Fortune tellers and religion...

[color=darkblue]Fortune tellers. Some people swear by them and many of the tellers themselves believe they truly have “the gift” of foresight or talking to the dead. Now, many studies have been done on this and show insignificant proof that what is being said is anything more than a well established coincidence, based on the generalisations they often use to prompt responses in their interviews with people.

They pick up scraps of information as they interview you and then cue in their own idea’s- watching your facial expressions the whole time to see if they detect any shock or awe and then play on it. They keep their statements vague and use common themes in people’s life. If you tell them your husband was a builder for example and you look young, then it won’t be long before they start playing on the whole idea of him “dying in a terrible accident”, which lets face it, could mean anything.

They may even say a name (a common one) such as John or David and then we find out that, that was one of the guys working with him in the factory (or wherever) at the time of the accident- it may even have been his name (as long as the fortune teller gets some connection it’s fine) If they don’t they say- “oh sorry, he’s leaving me” or “It’s hard to make it out”.

They may then say the first letter such as “M” and look for a reaction and we’re meant to be surprised when the person they are asking silently mouths mark to themselves while holding back tears? The teller of course then pounces on this name before the person realised they just gave it away. You see- what they are actually very good at is “reading” people, their reactions and emotions.

Secretly, they know how much people want answers to things that it is impossible to get answers for, perhaps working on the same basis as many religions. They promise to be able to do things that we can never prove them right or wrong for like talking to people beyond the grave. Could we really prove they weren’t doing it? Of course not. That is the beauty of it… [/color]

If you can’t prove it, than how come you’re so sure about it? :grin:

A few weeks ago, I went to a fortune teller as a last resource to decide what universities I’m applying to and what I want to do for a living. I don’t believe any of that—I don’t believe fortune telling. Perhaps guts and wisdom, sure, perhaps a nice fine tuned sense of your environment, but I don’t believe cards or numbers or tea leaves in a cup will predict anything whatsoever.

So I went there not to have my fortune told, but rather to just act normally and see what she read in me. That’s their job: telling you something obvious about you that no–one else seems to notice. Verônica started looking at a graph with several numbers and telling me she saw weak connection with my father. 17–year–old, male, that’s a pretty obvious guess. “Yes indeed, he lives in Goiânia [that’s another state]” and we started talking…

An hour and a half later, as I left the place, I had my head full of thoughts, feeling like I had a fresh view on everything. Not once wasn’t I able to explain how did she manage to guess so precisely (and with increasing precision) my inner treats—but the fact that she said them out loud and wrote them down on a paper helped me organizing things and seeing a clearer picture of myself than I had in a really long while.

I don’t know if it relates to religion. Fortune telling is a product, it’s something practical that you get for money or as a favour—but it has a pragmatic sense to it. If that’s how you face religion, I’m afraid you’re missing the point somewhere. It’s supposed to bring you inner feelings, make you one with that ancient silence that dwells in every leave that dances to the wind. It’s not a product, it’s not something you can buy, it’s you making yourself bigger…

I’m not sure I understand how fortune telling relates to religion either, or that it is really that good of a ‘product’. Don’t get me wrong, bruno’s example is an excellent indication of how it could be a positive thing, but all too often, fortune tellers in North American popular culture use their ‘gift’ for exploitation of people who have lost a loved one, or genuinly need help.

Not that their gift is anything supernatural - psychic powers have never been shown to be real under proper testing conditions, and most psychics and fortune tellers use what’s called ‘cold reading’ to fish for information, then bring it up later when it’s relevant. This is actually a very old magic trick that can be fun to use on your non-magical friends :content: , however, it should never be used to take advantage of people.

[color=darkblue]A lot of people don’t see it that way Bruno but I’m glad you were able to use it that way. I suppose you have a point. They can analyse your life and spell things out clear.

As for the religion connection- that was a diplomatic way of me saying that i think all religion is founded around similar principles of manipulation- where in many cases, the manipulator is in full belief of the system- very much like the psychic that whole heartedly believes they do indeed possess magical powers. The rest know full well that it is a con, but stick to their manipulation as a way to gain personal benefit.

I take it from your post Josh, that you mostly agree with this.[/color]

:yes: Nowadays, I can see a lot of charlatanism in religion, just like you do. But I wouldn’t say religion itself was foundated on bad intentions—or that all that’s left now are bandits and fools. Perhaps it’s a matter of needing, I don’t know, a reform, or time for a new sense to be made of it.

Yes. Religion itself has become a tool and a product, but not only just. I think spirituality is still there—perhaps in need to be found once again by the vast majority, but still surviving here and there, waiting for its time to grow again (or perhaps “for its time to grow at last”).

What do you think should be done to sort out this problem? Some people need organized religion, even though they’re delegating their spirituality to other people, who being human just like we are, are most likely full of flaws… Deciding best would be not having organized religions is tempting, but fruitless. How can this be sorted out?

I think it depends on the religion - some religions were probably founded by people who genuinely believed in what they were doing, the same as some psychics believe that they are really psychic. On the other hand, there are a lof of examples of charlatans in religion, just like there is in the ‘psychic’ community.

My question is what your definition of a “fortune teller” is?

From what I understood, Jesus had foresight. There is also mention of these “gifts” in the bible. Unfortunately, many religions and nonbelievers frown upon these “gifts”. Some even go on record to say you will be condemned for using them or seeking advice from some. I personally, don’t see it that way.

I don’t blame those that have abilities to see things beyond others to keep to themselves b/c of all the criticism and mockery they receive. How do you explain something you yourself don’t understand? I don’t agree with those that exploit their “gifts” and know there are those out there that play mind games.