Saturday, May 14, 2011

When Religion and Insanity Collide... could cost you $140,000.

Man bets life savings that world will end on May 21, 2011.

I wrote about stuff like this earlier this week, too. It practically writes itself, really.

I have to really question the motivation and mental state of anyone who gets involved in any religious organization for the express purpose of 'saving' themselves when the world comes to an end. Many do this, it seems, not for love of God, or not because they want to become a better person in some way, but because they are so fucking disgustingly selfish that their personal salvation -- whether here or in The Great Beyond -- becomes the driving force in their lives. In fact, it often becomes the only thing in their lives, this pre-occupation with the Next Life and Their Place In It, and this makes them susceptible to all sorts of douchebags ready to take advantage of them.

Like a doofus (who calls himself an Evangelist) who mixes 'numerology' and religion to predict the end of the world...every few years. I wonder how one squares this sort of 'prophecy' with the Bible's prohibitions against witchcraft and false prophets and so forth, but then again, there I go applying logic to 'matters of faith'.

Prophecy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's a load of bullshit. If you don't believe me, consider this: how many self-professed Nostradamus scholars do you know that became Billionaires utilizing his prophecies, rather than by selling books about their opinions on Nostradamus? Do you think Warren Buffet gets up in the morning and starts pouring over the Book of Isiah looking for stock tips? What do you reckon is the percentage chance on any given day when a prediction given to you by a medium you called on your telephone and paid $1.99 a minute to turns out to be correct? How often does your horoscope make any fucking sense, let alone give you any useful information?

Why is it that no prophecy ever seems to make sense until AFTER something has happened?

Giving Prophecy it's one prop, it is this: given enough time and the vagaries of history and circumstance, literally any prediction can come true. When Jesus says of the Temple in Jerusalem "not one stone will stand upon another..." it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that his real meaning is that "nothing is permanent".

Today's 'prophecy' is tomorrow's eventuality, sometimes, but the Prophet's defense when his prediction proves false is always "God doesn't take orders from me...".  Yeah, but some idiot with cash to burn is.

Having said these things, some may ask "But Matt, isn't this dope spending his life savings in order to save and warn other people; Isn't that evidence of a selfless motivation?"

And my response would be: Nope, he really isn't. What he is doing is stroking his own ego. He's attempting to score Brownie Points in Heaven. His religion tells him that he has been selected (the key phrase is the bit in the article about how God has 'appointed watchmen') for some important job, and it's that thought that drives him, because he believes it. He needs to believe it because otherwise his Life would be small, threadbare and pitiful, probably. Taken at first glance, I'm certain there's really nothing extraordinary about Mr. Fitzpatrick (not that I can make any claim to superlative accomplishment, myself), but he needs to think there is, because deep down he probably doesn't feel himself special. Religion -- especially extreme variants -- preys upon people like this the same way lions prey on crippled wildebeests.

The fact that he's managed to find a special brand of stupidity that mixes religion, prophecy, and numerology tells me that this is someone who has spent his entire life searching for...something...anything...that takes him out of his preoccupation with his crappy life. He's quite probably bounced around from one philosophy or discipline to another, and never showed any sort of constancy in his lifetime until someone came along and consolidated the disparate threads of his thinking and personal philosophies (if he ever developed any), and wove them into a tapestry that would guide him through the rest of his (soon to be over, if he's correct) Life. I know plenty of people like this, scattershot thinkers with no self-esteem, absorbed by astrology, numerology, and "the healing properties of crystals", and they almost, invariably, always wind up in a Church somewhere.

Now, whether they wind up there because religion makes some sort of sense to them, or because they have no place left to go, is open to debate. I just know that religions, historically, are very good at identifying the lost, the slow, and the stupid, and manipulating them. These people find no comfort or satisfaction in Life, and so they become pre-occupied with the Afterlife, and religion makes it easy for them to do so by telling them that all they have to do to gain their just reward is to follow the nonsense shouted at them from Scripture.

No one seems to realize that you first have to be dead in order to receive that reward, and that when it's described to you, it's always in allusions to the esoteric. At least Islam says there's 72 Virgins: Christianity either spins out a tale of a certain-to-be boring eternity of sitting upon clouds playing harps, or it describes the Afterlife in purely emotional terms, i.e. a state of continual bliss in the All-Encompassing Love of God.

Sorry,but I never saw Bob Barker give that away on the Price is Right.

The fact that it's Jerusalem which appears in the center of Mr. Fitzpatrick's apocalyptic poster tells you all you need to know. Not London, Not New York, Ankara, Beijing, or Wheeling, only Jerusalem. Even when these ultra-Evangelical douchebags support Israel, it's only because Israel is a necessary ingredient in the formula that will bring about the Rapture. So, support of Israel is, conversely, something the religious doofus only professes for the sake his own personal salvation. Once Christ returns, these idiots will tell you -- often with great glee -- the Jews won't be saved, anyway. Their only purpose is to, ultimately, be the rungs on the ladder of Christian Salvation.

Under different circumstances, Mr. Fitzpatrick would have probably become a suicide bomber, or would have poured gasoline over his head and ignited it on a public sidewalk. If he had tits, he would have become a 'Feminist Scholar'. Fifty years ago, this sort of soft-headed mindset and single-mindedness of purpose would have made Mr. Fitzpatrick the perfect Leftist Revolutionary. Instead, his religion just tells him to waste his money, which I guess makes him harmless enough.

At least his money didn't go to another one of those destructive douchebags that society pays far too much attention to: the psychiatrist. Somewhere there's a pill-pushing defective with an M.D. who's pissed off that he won't be able to get the leather upholstery in the new BMW this year.

And on the remote, slight, lottery-like, off-chance that Mr. Fitzpatrick and his Evangelical Numerologist just happen to be right, I'll be happy to apologize to him. I just hope I can find the right cloud in all the ruckus.

I expect to get a shitload of e-mail from the I-don't-take-a-dump-without-permission-from-my-Pastor Crowd, and it's entirely predictable what it will say; I can't prove that God doesn't exist, I can't prove that the Rapture won't happen, and I can't prove that Evangelical Numerology is an invalid predictor of the End of Times. You're right, but then again, your argument for these things is no better; you can't prove that any of these things actually do exist, or will happen, either, and simply believe that you don't have to. They're "matters of faith" (and credulity), after all, and it never ceases to amaze me that people who will argue for concrete proof of my assertions and beliefs, insist that I take everything they say seriously without them ever having to offer any of their own, secure in the smugness-bordering-on-arrogance-of-the-bulletproof-stupid hypocritical belief that they don't need to offer any.

P.S. I wonder how many people will leave this brand of stupidity in absolute disgust if Mr. Fitzpatrick and his Evangelical Numerologist turn out to be wrong? I'm guessing the actual number will be really small, because in the end this isn't about reality or truth, it's about people's feelings.

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