tv QA Kate Bowler CSPAN February 25, 2018 11:00pm-12:01am EST
that is followed by british prime minister theresa may taking questions from members of the house of commons. then, leading up to our new season of landmark cases, we take a look at supreme court decisions we will feature in our series. ♪ announcer: this week on q&a, duke divinity school professor and prosperity gospel scholar kate bowler. professor bowler, who was diagnosed with incurable stage four cancer at age 35, discusses , "everything happens for a reason and other lies i have loved." bowler, where did you get the title "everything happens for a reason and other lies i have loved"?
k: i think it came to me because it is one of the boomerang theologies people give you when you're sick. everything will work out, or god is making away. maybe this was a lie a have loved all of along. the book was kind of a where i digproject into my own beliefs. brian: how sick are you? kate: stage four cancer is not decorative. it is hard but i am doing better than a lot of people. i moved from the kind of crisis management to the more chronic part of this, i in which i live skin to skin. thankfully, so far drugs and doctors and all kinds of things are making up way. brian: when did you find out you had cancer? kate: two years ago.
there is no cancer and my family, so i did not imagine it was possible. one day i got a phone call that explained my mysterious stomach pain. brian: what kind of cancer? kate: colon cancer. as it turns out, it is increasingly common that young people are getting what was traditionally thought as an older person's illness. brian: in your book you say it is in the liver? kate: yes, it spread to my liver. i guess it does that happen and it did to mine. brian: -- give you a series of horrible options when you have stage for cancer. it could do this, and we could do this. there are other worse, horrible things. there is something that is called a mismatch repair
disorder where the cells replicate incorrectly. it could be genetic or not. if you have this 3% kind of immunotherapies are open. when i find out i had this new 3% kind of cancer, i declared it was the magic cancer because it was one of the only kind that open me up for new treatment. brian: where you live? kate: i'm from durham, north carolina, but i am from canada. i'm a professor at divinity school. i teach do-gooders of all kinds. pastors, nonprofit workers, people with good thoughts as they stare at the horizon. it is a lovely place to work. brian: what do you teach? kate: survey courses. i do smaller seminars. i'm a specialist in modern christianity. i have been studying mega-churches and people with beautiful hair.
[laughter] brian: i want to show you a picture you have on your site of your husband and your son. how old is zach in that picture? kate: that is his baptism. he is wearing that once the to make it clear that he is being dedicated, not baptized. i think he was nine months or something. brian: what is a mennonite? kate: they are a people who love to talk about their suffering. they came out of the -- they came out with their leader and they moved largely communally through germany and russia. a whole lot of them to canada. they populate a lot of rural manitoba and ontario, indiana,
nebraska, and kansas. different groups. sickall have a really account of their own suffering. the commit to doing a lot of things together. simplicity, the desire to ruin salads with jell-o. i have always enjoyed being said around mennonite people. they are wonderful to be sad around. brian: what kind of things do mennonites do that baptist or catholics do not? kate: they are most famous for their pacifism. while my grandpa was flying bomber planes, his grandpa was in the mines. it is an entirely alternate history. their most famous for their pacifism, also for their anti- materialism. he usually cannot tell the difference anymore because they are often plain clothing like
the rest of us. they look like every average capitalist but deep down they always feel guilty for the things they have. brian: how many are there in the world? take: i do not know. there's tremendous growth in rwanda, uganda. tremendous growth. there are a lot of them in the plains of canada. i am not actually sure what the overall total is. ,rian: when you teach a duke what kind of degrees are the people that you are teaching getting? kate: i think in the graduate program, some of them have phd's but most of them will get either a masters in religious studies or they will become a reverend and go up to inflict my views on other people. brian: what did you want to teach this? kate: i think i like the idea that ideas have traction and that we are beholden to communities of care. maybe that has become more important to me now that i have been living with my diagnoses.
you realize you're giving people a worldview and then they have to go out and live in the hospitals, boardrooms, and living rooms holding people's hands during the most important moments of their lives. brian: during the process of finding your cancer, how many doctors did you see? kate: wow, i had a number of undiagnosed related illnesses. i saw about 100 of the last few years. stretch, maybest 15. brian: you had another illness before the cancer. what was that? kate: it ended up being 1000 more genetic than it seemed. i lost the use of my arms for over one year. it turns out it was just some kind of very easy to fix nerve disorder related to having overly lax joints. so boring. but when i had it, it was very dramatic. i found out i was like locked and bathrooms for too long
because i could not turn the door handle all of a sudden. it made writing my first book very difficult. i often had a double alarm cast. i had to replicate research notes by having to recite into a commuter. -- computer. i look at that is a very dark, very comical time of my life. brian: when was your last book published? kate: 2013. it was the first historical account of this really widespread movement. it took me 10 years of obsessive research and stalking people to map the kind of contours of it. it was really hard to study at the time because nobody called themselves up as preacher, so you cannot do like an easy survey. what all the prosperity preachers in the room please put up your hands? because it sounded so naturally insulting to assume they were not just preaching the gospel.
brian: i want to ask you about this man. this is about a minute. ?his is a prosperity minister if he has, have you talked to him? ]video clip >> i have a house, i have land. do my me bragging for just a moment? do you mind? ♪ >> i do not have anything god did not give me. everything i have came from god. protege, if i want a debt-free house i would so as seed equal to one months mortgage payment. myi would sell a cd equal to monthly mortgage. $3400. he said, i would have a debt-free house and 12 months.
i did not see how that could be, but i got my debt-free house in a months. clip]ideo kate: mike murdock. he is one of the most unrepentant of prosperity preachers. he does not mind talking about money all the time. he is a famous old-school prosperity preacher, when it was uncommon for pentecostals to talk about money. mike came along and talked about it all the time. seven secrets to seven kingdoms. he does a lot with spiritual numbers. you can see him running the spiritual math for people. if you give me this month, god will reward you in this way. brian: based in texas. talks about a seed. was a new language. it was pioneered largely by oral roberts, who was handsome and
charismatic founder of oral roberts university. he pioneered this language. the ideas kind of genius. insofar as it helps explain how money was supposed to work when you give it to someone else. donation is ayour seed and you have to planted in the ground. the ground being the righteous pastor -- pastor. a time ofhere is waiting. oral roberts wrote his first book in 1963 called "the miracle of seed faith." every faithful is like a farmer. you have to learn how to live according to the seasons of souring and reaping. and explains what happens when you give money and do not see a return. the answer is, it is still in the ground. you have to pray for the rain and the season to change that you can finally see the harvest. brian: how much of that do you believe?
kate: none of that. yeah. that is why i was trying to remain so open when i was doing this study. mike murdock is like the caricature of that late 1980's televangelists asking for donations on tv. the caricature. but so often, the people i met very averageanted things. if you even look at the little letters people used a write to pentecostal healers and early writeurdock, they would for things like a new washing machine or the nerve to go to a new sewing circle and make friends. self-esteem, tiny advances. all of the things that make life a little more bearable. that gave me a lot of compassion for the people who stay up late watching mike. brian: next up is a man we knew years ago. he went to prison. his name is jim baker.
he was married to tammy faye baker. she is dead. he is remarried to lori graham. let's watch this. we have a couple clips. i want you to explain how all of this works. [begin video clip] tracks donald trump is president ! >> this is a miracle not by man. you know, god called him to do it. i'm going to be bringing the profits and. we are going to talk. those who prophesied and watched this, this is the hour of the church in america again. clip]ideo brian: 70 years old. does television every day like this. what do you think of this? ite: i haven't seen this but does not surprise me that a lot
of his preaching is rooted in patriotism. a slice of the prosperity gospel where republicanism and a sense that the prosperity gospel of the individual and nation are connected and come together in someone like jim baker. he and tammy were the king and queen of 1980's televangelist television. they had the most-watched christian program. heritage usa,rk, was built right around the border of north carolina and south carolina. it was meant to be this expression is out there more than enough-ness. they called everyone family. they really reached into people's living rooms and asked people to celebrate a pentecostalism that had come of age. of course in the late 1980's, jim is toppled by a sexual and
financial scandal that sent him to prison. weirdly enough, i met a number of people who he met in prison when i gave a talk at the prison where he had been held. i was giving this history of prosperity gospel talk. normally i have to talk people into caring. a bunch of the guys in the back put up their hands. they said, we know jim. they had all kinds of stories. brian: did you interview him? near branson, missouri. kate: no. i never met him but would love to. he wrote a book called "i was wrong." he is a natural salesman. he went on largely to sell dehydrated food stuff for the elderly. brian: people know. there are big buckets.
if you keep your the screen and left-hand corner you can see, the more pockets to buy, the more money you pay. but it is a bargain, the more you buy. jim bakkerthis is selling the buckets. clip] video >> all of this food, we will extend a couple more days. it is four months of food. you only need three of them. we give you for buckets. this food lasts 30 years on your shelf. >> they are even waterproof. if you are in a flood and it gets wet -- it is good. it is all shipped free. >> you are getting a lot of food. it is for those grandkids. -- clip]o click
all of that for $3700. what do you think of this? why do they do this? kate: the pragmatic reason is from day one, he was an amazing. he said i could be anything, but i ended up selling the gospel. i have hundreds of hours of footage that i watched the research of the book. it was fun. it was a round-robin of different entertainers and speakers. it showed you how little they actually preached and how much it was this carnival family atmosphere. very often pitched toward the elderly. for him to go from a prosperity theology to a more scarcity model, where there is not enough. also give money to me. it shows how incredibly pragmatic and adaptable this preacher can be. brian: in your current stage four cancer, what we do not believe if a minister says two, this is the future. what would turn you off?
aboutone thing i learned pentecostals with their sense of wonderment. that god can do all things. i try to take that in the spirit of generosity, but so often it is incredibly prescriptive. you give the donation, here is the miracle oil. i get a lot of that stuff in the mail, still. rain: do you believe it? date: no. brian: believe themselves? kate: i think many of them do. but there are consummate salesman among them. always really pragmatic and entrepreneurial. for instance, even when they just had tents. they would travel around, these tent revival us. when they were done with the tent, either because their crowds were too big or too small, they used to cut up the tent into tiny little squares and then sell the pieces, as if all of this virtual power had been absorbed into the fabric. it goes to show you that at every stage they are both promising something like a tactile reminder that people
want. someone like me, when i got very sick, i wanted things i could touch and feel. a little reminder i was still myself. i can see why these very material things really catch on. brian: here is the president of the united states the united states talking in 2015. [begin video clip] pres. trump: the great norman n vincenteel -- norma peale was my pastor. i still remember his sermons. it was unbelievable. he would bring modern day sermons into the situation. you could listen to him all day long. [end video clip]
brian: in your book, did you read about him? kate: the prosperity gospel a bald in different streams are you one of them was the pentecostal version we saw and people like mike murdock. pentecostal, they believe we are in a new air of science and wonders. it started in the early 1900s. it most often looked to healing. also, the gift of tongues, an unknown language. you will see people talking and what does not sound like intelligible words. it is called glossolalia. in some versions, it is supposed to be a translatable language, but most iterations it sounds like the land of syllables. he comes from what looks like mainline protestantism.
he had a methodist background. yes, this the yellow just -- this theology of self-esteem. they are all borrowing from new thought. it said the mind was a spiritual incubator. whatever he can think and articulate will come true. like reaching a spiritual for. and someone like donald trump, who latches onto a figure like peale, that is what you see is a very respectable version. orion: this is the hour of power. let's watch. it was at the crystal cathedral. [begin video clip]] >> what you want to be? then, dedicated to jesus christ along with your whole life. and, don't doubt it.
believe. then, form a picture in your mind of that goal. tenaciously in the conscious mind until by process of intellectual osmosis, it sinks into the unconscious and when he gets into the unconscious, you have it. because it will have all of you. [end video clip] he really made visualization and intellectual process the theological infrastructure for how it works. self-esteem, doing this, their answer is you observe it in such a way that you can actually unleash it into the world. vincent peele, he
kind of develops it into other intellectual preachers like how donald trump which stems from the prosperity gospel. and other famous preachers like robert schuller. brian: he said do not doubt it. why not? kate: there is positive confession and negative confession. if you create a mental obstacle, then it will not come true. which means whatever bad things happen, you really just have to look a yourself to find out why it did not come to be. brian: have you ever met benny hinn? kate: i did. i went on a trip with benny hand to israel with his followers to walk where jesus walked. brian: and he is also from israel? hate: yes. he is a little bit from canada, limit from israel and the states.
brian: when you say 900 of his followers, is that the only 900 he has? kate: no. they go on these really big tour's. traveling around israel. you pay a lot of money. what kind of person is financially investing in a faith healer, and what are their hopes for an experience like that? brian: what you call him a faith healer? that ifs specialty is you believe enough, your body will reflect the glory of god and be restored. he also has a strong financial message, but he is most known for his faith healing? brian: do you believe in him? kate: i do not have a lot of intellectual and the illogical -- and theological affinity towards him. hinn. seen a lot of benny
he is one of the pastors that i watched the most and is often the most dramatic. he is the one on youtube where he raises his hand and you will see 100 people fall over at the same time. his very dramatic approach is one that i found somewhat manipulative. brian: you will only see one person and does one. this was december 18, 2017. benny hinn. clip] video >> i rebuke the cancer and the mighty name of jesus. i come against you in the name of the one i serve. leave this young lady. leave for now in the name of the lord my god. breathing] ♪ >> complete the healing.
it is really gone, right? there is no pain in your stomach? well then, that is real. [end video clip] kate: when i see something like that, i can only see it from her perspective. as a christian, i believe christianity has a very long tradition of divine healing. i do not think it is not possible for god to heal people, but you can see how quickly he moved from praying for her, saying you was a vessel of god, and then his confidence in himself is that vehicle. then the idea because she did not have pain in that moment that she is definitely healed. brian: have you ever seen one of these where someone stood up and said, i still have pain right where i had it before. kate: yes. it was financial. it was at this big convention
center. it was one of his proteges, paul white. when they said we would love a donation for this and this ends this, one person in the back started yelling, we do not have it. there was horrible silence and then laughter. the truth was, it was a financially exhausting time. the response was a 10-minute sermon be rating people for lack of faith. paula white was a spiritual protege of benny henn. she is now most famous as donald trump's personal pastor. she has a large mega-church in florida called without walls. she is a chipper preacher of more than enough. brian: have you met her? kate: no, but i have been to her church. i have seen her live for a few times. brian: was at when you are doing
your research? kate: yes, that's right. brian: here's pollone white. [begin video clip] i want you to spend time in prayer, went you to spend time in his word. it is crucial because he says, did not come before me empty-handed. theyour first offering, not tide. tithing is 1/10 of your income. it is the first set, not just any scent. many of us bring one day, some of the spring one week. some of us bring an entire months salary because we understand the principle of all first belongs to god. clip]ideo brian: who made up the 10% tithe? kate: there is a lot of arguments about whether it is
10%. spiritual math. what you see there with "first fruits" is categories that the prosperity gospel develops to ask for different kinds of donations. it becomes mandatory. large churches will ask a believer for their financial records to make sure they are actually giving 10%. otherwise the threat is, in order to redeem the curse. in other words, you are spiritually in danger if you are not fully giving. then there are offerings that can be spontaneous and related to the person. if you have a guest speaker. seed faith. like we talked about with oral roberts. that language means you should give in hopes that that person will be the reason it is you.ned back to first fruits, there is even pastors appreciation day when you are supposed to give a
special amount to celebrate the pastors anniversary at that church. there are just more and more categories where we need to give. orion: i've run the talks about her pastor and when he goes on vacation, they passed brian: what is your reaction to that? if you were in a church like that, what would your reaction be? kate: weirdly enough, most of the people i interviewed really liked seeing their pastor do well as an expression of who they are. look how well he is, that is how he demonstrates the spiritual principles. if they can work for him, it can work for me, but some of it ends up being really celebrate. pastors with jets or his and her mercedes-benz outfront. sometimes they will put the parking space of the pastor right in front with a luxury car with a vanity plate. they are certainly not hiding it. brian: what would your reaction be if you said, i need another
thousand dollars, and you see him with a gold mercedes and all that? oral roberts, i was down there one time a couple years ago doing a story, and he had two larger cities outside -- large mercedes outside his home. kate: i have a really uncomfortable feeling about those kinds of displays, in part because so often those churches have, are run like family businesses, in which children, brothers and sisters, are also board members. there' has been a real push, especially since the senator grassley investigation, but it certainly makes it hard. their argument is one parishioners believe, which is, we live in a more than enough universe, and if god can give to them, god can give to me. brian: what do you mean by redeem the curse? think --l, i brian: she said that.
kate: paul a white was talking about the imagination of people's spiritual universe, and everything you are doing is not just for something, but against something. someone like norman vincent peale never really spoke like that, talked more about self-esteem and used psychological language and categories. someone more like apollo white, in the pentecostal stream of prosperity, will speak about supernatural forces against you and using got to counter them. brian: the next man is well-known, reportedly online is worth between $40 million and $60 million. a 17,000 square foot home, worth about $10.5 million. just watching, looking at the web. he, i think i wrote down, seized something like 52,000 people a week that he stands in front of.
here he is, joel osteen. >> we installed large floodgates all around the building. last sunday morning, during all the rain, the waters came within one foot, maybe two of breaching the walls and flooding the building once again. without those floodgates, we wouldn't be in her today -- here today. the water started to receive late sunday, maybe into monday. we felt it was safe to start taking people in on tuesday. if we had opened the building earlier and someone was injured, or perhaps it flooded and people lost their lives, that would be a whole different story. with taking the heat for being preconscious, but i don't want to take the heat for being full of. brian: what do you think of his story? he got beat up over harvey when he did not let people into that former basketball arena. kate: i don't know enough about
the details to say whether he was appropriately cautious. but it does really raised the question of what a large prosperity church is for. i think part of what the critique he got was is, is his job to be the front lines of charity? that's a real question for prosperity preachers, when their entire theology says, if i can do it, you can do it. it is heavily individualistic, and in moments like that as the pastor of the largest church in the country he is meant to set a national example, it does call into question what churches are for. historically they have been fundamentally social services. brian: in your opinion, why does someone want to sit in a room with maybe 30,000 people for a service like that? kate: he is a really easy preacher to listen to. tells adorable, corny jokes. there's always an atmosphere of real positivity and celebration.
he's by all accounts very kind. it's easy to like him, and easy to want to be around like-minded people. the folks who go there are often aspirational in some way. a message like that works for all classes. for the poor, it is for an imagined, hoped for life. for the middle class, it often explains what people already have. and for the upper class, it gives them reasons to keep caring, and a justification for what they have. brian: he is based in houston. this next fellow is based in dallas. i will run the clip, and you can explain how he fits into office. >> if nelson mandela had not been incarcerated, mistreated ostracized,, he would not have the passion to do what he does. if oprah winfrey had not gone through the things she had gone through, she would not be so committed to making sure everybody finds their purpose
and finds their dream and everybody gets healed and everyone is ok. you, what you think is working against you is actually working for you. brian: pain. kate: he is probably the most famous african-american prosperity preacher, although he would hate the term prosperity preacher, because much of what he does is along the lines of talking about self-esteem, a god of more than enough. and, a franchise he developed in the mid-1990's around healing sexual abuse of women in the church, really does bring that message out. your pain becomes your purpose. the worst thing can be the best thing. these constant spiritual encouragements which promise you can have everything you hope for. brian: is oprah religious or not? kate: i think so. brian: i mean, does she fit into
the religious world you are talking about? kate: a lot of the guests she has had, like the author of a book called "the secret," was very popular, another expression of that new thought idea, where your mind is the spiritual incubator and you can have what you can conceive of. it's also the idea that there is no such thing as luck, that any obstacle can be overcome for those who work hard and make the most of every opportunity. it is certainly an american belief as well. it's in the water. brian: he is 60. these figures are loose because you're never quite sure, but they say he's worth about $18 million. why is somebody who does what he does work that money? kate: key in particular has been incredibly entrepreneurial. he has a film production ofpany, has a series for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. part of that springs out of this
prosperity theology's entrepreneurialism. i can have it, and so can you. brian: what do you think of the fact these churches and ministers live in a tax-exempt environment? kate: i think there's a lot of controversy over the tax-exempt status, especially for parsonage s, homes ministers live in. i think it's becoming more of an ethical question because churches are increasingly split between the very large and very small. the average church has only 70 people in it, including kids. but most people in the country go to these top-heavy churches, well-resourced churches. so tax-exempt status for some pastors is also what enables those churches to stay afloat. brian: you live in north carolina. almost all these people are from the south. why? kate: that's, i think that's a
good question. part of it has to do with, these exurbanely suburban and churches. big churches need land. they are on the outskirts of cities, really sprawling, they are mostly in that atlanta to l.a. wide circle. part of it has to do with urban sprawl. partly it has to do with immigration patterns. brian: are they more religious in the south than in the north? kate: sometimes it surprises you. there are a lot of prosperity make a churches around seattle. that creates an evangelical subculture in a largely more secular state. i started this project in winnipeg, manitoba, which has the largest prosperity mega-church in canada. we are not supposed to have prosperity mega-churches. if you ask most people, it seems so american.
even if you listen to preachers all over north america, they say, in the name of jesus. the way they say jesus, you can tell they had a southern preacher as a teacher. brian: here's a man worth $25 million allegedly, from requiring, arizona, -- rick warren. >> god also uses pain to get our attention. god whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain. hello, you think i just made you to live for yourself? you think the whole purpose of your life is for you to just live for you? you are made for so much more. and god often uses pain to get our attention. god often uses pain to prepare us for a breakthrough. so if you are in pain right now, congratulations. brian: do you believe that? kate: i will not say, i don't think rick warren is a prosperity preacher, largely
southern baptist. his church -- brian: he's in california now? kate: it is a largely evangelical church. i think what he's getting at is a theology most americans want to share, which is that somehow pain is always progress. i don't believe that anymore. i think i really thought life was sort of a series of ladders, and if i kept trying and climbing it would always lead to something. brian: because you have had a lot of pain. kate: pain that just leveled me, and part of it was coming to grips with me not being able to cure my own cancer. or always have the time i want with my family, or imagine the future for myself i expected. think all kinds of beautiful things can happen in ar dark seasons, i think it's
beautiful lie to say that pain will always be a reward. brian: here is a name some people my name will remember. still alive, 82 years old. this goes back to 1988, when he got himself in a little trouble. let's watch. >> i have sinned against you, my lord. i would ask that your prec -- would wash and climbs leanse every stain until it is in the seas of god's forgetfulness, never to be remembered against me anymore. definedat apology, it in people's minds the caricature
of the televangelist. brian: jimmy swaggart. kate: he was an incredible orator, assembly of god pastor. brian: still around. kate: with his son donnie. what is fascinating, he started out as a prosperity preacher, decided he thought it wasn't true anymore, which shows you the internal wrangling inside pentecostalism about whether it was the same as the prosperity gospel, which it isn't, but there were internal divisions. and he was by the time of his own fall involved in a very heated series of rivalries with other, with other preachers. brian: didn't he out another preacher for being with a prostitute? kate: there is an amazing book by, about ptl that just came out , and it shows you this incredible underbelly of the story in which so many were
trying to sabotage the other, and then they all went down. brian: the people he was against outed him, and he went on over several years. kate: it ended up being mutual damnation. i think you can see it in the apology. christianity of course has inside its own theology, if you repent, you can be saved, so people when they fall can immediately just apologize and make an about-face. these are really personal figures to people. if you watch the same person, that phase for such a long time, you feel like you know them. so even when jim baker was being sent to prison, people at the courthouse were weeping and pleading for him, because he was like family to them. brian: the next man died in 2009, 74 years old at the time. he may have been, you can tell
me, the original prosperity minister. >> how many religious people are taught to believe they don't deserve anything? some religious people even prayed that prayer,, lord i know i am not worthy. anything you don't feel you are worthy of, you cannot half. anything you don't feel you do not deserve, that you are not worthy of, you automatically cut yourselves off from that good. kate: reverend ike. he was a very popular preacher in the 1960's and 1970's, through the 1980's. it goes to show you how the language of prosperity can be incredibly empowering. so, he was talking to people who croween raised in the jim era in which black americans were told they could never have enough, let alone more. so this strand of african-american prosperity preaching ended up being part of
this immense of the torry vocabulary. god never asked you to be there with someone with their heel on your throat, that god can promise you more. you can see prosperity flourishing among many communities that are disenfranchised. brian: let me ask you again how long you had the cancer? kate: a little over two years. brian: what kind of treatment are you getting now? kate: i had a series of, i just finished one course of treatments. brian: what is it? kate: immunotherapy and chemotherapy. brian: where is it being done? kate: at duke, three minutes from my office. and then i amice, in a place where everyone has facemasks. it is a real about-face in my day. brian: but for a well you were going to atlanta? kate: for almost a year every wednesday. brian: that was a trial? kate: a clinical trial. immunotherapy is really at the beginning stages of development, so both of us -- those of us who
qualify for trials are pretty desperate. brian: when you had an operation, what was it? kate: i had a few operations. brian: the main one? toe: this, the first one was remove a huge tumor from my colon. brian: has there been any shrinkage on the current tumors you have in the liver? kate: yes. mean, ith everything, i think that's where we are with immunotherapy and the idea of a new category of incurable, which is, with so many things changing and science, the hope is always to get from one outcome to another. i tried to explain, i am not terminal, i am not necessarily going to die. the hope is always to try to find the next vine that will swing you over the deep and hope for the best. brian: christopher hitchens, who
died in 2011, had cancer, his softball cancer, and all -- esophageal cancer, and all through that people kept saying, do you believe in god now, because he was an atheist. a year before he died -- >> a large number of people have asked me, doesn't it change your attitude to the infinite, the internal, the supernatural and so forth? i said i don't really see why it should. i spent a lot of my life deciding that there isn't any noemption, there's no, afterlife, no supervising boss, if i was to tell you now i have got a malignancy in my esophagus, that changes would hope the
main effect had been on my iq. [laughter] kate: he was always so clever. brian: what about your attitude since you got the cancer at a very young age? have you changed your thinking on anything related to religion? kate: i mean, i think i have. myselfalways considered a pretty jesus-y type, but i think so much of it was wrapped up in the assuming that god was a part of this life. the second i got very sick, you come to the end of yourself. i admit, it was a really spiritually, is a really spiritually powerful time for me, which is funny. i feel so uncomfortable. you can hear me stuttering. i am good at talking about other people's faith. i am a historian. i am the calculated, careful observer, but when it comes to my stuff, it was almost so intimate i didn't want to tell
people. i really felt, i felt the presence of god. i felt the love of other people. people pouring in, all the intense prayers. second i got sick, my whole little community got together in the chapel and prayed like marathon runners for me, handing off through my whole surgery. part of it was them reflecting back to me love, and also the sense that my hope is that as you are preparing to die, i was having to make preparations, that someone or something me to there, and i certainly -- meets you there, and i certainly felt that way. brian: this was back in the 1980's, about a man who lives in ohio, who is today 96 years old. tell us what you think of this. so manyny people, heal people when other preachers cannot? how do you have that special knack? >> if you talk like that, i will
not give you an interview. this is no knack. aren't you ashamed to call the word of god a knack? the bible says god is the healer, and jesus came and heal the sick. the bible said -- >> why can't they do it? >> i pray, and god answers prayer. kate: you could see him pressing in, what is the formula? is it a prayer? are you anointed? is it a special place you go to? i have been encouraged to do all those things. brian: does god answer prayer? kate: i think often. and then sometimes not. i think the question is that prosperity gospel raises, is there a secret formula and can i find it somewhere? and i think the answer is no. us from wonder and hope?
i don't think so. brian: recently pat roberts and had a major stroke, although they say he will recover from it. years ago in 1985, you probably studied this incident. see what you think of this. >> at 10:30 in the morning in hotel, ionticello stood up in prayer and led that group of 200 people in prayer. we reviewed the hurricane -- rebuked the hurricane and commanded it in the name of jesus to go around to where it came from. at 10:30, the forward progress of that hurricane stopped. true story, look at the records if you don't believe me. kate: it is a wonderful arrogance. i mean, the hubris of it, i sort of love it. whenever i watch something like that, i have been at a million healing rallies, part of what i admire about them, they have gumption like nobody else, they really believe they can turn away a hurricane.
i am glad they try. the problem is -- brian: why have there been hurricanes in virginia beach since? kate: it immediately opens whatf up to -- condemnation lies on those who fail? that is always the problem at prosperity preachers' funerals. unless they die at 96 or something, there's always a bit of an explanation for why a man of faith would pass away. people are scraping incline for the meaning of it. that is an awful burden for the sufferer to bear, that they can't simply be a person to be loved, but they have to be a problem to be explained. brian: this happened after the super bowl, when the philadelphia eagles won the game. here is their quarterback, nick foles. >> justin carr game -- just another game, right? >> just another game. unbelievable.
to be here with my daughter and my wife, my family, my teammates, the city, we are very blessed. brian: reportedly he will be a preacher after he gets out of the football business. all glory to god, but how do you explain that, before the game starts, both sides pray? kate: i think the super bowl is always the annual reminder to americans that somehow there's an intermediary step between their prayers and god's answers. this is a country that doesn't believe in luck, that thinks all things are earned, so when you see, especially with athletes, them sweat and bleed for a goal and only one side wins. it highlights the courageous nests of moments like this -- there will always be winners and losers, and you don't get to pick which. brian: please tell this story before we close down. the story of the preacher's
wife. the language of ecclesiastes, and go into this story. remember? the wife of the pastor. kate: of course! i learned a lot about the ritualized expectation when i went to these churches. preacher's y-- stands up and says we need to pray down the rain, and spiritual, everything we asked for will come down. people start stomping and shouting and praising god, in hopes of reading they are saying will come true, a house, a car, and for me at the time it was a baby. what it does is it carves out in you a hope for maybe every good thing, that maybe we are living under an open heaven. brian: and she stood up in the church? kate: stomped her feet and asked
us all to hope for more. brian: are mennonites, of which you are a member of the church, are they evangelicals? kate: some of them are. they are a little like the jewish faith, in that it is both a culture and a religion, so a widespread inside mennonite culture. it can be both are you mennonite ethnic and religious? a lot of them are evangelical. brian: the new york times, big articles by you -- how did that happen? about your situation. tend toe first, i write very privately, so when i first got sick, i noticed the great irony of me being the scholar and author of a book called "blessed" when nothing in my life appeared to match that the elegy -- theology. piece about what it
feels like when you are a problem to be solved, and people start trying to pour certainty on your pain. maybe if you prayed this way, or go see so-and-so, he will fix this. the desire i had to want for more, when i was not sure it was possible. i sent that article in, found a wonderful editor, and he gave it a front page of the sunday review. i got thousands of letters about it, saying, i would like you to be certain. [laughter] course, a zillion people poured certainty on my pain, so i wrote this other piece. i love you so much, guys, here are categories two responses to those in pain. -- problem at least solvers, or teachers.
i am not on to say, trial. brian: two books you need to know about by kate bowler. blessed, a history of the american prosperity gospel, and her newest book, everything happens for a reason, and other lies i have loved. kate bowler has been our guest. we thank you. kate: thank you so much for having me. what a treat. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ ♪ >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at -- q and a programs are also available as c-span podcasts.
if you liked this q&a with kate bowler, here are others you might enjoy. christopher hitchens spoke with us in 2011 about his life and career less than a year after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. also nancy gibbs and michael duffy discussing their book the presidents club, and francis collins talking about the genome project and how it is important to medical research. you can find these interviews online at www.c-span.org. >> monday on c-span's landmark cases, they look at the supreme court case mcculloch versus maryland, which solidified the federal government's ability to take actions not specifically mentioned in the constitution.
we explore this with university associate law professor farah peterson and another guest. live monday at 9:00 eastern on c-span, www.c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. for background on each case, order a copy of the landmark cases companion book for 895 plus shipping and handling at www.c-span.org. there's a link on our website to the national constitution center's interactive constitution. >> at the british house of commons this last week, prime minister theresa may was asked to comment on the humanitarian crisis in syria and also took questions about the anti-sexual-harassment policy, marijuana legalization, and funding for police. this is 45 minutes. to listen to the views of the family it's the have been affected by this tragedy.
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