Well, I’d heard and seen that he was back in ministry. He started small again, but is now back on the TV, running telethons and asking for $1000 donations. All for the “children” of course.
The Contrarian asked, “How in the world can people be so gullible?” “Easy enough,” I replied, “Remember the documentary we saw last night on cults? That pretty much explained it.” And indeed, it did.
It seems that the key to leading a cult is to remind your followers that Satan is ever present, always attempting to upset “truth.” The cult leader drums into the follower that any deviation from his/her teaching is the work of Satan, trying to prevent the soul from following God. So, when your instincts or reasoning tell you that this guy is nuts, you are told that that is Satan planting those doubts.
The person gets caught in a loop and cannot escape easily. Every rational thought might be the devil. One of the ex-cult followers was having a terrible time in the documentary with figuring out reality from temptation. She kinda knew it was wrong that the pastor was beating her kids to drive the devil from them, but then again, she was afraid to trust her belief, and on and on it went.
I first learned of this watching a documentary on Ted Haggard and his fall from grace. Remember him? Homosexual, hiring gay prostitutes, doing drugs? One would have thought that his followers would have left his church in droves. A man who had committed such falsehood, why, he cannot be trusted to have told me the truth about the bible or God either right?
Wrong. It is precisely because Haggard got caught in such an egregious circumstance,that he can be trusted to be telling God’s word correctly. How else would Satan have to go to such lengths to silence him? Rational people drop their teeth, but the fundamentalist smiles and nods in agreement.
It has now been put to me directly that I too am the victim of Satan’s work. Some weeks ago, I mentioned that I was in contact with old high school mates. I was thoroughly excited to find out what turns their lives had taken. Only a couple maintain ongoing Facebook conversations, and I soon came to learn that two of them were pretty much full blown fundies.
I was willing to remain largely silent at that realization until I started getting either e-mails or saw posting about death panels, and links to WorldDailyNews, a evangelical fundie online rag whose only other exposure is through Jack van Impe and the end timers brigade. I tried to correct this misinformation but was met with resistance, and I slowly began to glean that these were not only fundamentalists but hard cord right wing politicos as well.
I soon came to see that one of them at least was a birther, and I can say that I actually now know one “birther.” As the days and weeks went on, there was an unending amount of evidence of insanity afoot. Sarah “the quitter” Palin’s Facebook entries were met with “I agree!” and there were diatribes about the godlessness of Obama appointees. Jesus was not for the poor, only the “right kind of poor.” Gingrich was lauded as “always” telling it right.
When I realized that said classmates were actually creationists, well, the end was in sight. To deny the efficacy of evolution is sheer insanity. It is the product of a mind that no longer trusts itself to think. Is is afraid that anything that upsets the worldview so painstakingly created must be the work of Satan. If it is not, then belief collapses. I can understand the dilemma.
Straight up fundamentalism is bad enough. I would be the first to say that only a tiny fraction of fundamentalists of whatever faith go the violence route. However fundies in the Christian sense are starting to create untold havoc with our national conversation by diverting it toward nonsensical discussions that have no basis in fact.
Rational Republicans are embarrassed by the birthers and deathers. They make the Republicans look more foolish that they already are. They are embarrassed by the “parenters” those who find fault with the President’s message to school children, although both Reagan and Bush I did the same thing. Rational people see these types of fundamentalists as merely masking a deep seeded racism that they cannot acknowledge.
But even most fundamentalists don’t go the extra mile to deny science. How do you function with the hypocrisy of using science when it benefits you, but denying the reality of a certain type because it, in your twisted mindset cuts against your personal vision of God? Science is fine as long as it makes the lights go on, runs the car, operates the computer and presents a life giving drug. It’s bad when it tries to explain how life evolved on this planet.
It is wrong although millions of scientists have used this model successfully for more than two hundred years and it has been independently verified by multiple disciplines. Geology, anthropology, paleontology, archaeology, astronomy, biology, medicine, dinosaurs, all are condemned in some part if evolution isn’t true. Moreover, the fundie must admit that some several millions of scientists past and present are part of a worldwide conspiracy to put forth a theory they know is false.