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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