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Antichrist gonna getcha

This morning I was listening to Christian radio. (Yeah, I still do that. I’m not going to apologize for it, he said defensively.)

Thanks to my long commute, when I’m bored of the available audiobooks and podcasts, I occasionally switch to NPR or Christian talk for a few seconds to check if they say something interesting. In this case I caught a brief mention of Doubting Thomas, which was enough to hold me there for a while.

Christians love the Doubting Thomas myth, because (1) they get to claim that Jesus once provided incontrovertible evidence of his divinity, and (2) they get to chastise you for looking for any REAL evidence outside of the story. (“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”) Thus, the whole thing is an exercise in encouraging gullibility. In this particular case, the preacher was stating that it is not only a mistake to seek evidence, but it is also dangerous.

In particular, he repeatedly used the phrase “signs and miracles” to denote stuff that you should definitely not be looking for. Why? Because the antichrist’s a-comin’, and he’s going to have all the same outward superpowers as Jesus. And he’ll fool you.

I heard him refer to the antichrist as “the devil’s Superman” and say something like, “He’ll convince you that black is white, up is down, evil is good.” Then he spun a scenario: You pray to god asking for a sign that you are in accordance with his will. Then a really awesome miracle occurs, fire across the sky or something, and you think you’re covered.

But you die, and you never pledged your soul to Jesus. Oh noes! You go to hell, screaming all the way that you thought God gave you a sign. Ho ho, the devil chortles. You fool, that was ME!

Now this story provides some interesting insight, because I am often asked “What would it take to convince you that God was real?” And I usually say that if God knows me well, a fairly impressive personalized miracle (i.e., stars spontaneously rearranging to form words, with multiple witnesses verifying that I am not crazy) or even a personal visit from someone who appears to be demonstrably omniscient would probably go most of the way toward changing my mind. And I still say that.

But here’s the problem… Satan can fool you by performing the same tricks. Which would certainly put me in an awkward position, of course, but it seems that the Christians are just as bad off. Because if Satan is such a perfect deceiver that anyone can be fooled, who’s to say that he didn’t write the Bible?

Comments

  1. says

    Sounds like God needs better encryption on his prayer-checking laptop connection if it's so easy for the devil to intercept his prayers and delete them so God doesn't see them, then carry them out surreptitiously.

  2. says

    I don't think most Christians believe in that powerful a Satan figure. It is only among certain Protestants really where Satan has been more or less elevated to a rival deity in his own right.If I got a clear message like this, I'm not sure I'd be that convinced (human senses being so bad and tendencies towards mass hysteria or mass delusion being so common). But if I were at all convinced that a genuinely supernatural event had occured, I wouldn't have much worry about it being from Satan.

  3. says

    I would like to point out that I would accept a sign from the devil that an omniscient being exists just as well as I would accept a sign from God. If the devil started sending me signs that God exists, that would lead to me to God just the same as if God sent me signs that God exists. It sounds like a really weak argument.

  4. says

    I've asked this question on several occasions, and the stock answer is that of course the believer has had an experience with God, because it was JUST THAT CONVINCING. Satan could never be that convincing. Of course.Once in arguing this, I admitted that I might actually be a little afraid of believing in all this supernatural stuff, because how am I going to tell the difference between, say, God and Satan who are both so vastly above my mortal abilities. How could I know who was contacting me? As an answer, I was quoted Proverbs 1:7 and deemed totally pwned.

  5. says

    I've read some Christians claim that The Deceiver favoritely targets the most faithful believers.They also claim that everyone receives at least one chance to accept Jesus's attempt at revealing himself or similar.In other words, there is no way they can check if their first religious experience or any other one later was not a deception. All they can do is switch into presuppositional arguments: if God sends a message, he can make it so that I know with certainty that it's his, and as I know this, this proves that it's the real one because I have the real true faith in God. Which wouldn't be so if the message was fake. Because.These are the same people who tell atheists that they only reject God because of their love for depravity and sin, and that all people are intrinsically, by birth, blinded, evil and immoral.So, a person is by default almost always blind to truly divine messages, which don't come across clearly in the first place because of the free will violation stuff, so the person has no incentive to seek out God on his own accord, unless something drastic like a life threatening disease happens (very many believers claim such an event set them on the road to faith), which is God's message but somehow doesn't touch on free will in this case, but then he can be sure it's God because God wouldn't let Satan interfere with the plan, and it isn't God's plan but a deception if you're sinful and willfully blind to God's glory, and it's also a deception if it appears too convincing even to the true believer, because that's exactly what Satan would do. But the true believer can discern the difference because of his true faith and the skeptic can't, and the believer knows he isn't deceived for the gift of discernment, which proves he's a true believer. And proof for that is that he can see God's messages around him. Not to be mistaken for Satan's. Never. Except When. But. Always. Trust. Don't Trust. Have No Fear. Be Afraid.Abrahamist religion is a near perfect recipe to drive someone insane who tries to make sense of all of it. I believe it's no coincidence that extreme religiosity is a medically recognized symptom of severe mental illness, paranoid schizophrenia in particular – hearing Satanic and demonic messages, regarding people as possessed or demons in disguise. The crazed shooters and headcutters we see on the news are only the tip of the iceberg. Around us are thousands of people who drift in and out of medical treatment, therapy, and long talks to their priests, sessions of reading and studying religious literature for hours, looking for the church-confirmed signs of the supernatural world before accepting the real world as it is. Most probably never seek professional help, in firm trust that their local church is the place to lay all their troubles.Officially the Catholic Church and the mainline Protestants instruct their priests to send their sheep to psychology professionals if need be, and from the other side of their mouths they warn of witchcraft and demons, advertise miracles, celebrate saints, substantial transformation of matter and holy waters. And firmly deny that the soul might be anything dependant on the filthy sack of meat we inhabit. A connection that is the only reason psychiatric help can work.Maky No Sensy.

  6. says

    Russell: "… In this particular case, the preacher was stating that it is not only a mistake to seek evidence, but it is also dangerous."That reminds me so much of a Mary Whelchel segment ( http://christianworkingwoman.org ) I tuned in to a few years ago, which literally argued against thinking for yourself. From the transcript:"Think for yourself!" That's sounds good, doesn't it? Most of us would probably agree that we should think for ourselves, and not allow others to tell us how to think. But I believe that's another one of those myths we often fall for, which will lead us astray … "You see, thinking for ourselves can get us in an awful lot of trouble … we really don't need to think for ourselves; we need to think biblically … not only is it dangerous to think for ourselves, it's also fairly impossible, for our thinking is inevitably a result of other influences."

  7. says

    @henwli:Once in arguing this, I admitted that I might actually be a little afraid of believing in all this supernatural stuff, because how am I going to tell the difference between, say, God and Satan who are both so vastly above my mortal abilities. How could I know who was contacting me? As an answer, I was quoted Proverbs 1:7 and deemed totally pwned.Proverbs 1:7 says: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."Well, that's exactly the kind of thing the devil would say to you if he was trying to instill a false sense of confidence that you knew the word of God.

  8. says

    Well good to know I'm not the only one who gets his jollies from christian radio from time to time. I still think you should check out wretched radio w/ todd friel every so often – that dude has some rich stuff, for sure.

  9. says

    I listened to Way of the Master Radio almost daily for years. I should've archived the shows before they switched to Wretched. Some, well, yeah, rich stuff in there.Didchanow, Yoga is bad, because you open your mind while doing it, granting demons easy access?Oh lord, so many infuriating memories…

  10. says

    Geez. He seemed intent on the idea that evidence is useless, and even harmful. That seems somewhat telling about the nature of their God. Christians COULD be correct about their religion, even if it seems wildly improbable if you simply apply reason.If they're right, and God IS real, then he's definitely aware of this lack of evidence. He's aware that the best method to get to him is just blindly believing in him. Knowing the truth is essentially just guessing wildly. Or even just being born in the right house with the right genes to predispose you with belief in him.C'mon now, logic and reason aren't arbitrary things. They're extremely useful things to have. And if the way to the truth can't be found with reason, but with faith, it's essentially believing just because "God says so." But we can't even discern that God says so, it's just faith. That's not very intuitive. Such a standard of evidence could be used to prove the existence of breakdancing tub golems.And yet, that's the way God made the game, and he knows that. And if you lose in this game of "just being the guy with the lucky winning religion," you suffer eternally. You would think he would at least make the religion in his name seem more valid with such a disturbing outcome. Even if it looks like you can't tell the difference between God and Satan, they look just as bad. But with that in mind, here comes the Anti-Christ. The thing about this Anti-Christ business is that you may have a good REASON to distinguish Jesus from Peter Pan some day. However, if you believe it, you may end up burning in hell for all of eternity, correct? It seems the lord WANTS to punish practical methods of discerning reality from fiction. Goddamn.(Then again, the scenario he spun seems silly. Wouldn't you be alright if you witnessed Satan's miracle and pledged your soul to Jesus in spite of that?)

  11. says

    Maybe Satan and God are one and the same, maybe Satan does want us to believe in God but to choose HIS side? I love the St Thomas story too, I remember one of my religion teacher trying to say that Thomas was doubting something very plausible, comparing Jesus's resurrection to… an aunt's trip to Florida. Even as a Christian back then, I thought that was lame.

  12. says

    So, do we have to actually use our 'moral relativism' to judge whose satan and whose god? You know, if one tells us to kill our child we…..damn hold on. If one tells us to rape….shit. If one tells us to wipe out an entire pepoooooopie. AHAIf one tells us to covet or pose interest on a loan he's the devil.Wow…morality is kind of lame

  13. says

    Actually this isn't a problem at all, because even if it were Satan you then fell prey to, you would still be convinced of a supernatural-godlike-creature.I don't think this is a problematic Argument "against" us.

  14. Unknown says

    Felix said:"Abrahamist religion is a near perfect recipe to drive someone insane who tries to make sense of all of it. I believe it's no coincidence that extreme religiosity is a medically recognized symptom of severe mental illness, paranoid schizophrenia in particular"And this is why I ended up for four days in a mental health clinic! It was this very topic that I just couldn't figure out, and was literally driving me insane.

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