What is the real problem with Joel Osteen?

Joel Osteen, the megachurch pastor whose church is located in Houston, has received rather a lot of flak recently. Twitter and other social media platforms have been awash with claims such as the following …

The essence of the above and many other similar tweets is that while others reached out, he firmly closed the doors of his megachurch and refused to help those around him in need. The facts are supposedly a bit different.

There was even a fake story doing the rounds that he had sailed his Luxury Yacht Through Flooded Houston to pass out copies of his latest book. That actually came from a satire site, but was soon doing the rounds as fact. It was simply not true at all.

Some of the criticism is not without merit

There is in reality some basis to all this criticism, as observed by an excellent New York Times article (that is worth reading in full) …

Before it began to rain in Houston last week, the spectacularly wealthy pastor Joel Osteen could have opened up his megachurch to serve as a logistics center. He could have announced that evacuees were welcome to take shelter there when Hurricane Harvey landed. Instead he wrote tweets like “God’s got this” and “don’t drift into doubt and fear … stay anchored to hope.” Only a couple of his posts on Twitter offered “prayers.”

On Sunday, Mr. Osteen’s church announced that it was inaccessible because of “flooding.” But intrepid journalists proved otherwise. After Mr. Osteen was humiliated on social media, he finally opened the 16,800-seat church to the public on Tuesday. When asked about the delay, Mr. Osteen said that “the city didn’t ask us to become a shelter.”

Why do people hate Joel Osteen?

There is a quite frankly weird article within the Washington Post that asks and attempts to answer this very question. The author observes …

I’ve been studying the American prosperity gospel for more than a decade, and I have come to the stunning conclusion that Joel Osteen seems to be a pretty nice guy. … And, for those who don’t mind waiting a few minutes after the service, he will shake your hand and tolerate your comment about how his hair looks even better in real life. It does.

Seriously! … he is OK because he is a “Nice guy” and his “Hair looks good”.

Eh … no, just no.

The core issue, the real reason why so many happily mock and criticise him, is that the guy is a rather blatant grifter who cons the gullible using religion.

The Prosperity con

Osteen’s con is a highly successful get rich scam that has proven to be very successful not only for others but also for himself …

As of 2012, Osteen’s net worth is reportedly $56,508,500.[28] He lives with his family in a $10,500,000 home.[29]

If curious, then you can read rather a lot about the prosperity belief on the Wikipedia Page that covers the topic of this Theology. Basically the essence of the con is a claim that if you donate money then god will reward you financially and also will heal you. Folks such as Mr Osteen leverage this belief to emotionally manipulate the gullible into tithing and donating vast sums of money to him.

“Really the best way to say it is, it’s fraud in the name of God, but because it’s in the name of God our legal system turns a blind eye. It’s a religious pyramid scheme. And worse, it’s a religious pyramid scheme that’s based on spiritual blackmail.”

– Andrew Seidel, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Bottom Line

Joel Osteen is a con man who utilises religion to enrich himself, and so he truly does deserve to receive rather a lot of flack. My point is this – if we are going to effectively criticise him, then it is rather important to criticise him for the things he actually does and says. If you pick up stuff that is obviously not true and deploy that, then you have in effect gone full Trump. If you focus on side issues, he did not open his church to help during the flooding as you might anticipate or expect, then that is simply a very minor side issue.

The primary concern is that he is a religious grifter who manipulates the gullible.

Perhaps this observation I came across sums it all up best …

Joel Osteen’s church provides essential shelter for millions of his needy dollars fleeing from taxes.

John Oliver

It is perhaps also well worth checking out John Oliver’s segment on the prosperity con men. It has been viewed over 15 million times for a reason …

16 thoughts on “What is the real problem with Joel Osteen?”

    • You would have a good point if magic was real. Are you able to cite any credible verifiable evidence from any source that magic is real?

  1. I can tell you have never been to a service at Lakewood. You can see and feel the anointing pastor Osteen has. It is a powerful experience. You will be be blessed if you attend a service. Once things get back to normal you should attend a service if you can if not you can still be blessed by reading one of his great books.

    • I have questions …

      • How do you define “Great“, what does that mean?
      • How do you “stand with him“, what does that entail?
      • What does “blessed” mean?
  2. Yeah I don’t trust cats especially black cats. They always seem to be watching me. I have a friend that used to be into Wicca black cats play a big part in their magic stuff.

  3. My name is Dave and I feel led by the spirit to share my experience with two black cats. I had a neighbor across the street from me who was into Wicca and she had two black cats. These two cats were always on my front porch. I would go to work or come home from work they would be there. If I would leave my house for any reason they would be there. One day I came home from work and those two cats were on my porch again I shooed them away and started to go inside and tripped and fell flat on my face I turned around and I swear I saw those two cats grinning at me. Another time I came back from grocery shopping and those two cats were there again I shooed them away then went to pick up my grocery bags and they ripped and my groceries fell on the ground I believe it was those darn cats. There were more incidents with those cats but you get the idea. I told my pastor and him and I prayed together to get rid of these servants of evil. I also put up a cross in my window as well. those cats never came around again. Shortly after that my Wicca neighbor and her cats moved away.

    • Cats are the servent of Satan. I had one who was always watching me. Every time when I’d come home from work or from town that cat was there. I had nothing but bad luck until I prayed him away.


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