i think this was a brilliant article. i often find myself wondering how people can be so stupid to believe the things they believe. this really helps explain it. sadly, the people who have bought in are damaged goods beyond saving. they're gone, and lost forever. happily, most of them are older and will be gone soon enough.
enjoy the article, it's a doozy.
It's less that they're gone than that they want TO BE GONE. They WANT the apocalypse, they WANT Armageddon, they know:
... that death is coming and can't wait to bring it on.
-- Christopher Hitchens
The responsibility to conduct themselves and act for themselves weighs on them, and they want to be shut of it. They want to truly turn their lives over to god and they can't, so they want god to come down and negate it all for them.
They've been taught that this life is nothing more than preparation for the next, better life. They've become impatient with the waiting and want that next, better life NOW. Scariest of all, they may take actions they perceive as being necessary to do just that
Believers are really put into a weird and (from their point of view) uncomfortable position. They are taught as I said before that this life isn't the real point, that the next life is THE THING, yet you can't kill yourself to get to that next life because suicide is a sin. Suffering and persecution are also promoted as supposedly being necessary, so the pressure cooker is really ON for these people. With that as initial point, it's no surprise to me that some of them search for ways to bring on the Second Coming as a means of release from this self-imposed torture.
I really think that's what we're talking about here. Their god has put them in a shit situation, then promised to relieve them eventually from that situation, but they have to wait and be patient for the resolution to come. Of course, the whole thing is a put-up job, and that relief is never coming ... but MAYBE it is, so they think they have to do this, that and the other to foment Armageddon or whatever.
Their belief has put them in an impossible situation, and they want OUT, but they only have their biblical rules to work from. THAT is a formula for disaster.
good analysis Loren. i'm not sure how many fall into this category though. i'm thinking around 5-10%. i could be wrong though.
Granted that these are the extremists and the outliers. They're also frequently the ones who get or attempt to get the attention. I would class Harold Camping in such a category, for his insistence on giving a hard date for the Rapture, not once, not twice but THREE STINKING TIMES! And he had lots of people willing to spread his word, and with that, he managed to garner a whole lot of attention ... and then a lot of mockery and derision when his predictions predictably failed to bear any fruit.
But again, therein lies the problem: that they get attention, that gullible people believe them and that there is a recovery period for them afterward because of their pursuit of the impossible. It may be their problem, but after repeated such incidents, the fallout could become OUR problem.
Yes, the promoters of this ignorant nonsense get the attention. However, there's one major thing they also get you didn't mention. $$$$
They are taught ... that this life isn't the real point, that the next life is THE THING, yet you can't kill yourself to get to that next life because suicide is a sin.
That's exactly what I heard during twelve years in Ohio's Irish-dominated Catholic schools. I don't know how many hundreds of times I repeated on command, "The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God and be happy with him forever in Heaven."
I say "Ohio's Irish-dominated Catholic schools" because during almost forty years in California, many Catholics here have told me that Mexican-dominated Catholicism is more gentle.
I'm always confused as to why more religious nutbars aren't committing suicide
Religious belief isn't something you can take literally. It's not like "I believe the bus is coming soon" or some other belief you might have about the world.
Instead, religious belief is a complicated structure of rationalizations and wishful thinking.
Similarly, just because Christians "believe" they are going to heaven when they die, doesn't mean they are less likely to fasten their seatbelts in a car. What they believe doesn't have that much internal consistency. It isn't built up from observations and deductions about the world, so it isn't consistent.
People's beliefs about the world are more consistent because the world is.
You could even see Zen paradoxes as a way of trying to make something good out of inconsistency.
I think what Hitch meant is that fundamentalists are eager for Armageddon because they expect to be taken to heaven via the infamous Rapture without ever experiencing death. The rest of us are to suffer agonizing punishment and death during the Tribulation. A Rolling Stone reporter some years ago accompanied one of the Left Behind authors (Jenkins or LaHaye, I can't remember which) as he was leading Christian tourists through the "Holy Land." In the valley of Megiddo, where the battle of Armageddon is to take place, Famous Christian Scribbler said, "We've done the math. This valley will be four feet deep in blood." Of course, none of it will be his because he will already be in Heaven. He doesn't care about ours. There are American pastors pushing for rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, which would probably precipitate a big battle because the Temple Mount is currently controlled by Muslims, who would get a tad peevish about the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Other Americans are trying to help Jewish extremists breed blemish-free red heifers, the ashes of which are required for purifying anyone before entry into the Temple--or even across its long-vanished outline--can possibly be permitted. American evangelists love the Jews and want to help them rebuild the Temple so Jesus can come back and kill them. It would be absurd or even funny if it weren't so chilling.