Venture into the religious domain and you will quickly find yourself wading into a pool of strange unusual claims and beliefs. This is perhaps how we are and it is part of the human experience for us to be like this. We may in some respects be rational and intelligent, but that is not the entire story because we are also deeply emotional creatures. Sometimes such emotions open a door to beliefs and behaviours that are truly odd and bizarre.
It is not simply something new, we have perhaps always been like this.
Below you will find my personal selection of three items of weirdness that popped up in the news cycle during the last seven days.
Item 1 – The Church Ceremony Blessing People With Their AR-15s Was Weird As Hell
I was aware that this was going to happen last Wednesday and wondered just how much attention it would attract. The answer is “lots”. Via the Friendly Atheist we have the details …
We learned last week that a Pennsylvania church, in response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida, would be blessing their members’ semi-automatic weapons. Because there’s nothing God loves more than His creations blasting the hell out of His other creations.
It was a bizarre story for a few reasons. We learned that a nearby elementary school was going to cancel classes that day, though they later said the concern wasn’t the threat of gunfire but the number of strangers in the vicinity. This was also not your typical Christian church. Sanctuary Church — officially the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary — was an offshoot of the controversial Unification Church founded by Sun Myung Moon.
But still. When you rip away the familiarity we have with certain religions, everyone’s delusions look very much alike.
All that said, I wasn’t expecting the blessing ceremony, which took place yesterday, to look anything like this.
Consider the idea that a male virgin wearing a dress can chant just the right words to magically transform bread and wine into the actual body and blood of a god so that people that then literally consume their god incarnate. Strip away the religious jargon and that is Catholicism. Give it some thought and you will find that it really is just as weird as the idea of blessing a weapon of destruction while wearing a crown made of bullets.
Item 2 – How God Intervened To Stop Hillary Clinton And Satan From Killing 90 Percent Of Humanity
Via Right Wing watch we have this gem of nonsense incarnate …
Last week, radical right-wing commentator and rabid conspiracy theorist Sheila Zilinsky did a podcast with Pat Holliday of Miracle Internet Church that was every bit as bonkers as its title, “Electromagnetic Witchcraft & Techno Demons,” would suggest. Among the wild claims made by Holliday during the interview was that the government once planned to fake the Rapture using holograms, that the NFL was controlled by “witchcraft powers,” and that if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, 90 percent of the global population would already be dead.
“The government had a plan called Blue Beam back in the ’80s where they were going to fake a rapture of the church through blue beams and being able to shoot holographs up into the sky,” Holliday said, insisting that this was evidence of the “electronic magnetic witchcraft” that controls the world through everything from satanism and astrology to holistic medicine and sports.
“Did you know that the witchcraft powers in America had total control under the NFL over Obama?” Holliday asserted. “What Trump is doing and has done is he has disconnected the NFL from the powers of the former government.”
“Trump is doing a lot of things,” she said, including saving the world from certain calamity. Claiming that there is an “educated and refined witch or a wizard that is pulling the strings” over America, Holliday asserted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have resulted in a world war that would have killed nearly the entire human population.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency of the United States of America, we may not even be here talking to you,” Holliday said, “because they did have a World War III planned where they were going to destroy 90 percent of the people. What they wanted to do was take control over the world by going down into their underground cities, we would all be dead and then, when it was time, they could come out of their underground cities and rule the world with Satan. That was their plan and they were almost there, but God has intervened.”
The temptation to think “Nobody could possibly be that stupid” is apparently being challenged on a weekly basis and so that boundary is being pushed ever outwards and further away from the shores of reality.
Item 3 – Lori Bakker: Liberals Want To Lock Christians ‘Away In Mental Illness Centers’
Just to prove that Jim Bakker is not the only nut in the family, his wife popped up this week on his show to verify that the entire family has a sufficient number of nuts to make an entire fruitcake.
Yesterday on “The Jim Bakker Show,” Lori Bakker, Jim’s wife and co-host, warned that Christians must support President Trump because secularists and liberals want to declare Christians to be mentally ill and lock them up in “mental illness centers.”
“We love our president, we love our vice president, we love our first lady, we love our second lady,” she said, defending the administration after Joy Behar of “The View” mocked Vice President Pence’s faith on a recent program. “They stand up unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What’s scary for us? Jim has been preaching it for the last two days pretty strong; they’re saying it’s mental illness.”
“If the world is thinking that we’re all mentally ill, do you know what’s going to happen next?” Bakker asked. “They are going to put us all away in mental illness centers.”
“You know what they used to do with women that went through menopause back years ago?” she continued. “They put them in insane asylums because their hormonal balance was completely off. I’m not kidding, that is what they did. And I’m not kidding, that is what is going to happen to us as Christians. They are going to lock us up and throw us out if we don’t stand up.”
“It’s in the Bible,” agreed Jim.
Evidence: Nothing at all
While there is perhaps a rather strong temptation to consider Lori Bakker to be delusional, the truth is that she is simply working the same religious con that her husband runs. Fear is being deployed as a means to keep a flow of funds and donations rolling in their direction from the gullible.
The rather blindly obvious counter argument here is that many liberals are also Christian. For example Hillary Clinton is a Methodist and her running mate for VP Tim Kane is Catholic. Tim Kane is personally against abortion, but in addition to that he also strongly believes that the law should not interfere in women’s reproductive rights. In other words you can hold beliefs in a manner that does not motivate you into becoming an obnoxious jerk who insists upon imposing your specific variation of belief upon everybody else by force.