In Defense of Mass Delusion

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13: 47-50

Note the fine print though. If you’re a “keeper,” you’ll be packed into a confined space like a sardine. One assumes this is in order to be consumed later. Your choice: burned alive or digested.


I’ve touched on this before, but typically in passing and not as the central point of a post. The situational value of delusion, that is. I have also touched occasionally on other bits of wisdom from holy writ, but that’s not our focus today.

As a person who generally values reason, knowledge, history, science, etc. it may seem odd that I am touting the operational value of beliving that which is not–so far as one can tell, prove, establish–true. That’s because it is situational and, really, most of us believe things that aren’t true in order to get through our day. Our car, my old example, getting us from A to B. On the day it breaks down unexpectedly, we were wrong in thinking it would do what it did several times before. And yet we don’t consider there’s anything wrong with that. It’s situational.

When confronted with a lopsided battle, and we are on the side without the odds in our favor, we face a few hard choices. We can flee, for example, determining the outcome before the battle even begins.

Or, we can choose to believe that there is something larger at work, that somehow, despite–or even due to–being the underdog, there is the possibility of victory. This is the classic David and Goliath meme.

Yet another option, and this is where early Christianity comes in, is to radically change a whole way of thinking. Roman Empire taking all your money, your rights, your property? Make it so none of those things matter any more. Put your treasure in another life, or, as some portions of these writings indicate, a sort of invisible, better, “kingdom” that exists side-by-side with the crappy one that Caesar holds sway over. As if that doesn’t make the tyrant crazy enough, prove it by forgiving his institutional thugs when they come rough you and yours up.

Dangerous ideas when the bosses depend on you being dependent on them. To move it to today’s too-big-to-failprosecute, Goldman-Sachs and the politicians who love them (read: all of ’em) want you in debt, dependent on them, buying whatever it is they market as must-have this week (further aided by NSA collating data on your inmost desires and selling/handing it over to Corporate Earth). As a counter-culture movement, it worked.


But can it today? It’s been coopted by these same forces. Rich pundits write books stating theses like Jesus opposed taxes. The US Army tried to create a “spiritual fitness” test, in order to pwn not only the soldier’s mind and body, but “soul” as well. Religion today, though this is nothing new, is a means of control of a few humans over many. To defy the will of Exxon is to spit in the eye of Yahweh himself.

To quote Twain, “If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be–a Christian.” The powers that siphon off our savings, steal our homes, use our children in wars designed to increase their already considerable wealth, would rather use this, as they do paranoia and every form of bigotry to, as Malcolm X suggested, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Pink News, “US Anti-Gay Evangelist Scott Lively Warns Putin Russian Gay Propaganda Laws Are Not Enough,” 2 September 2013


Think ALEC’s Stand Your Ground laws. These and other state legislation slipped in since the 1970s, the very existence of ALEC only revealed 35 or so years later. And still, as it is with the Snowden revelations and the NSA (themselves on the tamer side of things when compared with the COINTELPRO-MKULTRA activities occurring as well) without much reaction from the American public, nor especially the religious portion of it. It is the job of the Christian–not the atheist–to point out the evil done in the name of religion, for only they have option of being taken seriously by others of similar mindsets and thereby affecting change: social justice, economic security, equal opportunities.

Who, instead do we see leading the charge where it comes to these “Christian values?” Anarchists. Occupy. And, in what must not be lost on some, what is the result of that?

WhoWhatWhy, “FBI, Snipers & Occupy,” Dave Lindorff, 27 June 2013

I’m reminded of the story from the anarchist’s mother who said her son gave away the patch quilt she made him to someone who needed a blanket. That’s right out of the part your O’Reilly’s don’t like to quote.

The entire system is arranged around supporting 1% or less at the expense of the rest. It’s upside-down. If there ever were a system needed to be turned upright, it’s ours.



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