Charlatans are not a new phenomenon.
They've been around ever since humans discovered how easy it is to trick someone else into meeting their needs — be it giving them money, service or adoration. Although scamming folks is not solely the domain of the religious nor do only the superstitious succumb to such slick dicks, the ordained charlatan is a particularly loathsome critter.
Societies have been burdened with so many con artists down through the ages that our vocabularies have grown an entire litany of names for such "sneaky Petes", none of which are complimentary. Swindler, cheat, con, fake, quack, phony, pretender, rip-off artist, sham, shyster, fortune-hunter, conniver, fraudster, double-crosser, shark, imposter, racketeer, hoaxer, horse trader, impersonator and counterfeiter are just a few synonyms for these sleazy members of society. Obviously, we really do loathe them and their traveling sideshows. I tend to refer to these despicable characters as A-holes. For the love of all that's sane, don't do business with them, marry them, have kids by them, start a nonprofit with them or administer charitable acts with them.
If you succumb to a particularly virulent form of religious charlatan, I feel sorry for you.
Actually, since we're living in the age of information and great scientific discoveries, I find it difficult to be truly sympathetic with the throngs of willfully ignorant people who regularly fall hook, line and sinker for these nasty religious charlatans. Whether they're claiming to have the power to grow your finances, heal your body or turn your life around, the only thing they ever accomplish is stealing your money. Yet, people continue to amaze me with their overwhelming need for a hero, someone to save them so they won't have to think for themselves.
They say a sucker is born every minute. As long as we have those who embrace superstition, old outdated ideas like demon possession, heaven, hell, the devil, gods, holy books and holy buildings, charlatans are going to thrive.
I'm a myth buster. My recent published book - Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.