Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Creepy and Deranged

In his book, "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in God", Guy P. Harrison mentions the tendency of many Christians to speak of their eager anticipation of the end of the world--according to biblical prophecy.  He says that they don't seem to appreciate how creepy and deranged this sounds.  His comments on this phenomenon are so good that I would like to quote part of them.

"Not only do many believers anticipate the end of the world as we know it, but they are happy about it.  Some people actually think it will be great when blood runs in the streets and the skies are ablaze from nuclear explosions because it will mean that their god is fulfilling the master plan.  I suspect they look forward to having a big 'I told you so!' moment, too.  Many believers have no idea how creepy and deranged all of this sounds to an atheist.  I, for example, tend to think that mass death and destruction are bad things.  So it's tough for me to understand how so many believers of various religious can get all giddy over an event in with billions of people will die agonizing deaths.  But somehow they do.  This stuff really excites them."  Harrison, p. 344.

I have heard this sort of thing most of my life because I grew up in a part of the U.S. dominated by fundamentalists.  There are a lot of people who say this sort of thing, even if you don't hear them say it every day.  (See also this article.)  Perhaps even a few of the "nice" Christians you know in the community or at work are among them.  You may not know that they think and say such things simply because you have never gone to their church or discussed religion with them at any length.  You may think that the apocalypse-mongers are a lunatic few.  Take it from me, however, they are legion.

I would like to point out that this sort of thing doesn't just sound creepy and deranged, it IS creepy and deranged.  More to the point, it is not something a sane person would say or even think.  I consider it a prime indicator that religion is, in fact, a form of mental illness.  This insane longing for the extermination of mankind is both suicidal and homicidal at the same time and is one of the reasons that atheists sometimes refer to christianity as a "death cult".

What disturbs me even more is the reception such thoughts receive when actually spoken out loud.  They are accepted as perfectly normal--sometimes even by non-believers.  In fact, because they are often seen as a sign of religious fervor, they are even seen as signs of virtue. 

I have seen people who literally had a maniacal gleam in their eyes, who spouted such insanity and expressed a determination to dedicate their lives to bringing this insane result about treated as if they were especially sane, good, and responsible citizens and given positions of authority and responsibility denied to the vast majority of their peers.  I can only assume that their insane ideas helped to ease their paths to positions of authority and responsibility because generally they spoke of little else and were well known for thinking and saying such things.  Thus, those who chose to promote them had to know.

Furthermore, a large number of religious people are actively dedicating their time and money (sometimes their whole lives) to bringing this apocalypse to pass.  This wholehearted dedication to ending life on Earth (at least, human life) is evil and insane.  Those who think this way and act on it should be in mental institutions.  Instead, we place them in positions of authority--even the Presidency of the U.S.

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