I see cruelty in what he did to prove what to me and I would venture to most ,is obvious. the people they showed with their hunger for the spiritual i.e. God made me tear up, but then again I am more of an emotional person so nothing new there..
I agree but at least in the end he still had a positive effect on his "disciples". At least he didn't try to make them look stupid like Sacha Baron Cohen did in Borat.
I don't know, I would imagine deep down they would feel betrayed, taken advantage of, used,etc... despite the positive effect they might have had while with him,( which might have been God doing what he does in his infinite mercy by interfering in human actions and history in this case even utilising the placebo effect, to initiate their spiritual journey despite what this man did.) it might be that they will forever be turned off from all things spiritual by the level of trust they have put on him, their heart broken and embittered by charlatans like him who will use them for one thing or another. forgive me, what he did was repulsive to me. I saw no redeeming qualities in it. however I do get the point you are making.