Fields: Psychics Just Selling Another Religion

Guest Columnist

(Sam Fields is a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, a rabid atheist and a non-believer of all things paranormal.)

Poor Gina Marie Marks.

If she had consulted a tax lawyer she would be a respected religious leader rather than a criminal on the lam.

As reported in today’s Miami Herald, Gina is accused of bilking customers out of $65,000. Claiming she was a psychic with special powers,  Gina determined her customers’ troubles were caused by their money, which had been cursed by God.

Customers were told that they could be saved, if only Gina could cleanse their money.  They would  lighten their load, if she could just lighten their wallets.

In other words she was selling indulgences. It’s an age old practice refined by the Roman Catholic Church.

In the fifteen’s century Johann Tetzel, the most famous seller of indulgences, had a fee schedule for salvation. You take care of us in the here and we will cover your ass in the hereafter.

Like the practitioners of this ancient scam, Gina, too, has a story.

In her case, it was a near death experience in her youth in which angels told her that it was not her time to die.  They whispered  she “had a duty to fulfill on Earth.

It is a classic Bible story.

Who of us is to say that the story of Lazarus is true and Gina’s story is a scam??? Not me or you. We are not learned or holy enough.

That determination requires the holy of holies –The Internal Revenue Service.

If Marks had set up a 501(c)(3) tax deductible corporation, her activities would have been a religious practice.

Oh sure, she would have had to put the money in a church bank account. But she could draw it out as salary determined by the church. She could get a free home called a  parsonage.

Church donations would support the lifestyle  those angels want her to have.
You think that this is far out?

Try opening a new building.  Have a priest come out and bless the structure. [All contributions will be greatly appreciated].

Although Martin Luther objected to indulgences in did not take long for Protestants to jump aboard. Watch Creflo Dollar, Rod Parsley or any of those preachers who assure you that gifts ($$$$$) to their Church will not only come back tenfold, but get you a bonus of eternal salvation.

What is kosher food except a promise that if you are willing to pay double for a piece of chicken that has been subjected to magic words, good things will happen to you?

Maybe good things would not happen to the illegal aliens that prepared it. But, hey, if they get deported back to Guatemala, that’s just God’s will.

As Rev. Gina would say: “Prove it ain’t so.

11 Responses to “Fields: Psychics Just Selling Another Religion”

  1. mister courthouse says:

    You don’t even curtail your anti-religious diatribes two days before the celebration of the birth of The Lord. What do non-believers like you celebrate? The anniversary of the Big Bang! The day a slug crawled out of the ocean and eventually became an entity like Sam Fields. Give it a break for the holidays, Sam. Let other people believe in peace.

  2. Sam Fields says:

    What do atheist celebrate? We celebrate the search for the truth based on the best evidence available. Until science proves otherwise we reject magical thinking in all varieties whether it is psychic money scams or formal mainstream supernatural religion.

    In addition, unlike my more tolerant brethren, I do not gladly suffer fools. I find it irresistible to expose them through ridicule.

    Today there was a juicy one. Pope Benedict XVI–you know, the anti-Nazi member of Hitler Youth who shot ack ack at Allied bombers–declared that eradicating homosexuality was as important as saving the environment.

    I suppose I could take him seriously but, in case you didn’t notice, he was wearing a dress. He looked like a finalist for Best In Show at Fantasy Fest. He chooses, and it is his choice, to dress like a transvestite and denounce gays and lesbians.

    There is no way anyone with a sense of irony can pass on this.

    So Mr. Outhouse, and all other readers, expect more.

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Kwanza and Festivus

  3. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Boy can I scramble your views!

    I am no atheist as is Sam, but I am as much a realist as humanly possible. First question: Why do we celebrate Dec. 25th as the birth of Jesus? Nowhere in the bible does it state the date of his birth. In fact, there are references to the flocks in the fields which if extended, will place the date somewhere between mid September and mid October. But it could be any time during warm periods.

    The actual time chosen to celebrate Christmas was adopted from a Babylonian (Pagan) celebration among others dating back centuries before Christ. Pope Julius I in the 4th century made the declaration to set Christ’s birthday at Dec. 25th.

    Actual recognition of the date by the public began more than 1,000 years later, but not the Christmas you and I know. That Christmas is a construct of the 1950’s when commercialization became king.

    Christmas commercialism is decidedly anti-biblical. One of the Commandments reads: “Thou shalt not want.” Yet we encourage children by asking what they “want” for Christmas. Christmas stopped being about the spirit of “giving” 50 years ago and became about “buying.” The Christmas spirit is all about spending until it hurts so we won’t be thought of as cheap or inconsiderate.

    Life takes Visa.

    Christmas is more about maxing out Visa rather than celebrating the birth of Jesus.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not denigrating the idea of Christmas. I happen to enjoy the season, quite possibly as much as you do.

    Faith is of God.

    Religion is a construct of Men. Men no more inspired of God than Sam is.

    There are many other texts written at the times of the old and new testaments which were first included in, and then expunged from the Bible. Why? Those who wrote the texts are dead. Those who expunged the texts are dead. God told them? Baloney.

    The Big Bang by the way is not a fact. It is the theory that best explains the origin of the universe with the available evidence.

    Theory, by the way does not mean a “guess” as most people are led (intentionally) to think. Theory is the explanation of how something works based on substantial evidence and testing.

    If anybody truly doubts me on this, then turn off your computer and your electric lights. They can’t possibly work because Electronics and Electricity are in reality, theories. (I had to learn Electronic Theory as a requirement for my long career.)

    Is all of the evidence in? Probably not. Did God wave his hand and create the Earth, the sun and the universe in one swoop? No. But that wave of the hand would be more than enough to set off the Big Bang, the laws of physics and the ultimate creation of the Earth.

    Did God intervene in the course of (here comes a dirty word) Evolution? More than likely. We call those interventions miracles.

    One of my fondest memories was when I was driving from Miami to West Palm about ten years ago and changing FM stations. I happened to chance upon the Palm Beach Christian station. Two guys were yukking it up while talking about NASA’s launch of a new satellite that would help determine the age of the universe. Yukking it up mightily because they KNEW the universe was only 6,000 years old.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Rather than purport the ideas of others drummed into everybody’s head, think. Reason. Accept and have faith in God for what he is rather than what he isn’t. Accept religion for what it truly is.

    It won’t stop anybody from going to Church. But it might give someone a better understanding of the relationship between Man and God.

    And celebrate the birth of Christ rather than Christmas. But keep the spirit of good feelings alive because that’s what counts. That’s the true celebration not the stores or the Visa or the you’re not celebrating it with the “my way attitude.”

    Best of all, if we can spread the real spirit of Christmas throughout the year, we might all be the better for it.

    Take my advice: Chill out and enjoy. Let Sam enjoy Festivus or nothing at all.

  4. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Marty

    Like most magical thinkers you bunce around the word “faith> I know what I think “faith” means. What is your defintion of the word?

  5. Lazarus says:

    Lazarus is by far my favorite bible story because it embraces all at once the essence of what faith offers. Consider it. Lazarus was dead as Jesus enters the picture. With me so far? His sisters approach Jesus weeping, saying Lazarus died an untimely death that they BELIEVE would have been avoided had Jesus gotten their in time. We infer that touched by the strength of their faith in Him, he tells the sisters to take him to where Lazarus is layed to rest, there he uncovers the grave and calls to Lazarus to rise. The further inference is that Lazarus too believed in the power that Jesus possessed, and even from the depths of hell or wherever Lazarus was, because of faith, he was given another chance at life. So powerful, so meaningful. We as people have this ability to believe, it doesn’t matter if what we believe can be proven or not, we have that ability and we express it to differing extents. Some greatly, some not at all. Those who believe need no proof, they choose to believe without proof == that is the essence of faith. Those that do not believe, likewise make that choice and justify it through lack of evidence. But even if they had evidence, they would not believe because at root the problem they have is they can’t put anything above them. This is the bottom line of the issue. Those with faith believe there is something greater than them, and as a result they subordinate themselves to that greater being and enjoy the rewards of that belief. Those without faith believe there is nothing greater than them, and so they subordinate to nothing and enjoy the rewards of those beliefs. But to say that athiets have no beliefs is inaccurate. Absence of faith is a form of faith. What remains is the consequence of that choice. For Lazarus there was a new beginning. For athiets, what is the advantage? Eternity in a pit? Besides, let’s look at it pragmatically. Let’s say I am a man of faith and my beliefs turn out to be mistaken. What risk did I run? What harm did I cause? Were the teachings themselves harmful? Did they suggest living a bad life? Are these not good principles to model a life after? It is only in not believing that one takes a risk. Because there is no model there except one where you, yourself are the supreme being. And if anything is true it is this — against which only a fool would argue. Humans are fundamentally flawed, so modeling life after what humans want is inherently risky. That is another way of looking at this. Is human nature basically good, and in need of self-admiration, or basically bad and in need of constant correction? Let me settle that argument with this simple illustration. What is the most common word that any parent anywhere in the world must use in order to raise their child? The answer “no.” If we were that perfect, why would we need to say no to our children so often? Hmm? Jesus and Allah and Buddah and all of those are images that represent something we can all reach out to in order to bring us into the light, make better people of us. That is the essence of what religion offers. Yes, there are good and bad things about every religion. Yes, extremists will ruin anything good. But basically, I think humanity is much better off because of religion than without it. We as a species are at our best when we thrive to do all we can, mindful that as great as we are, there is something out there even greater than us, and that whatever that might be, it’s worth believing in, and it’s worth our our while to try and grasp it, no matter if from the depths of our despair or the heights of our glory.

  6. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Wow. You need to learn how to write. Sentence structure, paragraph structure, etc. I’m still trying to decipher your meaning and maybe I’ll post more, but meanwhile, Lazarus:

    Lazarus is by far my favorite bible story because it embraces all at once the essence of what faith offers. Consider it. Lazarus was dead as Jesus enters the picture. With me so far?

    His sisters approach Jesus weeping, saying Lazarus died an untimely death that they BELIEVE
    would have been avoided had Jesus gotten their in time. We infer that touched by the strength of their faith in Him, he tells the sisters to take him to where Lazarus is layed (laid) to rest, there he uncovers the grave and calls to Lazarus to rise. The further inference is that Lazarus too believed in the power that Jesus possessed, and even from the depths of hell or wherever Lazarus
    was, because of faith, he was given another chance at life. “even from the depths of hell or wherever Lazarus was…”

    How about nowhere? Non existence.

    Had Lazarus been in heaven, he would have asked Jesus why bring him back? Had Lazarus been in hell, he would have thanked Jesus for taking him out.


    Without bringing the entire Lazarus episode into question the truth is that there is neither heaven nor hell that humans go to after death.

    Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 19 states: “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts, even one thing befalls them: as one dies so dies the other; yea, they have all one breath, so that a man has no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity.”

    Verse 20: “All go unto one place; all are of the dust and all turn to dust again.”

    Verse 22: “Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him.”

    Now explain to us which Rabbi, which Reverend, which Preacher or which Father, Bishop or whatever has ever told that to you.

    The answer is NONE, short for NOT ONE. How can they sell you on their brand of “faith” if they have nothing to bait you with?

    The real answer is supposedly in the new testament, the hope of resurrection.

    Romans 6 verse 5: “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection”. We each must make an individual choice to seek God and find God; to be filled with His peace, joy, and awareness of who He is, who we are and what it means to be His child.”

    But that’s only a supposition, not a promise.

    1st Corintheans 15:52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

    Again a supposition that the dead will be resurrected. Whether or not God will grant us eternal life is only a guess.

    Without that promise exactly what does any religious institution have to offer? What hook is there to get your money and your life? Without such a hook, they have no power over you and they know it.

    But if we all die, then what is the true meaning of life? That answer is Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 22 (above) and it makes sense even for today, for you, for me, even for Sam.

    Leave the world a little better place then when you found it.

  7. Well, the point was says:

    Mr. Rubinstein, the question Sam raised was what is faith. The point of the Lazarus blog entry was that faith is one of those things that we can’t prove by the means that you or Sam would prefer. Faith is something you believe is true despite evidence. You can call that irrational if you wish, you can choose not to believe it to be accurate or true. But faith happens, it happens all the time, and it happens to us all.

    What the writer was trying to say was that not believing is also a form of faith. For example, we have no undeniable evidence that the universe goes on forever, yet we believe that to be true. We have no direct evidence of many things in science that we nonetheless believe. If you want to call that an assumption, then assumption is also a form of faith. You are a believer, Sam is a believer, we are all believers in something when it comes to God. And what we believe is based on faith, you can say that it is based on lack of evidence — but it’s been explained to you that some things can’t be proved or disproved by evidence. Those that insist on that perspective do so because they can’t conceive of anything greater than them. And so if a thing does not measure up to their own sense of reason, then there must be something wrong with “it” and not with themselves.

    As your confusion about Lazarus, the answer to your question is simple. The Lazarus story underscores an important aspect of faith. Jesus says this throughout the New Testament — you can’t get to heaven except through faith in Him — I am the way he says again and again — you have to go through Him to get there — He is the intermediary through which entrance to paradise is required. Now you can believe that or not, this is a question of faith. The symbolizm of the Lazarus is that even in the depths of death, his faith and belief in Jesus was all he needed to allow Jesus to bring him back and saved save him from whatever nothingness you describe. Now, again, you can choose to believe that or not. Either way it is a question of faith. You have faith in the answer you choose to believe in, and so it becomes your belief. We all have faith of one kind or another. Not believing is a form of faith, so don’t say you have no faith like Sam does because that’s incorrect.

  8. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Biblethumpers:

    There is nothing to learn from the Bible unless you are pro slavery, homophobic, sexist, love genocide, infanticide all administered by an arbitrary, capricious invisible, all powerful, omnipotent, sentient being who has a narcissistic personality disorder not dissimilar to earthly dictators.

    As for your what have you got to loose by believing argument it is known in theology as Pascal’s Bet. The problem with this argument it presupposes that the great all knowing Poobaa in the Sky can’t distinguish frauds. Not much of a God if you can fool him easier than a Bernie Madoff client.

    What have you got to gain by denying God? How about eliminating 7000 years of ignorance that kept us from explaining disease and pestilence in a rational/scientific way rather than thinking magical incantations and indulgences will cure smallpox, etc.

    Example#1: In 1749 Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod. He was denounced from the pulpit by ministers who were convinced that lightning was a divine fire sent to punish the wicked. Lucky for Ben he did not make this discovery in Salem in the 1690s. They would have burned him as a witch.

    Example#2—Blaming the Jews for the Black Plague.

    Example #3-3,000,000—Every bullshit faith healer.

    I could give you a billion more examples.

    Religious faith is just a license to claim your explanation of all that is around us is as good as Einstein’s or every other great mind whose faith is in the process of learning and not necessarily in the results..

    You confuse your right to a belief, which is unlimited, with the wisdom of your belief. which is nil.

    I will concede that it is impossible to prove 100% that God does not exist. Of course the same applies to Santa Claus. These projects deserve an equal effort of my time and thought.

  9. mister courthouse says:

    Santa doesn’t exist? Then who gave me the new Mercedes last week…..????

  10. Another Try At This says:

    You raised three points. Your first was what that faith in God is foolish because God cannot be proved to exist. The logic here is sort of like saying air does not exist because you cannot see it. Faith cannot be “proved” on the dimension that you prefer because it may not exist on that dimension. That may be inconvenient but there it is. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that it doesn’t matter because the point of faith is believing without evidence, and the point of non-belief (a form of faith in itself) is not believing because of lack of evidence. Both are forms of faith, which corrects your third point. Everyone including athiests have a faith. Faith in something, whatever you believe, is one of many components that every human shares.

  11. Sam Fields says:

    You think you cannot prove the exsistence of air because you cannot see it?

    I suggest, no, I urge you to put a plastic bag over your head.

    Relgious faith is just an acceptable way of saying superstitios