It Just Doesn't Add Up – Benny Hinn & Fiji
by Steve Muse
It seems that Benny Hinn has not yet learned to appreciate the importance of crowd dynamics and the necessity for reporting accurate attendance numbers as he continues to promote and hold crusades worldwide.
After the Bangalore, India event last year, where the reported attendance of 7.3 million was grossly exaggerated to the point of being ridiculous (actual attendance figures are estimated at approximately 1.2 million for the three days), with his latest crusade at Post National Stadium in Suva, Fiji. Hinn has once again given us another example of an inaccurate reporting of the facts,
Hinn was reported to have had a total of 370,000 attendees (Historic Fiji Islands Crusade Attended by a Total of 370,000!) for the three day crusade with 180,000 on the last day as reported on his website (Hinn Collects $58,000 in Fiji Crusade - Pacific Islands Report).
Working closely with my colleague, Bud Press, we have spent the last two months thoroughly researching every aspect of Benny Hinn's January 2006 crusade in Fiji. We have looked at pictures, watched videos, read newspaper articles and consulted with crowd dynamics experts.
If you are wondering why we would even take the time to do this, it is a matter of standing up for the truth and exhorting others to give an honest representation of the facts. I am appalled that anyone claiming to be a world Christian leader would have the audacity to present a false view to the body of Christ and to the world, that "Christians" twist the facts and only are interested in promoting their own agenda.
Last year, about this same time, I wrote a commentary questioning the numbers of people actually attending the Bangalore, India crusade. This year, after closely reviewing the facts once again, I have to ask the questions; Are we seeing the repeat of Bangalore? Where the actual numbers of those in attendance that fell far short of what was announced by ministry officials?
A claim should always be backed with factual evidence.
Before Benny Hinn even stepped off of the plane in Suva, Fiju, the word went out that the upcoming crusade would have at least 300,000 attendees from all the islands. If an expectation of this many people coming to the event is driving the need for success, the temptation to meet those expectations, by whatever means, looms large before the ministry coordinators.
Someone had to come up with these numbers to present an image of success to the ministry partners. But what someone forgot to mention... only so many people can fit into a measurable designated area. The capacity limited by the designers of the stadium.
Remember, any picture taken of the crowd at Post National Stadium with a camera with a panoramic view will give the impression that there are more in the stadium than there actually are. By understanding crowd dynamics and using the appropriate tools for counting large groups of people, one can adjust their expectations to the limitations of the space available.
Post National Stadium has a seating capacity of only 30,000 with an infield that can safely hold up to another 30,000 which is a far cry from the 80,000 reported the first day, the 110,000 reported on day two, or the 180,000+ reported on day three.
If one adds 30,000 plus 30,000 it does not come close to 80,000, 110,000 or 180,000. If it was reported that the stadium was filled to capacity, I would not have given this another thought but when large numbers are indiscriminately thrown about, the red flags go off and I start to ask questions.
If anyone is wondering how I came up with the capacity for the infield crowd, I will try to give the reader a clear understanding. Post National Stadium has an official 9 lane international track with a football (soccer, rugby) field on the interior of the track. After looking at many pictures which show the track and the football field and the fencing bordering the track, it was easy to estimate the square footage of the stadium field using other track and field diagrams available on the internet with all the appropriate measurements for the field and for the track itself.
Rather than to bore you with the math, I will refer you back to my previous article, It Just
I then calculated and determined the area to be between 145,000 and 160,000 sq. ft. for the entire infield. Just to be sure, we viewed dozens of stadiums with official seating capacities of between 25,000 and 35,000 with international football fields within tracks and the square footage of the other stadium infields was consistent within the figures above.
Rather than me trying to change your minds on this question, if you are not truly convinced, I will provide the following links of stadiums that range from 30,000 to approximately 100,000 in attendance for you to review. Please note that in every case, as the stadiums get larger, the seats have to be built higher with many more rows just to accommodate the larger crowd numbers. With most of these stadiums the infield area is still 145,000 to 160,000 square feet, so the numbers would only change depending on how many levels or tiers of extra seats have been constructed.
http://tinyurl.com/l86lo - Estadio Hernan Ramirez Villegas - 30,313 - Columbia
http://tinyurl.com/raqf2 - Kagawa Stadium - 30,100 - Japan
http://tinyurl.com/qqn8t - Stadion Shakhtar - 31,718 - Ukraine
http://tinyurl.com/hkxdu - Estádio Jacy Scaff (Do Café) - 45,000 - Brazil
http://tinyurl.com/qq87d - Harare National Sports Stadium - 60,000 - Zimbabwe
http://tinyurl.com/g6grf - Wembley Stadium - 76,000 - England
http://tinyurl.com/znt64 - Stadio Olimpico di Roma - 82,307 - Italy
http://tinyurl.com/qwzw4 - Los Angeles Memorial Stadium - 92,000 - USA
http://tinyurl.com/rxjo - L'Estadi (Camp Nou) - 98,000 - Spain
http://tinyurl.com/zj37y - National Stadium Bukit Jalil - 100,200 - Malaysia
http://tinyurl.com/z8myv - Hyde Park - 200,000 - Live 8 Concert
http://tinyurl.com/hs69k - If anyone is interested in seeing a stadium which could actually hold the numbers claimed by Benny Hinn, Maracana Stadium can hold up to 200,000+ people including the infield.
http://www.copacabana.info/Maracana.html - Maracana Stadium.
http://tinyurl.com/pnkrh - Largest 75 European Stadiums, The Stadium Guide
I have included a link in the list above to the Live 8 Concert in Hyde Park, London, England, even though it was not held in a stadium. The area the crowd occupied was easy to measure at 1,200,000 square feet with an attendance recorded at 200,000 people. Compare this with the infield size of Post National Stadium at 145,000 to 160,000 square feet. How can anyone claim what obviously cannot be done logistically? In order for there to have been 30,000 seated and 150,000 in the infield area, people would have to be standing 4 to 5 high, on top of one another to come close to reaching this attendance level.
Even if the infield held 60,000, the conditions would likely be unsafe to the point of major loss of life. Is it possible to put 150,000 people into a 150,000 square foot area without killing them all. To accomplish the claim of 180,000 in one day(30,000 seated in the stands and 150,000 trying to stand) would require this very thing. Imagine trying to occupy a space of 12 inches by 12 inches wide: our bodies are not that adaptable and we would immediately leave this world.
Could someone please clue me in to why these claims are even being made? If you want to do you own experiment at home, take a one square yard piece of material or draw a 3' X 3' square and try to put 9 average sized adults onto that one square yard space. Can you or anyone do this successfully? Just thinking about this is nuts. The absurdity of scale is overwhelming.