Everyone likes a fortune cookie. The biscuits themselves are not all that palatable (especially if you neglect to remove the fortune first) but the little fortunes, with their promises of prosperity, love, and happy circumstance are bound to make everyone feel more positively about life. A fortune cookie never tells you that you are going to have an argument, have a bad day, or be betrayed. But I have noticed that my Farcebook feed has also become filled with fortune cookies of a more religious kind.
When I scroll down my Farcebook feed I see continual promises from God for prosperity, blessing, and healing. Multi-millionaire tele-evangelists proclaim peace and prosperity (especially if you donate), prophets announce a new season of blessing, and pastors promise that the current season of difficulty is over.
This, of course, is nothing new. When I was a university, back in the Middle Ages, everyone had posters in their rooms of mountain views or waterfalls, adorned with pink large font verses of scripture. And there is nothing wrong with that – a little word of encouragement is a good thing. It is helpful for a Christian to remember blessings and promises. There are warnings and curses in scripture, and these do not lend themselves to such poster art.
But what I find sad is the false picture of religion all these prophets and posters portray. If one questions a prophet, one is immediately cynical, unbelieving, or even opposed to God’s word. But when I see friends of mine, locked in chronic ill-health and medical problems, saying “Amen” to yet another promise that they are healed, I fear for them. What happens when they do not get better? What happens when they realise the promises of prophets have failed? Will those deceive by false prophets blame their God for their lack of healing?