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The Faith Healers

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  613 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
James Randi, the celebrated magician, has written a damning indictment of the faith-healing practices of the leading televangelists and others who claim divine healing powers. Randi and his team of researchers attended scores of "miracle services" and often were pronounced "healed" of the nonexistent illnesses they claimed. They viewed first-hand the tragedies resulting fr ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Prometheus Books
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Vikas Lather
Sep 19, 2014 Vikas Lather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
"If I were to offer up a prayer of my own, I would ask a deity to grant my species the ability to adopt a dignified, responsible, and caring exuberance toward living, rather than a quavering, dependent vigil awaiting death. To recognize that nature has neither a preference for our species nor a bias against it takes only a little courage. I believe that we have evolved to the point where we no longer need gurus to supply us with magical formulas for our lives. We must learn to ignore silly noti ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atheism-religion
The Faith Healers by James Randi

Mr. James Randi the renowned magician uncovers the fraud behind "faith-healers" and is not too shy to expose them in his classic work. This 318-page book was originally released in 1989 and is composed of the following eighteen chapters: 1. The Origins of Faith-Healing, 2. Faith-Healing in Modern Times, 3. The Church View, 4. The Financial Aspects, 5. The Mail Operations of Faith-Healers, 6. A.A. Allen and Miracle Valley, 7. Leroy Jenkins and the $100,000 Challen
Pooja Dhami
Dec 29, 2016 Pooja Dhami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The faith healing empire, shielded but the blind faith of the credulous, claims to resurrect the death and heal the dying. Dubious accounts of shrinking tumors and regaining of sight by the holy touch of a faith healer's appendage have threatened to render centuries of medical research useless. It is baffling that the vulnerable, knee deep in debt, do not ask why their stone-deaf and stone-blind friend in the sky would want a million dollars.

James Randi has spent decades of his life debunking t
Praveen N. Jayasuriya
Mar 10, 2011 Praveen N. Jayasuriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
James Randi is a badass. Nuff said
Nov 06, 2007 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What areas concerning people's beliefs are most easily exploitable by con-artists? Without a doubt it would have to be religious beliefs. Faith Healers tackles this subject and uses investigations carried out by James Randi of many so-called faith healers as its material. Some of the faith healers investigated are W.V. Grant, A.A. Allen, Peter Popoff, Oral Roberts and even Pat Robertson.

Randi starts with a little background into the phenomenon of supernatural beliefs in humans and its origins b
WT Sharpe
Aug 06, 2014 WT Sharpe rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful and informative look into the world of faith healers. Who can forget how James Randi and his team destroyed Peter Popoff's ministry when--with hours of secretly recorded audio tapes--he exposed his "word of knowledge" to be not the Voice of God, but the voice of his wife who was sending information about the people being "healed" that she had gathered earlier while mulling through the crowd to a hidden radio receiver in Popoff's ear. Well, the faithful, that's who can forget. ...more
David Ward
The Faith Healers by James Randi. (Prometheus Books 1989)(615.852). The magician James Randi has made it his mission to expose fraud in the world of religion and “faith healing” when a preacher/healer claims that a god has empowered him or her to heal the sick at large “healing services’ during which “miracles of healing” may occur (e.g., the blind may see, the lame may walk, etc.). Randi has targeted many of the more prominent healers for study and then has publicly revealed their tricks that m ...more
Sep 03, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book and quite revealing about these faith healers. The only thing that prevents a five star rating from me is the fact that it is now pretty dated. I have grown up seeing a whole new generation of these healers and didn't know who many of the people Randi writes about are. His exposure of their tactics is generally timeless but I would love to see him do an update of this book to respond to new tactics these healers have developed or how they are twisting their old tactics t ...more
Bill Guinee
Nov 02, 2015 Bill Guinee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Randi is not a great writer; you will not be dazzled by his prose. However, he is a very competent writer, and this book is a very thorough and careful treatment of a fascinating topic, that of charlatans in the healing industry. At times the book may seem too thorough, as he gives example after example of their chicanery, but as the evidence mounts, his thesis becomes more and more inescapable. I read the book as research for a novel I am currently writing, but I found it fascinating. I w ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Picklefactory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The faith healers described in this book deserve the Randi treatment -- it's clear that the contempt he holds for all of them was well-earned. Does tend to get a little redundant after a few hundred pages, but the sections on investigation are fascinating.
Feb 21, 2012 Lex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't believe Randi managed to sneak a Geller reference into a book on faith healing. The man's obsessed! That said, interesting stuff all round and well-researched as ever.
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Faith Healers / 0-87975-535-0

"Faith Healers" shows James Randi at his finest as an author and a dogged exposer of professional frauds. Carefully, Randi lays out his foundations, showing the basic how and why of faith healing scams. Then he lavishly devotes each following chapter to the main stars of faith healing at the time of publication: he runs the gamut of Popoff, Robertson, Roberts, and so many more. Each chapter methodically outlines their claims, the format of their services, the evidenc
Jul 02, 2012 Theresa rated it really liked it
I remember watching a documentary featuring James Randi back in college; he was debunking Uri Geller. When I saw this book, I had to pick it up.

Essentially, Randi is cantankerous as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore. He clearly outlines his opinions and findings throughout the book.

I have only heard of a few of the people he mentions and takes aim at, but it doesn't take away from the effect. So yes, it is a little dated; and yes- it gets a bit repetitive. But part of it is that all the te
Aug 01, 2011 Jack rated it really liked it
Shelves: skepticism
One thing I really love about James Randi is not only is he a firm rationalist, but he also has an unwavering moral compass. I was privileged enough to meet him in SF in August 2010 and I feel very confident in saying that he is one of the sweetest men I've ever met.

That's what I love about this book. Not only is it an investigation into the claims of faith-healing and those who profit from it, but a firm sense of compassion and empathy surges through every page. Randi's investigation reveals th
Jan 15, 2015 John rated it liked it
An excellent account of Randi's exposures of the chicanery of various US "Big Tent" charismatic "faith healers" -- or exploitative charlatans, as he demonstrates them to be. The text is highly readable, and it's a joy to experience and share Randi's passion and anger over the damage these crooks do . . . subsidized by yours and my tax dollars, because politicians and the DoJ are too cowardly to crack down on, or even take the tax-free status away from, greedy murderers who hide behind the mask o ...more
This could have been subtitled "...are liars, thieves, cheats and fakes and are out to scam you any way they can, without regret" and then the book could have been all blank pages.
But James Randi wouldn't take the easy way. He has devoted his life to reality and skepticism, and to exposing these frauds and fakers and he makes sure, in this book, that we get ALL the details.

You're probably too smart to get sucked into a scam like this (even if you do forward the "Bill Gates is going to give me $1
Aug 05, 2012 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
James Randi is a very awesome fellow, who has dedicated his life to debunking nonsense and protecting people from frauds and scam artists. In "The Faith Healers" he recounts his stories of doing so, particularly on the subject of people who claim to heal sickness through the power of religion. The book itself, though, is rather boring; Randi goes through each case in excruciating detail, and rarely does he tie them all together into a cohesive narrative. If you want to learn about the specific t ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Gernot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nlpsych
When i started i thought of reading about frauds which are 20..30 years outdated.
But - believe it or not - you can still donate money to people who have earned 500 million dollars with religious cheating.

Just visit and think ybout the products and who donates for waht reason.

So the end lines of the book still apply:
"They're still out there. They lie and cheat, the confound and trick their victims, and they usually get away with it"

The book was so and so it the first
L.C. Fiore
Dec 05, 2016 L.C. Fiore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While a bit dated, this book is a must-read for anyone who remembers the hey day of evangelists such as Oral Roberts or Jimmy Swagart. Randi is mad as hell, and he and his staff are courageous as they unmask Oz and prove these hucksters false. Leering behind the curtain at what is our modern day snake oil medicine show, one can't help but wonder about the victims who have been taken advantage of and lost not only their faith, but their money too. Still, even Randi admits there are psychological ...more
Nov 10, 2007 Muchsarcasm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The part that got me the most involved one of the gentleman Randi was working with in trying to expose a faith healer. After a particular show, the gentleman saw an older woman had her daughter (if I remember correctly). The older woman was struggling to get down a flight of stairs because she'd thrown away her cane at the show as the faith healer told her she'd been healed. The woman, despite the fact that she couldn't make it down the steps, was still praising the healer to that moment. The ge ...more
Dianne Landry
Nov 05, 2012 Dianne Landry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a little outdated because it was written in 1989, this book is a fascinating look into faith healers and their tricks. James Randi has spent a lifetime trying to get people to wake up and smell the coffee about these people, unfortunately, people just want to be duped. In fact, one of the faith healers in this book, Peter Popoff, went bankrupt due to James Randi's expose but managed to come back and is still running his scam.

I feel sorry for people whose lives are so empty that they nee
A passionate expose of the faith healing racket. Although I didn't really care for Randi's narrative style (primarily 3-4 paragraph sections that are often non-linear), he provides an absolutely overwhelming amount of evidence for fraud among a number of faith healers. My only regret is that I read an original edition, and I would love to read an updated edition with a more contemporary introduction.
Feb 01, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
James Randi's research into modern faith healers is extensive and often daring. His own career as an illusionist gives him particular insight into how some faith healers fool people with their stage acts. The problem is, his writing style is awkward and unappealing; it manages to be simultaneously dry and excessively personal. I found myself wishing he'd done the research, but found someone else to actually write the book.
Karen Katt
Dec 24, 2012 Karen Katt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. James Randi really makes the reader realize the ridiculousness of religious ideas. He points out that most religions play on the poor and desperate people that have a deep seeded need to believe. How they are taken advantage of, and how organized religions have become one of the biggest businesses in history.
Aug 10, 2008 Jc rated it really liked it
James "the Amazing" Randi is at his angry best here. Randi rips apart the seedy world of the modern televangelist-style faith healer. He does a nice job exposing their nonsense. However, people deluded enough to believe in these hustlers in the first place will just dismiss Randi as the "Devil's tool." Those who are ignorant are destined to remain so...
Stephen Hinkle
Jul 09, 2013 Stephen Hinkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Randi takes on all the legends of faith healing in this not so shocking expose! A must read for anyone who laughs whenever a televangelist comes on the air claiming that he can cure your disease by laying his hand on you and then tells you he needs your money because God can cure diseases but can't write a check.
Heather Cawte
Feb 05, 2011 Heather Cawte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read on my Kindle.

Fascinating - the cases he studies are obviously rather dated now, because this book came out in the 1980s, but there are plenty of new names who operate in similar ways.

Deeply depressing on one hand, because people can be so deceptive - cold-bloodedly so,given that they are preying on sick people. But hopeful on the other hand, because so much has been done to unmask them.
Geoff Glenister
Sep 17, 2015 Geoff Glenister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We need more voices like James Randi's. We need more people who are willing to stand up to tricksters and demand rigorous, scientific standards of proof. Irrational belief kills - as Randi so amply demonstrates through so many examples in this book - and yet it is given special treatment by the law of the land.
William T.
Sep 08, 2013 William T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun and informative book by the genius James Randi. This book does seem to be the inspiration for the Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith.

I hope James Randi will ultimately be known by everyone, not just the skeptic community. He is now quite old but continues to tirelessly fight "woo" and the ripping off of innocent, uninformed people.
Colin Loh
Dec 26, 2013 Colin Loh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very important book for any of us who have come into contact with Faith Healers. They're quite possibly the worst of psychopathic cheaters and liars, and the pain and suffering they cause is immeasurable. There is no dungeon dark enough for the likes of Peter Popoff, Oral Roberts etc. to rot in.
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“There used to be an intellectual class in America. . . . These people kept the world of ideas alive. But today the distinction between intellectuals and nonintellectuals doesn’t make any difference; celebrity is the only standard. . . . Everybody has become a talker of cheap philosophy that anybody can pick up.” 2 likes
“Though all the Protestant denominations have historically condemned the veneration of holy objects (relics) and their use in healing, the Catholic church - until recently - preferred to depend entirely upon the magical qualities attributed to the possessions or actual physical parts of various saints and biblical characters for healing. The Vatican not only permitted but encouraged this practice, which entered history in the third century. Catholic churches and private collections still overflow with hundreds of thousands of items. Included are pieces of the True Cross (enough to build a few log cabins), bones of the children slain by King Herod, the toenails and bones of St. Peter, the bones of the Three Wise Kings and of St. Stephen (as well as his complete corpse, including another complete skeleton!), jars of the Virgin Mary’s milk, the bones and several entire heads and pieces thereof that were allegedly once atop John the Baptist, 16 foreskins of Christ, Mary Magdalene’s entire skeleton (with two right feet), scraps of bread and fish left over from feeding the 5,000, a crust of bread from the Last Supper, and a hair from Christ’s beard - not to mention a few shrouds, including the one at Turin.” 1 likes
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