A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism

What this guy is saying is important:

I have long been of the opinion that Christians need to be led by their spiritual leaders into a default attitude of healthy skepticism regarding wild claims of supernatural occurrences. I think non-Christians also need to be educated to exercise a certain amount of common sense skepticism about things that seem blatantly doubtful such as alien abductions.

There was a very popular book about Satanism by an evangelical Christian who claimed he had become a high priest of a Satanic cult and that Satanism was rampant in America. My students were reading the book and passing it around. When I taught my course the subject of that book always came up. When I spoke in churches about cults I was constantly being pressed to comment on it. I read the book and didn’t believe a word of it. Never did. It had the “ring” of untruth. My internal nonsense detector rang loudly as I read it. I told people about my disbelief in the man and his story and his claims and was called a skeptic (in a bad sense) and unspiritual. It was, as the saying goes, déjà vu all over again. Fortunately for me, the book was exposed as false later. But not one of those people who called me unspiritual for disbelieving it ever came back to tell me “You were right and I was wrong.”

I was given a book a few years ago, by a guy called Tony Anthony. It’s called Taming the Tiger.

He made some claims that are rather easy to verifiy, and I did so. Well, it’s a complete hoax. It’s also doing damage.

Tony Anthony is currently an evangelist, who claims to have won Kung-Fu world championship four times. He has written a book about his past called Taming the Tiger.He claims his grandfather took him to China by the age of 4, and was trained to master all the arts of Kung-Fu. He trained up to the age of 20, became a professional bodyguard for influential people, but when his fiancee died, he began a life of crime in his rage and depression. He beat up and killed several people and ended up in a jail, where a man called Michael Wright, a Christian, visited him and taught him about Jesus and God. Tony became a Christian, and has been an evangelist ever since.

You can listen his story here: Link

I have read the book, and I actually thought his story was true, until I heard his story has no evidence or sources indicating it was true at all. No evidence about him ever being a Kung-Fu world champion, and no evidence of his crimes. We all know that evangelists aren’t really honest people, so it’s obvious that Anthony just fabricated his story just to gain money. I’m pretty sure the liar doesn’t even believe in God.

I guess it makes sense that he lied about his story. He made some pretty ridiculous claims about his Kung-Fu skills in the book. He said that it was possible to kill a person within a second by pinching from certain points in their bodies. I wonder if Anthony could still do this if he was asked? I guess it would be un-Christian if he did, so there’s no use demanding him to show his incredible Kung-Fu skills again…

Anthony’s Wikipedia page has been deleted due to a lack of citation of his claims.

Among my observations:

  • He spoke Cantonese, but in spite of the fact he spoke it every day he only remembers Mandarin words
  • His training read like parts of it had been copped from Bruce Lee’s Wikipedia page
  • His claim to have 3 world titles got gradually modified as people questioned him – the forum I was reading suggested he was now saying they were small, illegal competitions held in a garage somewhere.
  • He repeatedly offers excuses instead of real answers to questions about his background – even months later, his promise to put details on a specific page on his web site was unfilled
  • His parents disappeared while he was in prison and he says nothing more about them. If my parents disappeared in mysterious circumstances, I’d be tearing the country apart!

Here’s another list from a forum that discusses fake martial artists.

1. There are no traces of the organizations under which Tony became World Kung Fu Champion although he names them. When this was pointed out Tony more recently said it he gave incorrect names to protect his identity from his Chinese family although he is publishing the book in China. He also said the organization was small, illegal and unknown and that is why he calls himself a 3 times World Champion. Is this a World Champion?

2. The Publisher and co-author co-operated with questions admit no facts were checked. The publisher, after consulting Tony, said Tony had promised him that he would post a Q&A on Tony’s website www.avantiministries.comwith answers to people’s questions. Years later this has not happened.

3. The impressive teaching materials Tony uses and says he wrote appear to have been plagiarised. Their frustrated author appears on the thread.

4. There are multiple discrepancies. Although the book describes Tony as having a Chinese mother and growing up and training in China Tony, when questioned, speaks almost no Chinese. There has never been a Saudi Ambassador to Cyprus while Tony describes being his bodyguard. Tony avoids questions about these and many others. Martial Arts proponents have followed up a surprising number of facts on an international scale. These can be followed on the thread.

5. Martial Arts proponents note the almost exact similarities in the tests Tony passed to the opening sequences of the ‘Kung Fu’ TV series starring David Caradine.

6. Unusually for a Christian Leader Tony describes his policy to have no contact with his parents for the last fifteen years. This is very unusual. Tony speaks fluent Greek but not Chinese. He was in prison in Cyprus. There is record of an Antonio Anthony, born to a Greek Cypriot mother in North London. No one of his associates gets to meet his mother. This is probably the key place to confirm or disprove Tony’s story – a polite visit to his roots.

7. The Time Line of Tony’s life, which someone on the thread has produced causes major questions – copy below.

8. In the UK, in 2000 Tony was sentenced to 15 months in prison for perverting the course of justice. His car had hit a cyclist at night, killing her, but he had not stayed at the scene and later denied it to police.

2002 released from prison. 2004 published Taming the Tiger. This is a newspaper article at the time: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/5…ut_death_crash. What are the ‘other unrelated charges’ in another Court that the article mentions?

9. Tony has offered a CD that answers people’s misgivings and a Q&A on his website that responds to the questions from non Christian Martial Artists and concerned Christians. He also says he responds to respectful emailed questions. In practice he is evasive and misleading here. The promised Q&A only has questions about God. Tony told a visitor to his offices that, ‘the decision was taken to focus on Jesus rather than myself’. The CD has little on it. You are welcome to see what response you get to emailed questions.

10. Tony describes several incident s where he killed terrorists who attacked the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UK and Cyprus. These would have been major International scandals of course (related to which Country was behind them) but there is no record of any such attacks and killings is there?

It does no credit to anyone to have this fraud going around – or to spread stupid stories.

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