Tuesday, 11 October 2011

PHANTOM VISION AND FALSE EXPECTATIONS.

Self-delusion is a frightening force. It makes normally-rational human beings do the most irrational and monstrous things. From the followers of Jim Jones to the Taliban, the world has witnessed behaviour that no sane person would ever think of doing. Deception results in less-harmful irrationality but its grip is no less powerful.

I'm ashamed to admit it but I was deceived by the name-it-and-claim-it crowd. Not knowing any better, I joined a charismatic cult and became convinced that if I only had enough faith, I would be healed of my poor vision. Even when my left eye hemorrhaged in 1988, I still clung to a faint hope that the Lord would reward my faithfulness by performing a miracle.

From How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, here is how the illusion of vision in my left eye was shattered by an ophthalmologist's diagnosis.

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"Your hemorrhage is much worse," the doctor said in October. "I'll give you an alcohol block. That will kill the nerves and you won't feel any more pain after that."

"Won't that ruin what little vision I have in it?" I exclaimed

"You don't have any vision in that eye. It's blind."

"It can't be! I can still see light and dark with it."

"I'm telling you, Bruce, it's totally blind. Look," he said as he shone a flashlight in it. "Can you see anything?"

"No," I admitted with great reluctance. "Isn't there any sort of operation to fix it?"

"I'm sorry to say this but it's too far gone. You'll never see out of that eye again. Your pupil doesn't even dilate. Come in next week and I'll inject alcohol in that eyeball."

When I arrived home, I conducted an experiment to find out if the doctor was right. I stared at the chandelier when it was lit, covered my right eye with my hand, and switched off the lights. My left eye still saw a glow for a few seconds. My heart plummeted as I realized the horrible truth. My brain compensated for the blindness by imagining that the eye still saw light. Any hope of it seeing again died that day.

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How I Was Razed is the testimony of how a cultic house church misled me, how I turned my back on God after I felt he perennially failed to heal my eyes, and how he graciously brought me to my senses.