Brazilian Child Healers Earn Big Bucks in Booming Business of Evangelical Christianity

Jul 2, 2014

By ABC News via Nightline


Faith is sometimes so intoxicating that it can even fill the sick and suffering with the improbable hope that a 10-year-old will heal them with a simple touch.

Such child healers in Brazil are only part of the growing chorus of self-anointed miracle workers. The explosive spiritual movement is 44 million followers strong.

“Anyone can become a pastor,” Professor Eduardo Refkalefsky, who studies the business of churches in Brazil, told ABC News’ “Nightline.” “[Anyone] can open a church.”

Evangelical Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Brazil, and some say it’s threatening the Catholic Church’s historical dominance in the country.

But with millions of souls and millions of donations at stake, critics say that many bogus merchants of faith are turning huge profits with false promises.

Enterprising evangelical pastors benefit from a total lack of regulations, Refkalefsky said. Many pastors lure new worshipers with visions of prosperity and health, he added.

To those in his church, Brazilian evangelical Pastor Arodo offers not only to exorcise inner demons or to counsel couples, but to provide chiropractic care and promises of wealth.

When asked whether the Catholic Church can compete with his brand of Christianity, Arodo told “Nightline,” “Absolutely not, because… what I have is a gift from God. It’s not mine. It’s a gift from God.”

At Arodo’s church, believers line up to offer donations, and in return he splashes them with his own special holy oil.

“Don’t skimp on an act of God,” Arodo told his worshipers. “Stand up and come here with your money in hand.”

24 comments on “Brazilian Child Healers Earn Big Bucks in Booming Business of Evangelical Christianity

  • 1
    Miserablegit says:

    See, god can heal you honest but it is going to cost you big bucks,which of course proves that god indeed moves in mysterious ways. It was also clever of him to allow his healing ‘talents’ to appear through children, that should fuck up quite a few young lives for many years.

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  • @OP – But with millions of souls and millions of donations at stake, critics say that many bogus merchants of faith are turning huge profits with false promises.

    AH! The addictions to false promises of wishful faith-thinkers!
    The profiteering preachers have mastered the basics of religions then! The Catholic Church has no doubt done much of the preparatory work for them!

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  • Sell a placebo as an experimental drug to scam the desperate out of their life’s savings and you go to jail. Sell them nothing but false hope and a splash of magic water and you get the full blessing and protection of the state.

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  • 6
    Nunbeliever says:

    One would think that this would be a self correcting problem. Stupid people who turn to healers instead of medicine should go extinct. Of course, the problem is that modern medicine has to keep these ignorant people alive when something dire actually happens. Brazil is of course not a very developed country. But, I am sick of tired of all the spoiled people in the developed world who spit at science and reason even though they have their very lives to thank science for. Why should we bother to treat them when they come crawling back to hospitals after some alternative treatment has failed or even caused them additional harm. If people don’t accept science, then they should enjoy none of the benefits science has provided them with. Damn spoiled brats! Let the mothers who refuse to vaccinate their children watch them die in agony due to some easily preventable disease and then ask them what they think of science. Enough is enough!

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  • These are the inevitable off-shoots from the main-stems of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated against humanity; the officially sanctioned organized religions.

    However, I have sympathy for the individuals afflicted by them.

    For instance, our neighbour of twenty years standing is Muslim, and yesterday I asked Omar how Ramadan was going.

    He said that it’s hard, but that he knows in his heart and his head that he has to do it; he then patted his tummy, smiled, and said that he was losing weight.

    So, not all bad then; although he could of course keep his weight down without all the mumbo-jumbo; I do.

    But I like him, and he’s a good neighbour.

    Bah! Religion; surplus to requirements.

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  • 8
    Bob Springsteen says:

    If I was a Bible believing Christian I’d certainly not attempt to heal someone in the name of Jesus. See Matthew 7:22-23. On Judgement Day many will say to me, ‘lord! Lord! Did we not cast out demons in your name, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘Depart from me, you evildoers!’ According to scripture, this con-man will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire!

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  • 10
    TerraNova says:

    But with millions of souls and millions of donations at stake, critics say that many bogus merchants of faith are turning huge profits with false promises.

    That is rich. And just who are the critics that find this game a sham while the “real” religions are the “real thing”. Same claims, same game, just a different ring master.

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  • 11
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Religion meets quackery. A match made in heaven. I wonder what those two might have in common…. Hmmm…. Let’s see now… Delusion, cognitive bias, wishful thinking, the incredibly blind and ignorant assumption that our ancestors were far wiser than we and therefore, “we have a lot to learn from them”. And much much more…

    Is this is the future of religion? A merger between bronze-age monotheistic doctrine and new-age pseudo-science, a “renewed spirituality”? If so then please excuse me because I’m going to be sick. Sorry if I’m preaching but this shows that it is urgent that science education be made mandatory at all levels in public school. The earlier, the better.

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  • I don’t know about that. I don’t see them closing down the Burzynski clinic. The trick is all in making your claim hard to disprove. Having said that homeopathy treatments are just water so in the scenario you offered you would just need to claim your sugar pills had some special property that could not be detected.

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  • 16
    bonnie says:

    after experiencing her healing touch, he (partially paralyzed vet) was unable to grab the microphone

    D’oh…I feel kind of bad for him. The girl is like a modern day Bernadette. No wonder these “churches” are popular, Quicky-Mart for those who want their “miracle” now.

    ABC news nightline video

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  • I’ll put my Theory of mind to the test. I imagine that you’ve either had a bad day or you’re just sick and tired of hearing these stories of unproven, logic-bending miraculous cures and the potential harm that can come as a result to the poor, unsuspecting dependents who are forced to suffer the consequences through no fault of their own.

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  • 19
    Nunbeliever says:

    Haha… well, all that frustration has to come out somehow you know 😉 I was not really talking about these people. Of course, you can’t blame ignorant people for making uninformed decisions. What, on the other hand, really grinds my gears is all the people in the developed world who ought to know better but still spit on science (of course only to crawl back when they are in need). I honestly feel very little sympathy for these people. They are not only hurting themselves, but affecting their children as well and other people who rely upon them. The anti-vaccine movement in particular makes me utterly angry and frustrated. These people are so spoiled. They have no idea what this world would be like without vaccines. Children would die like flies due to easily preventable diseases. Stupid, stupid, stupid people! I get all worked up just thinking about these lunatics!

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  • I got that, and I’m certainly on your side about the foolish adherence to unproven treatments. It was the consequences you proposed that made me sit up and take notice. It seemed a bit out of character, that’s all. Don’t worry.

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  • 21
    Barbara says:

    I’d prefer the children to die easily and the stupid antivax mothers and fathers to suffer the agony. Otherwise, I’m all with you.

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  • Barbara Jul 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I’d prefer the children to die easily and the stupid antivax mothers and fathers to suffer the agony. Otherwise, I’m all with you.

    I see progress is being made in India!

    India to provide four free vaccines, including rotavirus –

    India will provide four new vaccines free of cost as part of a programme to reduce child mortality, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

    They include one for rotavirus, which kills thousands of children a year.

    The disease causes dehydration and severe diarrhoea. It spreads via contaminated hands and surfaces, and is common in Asia and Africa.

    The move brings to 13 the number of free vaccines provided against life threatening diseases.

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  • 23
    kiki5711 says:

    It only shows how smart they are at survival methods. Making money this way, hell,,, now that’s innovation.! And they didn’t even go to college to learn it. Just being poor.

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  • 24
    Liandro says:

    Very harsh, the unvaccinated are usually indoctrinated with the ideas of their parents, who also keep them in the dark with a complete lack of information or ideas that the information out out there is wrong.

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