Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Last Daze

The bizarre paradox of fundamentalist Christians eagerly awaiting their ’salvation’ via ‘Rapture’ and yet fiercely resisting perceived 'signs' of impending ‘One World Government’ and crap like that, is endlessly both horrifying and deeply fascinating.

I recently received some email drivel passed around amongst the fundies (I still know a few, and they send me stuff in the hopes of ’saving’ me), and in one particular round of religiospam, I found the following:

1) An email claiming that Barack Obama — besides being a ‘Muslim’ and a ‘Marxist’ and whatever other bullshit GOP smears that the sheeple blindly buy — is the notorious ‘Antichrist’ as supposedly prophesied in the Bible.

2) Another email, this one about Sarah Palin being the person who will lead the way toward confronting our ‘Ultimate Foes’ (it used to be Communists; now it’s Muslims) at the final battle which will bring about the Second Coming of Jesus. Obviously, this is supposed to be a GOOD thing.

Now, granted, these emails were probably not originated by the same person or group. But given the general fundamentalist obsession with ‘prophecy’ and all that, I think the two emails are related, and revealing.

So we can talk all day about the ’scriptures’ and ‘prophecies’ and all that absurd bullshit all day, but what I’d rather focus on here is the odd little conundrum that fundies evidently find themselves in with their ‘End Times’ obsessions.

Because technically, if the Bible actually says that an ‘Antichrist’ will rule the world, and THAT will bring about Armageddon and the Second Coming, blah blah blah — and if, absurdly, Barack Obama IS that guy, then by their own beliefs, isn’t it inevitable (and, actually, a benefit to them) that he wins the election? What are they afraid of, if he’s fulfilling the prophecies? Jesus will defeat him (and the rest of us infidels) in the end, and everybody will get golden halos and sacramental-blood-flavored lollipops, right? So, really, they SHOULD vote for him, in order to start the festivities, right?

OK, so on to Sarah Palin. As stated, the email about HER was basically saying the same thing as the one about Obama — that this person will bring about the series of events that will lead to The End Of The World, and of course we all know that to fundies, the End Of The World is a GOOD thing. I think that’s why they’re called ‘fundies’, as in FUN+DIE.

Paradoxically, however, Palin isn’t called ‘the Antichrist’; rather she’s cast as the ‘good guy’ for bringing about Armageddon. Well, folks, which is it? Is The End good or bad? Seems to me that if you believe in an ‘Antichrist’ and you believe that he (or she) will rule the world before being defeated by Jesus (I’m not making this shit up — it comes straight from the junk that Palin’s church and a zillion others preach, based on a REALLY loose and convoluted interpretation of several disjointed passages from several books of the Bible, especially Revelation), then, um, well, you can’t pick and choose your Antichrists and your prophecies. You can’t warn me NOT to vote for Obama because the prophecies say he will be the bad guy, unless you believe you can override the aforementioned prophecies (and unless you WANT to override them, which, according to the Palin email, you don’t).

Now, I personally don’t believe in any of this Antichrist claptrap — I was raised in the tradition, but then I grew up and took a much closer look and realized that all these people had fed me a bowl of horseshit — but it seems to me that IF you believe in said prophecies, then really what you should be doing is kicking back and letting them happen. It’s not like you have a choice, if it’s God’s Plan From The Beginning. Right?

So — if the Palin email is CELEBRATING her potentially ‘fulfilling’ the prophesied events, and the Obama email is essentially WARNING that he will fulfill the prophesied events, what does this say about the generally confused mental state of believers at large?

I think what it says is that the fundies are both eagerly anticipating the End Of The World and afraid of it at the same time.

And in case that sounds like I just don’t know what I’m talking about, I will repeat that I was raised — steeped, if you will — in the world of fundamentalist apocalyptic Christianity. Basically a good number of these folks are generally convinced that the ‘apocalypse’ — or whatever you want to call it — surely represents the violent end of THIS world, but it also represents their salvation. You can’t have one without the other, right? I mean, what if they go ahead and start ‘Armageddon’ which results in horrible suffering everywhere, including here in Disneycountry, with martial law and starvation and disease in the streets, culminating perhaps in nuclear winter or something equally terrible — but Jesus never shows up?

If you gave a typical fundie some truth serum, they’d probably admit to being scared out of their minds because the Bible is completely ambiguous. It’s not like it says anything straight-up about the so-called ‘End Times’ — it’s all garbled and open to interpretation. So down deep inside, you’ve gotta know that many of them aren’t sure what to believe. I mean, they might believe in Jesus with all their hearts, but can they say for sure what the Book of Revelation really means? Can they say for sure it was talking about NOW? After all, my parents once believed that Henry Kissinger (among others) was surely the Antichrist and that Armageddon was around the corner thirty years ago. I remember spending my childhood waiting for the ‘Rapture’ that was going to come ‘any day now’. So c’mon; even if you believe in all that crap, you know down deep that you can’t be sure when it’s gonna happen — so when things get REALLY tough out there, I think that Christians get rather nervously excited. They want the Rapture to come save them, but what if it doesn’t? What if it’s just another ugly period in history like all the others, and they’ll have to go through the whole thing without being rescued? Oh no! So I think that they relish the actual ‘End’ because they have faith Jesus will save them, but they can’t ever be sure that ‘this’ is IT. Such is the road to insanity.

There are seemingly 2 basic kinds of fundies in this respect — those that are content to wait and see what unfolds, having faith that God has it under control (these people are not the problem; though as a fan of Sam Harris, I will agree that they SUPPORT the problem) — and those that are so friggin’ convinced that their hundred-year-old interpretation (yes, sorry to tell ya, folks, but the whole ‘Rapture’ thing was conjured up in the 19th century) is absolutely true and absolutely imminent, and that somehow God needs THEIR help in making it all come about.

The latter represent a seriously psychopathic wing of the Religiotards, and their narrow worldview reveals an astounding level of arrogance and ignorance — as it places so much faith in a fairly recent set of beliefs so as to literally risk EVERYTHING to follow it to its conclusion, and yet, since they evidently don’t think God has it under enough control that he doesn’t need their meddling, it’s a complete paradox. I mean, if it IS the ‘last days’ according to some ambiguously worded prophecies, why don’t they just chill the fuck out and watch? Why do they need to set the shit in motion? Why does Sarah Palin on the one hand believe so fervently in God as Omnipotent Being With A Plan, and yet also believe that somehow in order for that Plan to come to fruition, God somehow needs the likes of HER to go start World War Three? It doesn’t make ANY sense unless you’re a megalomaniacal sociopath who believes themselves to be instrumental in God’s Master Plan.

Which brings me back to the two emails.

Both follow essentially the same premise: that God’s Plan and His timing can be manipulated by humans. And not just humans, but specifically AMERICANS, since this particular brand of Christianity is absurdly America-centered. I know fundies who can find all sorts of shit they purport to be about the USA in the Bible, which would be truly extraordinary if it could possibly be true. But one look at the passages they mention, and you realize just how deluded they are.

But, of course, if America plays a prophesied role in Armageddon, we just HAVE to be the good guys, right? Because how can we be the bad guys? We’re AMERICANS! We’re GOOD! Well, except for them evil commie gawdless libruls.

So if Obama wins, he’s the Antichrist and that’s bad. So we need to vote against him — but then again, if he’s the Antichrist, then voting against him won’t do any good, because, well, it’s been prophesied, right? And besides, if he’s the Antichrist, then all the Christians are about to be Raptured, right? And that’s what y’all WANT, right?

Then again, if Sarah Palin wins, she’s the AntiAntichrist. I don’t remember even reading about THAT, but whatever. None of this makes any damn sense anyway.

Religion is just Mass Insanity.

* * *