making the claim. I read books by him where he taught us all how to expand our ESP.

[quote]Do you know how everything in the world works and which beliefs are correct with no doubt whatsoever? If yes, then how did you come to this conclusion?
[/quote]

Now THAT was confrontational and deliberately so. These are our guests and I take umbrage at your confronting them in this manner.

[quote]
It's interesting that you both met at an astral travel workshop, yet you seemingly would denounce such an event as bad. Why would you tell someone something is wrong and bad when you personally know that some there are wonderful things that can come from it? It seems to indicate a conflict you have with yourselves.
[/quote]

Jordan, you have demonstrated a grievous misunderstanding of two of the most ethical magicians that I have ever encountered. You have misjudged them and misconstrued. Your words betray a very narrow mindset. Normally I would just ignore you as being not worth my time refuting, but you are confronting people that have been there when I needed them and are, in my opinion, above reproach.

Tred lightly, Jordan, you are among people that love this couple and they have earned our love and respect.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 7, 2006 03:53PM)
Hi guys, 8.30 in the morning here now and I see the discussion has been progressing along nicely. ;)

SAMUEL - You have some very good points but no, neither Sue-Anne or I lampoon those who go to readers, we are very cautious because so many people have such faith in things like tarot, astrology, rune stones, clairvoyants, auras etc...

I had one lady come up to me at a show, she was the head of Direct Marketing in Australia, and she explained to me that I had a "black aura", my magic was real. I explained that what I did was purely trickery, sleight of hand etc, but she insisted and went on to say that I was resorting to tricks because I hadn't yet released my "true abilities". I asked her how she knew that, she said she was a fairy....... Long silence..... waiting for punch line.... none came and she was deadly serious. She explained that she, as a sideline, ran a series a fairy shops where parents would drop kids off for fairy parties, and they'd do tarot and ouija boards and other fun stuff. You can't lampoon someone who truly believes this but, she was sharing her beliefs with me, so I took the opportunity to share my beliefs with her.

These sort of situations happen to us all the time. It's really quite odd but we often end up having discussions about beliefs with the people we are entertaining. They are seeking something, a higher meaning, a purpose for life. Everyone has an empty space inside them they need to fill with that purpose - sometimes they fill it with work, family, the quest for fame or money, the spirits, new age, or religion...

Sue-Anne and I are both Christians. We fill that space with a desire to understand God and to try to live in the way Jesus taught. We fail miserably CONSTANTLY, but we keep on trying. Part of that life is to spread the gospel. We don't feel that we have been called to evangelise in the way that Andre Kole does, but who knows what lies ahead? We also don't feel the need to initiate conversations with people to try to "convert" them, but when people start asking questions, we try to reply as honestly and as openly as possible.

Christianity itself can be seen as a "narrow world view". Even the first of the Ten Commandments says 'You shall have no other God but me'.

But, and I want to be clear on this, we are not out their in judgement of other people because they believe different things to us (hey, even Teller is a good friend of ours!) the Bible clearly tells us not to judge others at all. However, it also does warn against involvement in the occult, fortune telling, etc... and we've seen the dangers of such involvement at first hand.


So, in a very big nutshell :) , Sue-Anne and I are happy to expose the "frauds who use sleight of hand and psychology to further a belief in the occult...". It's tragic to think that someone's belief system could be based on a centre tear. But to those who are in the occult or the new age and are still searching for meaning, we're happy to share with them.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 7, 2006 04:01PM)
JORDAN - The Astral Travel Lecture we met at was part of a magic convention given by Sean Taylor in Sydney. The convener of the lecture was Richard Webster. It was amazing.

Richard made it very clear that this was simply a way to make a lot of money with little effort. The majority of the magicians present sat slack-jawed as he explained that he doesn't believe it, but many people do, so why not take their money.

One guy asked "What do you do if they pay the money and don't experience any Astral Travel?" Richard replied words to the effect of "That's great! Then you tell them they need to do more practice at home and you sell them some books and tapes and book them in for more sessions."

The guy who asked is really into making big money, but even he thought this was going a bit too far.

If you're going to preach it, you should at least believe in it yourself, not just take people's money because "Hey they're going to give it to someone... why not me?"

(And yes, there are many, many people out there masquerading as Christians doing the exact same thing, taking money under false pretences, it's all pretty bad stuff).
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 7, 2006 04:05PM)
MARKYMARK - You are absolutely right. Geller's performance looks amazing! Why, because he says it's not a trick, it's real. Try doing a centre tear or a cold read on someone and present is as real and you'll be amazed at how much stronger the reaction is (though, not quite as effective with 'Sponge Bunnies'). It's an easy way to get better reactions - like the wrestler's "Cheap Heat".

Glad you enjoyed the rubber band intro for strolling magic. It's SUCH an effective way to break into ANY group... I love it.


RIKBROOKS - Thanks so much for your support, we really do appreciate it.
Message: Posted by: Zamboni (Mar 7, 2006 04:49PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-06 22:27, Sue-Anne Webster wrote:
I also get asked to speak at schools from time to time, to talk about deception from a Christian point of view - and how fraudulent practices can deceive the unsuspecting public and the damage it can ultimately cause.
[/quote]

This may set the cat amongst the pigeons but I’m actually quite interested in the answer. Sue-Anne how do you criticise fraudulent practises based on the belief of the susceptible customer using another faith based system such as Christianity?
Message: Posted by: JordanMalfreed (Mar 7, 2006 04:58PM)
Tim - Thank you for responding to some of my questions. Richard Webster is a very nice man and a fascinating guy. It's interesting that you met at one of his lectures.

rikbrooks - I don't think you clearly understand what I'm writing, so I apologize if I was not clear enough. Our special guests here made some pretty strong statements about what other people believe, and I wanted to more fully understand what our guests believe and why. That is why I put forward my questions. I am looking to understand them and their views. Questions and discussion is one of the ways that I work to increase understanding. Readings for example, can be a perfectly legitimate and deceiptless way for people to come to a greater understanding of themselves and the world.

Following the protocols,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Sue-Anne Webster (Mar 7, 2006 06:11PM)
Thankyou Rik, for your support... it is truly greatly appreciated.

Tim pretty much covered my answer, but I'd like to add my reason for the strong opinion I have... and it may cover a few questions above.

After turning my back on Christianity at 15, I spent a good 21 years experiencing just about every aspect of the New Age Movement in search for truth. I used everything I found to critisize Christianity. My natural curiosity, involvement in the Spiritist church, and association with my brother's in-laws had me learning and/or experiencing just about everything from ouija boards, mediums, clairvoyance, crystal readings, pyramid power, alternative health therapies, psychic healings, channelling, divination, dreams, kirlian diagnosis, naturopathy, tarot cards, etc. etc. etc. and finally, the very dangerous tantric practises in yoga, raising kundalini.

During this time I felt more and more hatred towards Christianity and began to openly critisize it. At the same time, nothing ever came of anything I learned or did in the New Age Movement, except that my life began to fall apart and my brain was going weird (I can't describe it any better). I also learned a little bit about other religions, but they didn't really make any sense to me. I also must add that I love science and was also trying to prove Christianity wrong with scientific facts.

Finally, in my last efforts to prove to Tim that Christianity was a load of crap, and desperate for the truth, I picked up the Bible to try and understand who this Jesus was and what on earth did he die on the cross for. I couldn't understand a word of it - but - after praying to God (yes, people in the New Age believe in a "universal intelligence"), desperate to know the truth - right then and there, my whole body literally shook with what I can only describe as a revelation.

There was more meaning to life in those first few seconds of knowing Jesus than there was in 26 years, since my search began with my first question at 10 years of age: "Does science and the Bible agree" (BTW: the answer is yes).

Now, everything makes perfect sense and I'm finally content. Of course, I still have troubles like everybody else and I constantly fall down in my Faith but, the idea is to get back up and try, try again.

I have a great empathy and love for those who seek answers in cards and clairvoyants and for those who practise these things when their goal is to earnestly help others. I try to be gentle but firm when I 'expose' fraudulent or occult practises. The practises have a meaningfulness of - minus zero, and they are destructive to the core. I say this from experience.

But, there is NO excuse for those who deceive others KNOWING they are using trickery.

Please forgive me if I've offended anyone by my earlier comments - I've only spoken from my personal experience.
Message: Posted by: JordanMalfreed (Mar 8, 2006 09:15PM)
Sue-Anne,

I'll have to respectfully disagree with your statement that, "The practises have a meaningfulness of - minus zero, and they are destructive to the core. I say this from experience."

The practices when used wisely can have a great meaning and can help.

I can understand that you don't believe that they worked for you, but that doesn't mean that they should be completely thrown away.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to change their world view or religious beliefs, I just would prefer if you did not propagate such negative stereotypes. Also, just because you were involved in it in past doesn't mean you know everything about it. You're using a computer to read this, but I doubt you know everything about that. Most people on this board couldn't tell a SYN from a FIN or a NACK from an ACK...but that's another kind of protocol.

Be well.

Following the protocols,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 8, 2006 09:34PM)
One of the "experiments" we did when we were performing a season of 'Cunning Stunts' in an intimate theatre (seating 12 around a table) for the Comedy Festival was something we saw James Randi do.

As people arrived we gave them a questionaire to fill out with all sorts of details like birthdate, sign, favourite colour etc. Near the end of the show we gave them each a computerised print out of their astrological chart based on the information they gave us.

We asked them, "How accurate, on a scale of 1-5 would you say your chart was?"

Most people replied 4 to 5.

Then we got them to hand the charts around. Laughter started to ensue as they realised they all had the exact same readings.

We then spent 5 minutes explaining the history and basis of astrology and how, due to the way that the planets have shifted out of their original astrological houses over the years, the system doesn't even operate the way it was designed to anymore.

After the show a lady came up and thanked us and told us she was never going to read her horoscope in the paper again. She understood what we'd explained and realised that the alignment of the planets had no real influence on her, it was all fake... except for HER astrologer, he's VERY GOOD not like all the other fakes we spoke about.




Jordan, just curious, what are your beliefs?
Message: Posted by: Williamanon (Mar 8, 2006 10:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-07 16:53, Tim Ellis wrote:
Christianity itself can be seen as a "narrow world view". Even the first of the Ten Commandments says 'You shall have no other God but me'.
[/quote]

You might find "Collosians Remixed: Subverting the Empire" by Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat (InterVarsity Press, 2004) most interesting in the context of this discussion
Message: Posted by: JordanMalfreed (Mar 9, 2006 04:38PM)
Tim,

Since you didn't specify which of my beliefs you'd like to know about, I'll present some of them. Certainly we don't have time or space for all of them...even without getting into the size of the universe or time if those constructs actually exist.

I believe that humans are probably so incredibly limited in their capacity to observe and to think that they (yes, we) cannot understand what anything is.

I believe we should live and let live. I think too many people are telling other people what is right and wrong rather than tending their own gardens.

I believe that people see everything from the point of view of their belief system whether that belief system is their personal interpretation of what they think Jesus, Buddah, scientists or anyone else said.

I believe that people too often focus on what makes their beliefs different rather than what makes their beliefs the same, and that it would be better if they reversed that.

I believe that most people define themselves by their limitations rather than their possibilities, and that is quite a shame.

I believe that most people think their beliefs are right when in fact most of their beliefs are wrong, including my own. I believe that people do this even though they usually have a great deal of skepticism and questioning still left internally about their own beliefs.

I believe that working to see things from a variety of perspectives can aid understanding, and that includes trying to view things from random or chance means such as tarot, coin flipping, I-Ching, whim or others as well as trying to view things from a specific fixed point of view. Shifting perspective is important. I believe that when people limit the way they view the world to one particular way that it criples their ability to see things clearly.

I believe that things are very complex at the same time that they are very simple.

I believe that I also probably don't know anything just the same as everyone else, and that anyone who assumes they do know a lot probably does not.

Also, I usually question as much as possible of most everything as much as I am able, but I am aware that I am limited in my ability to do this.

I believe that human beings are pattern seeking organisms to the extent that we find patterns even where none exist.

Following the protocols,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Zamboni (Mar 9, 2006 05:07PM)
A can of worms indeed. For my part I don’t believe that tarot, astrology, god etc have any basis in reality beyond the mind of the recipient involved. What I do think they can do is to explore and consolidate one’s own subconscious thoughts/feelings. That is you take from them what resonates within (thus the success of Tim’s “experiment” with astrology, cold reading, etc). These can subsequently be very powerful tools for personal growth (I have been known to throw the tarot myself on occasion). It only becomes fraudulent when people assert their external reality (without reasonable proof) and worse, gain financial advantage through those claims. Especially as Sue-Anne says “those who deceive others KNOWING they are using trickery” (Mar 7, 2006 7:11pm ). The question is what to do about “those who practise these things when their goal is to earnestly help others” (Sue-Anne: Mar 7, 2006 7:11pm ). And to me this includes clairvoyants, astrologers and Christians. No offence meant to anyone, this is my personal view aired for discussion of these points only.
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Mar 9, 2006 06:10PM)
I do a trick with a pole that's got four pom poms on it.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 9, 2006 06:59PM)
Jordan, thanks for taking the time to explain that. I think Sue-Anne can relate to you much better than you might imagine.

Zamboni, an interesting POV as well.

I believe all humans have an innate desire within them to answer the question "Why are we here?" I agree that everyone needs to be open to listen to the answers that others have found, but at one point or another, you have to be able to answer that question with a definite purpose. There's nothing more depressing than the answer "We're here for no reason whatsoever." (Although, it is possible to accept that and try to create your own purpose in life: making money, finding happiness, helping others etc).

Futureal, your sense of comic timing is impeccable! LOL!!!!
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Mar 9, 2006 07:37PM)
Very interesting discussion, indeed.

I guess it all comes back to that famous quote - "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."
Message: Posted by: Sue-Anne Webster (Mar 9, 2006 08:18PM)
So true Michael J.

I only encourage people to earnestly seek the truth with an open mind - because they will definitely find it.

:)
Message: Posted by: IT Magic (Mar 10, 2006 04:13PM)
Haven't said much on this for a while but I gotta rant again. Jordan, you may believe otherwise but your posts are overtly aggressive and verging on completely insulting, Tim and Sue-Anne have referred to exposing those who deliberately rip other people off. I believe in people finding their own way and have my own very particular beliefs that differ again from the others expressed here. I accept that people can believe what they want, but I also think it wrong for others to deliberately decieve others to sway their belief.

I am not a christian, but I think the comparrison between Christianity and Psycics is fundamentally flawed. Christianity is based on faith, and other that a few extremists believing in miracles like the Virgin Mary on a toasted sandwich it is faith alone that makes christianity. The information and beliefs are there the learn about and to decide if you want to believe it. Psycics on the other hand use blatant trickery to convince you that their belief is right, and use this deception to con others.

If you want to believe that I ching or Tarot or Tea Leaves have some true power then fine, but it seems at odds with your aggressive attitude to other peoples beliefs. Tim and Sue-Anne have never said they lampoon or in any way try to humiliate or embarrass the conned parties, they do however show people that what they are being told is real is not. It is worth mentioning too, that no psycic has every been proved true. With 1 million dollars up for grabs you'd think one of the "real" psycics would have claimed it by now.

Tim and Sue-Anne expose fraudsters, not psycics or Tarot readers not Muslim Clerics or Hindu Monks, in fact I don't believe they attack any other belief system in particular, I think they just hate seeing people being lied to and essentially robbed by people using sleights and deception.

Your list of beliefs seems to me to be more like a list made by someone who has yet to really decide what they believe in and wants to cover all the bases. You are ofcourse welcome to find your own path, but aggressively attacking what other people do believe in, is actually contradictory to what your "beliefs" seem to point towards.

I have found this discussion interesting to read, but your aggression Jordan, is, I believe, un-acceptable, whether it was a concious decision or not, you have essentially placed yourself above everyone else by making out that you are all liberal and open minded, yet you act with a fervour that is akin to religeous fanatics. And remember, fanatics are the ones with the least faith, converting people is how they justify and validate their beliefs, I however, have not heard Tim or Sue-Anne evangalize their religion, just point out the obvious deceptions to those being conned by others.

[quote]Do you know how everything in the world works and which beliefs are correct with no doubt whatsoever?[/quote]

I can't believe you asked this, you had to be deliberately trying to provoke others with that. It is a stupid question that you already new the answer to, did you actually think they would say yes? Try and show respect for others Jordan, and instead of trying to read things into what others post, perhaps you could think more about what you write, and how it will be received by others.

Brendan
Message: Posted by: NeoMagic (Mar 10, 2006 04:49PM)
Thank you, Sue-Anne, for answering my original question... lots of other interesting answers/opinions here too!
Message: Posted by: JordanMalfreed (Mar 10, 2006 06:52PM)
Brendan,

Thank you for sharing your opinions. I think it's interesting that you are telling me to, "Try and show respect for others," right after you state that I posed a, "stupid question." I think you are missing my points, and that perhaps you are missing your own points.

I am not someone without beliefs. I have beliefs and I hold them strongly. I also never stated that chance means such as tarot have some mystical power, though they may indeed, and I believe that might be possible, and know people who believe this strongly and base their lives on it. They toss a coin to start the Superbowl(TM) every year y'know and there's a lot of Christians who believe fiercely in that.

While you state that you "don't believe they (Sue-Anne & Tim) attack any other belief system in particular", you may note that Sue-Anne said that what she refers to as "occult practices", "have a meaningfulness of - minus zero, and they are destructive to the core." She said "fraudulent" or "occult" practices, she did not say "fraudulent occult" practices, and there is a significant difference there.

You paint a pretty bright picture of Christianity as something based on "faith," while stating that psychics use, "blatant trickery." Christianity doesn't have such an untainted method of spreading its beliefs. If you'd like to research the destruction of texts written by those who subscribed to opposing viewpoints, or the numbers of people killed because they didn't agree, you may quickly see there are other ways to move people to "belief" in use. Telling people that if they don't believe that they'll burn in hell for all eternity isn't quite the most innocent way to spread "belief," but maybe that's just my silly opinion. Silly me.

I don't believe that you and I will agree, nor do I aim to change your mind.

I don't think it's good to steal people's money, but I think that making brash generalizations about how others live their lives is not so kind either. Again, I state, that that is why I raised my voice in the first place.

Following the protocols,
Jordan
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 10, 2006 07:12PM)
Jordan, we are all expressing our opinions in here, which is great as it helps us to understand each other, the way people think and believe.

Sue-Anne has stated that occult practicses are destructive to the core. That is the conclusion she has come to, and it would be good if you could respect that. We both respect your right to believe that they are not. We feel you are wrong though, just as you feel we are wrong.

However, be careful with statements like "They toss a coin to start the Superbowl(TM) every year y'know and there's a lot of Christians who believe fiercly in that." It really weakens your argument saying things like that.

You are right though, many people have been killed in the "holy wars" etc, but these were not about Christianity, they were about people seeking power but using Christianity as a justification, just as some terrorists claim they are doing Allah's work.

The Bible says we are known by our fruit. If someone claims to be a Christian and yet breaks any of the Commandments and is not truly repentant, it is very likely that they are not a Christian.

Just as I would not like to judge the 'New Age' movement by it's practitioners, I recommend you do not judge Christianity by Christians, but by Christ and his teachings.

Sue-Anne has been seeking the truth for a long time and, just like our minister and friend Adrian Kebbe (Harry Houdidn't), she studied many, many New Age practices intensely. She found them lacking and, in the long run, dangerous.

She is not criticising others and how they live their lives, she is criticising the practices themselves and trying to help people to avoid making the same mistakes she did.

Compare it to a reformed smoker - once you quit, you want to warn others of the dangers. They may only smoke a little each day and get a great deal of pleasure out of it. They may think the reformed smoker should just shut up and let them get on with their lives. They may even take great offence that the reformed smoker says anything bad about smoking at all, no matter how nicely it's phrased. But the reformed smoker has a heart for people who are heading down the same path that they were saved from. To the reformed smoker, saying nothing and just watching these people killing themselves is not an option.
Message: Posted by: IT Magic (Mar 10, 2006 07:17PM)
What can I say, it was a stupid question!

It is insulting to think Tim or Sue-Anne would be arrogant enough to say they knew everything so the answer was moot. Asking "If yes, then how did you come to this conclusion?" is just posturing and serves no purpose than for you to try and insinuate that Tim and Sue-Anne would be as arrogant as mentioned. The question was stupid but the follow up question was just inflamatory.

Since we are going to split ridiculous hairs there could be a defining difference between Occult belief and Occult practices.

Sorry my view of christianity seems seemed so pretty, that was not my intent. Consider it this way, I "could" be a christian, follow the good book and commandments and even go to church every sunday without it costing me money, the collection plate donations are actually voluntary. However, if I am made to believe in Tarot or some psycic then I have to continue paying them for my belief. As for the past, yes, christians have done some dreadful things, as have some jews, some muslims and even the odd so called peaceful monk has done equally if not worse things, that is however the past and I don't think T & S's beliefs are based on the old brainwash the "savages" approach or "let's burn the witch". Being a christian or simply living by christian values is most likely to benefit those around us and our communities, I must agree with Sue-Anne however that occultism is essentially worthless - unless of course you are the one collecting your followers pay cheques.

And the million is still there for the taking by any psycic or tarot type person who can't be proved a fraud.

Brendan
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 12, 2006 03:00PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-09 17:38, JordanMalfreed wrote:
I believe that people too often focus on what makes their beliefs different rather than what makes their beliefs the same, and that it would be better if they reversed that.
[/quote]

Good point. I agree.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 12, 2006 04:17PM)
Yet "sameness" is the very reason that "magic is dead" ... ;)

John 14:6
Message: Posted by: Katterfel22 (Mar 12, 2006 04:28PM)
Throughout this thread I have noticed that debunking frauds is continually mentioned as a criticism of new age practices. This doesn't seem to fit with the original point or idea. That idea being that there are people out there who use magical illusion to present themselves as something they are not in order to take hard earned money from people in vulnerable mental states. This is not a practice that is limited to new age religious practices. There are a number of fake christian faith healers out there as well who are no less insidious in their deeds. It is a good thing that someone is out there with the knowlege to expose this kind of charlatan. To be more specific I am not talking about a wiccan, or voodoo practitioner who truly believes in what they are doing but the fakir who is looking to make money off another sucker.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 12, 2006 05:10PM)
You're absolutely right.

The original post was about Sue-Anne and her desire to expose frauds, people who use magic techniques but claim supernatural powers, and there are frauds out their infesting EVERY belief system including Christianity.

As far as talking about our personal beliefs and Sue-Anne's experience with the New Age, it would probably have been better in a separate thread. The two topics may appear similar, but they are very different.
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Mar 12, 2006 06:01PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-12 16:00, magicalaurie wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-03-09 17:38, JordanMalfreed wrote:
I believe that people too often focus on what makes their beliefs different rather than what makes their beliefs the same, and that it would be better if they reversed that.
[/quote]

Good point. I agree.
[/quote]

me too.
Message: Posted by: Sue-Anne Webster (Mar 12, 2006 07:05PM)
Aaahh dear...

Let's get back to exposing frauds, shall we...
Message: Posted by: Elly May Drudge (Mar 12, 2006 07:32PM)
I got done in a few times by shysters when I was a young lass. ****ed me right off, it did. Bloody waste of money, if you ask me. It wasn't the SLIGHTEST bit entertaining.

I'd rather pay through the nose to see a poorly executed Elmsley Count, rather than some two bit, hard hearted fraud take my hard earned cleaning wages!

I say, EXPOSE the ***s!
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 12, 2006 09:18PM)
Jordan said:

"I believe that people too often focus on what makes their beliefs different rather than what makes their beliefs the same, and that it would be better if they reversed that."

But note that he also said:

"I believe that working to see things from a variety of perspectives can aid understanding, and that includes trying to view things from random or chance means such as tarot, coin flipping, I-Ching, whim or others as well as trying to view things from a specific fixed point of view. Shifting perspective is important. I believe that when people limit the way they view the world to one particular way that it criples their ability to see things clearly."


Can you see the difficulty here?

He believes we should focus on the aspects of our belief systems that are the same, yet he also feels we should try to see things from different perspectives as well.


Even if we should all focus on sharing common beliefs, while exploring each others different beliefs, what common beliefs are universal?


AFTERLIFE - Some believe in heaven & hell, others just heaven without hell, others reincarnation, others no afterlife at all.

TEND OUR OWN GARDENS - If we all did this, who would look after the poor? Whose garden are they in?

EVEN MURDER - Most people believe it is immoral, many believe it is acceptable in certain circumstances.




I'm not trying to attack anyone here or to undermine anyone's belief system, but I really would like to challenge Jordan to think a little further about the area of belief.


Even if I believe in A, B, C, D & E and Jordan believed in D, E, F, G, & H. If we both focus on our similar beliefs, D & E, what happens to all of A, B, C, F, G, & H? Do we simply ignore them?



Jordan, you also state:

"I believe that most people define themselves by their limitations rather than their possibilities, and that is quite a shame."

and a few sentences later:

"Also, I usually question as much as possible of most everything as much as I am able, but I am aware that I am limited in my ability to do this."



You seem to believe that people should not limit themselves, then you do exactly that.

The apparent contradiction is not surprising, because if you do accept that every belief, every path, even every system of non-belief could be right, then life can be a very confusing place indeed, full of contradictions.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they need to stop wandering in the wilderness and find the true path.

You were upset because Sue-Anne said that, based on her experiences, New Age practices had "a meaningfulness of - minus zero, and they are destructive to the core". Remember my analogy of the 'reformed smoker'. Whenever someone is warning you from their own experiences, even if they say it in a way that sounds severe, you don't have to accept what they say at face value, but it is wise not to dismiss it immediately. Maybe they care enough that they don't want to see you fall into the same trap that they did.

All the best Jordan.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 12, 2006 10:36PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-12 22:18, Tim Ellis wrote:

There comes a time in everyone's life when they need to stop wandering in the wilderness and find the true path.
[/quote]

Aye, there's the rub. ;)
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Mar 12, 2006 10:46PM)
We attended a talk by renowned photographer Ken Duncan on Saturday night and he spoke of his friend Mel Gibson's experience. Apparently Mel, at the height of his fame, was so miserable he was sitting on a ledge seriously considering the option of suicide. Suddenly it hit him, "If this heaven & hell thing turns out to be real, and I think I'm having a bad day now....."
Message: Posted by: IT Magic (Mar 13, 2006 12:38AM)
Well summarised Tim, the one thing from my beliefs I wil share is that I believe everyone needs to believe in something, it is in our nature, in my opinion perhaps to help us cope with the fact that we will never know everything. In my travels (and there have been many and varied) I have met all sorts of people, I never found any group of believers any happier than groups who had differing or even contradictory beliefs. What I did notice was that those who had faith in something were "very" often the happier people. Some had god, some buddah, some had a tarot reader down the road and others believed in science, some worshipped nature as a goddess and others still believed in fairies, they were all very different, but the commonality was that they all believed in something and weren't struggling to accept and understand everybody else. They didn't describe their beliefs in terms chosen not to offend others or to try and encompass all other beliefs, they simply answered questions if asked and live their lives happy in the knowledge that they know the "truth".

We all need something to believe in, some of us take longer to decide what it is than others.

Brendan