Why Oral Robert's Story is Doubtful Earlier this year, television preacher Oral Roberts to

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Why Oral Robert's Story is Doubtful =================================== Earlier this year, television preacher Oral Roberts told the world that unless he could raise eight million dollars by the end of March, God would take him away. The money was to be collected for medical missionary endowments. The plea by Roberts for the eight million brought quick criticism; however Roberts had claimed that the fund raising effort had reached its goal by the April 1st deadline. According to Roberts, he had seen a vision of Jesus Christ who was about nine-hundred feet tall. The Lord had told him to collect the eight million or face his death by the end of March. Roberts also claimed to have been fighting with the devil who visited his home while he was in bed. There are several points to consider about the Roberts story which casts serious doubts about Roberts' credibility. God never demands anyone to raise money for the purpose of performing His work. One may be the poorest man, but he can easily satisfy the Supreme Lord simply by rendering a little service to the Lord with a pure heart. That service is described in the Bhagavad-gita. Lord Krishna says that if anyone offers Him with love and devotion a simple offering of a leaf or fruit or water, He will accept such sincere offering. However, Krishna never cares for or accepts any offering--an offering of even billions of dollars--if offered without love. The Lord is already the owner and creator of everything. What does He want with such an insignificant offering of fruit, flowers or money? But He is always anxious that one may offer Him something out of sincere love so that they may make advancement in Krishna consciousness. Religious men of today have very little understanding of God and that is reflected in the fact that they are always very anxious for getting more money and living very comfortably in the name of service to God. Formerly, religious men were poor and accepted vows of poverty. Having renounced all plans for material comfort and prosperity, they would live simply, depending on and trusting the mercy of God to supply them only the bare necessities of life. In India, such religious men lived as mendicants who would sometimes beg alms from householders in the form of a little milk or a little rice. But it had always been condemned if they would assume such a position of beggars to live simply at the expense of the public. These renunciates were duty bound to know and understand the science of Krishna consciousness and then spread this divine science for the upliftment of society. But especially now in the present age of Kali-yuga when everything is topsy-turvy, so-called religious men dress as sannyasi mendicants and holy men of all types simply to exploit the innocent public in the name of the real saints and in the name of spreading God's mission. These so-called religious men do not actually know the purpose of God within the material world. Such men are simply interested in show-bottle religious processes. They'll construct huge churches and temples, increase the number of neophyte disciples, engage in all types of sub-religious activities such as opening hospitals and schools, and speculate for naive followers about the intentions of God but they'll not understand how to make any substantial advancement in getting free from these religious trappings of the material world. As such, they cannot help but hinder and bewilder their followers' progress back on the path to Godhead. The mission of God in this world has nothing to do with ordinary mundane pious activities such as providing for medical financial aid such as Roberts is doing. The actual mission of God is to educate all the living entities how to become free from the affection for this material world. Everyone is spiritually ignorant of his real position as servant of God. As such, their only interest is to remain eternally comfortable in their respective positions within this material world; an impossible proposal. The only cure for the spiritually impoverished is to learn in truth about the factual existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, and his relationship with Him. Now people are especially godless. Even though they may make a show of religious life, hardly one knows who God is or what is His philosophy. Generally people are infected by the impersonal philosophy by thinking that God does not have a personality or a form. This dangerous theory causes anyone to ignore the order of God who demands that one should surrender unto Him utterly. People who indulge in such an offensive mentality act in all types of whimsical and abominable ways in the name of godly life while neglecting and rejecting the bona fide orders of the Lord. Thus they create their own form of religious systems and consequently derive no spiritual benefit. As a result, there exist today countless sects with similar philosophies. They may even make a lifelong practice of such unauthorized religious life but as a result, they do not have an idea who God is. Those so- called religious systems are known as cheating religions because, in spite of whatever trouble one takes to perform such religious duties, they do not lead to understanding God. Religious men of this type actually do not know anything about God, and they act to fool and bluff their followers. Meanwhile, the followers who remain content with these bluffers also have no desire to get free from the clutches of the material world. Opening hospitals and schools and other such pious work such as caring for the sick and poor is certainly good work. But it should not at all be confused with making progress in the most important work of understanding who God is and our relationship with Him. One may open millions of hospitals, but if he remains ignorant of his relationship with God, such a pious worker may even go to hell for neglecting this primary duty of human life. After all, God did not create the soul for opening hospitals, opening schools, or caring for the sick and homeless; rather, he created them so that they could understand who He is, render loving service unto Him and be eternally happy. Right now, since we have no conception of God or factual religion, being in ignorance, we accept that building hospitals and schools will please God, but such understanding indicates a poor understanding of God's plan for humanity. Roberts claims to possess healing powers and when he had met his fundraising quota, his powers were restored and his hand was "on fire". Again, the emphasis is placed on healing the body but no mention is made of who God is. If Roberts had actually talked to Jesus, then why didn't he talk about how Jesus looked, how Jesus had talked, how Jesus had expressed concern about other, more important issues which concern His modern day followers? Actually, we should know that if Jesus had so desired, He could have easily manifested the necessary funds for Roberts rather than placing such an unusual financial burden on him. This unusual and doubtful scenario makes Jesus appear unable to accomplish His divine activities without threatening Roberts to plead before the masses so that they can relieve Jesus' distressful financial situation(?) However, from the accounts given about Jesus' life, we do not think that He was ever interested in maintaining medical and education facilities as Roberts is doing with his millions. In the ancient Vedic culture where even the common man was advanced in the study of the science of God, men would not dare to exploit others in the name of religion because religious scholars would immediately detect such charlatans and reject and expose them. Our Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the father of the Hare Krishna movement, once fainted in the Jagannath Puri temple at Orissa and, during this unusual display of religious sentiment, He was taken to be examined by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Prabhupada says that "the learned pandita wanted to scrutinizingly test the transcendental feats of Lord Chaitanya because often unscrupulous devotees imitate physical feats in order to flaunt transcendental achievements just to attract innocent people and take advantage of them. A learned scholar like the Bhattacharya can detect such impostors, and when he finds them out, he at once rejects them." Now, due to lack of factual knowledge about God by people in general, many men appear all over the world in the guise of religious men and unlawfully exploit the resources of their followers. You may find these men in any religion and in any country practically without exception. Many even dare to exclaim openly that they are incarnations of God or incarnations of Christ without any confirmation from the revealed scriptures. But in today's unfavorable religious climate, such nuisances mostly continue without check or detection by man. However, God Himself takes notice of such abominable behavior and warns that the darkest regions of hell await such a charlatan after the completion of his religiously exploitive activities. It is the rule of the material world that people are born to exploit others and be exploited by others. But it is most offensive and dangerous to exploit others in the name of God. --Vaishnava Dasa

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