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Evangelist Benny Hinn begs for donations just two days after renouncing prosperity gospel

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In a stunning reversal earlier this week, controversial televangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn announced to his followers that he will no longer preach the “prosperity gospel,” a teaching that says believers will be rewarded with health and wealth as long as they give monetary offerings to their churches and pastors.

“I’m sorry to say that prosperity has gone a little crazy and I’m correcting my own theology and you need to all know it,” Hinn said in a live video posted to his Facebook page on Monday. “Because when I read the Bible now, I don’t see the Bible in the same eyes I saw 20 years ago.”

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Hinn went on:

“I think it’s an offense to the Lord, it’s an offense to say give $1,000. I think it’s an offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the Gospel. I’m done with it. I will never again ask you to give $1,000 or whatever amount, because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it.”

Hinn’s renouncement of his former teachings was received with overwhelming approval from his audience, but according to writer and podcaster Karen Alea, Hinn should not be believed.

In a guest post for the Friendly Atheist, Alea points out that Hinn’s website still asks donors to give up to $1,000 a month to Hinn’s ministry. Additionally, just two days after Hinn’s video aired, he asked his followers to send him seed money for “debt elimination.” As Alea points out, the video was quickly deleted, but someone ripped the video put together a mashup that included Hinn’s request:

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Proponents of the prosperity gospel often use the term “seed money” as a way to market their requests. Just as seed money is used by investors to help launch companies or projects in exchange for a cut on the ensuing profits, believers can put forward seed donations in exchange for monetary growth as a reward from God.

“When’s he going to “rebuke” himself…?” Alea writes. “Hinn hasn’t given up the prosperity gospel. He just found a better marketing strategy for it.”

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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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