Look, I know what the term troll means. I know that those who frequent these forums have some 6th sense that allows them to smell or sense a troll. I also know that the troll label is akin to the Scarlet Letter. Let’s not go there. I am not putting you on. I’m not a lonely douche bag who’s trying to elicit an emotional response from you (although I am lonely most of the time). I am also confused.
I’ll give you a bit more history. I grew up a “Third Culture Kid”, also known as a MK, short for Military Kid or Missionary Kid. I was both. My father joined the US Navy somewhere around 1970 as he knew his draft number was up for the Vietnam War and didn’t want to be a grunt. I was born in Rota Spain in November 1973. Shortly after moving to Spain, my parents were befriended by a Christian couple. This couple wanted nothing more than to show my parents love. They helped my parents out by watching me and my sister, giving time, money and supplies to my parents who were young adults living with 2 children on an enlisted salary in a foreign country with my Dad being out to sea for 6 months at a time. During this time they shared the gospel of Jesus with my parents at which point they both “gave their lives” to God.
Through this couple my parents met Bob and Vicki Lichty (my “spiritual” Aunt and Uncle). Uncle Bob and Aunt Vicki were (and still are) associated with a Christian missionary organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). It was during this time, during my development years that I began receiving my indoctrination into Christianity. I was a “Kings Kid”. I lived on farms in Switzerland and for months on a campground in Austria. We’ve lived in “communes” all over the world. My parents once drove through the Atlas Mountains in a VW bus while we were in Spain to deliver a bunch of mattresses that my Dad had come up with through some connections in the Navy. They were delivering these supplies to a YWAM base in Tangier Morocco. I was not old enough to walk. They tell me I just rolled around in the back of the van on top of the mattresses. My Father always remembers how dark it was out there with no lights but the Bedouin fires in the distance. He always recounts how they were so glad they filled up on gas at the only gas station before entering the mountains or they would have run out of gas smack dab in the middle of the Moroccan mountains. At any rate, I was an American military/missionary child living outside of my country. That’s the beginning of my story.
During their time in YWAM my parents met the Barnreuther family. The Barnreuthers have 3 children. Johnny is their oldest. They still live in Spain and I see them infrequently. Johnny is the young man in the video that I posted in the other forum entry that Graybeard inquired into. BTW, the link to the video is still working for me.
I mentioned in my original post that I had a “skeptical awakening” a few years ago and since then I’ve been living it. I’ve been questioning everything. I’ve stripped it all down to the basics and had to relearn “what I can know to be true”. So far, I know that I exist and I can learn about my world. I also know that rocks exist and fall to the earth when dropped. Otherwise, I was never much of a student. I was too busy skateboarding or some other such introverted, autodidactic activity that didn’t require reading, classrooms or too many people. But then just a few months ago, Johnny posted a video of a miracle that he’d been party to at a church in Spain. It was the second such video that he’d posted on Facebook within a matter of weeks. It rocked my world. I was sucked back in. Now, for folks like you who seem to be very settled in your realism it may seem weak. How could I just give up all I’d learned about logic and reason and realism? Well, if it had just been some Joe Shmoe, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. But this was Johnny Barnreuther. A kid I grew up with. Not a schemer. Not a charlatan. Not a liar. This is Johnny one of the most honest (albeit a theist) people I know. I tried to push it out of my mind but then I saw this recent video a couple of weeks ago.
Most of the advice in this thread is advice that I’ve already discovered. You may guess that after seeing the PC Jr. video I did the cursory Google searches for “fake miracles” and “leg lengthening trick”. I found Darren Browns documentary almost immediately. I understand everything that you all are saying and want to thank you for your responses. If you’ll excuse the pun, I’m not pulling your leg. I’m honestly conflicted about these videos from Johnny and Pete Cabrera Jr. If Pete’s video had ended before the 6:30 mark, I might have just put it out of my mind. But it doesn’t and none of the explanations that I’ve been able to come up with are enough to ease my mind. If he’s really pulling a fast one and is a fraud, he’s really going out of his way. There is no way that the guy sitting in the chair is moving his own legs in and out as smoothly as they’re moving. At a certain point both of his legs move simultaneously. Some of you mentioned how he’s probably a double amputee, but then others are talking about him moving his toes. I wish these fuckers would have measured the guy with lines on the wall before and after the “4-5 inch” growth but then of course we all know that’s not meant to happen.
I lived a relatively (if not mostly) happy childhood. A traumatic experience after I’d moved from Japan to a “basically foreign” country (the US) to go to college caused me to reach out to the only place I knew. I called out to God. He saved me. I spent the next 4 years in and out of mental institutions, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Messianic Delusions, Clinical Depression. You name it, I’ve suffered it. I was able to rebuild my life, get off medication and have been in an IT career for 10 years. No incidents. I took up the “rebel Christian” flag for a number of years, against the mainstream but still a believer. That led me to the place where I found myself asking the “10 questions every believer must ask himself” a few years ago. It worked. I thought my way out of my indoctrination. I no longer had to live in constant fear of Hell. But now there’s this…these videos. I really am conflicted. I’m confused again. I’ve alienated all of my friends and my family with my rejection of their religion and my own. My constant skeptical hounding and badgering has made me an anathema on FB. The thing is I couldn’t tell you what the consequences of E equaling MC squared are. I really have no great understanding of the theory of evolution or biology. And I don’t care to. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m still conflicted between that which I don’t understand and that which I’m terrified of. I went on a three week trip to Spain this past May to visit the place where I was born and raised. I hadn’t been back in 25 years. It was the single best 3 weeks of my entire life. I was free. I was home. I didn’t give a single thought to any of this. I wish I could just be there. Not caring. Why is it that I have to care about any of this???