Groups List: R
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Radio Rhema. Mostly – sometimes – occasionally (which is a great pity). A national Christian radio network owned by Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc. Excellent value for the most part, but very occasionally something slips through – eg, advertisements for their own programmes that feature very irresponsible (and even illegal) driving behaviour, talks by Hugh Ross (as part of the Focus on the Family show), or Bob Cornuke promoted by Focus on the Family, advertisements for colloidal silver (especially for taking it internally – DO NOT TAKE COLLOIDAL SILVER INTERNALLY!), heavy and ongoing promotion of The Freedom Diaries, and perhaps the most ridiculous, for water absorbing "the vibrations of the planet". Radio Rhema also consistently promotes through its advertising New Age, naturopathic treatments, despite biblical warnings concerning the practice of witchcraft. See also Life FM and Southern Star. Incidentally, the Greek word rhema is pronounced "rayma" and means "good news".
Radionics. New Age healing method using "black boxes" – fancy but basically useless electronic devices claimed to have amazing healing properties. According to a Quackwatch article "Radionics is a pseudoscience based on the notion that diseases can be diagnosed and treated by tuning in on radio-like frequencies allegedly emitted by disease-causing agents and diseased organs." Founded by Albert Abrams, M.D. (1864-1924), who was called the "dean of gadget quacks" by the American Medical Association. Quackwatch concludes "radionics devices have no value for diagnosing or treating anything." Rife Therapy is a spin-off treatment that uses radionics ideas.
Raël. Assumed name of the international leader of the Raëlian "UFO" cult. A Frenchman, he was born Claude Vorilhon in 1946, out of wedlock, and changed his name to Raël in the 1970s after claiming he had encountered a UFO in a volcano. His first wife (of 15 years) claimed "He destroyed my life and our children's lives. They were so young and innocent. They should never have been exposed to the debauched and wicked things that went on in our home." After many further years of involvement, the two children have now thankfully left the cult. In his testimony of why he left the Raëlians, former New Zealand leader Mark Woodgate says of Raël:
There have always been clever hoaxers and con-men throughout history, and Rael will not be the last.
Rael is a very intelligent man, a masterful orator, persuasive and cunning. His hidden agenda and the conviction with which he has committed himself to his cause is masterful – and his ability to manipulate and deceive without conscience is truly disturbing...
For these reasons I have no doubt that Claude Vorilhon will be remembered as one of the greatest hoaxers of modern times.
Ellipsis and emphasis in original. Mark Woodgate includes several pertinent quotes from Raël:
• Even if it isn't true, it is still beautiful.
• If it is only a dream, then my dream is better than their reality.
• Even if it isn't true, will you stay with me to build this dream? Good! Then it doesn't matter if it is true or not!
• You know, I love comedy, and I love playing jokes – and one day, maybe when I take my last breath, I will share with you the greatest joke of all.
Raëlians. Cult, almost certainly started simply as a con in 1974, and is now self-sustaining. Nicknamed "The UFO Cult" for their belief that people (and all other living things) were originally placed on Earth by 1.2m tall extraterrestrials, about 25,000 years ago. They believe Maori legends provide evidence of this. Founded by Claude Vorilhon (known as Raël) in the mid 1970s. Raëlians plan on enabling people to live forever by making a "disk" copy of a person's memories then installing those memories in a clone of the person, about 20 years old. The process is repeated when the clone gets old. In 1997 the Raëlians founded Clonaid in the Bahamas (a tax haven). Notable beliefs and practices include the encouraging of every sort of (legal) sexual practice. Documentary maker Abdullah Hashem has stated the cult's activities "include brainwashing members and using sex as coercion to gain access to its members' finances". The Raëlian logo is particularly offensive to Jews, as it combines a swastika with a Star of David. Detractors have claimed that "the movement intentionally stirs a moderate level of controversy to maintain membership." The logo and the claims of clone babies (see Clonaid) may be examples of this. In a similar vein, a claim has also been made that Claude Vorilhon admitted to a friend that he had lied about meeting extraterrestrials – the whole story was fabricated to bring him the fame and fortune he had long wanted. There are about 100 members in New Zealand, formerly led by Mark Woodgate. For another UFO religion see Aetherius Society (which is also a group probably started as a scam and is now self-sustaining).
Raj Yoga. See Brahma Kumaris.
According to Knight, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who raised an army of pirates and fought against bunny rabbits, and the tyrants of the times, the Atlantians, over 35,000 years ago.
(Being Lemurian I'm surprised Ramtha didn't fight against monkeys or perhaps chimps. But I digress – Editor.) Much of Ramtha's "teaching" is about God within us, a central New Age belief. It seems that sometimes Ramtha's advice can have serious consequences, possibly depriving J Z Knight's own husband of years of his life. Wikipedia's entry on J Z Knight has this chilling account:
In the early 1990s, Knight's high-profile divorce case appeared in the tabloids. In Knight vs Knight, 1992-1995 Knight's ex-husband Jeff Knight alleges that he lost years of his life by postponing modern medical treatment for his HIV infection, due to advice from his wife that Ramtha could heal him — he died before he could appeal the court's decision against him.
In another court case, J Z Knight sued a woman named Judith Ravell in Austria who also claimed to be channeling Ramtha. After several years Judy won and Judith was ordered to pay US$800 in damages. (Of course Judy wanted much much more.)
Rastafari. Group that believes that a certain Ethiopian king (Haile Selassie) is the second coming of Christ. "Rastafari" comes from Ras (meaning Prince or Duke) Tafari Makonnen, Haile Selassie's original name. Rastafarians are characterised by their Reggae music, their dreadlock hair styles, the colours black, green, red and yellow, and cannabis use. (And that was written before reading Watchman Fellowship's Rastafari profile!) True Rastafarians are vegetarians.
Reasons to Believe. Christian ministry which teaches an old Earth creation (progressive creationism) and attacks people and ministries which teach young Earth creation. Founded and led by Hugh Ross. Creation Ministries International lists some of the reasons progressive creationism is bad in this article:
‘Progressive creationism’, in accepting the secular time-scale for Earth history, seriously undermines the Gospel by putting death, disease and suffering in God’s very good creation (Genesis 1:31) before Adam and Eve sinned and brought about the curse of death and the corruption of the whole creation (Genesis 3:19; Romans 8:20–22). So it undermines the reason for and meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 5:12 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22). This is no trivial matter. See Some questions for theistic evolutionists (and progressive creationists)
Recovered Memory Syndrome. Also called False Memory Syndrome. False (and often ridiculous) memories are "recovered" in therapy (or even during interrogation), when no hint of such a memory existed prior to the therapy – the claim is that they were repressed below the level of conscious recall. There are various simple ways false memories are created ("recovered"), but it can give rise to things like Satanic Ritual Abuse claims. The therapist in many cases feels no responsibility to verify the truthfulness of the memories they help the patient "recover" and thus the therapy ends up harming the patient, by lumbering them with more problems than they started with. See also Multiple Personality Disorder. For more information see Apologetics Index's False Memory Syndrome page.
Reddick, Lynn and Linda. Lynn Reddick and his wife Linda Reddick misquote scripture to support their false teachings. Lynn Reddick is the author of the book 2 Minute Miracle, in which he falsely teaches that we are like God in that we can create and call things into existence with our words. Linda Reddick has falsely taught that Deuteronomy 28 says we will be blessed for unity and cursed for disunity. Deuteronomy 28 actually teaches we will be blessed if we obey God. The Reddicks have visited New Zealand. See Word Faith Movement and New Apostolic Reformation.
Reflexology. New Age practice, which claims that parts of the feet are linked to body organs and that manipulating the particular part of the foot can heal the organ it is supposedly associated with. In other words, a bunch of baloney. For more information see Quackwatch's Reflexology: A Close Look.
Reggae. Style of music that Rastafarians (and others) listen to. Bob Marley was the most famous Reggae musician. (FWIW he would have played for Jamaica's national soccer team if he hadn't made music.)
Reiki Massage. Pronounced like the English words "ray-key". An occult, New Age practice involving the impartation of "healing energy" or lifeforce (ki/qi) into the recipient either through massage or "hands-off" massage, without any physical touch involved. Some practitioners believe the "healing energy" can be transmitted long distance. The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute says "In essence, Reiki is an occult technique designed to influence and/or manipulate patients through the use of unadvertised or undiscerned spiritistic energy." Ignoring the occult aspects – for which Christians should stay well clear of Reiki – Wikipedia points out "The strongest research conducted as of 2008 has failed to demonstrate that Reiki is an effective treatment for any condition. ... there is insufficient evidence to indicate that reiki is effective as sole or adjuvant therapy for any medical condition, or that it has any benefits beyond possible placebo effects." See also placebo effect in the Glossary.
Reincarnation. The false belief that people go through several lives, perhaps including animals, insects, etc. Often connected to karma - supposedly if a person, animal, etc works off enough karma during their life they will be reincarnated to a higher life form on their next life. Reincarnation is a lie.
Religious Diversity Centre in Aotearoa New Zealand Trust. A trust set up in 2015 (in their own words) "To foster appreciation, understanding and deeper relationships among the religious, spiritual and secular communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, and provide an independent and informed voice in religious and spiritual issues in the public sphere."
Religious Science. A "new thought"/metaphysical cult founded by Ernest Holmes in 1927. Religious Science is based on pantheism and denies all the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. There are now a couple of main variations of Religious Science – United Church of Religious Science and Religious Science International – which are believed to have only a few followers in New Zealand.
Religious Science International. Also known as International Centers for Spiritual Living (which may be its present name). One of the two main branches of Religious Science, the other being United Church of Religious Science.
Religious Society of Friends. More commonly known as Quakers, they are considered a Christian sect or cult depending on the branch. The three branches are Conservative Friends (sect), Evangelical Friends (sect), and Liberal Friends (Christian cult). Actual ratings for the different branches vary. See the individual listings for more information on the differences. It is generally accepted that the Religious Society of Friends was founded in 1652 by George Fox. Members are strongly opposed to violence. Meetings for worship are characterised by extended periods of complete silence – sometimes with whole meetings in silence. Perhaps ironically George Fox was imprisoned in 1649 for interrupting a church service. Apparently if he had waited until the end everything would have been fine. He was in prison again in 1651 (under a 1648 blasphemy law), and from 1664 to 1666. (He was imprisoned a total of eight times, most often for refusing to join the army.) Quaker classic literature (that most modern Quakers haven't read) includes No Cross, No Crown by William Penn, The Apology by Robert Barclay, and The Inward Journey by Isaac Penington.
Religious Technology Center. Name used by Scientology. Stay well clear of it.
Restored Church of God. Founded by David C Pack in the USA in May 1999 as a non-reformed continuation of the Worldwide Church of God. According to Wikpedia's RCG listing "The Restored Church of God claims to retain the tenets, style, and structure of the earlier Worldwide Church of God, before the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986." The RCG publishes The Real Truth magazine and The World to Come weekly video programme. The RCG's presence in New Zealand is unclear, although their TV show The World to Come is screened here.
ReSurfacing. Trademark of Avatar Masters Training.
Revival Centre. Strongly suspected to be a cult, under investigation. Teachings include speaking in tongues to be saved, British Israelism. For more information see Revival Centre Cultweb or Freedom of Mind's Revival Centre info.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Title of a book by Robert Toru Kiyosaki. Personality cult/scam. (Perhaps by coincidence it was published in paperback on 1 April 2000.) Some people have claimed the books contains some good ideas from the point of view of helping people whom have not had a good "economic" upbringing. This is highly arguable, and may be claimed by people who themselves don't know a lot about money. The book actually contains many bad ideas. In the words of John T Reed (publisher of Real Estate Investor's Monthly newsletter): "Rich Dad, Poor Dad contains much wrong advice, much bad advice, some dangerous advice, and virtually no good advice." The serious stuff starts with "Rich Dad" never actually having existed. To explain this lack of a Rich Dad, Robert T Kiyosaki is quoted as saying "Is Harry Potter real? Why don’t you let Rich Dad be a myth, like Harry Potter?" New Zealanders should note that not all the same tax laws apply in New Zealand as in the US. If Christians read the book they should exercise caution for the following reasons.
* FWIW the Bible actually says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." (1 Tim 6:10a.) Note that it doesn't say that having money is evil – just risky. But note the verse immediately before that: "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." (1 Tim 6:9.)
Rife Therapy. Rife Therapy was started by Royal Raymond Rife (inspired by radionics), who claimed to be able to distinguish good and bad bacteria based on the colour of their auras, and then to be able to destroy the bad bacteria by targeting them with radio waves of just the right frequency (based on the colour of their aura). Quackwatch has an article about a Rife therapist sued for claiming she could cure cancer. The article mentions "The American Cancer Society has pointed out that although sound waves can produce vibrations that break glass, radio waves at the power level emitted [by] a Rife generator do not have sufficient energy to destroy bacteria."
Ring, Ken. Astrologer weather predictor, believes the moon is the main influence on the weather. A few of his ideas are quite interesting, but he is not particularly accurate, getting the weather right only about 10% of the time in one informal analysis. In March 2002 he made a major prediction that there would be extremely bad weather on (or around) 17 April 2003, based on the moon being at its southern-most point in its orbit while being at perihelion (the point in its eliptical orbit where it's closest to Earth). The weather in Auckland on that day was fine and sunny with the odd very light shower (not unusual for Auckland), as shown in the below photo looking toward Mt Roskill (which had a cross atop it especially for Easter the following day):
Another prediction made at the same time was for extreme weather around 3 June 2004. 3 June was overcast with a few scattered showers in the morning – again, not unusual for Auckland winter weather, and arguably a little better than normal. Ken Ring makes his extremely vague "predictions" seem much more accurate by his use of the Forer effect and post-hoc (after the event) analysis, leading to hindsight bias and postdiction. David Winter sums this up perfectly in his article Ken Ring can’t predict the weather:
Reading Ring’s website, you can see he is pretty generous when he estimates his own accuracy, like the Texas sharpshooter who shoots the side of a barn then paints a target around the bullet hole to show his prowess with a shooting iron, Ring uses any vaguely similar weather event to prop up the accuracy of his predictions. My particular favourite from that page is his prediction for 100 mm or rain in New South Wales, which was accurate, it’s just that it arrived further West, two days later and was a only 20mm.
Did Ken Ring predict the 22 Feb 2011 Christchurch earthquake? No. In fact, quite the opposite. The month after the September quake he believed that Christchurch would not have any more "aftershocks of significance" after the end of November 2010 (see this page, scroll down to comment 147). Thus, Ken Ring predicted:
For these false and genuinely dangerous predictions Ken Ring is now rated Danger. More information on Ken Ring's inability to predict earthquakes is in David Winter's article Ken Ring can’t predict earthquakes either. Ken Ring is a scammer of the worst sort, selling snake oil in the form of weather and earthquake predictions. But consider his own words:
I don't claim to predict the weather. No one can.
I certainly cannot predict earthquakes.
Not until he thinks he can get away with claiming a correct prediction. After the 22 February earthquake:
We predicted the latest earthquake and it has tragically happened.
Roby, Kay. Kay Roby is the general manager of Osmosis Skincare, a scam. In that role she actively promotes and defends the scam. She is rated Danger because the scam products she has promoted could result in serious personal damage, such as sunburn. Regardlesss, her actions are deplorable, and would be quite enough for a Caution rating.
Role-playing Games (RPGs). Generally, any game which involves the players taking the role of a fictional character by pretending they are that character to complete the game. This may be on computer, a board game, etc. More specifically, a role-playing game is one in which one player is a referee, guiding the other players (and their made-up characters) through an imaginary mission, normally in a fantasy-based world although all sorts of RPGs exist. Dice are used to resolve fighting and other chance-based activities. The most popular RPGs involve very realistic battles and the use of magic. Examples are Dungeons & Dragons and (the not quite as popular and now out of print) Middle-earth Role Playing. Much discussion has been made about the merits of RPGs and their relation to suicides and suicide rates, and their links to the occult. There is no doubt that Dungeons & Dragons is very occultic and should be avoided by those concerned about such things, but statistics from the USA have shown that RPG players have lower suicide rates than the general population. No good New Zealand information has been found on that issue. Non-occult (and low-occult) RPGs exist and are useful for encouraging the imagination. (At the least, the low-occult games should provide plenty of teaching opportunities for Christian parents.)
Rolfing. Also known as Structural Integration. Do not confuse with ralphing (a slang term for throwing up) or ROFLing. Rolfing is a form of massage based on the idea that not only our physical well-being depends on correct spinal alignment, but also our emotional well-being. We have no doubt that (most) people will feel better after a good rub-down but Rolfing practitioners make many unsubstantiated claims. As is typical for alternative health therapies, anecdotal testimonies are heavily relied on for evidence it works. See chiropractic and Feldenkrais for other practices with similar teachings. For more information see the Skeptic's Dictionary Rolfing article, which also mentions the related Hellerwork Structural Integration.
Roman Catholic Church. A very old, institutionalised denomination of Christianity, and one of the largest Christian denominations in New Zealand. The church does some good in the community and at a political level, especially relating to the very important issue of abortion, but theologically it has several very major problems, such as:
Apparently at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) the Roman Catholic Church gave up its teaching that it is the only way for people to be saved (about time!). However, many Roman Catholics do not believe all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church anyway. Whether this makes them any more Christian than those who do believe it all we leave to others to debate, who have more time on their hands. (For example, Are Roman Catholics Christian? "CARM's position is simple. If a Roman Catholic believes in the official Roman Catholic teaching on salvation, then he is not a Christian since the official RCC position is contrary to scripture.") Similarly for what rating the Roman Catholic Church deserves (although there may seem an obvious choice to many).
Rosicrucian Order, Rosicrusianism. Cult. See AMORC.
Ross, Hugh. Christian astronomer. Believes in progressive creation, and thus in an old universe, and is responsible for creating huge confusion in Christian teaching circles (nicknamed the Hugh Confusion), partly due to his apparent greater faith in the secular scientific establishment than in the Bible, and partly due to his lack of care with facts. He teaches that nature is a 67th book of the Bible, absolutely equal in authority to the Bible, instead of nature being a fallen creation that needs to be understood in the light of the Bible. Hugh Ross does not see any discrepancies between the order of events in Genesis 1 and the order defined by evolution. Misleadingly, he teaches what he calls a "worldwide" flood, by which he actually means a local flood which killed all people not on the Ark. He and his ministry Reasons to Believe actively attack Christians and Christian ministries who believe and teach a recent creation, and has not acknowledged clear evidence from those ministries that his arguments are wrong.
It is inconceivable that Ross could have mistaken these new distance measurements for trigonometric parallax had he actually read and understood the articles that he cited. The huge distances alone should have told him that trigonometric parallax was not possible for either of these objects. This is another example of how poorly Ross understands or mishandles information, even in a field in which he is supposed to be an expert. This should cause his supporters to question his conclusions not only in astronomy, but also in matters such as anthropology, speciation, Hebrew and theology where he clearly has no professional expertise.
The article The dubious apologetics of Hugh Ross is sad but enlightening.
Ross recently claimed that the current 71 to 29 percent ratio of water-to-land surface on the earth ‘… has been theoretically and observationally demonstrated to provide the maximum possible diversity and complexity of life.’ No reference was given for this statement, so it is impossible to determine where Ross discovered this ‘fact’ or if indeed he incorrectly handled it as well. Given the many variables involved in determining such a thing, it is difficult to conceive that one could reach such a conclusion theoretically. But even more troubling is the assertion that this has been ‘observationally demonstrated’. Short of observing a large number of earth-like worlds with various water-to-land ratios and counting the flora and fauna on each, just how could such a thing be demonstrated observationally? In the same book Ross writes that ‘ … theory and observations both confirm that all planets start with opaque atmospheres.’ Again, no references were given, but short of directly observing the birth and development of a large number of planets, how could this be observationally tested? To some these may seem like petty objections, but these sorts of misstatements are common in Ross’s works.
The article finishes:
Just a few of the incorrect and untrue statements of Hugh Ross have been explored. The concentration here has been on scientific issues. Others, such as Van Bebber and Taylor, and Kelly, have documented many of Ross’s outrageous biblical assertions, which demonstrate that Ross’s poor scholarship extends to biblical studies as well.
Dishonesty or incompetence? It is difficult to say. While I cannot decide which explanation best characterizes Ross, I am very concerned with his inability to correctly handle factual information. On many occasions Ross has greatly bungled information. On other occasions he has appeared to have a total disregard for the truth. Some have found that when Ross is informed of his gaffes, he blithely goes on as if he never heard the criticism. There seems to be no accountability. Ross frequently overstates his arguments. There are very serious problems with his biblical studies and questions about his scientific competence. I hope that the issues raised here will cause those who entertain Ross’s teachings to re-examine his pronouncements. Contrary to what many believe, Ross’s case is riddled with errors. Those who agree with his approach to Genesis should be embarrassed with the extent of his sloppy work.
Another example of Hugh Ross' inability to correctly handle factual information is his insistance that there are Earth fossils in huge quantities on the Moon (thrown up by large Earth impacts). The idea was actually just raised as a theoretical idea; to Hugh Ross it is a fact. For more comment on his teachings as they relate to the Bible see the article Creating Confusion in Genesis with Hugh Ross.
Rowling, Joanne Kathleen. J K Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series of books. Born on 31 July 1965 (some unauthorised biographies say 1966). She used to be a housewife in England and is now one of the richest women in the world. She lives in Scotland with her second husband and two children.
Rudolf Steiner School. Schools named after Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Anthroposophical Society cult. Alternatively called Steiner Schools or Waldorf Schools. There are approximately 1,000 Rudolf Steiner Schools worldwide.
Ruegg, Albert. Albert Ruegg is a follower of false prophet William Branham, and evangelistically distributes Branham's false teachings in person, in print, on DVD, and through his own web site. He has clearly stated he is not personally involved with Gospel Tape Ministry (which also evangelistically distributes William Branham's false teachings) but has his personal testimony on that web site and has ministered in the United States alongside Gospel Tape Ministry's Howard Searle. He is a trustee of Christian Believers Charitable Trust and pastors Christian Believers Church in Tauranga, where he teaches modalism, and that people need to be baptised in the name of Jesus (only, not in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in order to be saved. Other teachings include that people need to be baptised in the Holy Spirit to avoid the Mark of the Beast (which he apparently does not believe is a physical mark), and legalistic teachings such as "it is an abomination for men to wear clothes pertaining to women and women wearing clothes such as trousers, garments pertaining to men" and that women should have long hair. He is assigned a Danger rating here because he teaches and actively promulgates the seriously bad doctrine of William Branham, not because he's considered physically dangerous in any way (notwithstanding his legalistic teachings).
Rule Education Trust. A Scientology front group.