On the Death of Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts' death today wasn't, by any stretch, a time of mourning for me. This was a man who preached the dangerous nonsense of miracle healing, Zionism, and creationism, and whose spiritual delusions duped people out of millions of dollars. For me, it was a chance to marvel at just how tall a mountain we have yet to climb to eradicate, or at least render inert, this kind of dangerous, foolish nonsense. While a wave of best-selling books, websites and grassroots campaigns have helped erode religion's foothold on millions of people, there are many challenges still ahead.

Oral Roberts reached millions and millions of people through his ministry – people who bought into not only the delusion of religion itself, but to even more bizarre and absurd behaviors and beliefs. This is not something to be celebrated. Oral Roberts' life was a triumph of ignorance and delusion, and the many followers he has left behind reminds us only that despite the immense progress we have made, atheists and agnostics are still a minority. The challenge of ridding the world of religion goes beyond argumentation; it crosses over into psychological and sociocultural domains. The greatest gift skeptics can give believers is the desire to rationally critique their own beliefs. Religion need not be replaced by another, equally dogmatic cult. Rather, religion should be identified and discarded as the foolishness it is.


  1. I used to take friends from out of town to the "University" on "tours" of the campus. I worked for a construction company on and off during college and did plumbing in the various buildings.

    I remember seeing Oral and Richard's picture in a Nat Geo, in a golf cart at Southern Hills. Do you have any idea what a membership costs there?
    Not what a "poor man of God" should be able to afford!


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