I some­times think that what really offends the con­ven­tion­ally reli­gious about peo­ple who claim god­hood is not that it’s blas­phe­mous, but that it exposes, sim­ply and directly, the incred­i­ble fool­ish­ness of their own beliefs.

When you ana­lyze the claims of most apoc­a­lyp­tic cults, after all, they do tend to say some pretty ridicu­lous things. Their escha­tol­ogy is always prim­i­tive and lit­er­al­ist, and tends to be utterly con­vinced of the dire­hood and immi­nence of doom.

And the sto­ries spun are just wacky. Bodies churn­ing them­selves out of the ground, lit­er­ally brought back to life — pre­sum­ably at what­ever age they’d been on death — some­how recon­sti­tuted back into per­son­hood despite the cor­rup­tion of mold, bac­te­ria and worms that even the best alde­hy­des can’t fore­stall indefinitely.

This lit­eral bod­ily res­ur­rec­tion myth is one rea­son a lot of right-​​wing Einsatzgruppen-​​ÜberKristians refuse to be organ donors. They think that they have to be buried whole so they’ll be res­ur­rected whole. They believe this in spite of the incon­tro­vert­ible truth that a being capa­ble of per­form­ing a res­ur­rec­tion is prob­a­bly going to find it pretty fuck­ing easy to replace a kidney.

Beyond that, though, is the uncom­fort­able mes­sianic trend in all Christianity, a belief incul­cated at first by Paul in his attempts to found a new reli­gion, the belief that there really was once a Jesus Christ; and that he came back from being dead in the name of redeem­ing the sins of all mankind.

See, a major belief in vir­tu­ally all Christian sys­tems is in the return of their god. Most of them at least claim to believe their god will even­tu­ally return — but the hypocrisy they man­i­fest is made obvi­ous when they reject the claims of a man liv­ing today who says he is the very god they’ve been awaiting.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, AKA Jesus, has actu­ally been mak­ing these claims for a num­ber of years now, but appar­ently has yet to turn one flask of water into wine or even stroll across a hotel swim­ming pool.

Nonetheless, he has thou­sands of fol­low­ers eager to grant him time, atten­tion, praise and money — as well as sev­eral Rolexes and a few armor-​​plated lux­ury cars. (Why would a returned-​​from-​​the-​​dead Jesus need armor plat­ing for pro­tec­tion? Maybe for the same rea­son that he’s not cur­ing world hunger with an end­less sup­ply of Holsum and mackerel.)

Now you expect stu­dents of abnor­mal psy­chol­ogy to pay atten­tion to move­ments such as this lat­est Jesus cult. These peo­ple are all one com­mand away from mass sui­cide. And you know they’d do it; whether the leader is called Jesus, Koresh, Marshall or Jim, there are always sheaves of gullible hearts wait­ing to be bro­ken, dozens of pli­able, cred­u­lous minds wait­ing to be lost.

It’s even tempt­ing to think good, I hope it hap­pens sooner than later; but we’re all prone from time to time to falling into delu­sion, some of us more than oth­ers, pos­si­bly because we were encour­aged all our lives to believe in fan­ta­sy­land bull­shit rather than sub­ject the world — or the claims in or about it — to any­thing like ratio­nal inter­ro­ga­tion. There’s no func­tional dif­fer­ence between a belief in this Jesus guy or in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and so on.

And that’s where the reli­gion­ists tend to get into trou­ble — because they can’t on the one hand decry claims such as Jesus’s as false while on the other hand assert that their own beliefs are some­how true. Even the most wil­fully self-​​blind sense the cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance, the duplic­ity, the fun­da­men­tal hypocrisy of such an act.

Naturally they’d accept this Jesus as being their Jesus if he’d come in a flam­ing char­iot or raised dead peo­ple back to life; but the sim­ple fact is that he hasn’t, he won’t, and that will never change.

Which has got to make even the most ded­i­cated ask him­self, what if it’s all a load of baloney? What if every­thing I believe, every­thing I pro­fess to, is ulti­mately as non­sen­si­cal and fool­ish as some­one who fol­lows around a Latino guy, wait­ing for a mir­a­cle?

Indeed. What if?

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