- Westboro Baptist church protesting outside a department store in their home town because it just happened to sell Swedish made vacuum cleaners. Apparently the Swedish government had rebuked somebody for being anti-gay. Since their local department store was the closest they could get to anything to do with Sweden, they made do with that.
- A student who kept the communion wafer from a Catholic mass instead of consuming it is accused of kidnapping Jesus, faces demands that he should be expelled from his university by leading Catholics, and also receives death threats.
- The Iranian cleric, Kazem Seddiqi, declaring that woman wearing loose clothing causes earthquakes.
- Pat Robinson blaming a historical pact with the Devil hundreds of years ago as the root cause for a devastating earthquake in Haiti.
- Drawing a cartoon of Mohammed results in death threats against a cartoonist.
And on and on it goes, countless other examples abound. Its all stuff that is so totally bizarre it leaves most normal people scratching their heads as they struggle to join up the dots when faced with such thinking. It is oh-so-tempting to dismiss this as pure stupidity, (well, yes it is) and to also categorize all such antics as originating from the intellectually challenged residents at the shallow end of the gene pool. However, it is not that simple, it never is.
Quite often this stuff comes from smart people, so applying the label “Moron” or “Idiot” may be emotionally satisfying, but is unfortunately factually inaccurate. No, there is another word that is a far better explanation for all this, namely “Religion”.
OK, so how can you even begins to respond to stuff like this?
If you attempt to simply address the facts, you will quickly discover that those that embrace such views retain an immunity to this approach. It would appear that this often has very little to do with evidence-based thinking and is instead an emotional investment in the idea, so sitting them down and explaining facts will in most cases be utterly pointless.
If you go all emotional, and start yelling at them that they are being f**king idiots, that also will have no effect, expect perhaps to convince them that they are under attack by the devil and so this actually helps to entrench them even further.
OK, so how can you reply to such lunacy?
Personally I find that satire and humour is often quite a powerful rebuttal.
So with that thought in mind, here is something that I thought that you might enjoy.