This woman spoke with God, and God spoke to her. Literally. She spoke on and off in Old English, ala the King James Bible translation, spewing out verse, ranting about “gnashing of teeth,” “all knees will bend,” “He will come with a sword in his mouth,” etc., etc., condemning anyone to Hell, believers and non-believers alike, for failing to believe or interpret scripture as she saw it. Oh, she also claimed to despise religion, which of course meant she hated all other sects/denominations of Christianity except her own personal brand. No matter how often she was dismissed, thrown out, and derided as a troll and provocateur, she kept coming back. She thrived on the agitation she caused and abuse she received for it.
I’ve met this kind of internet troll on and off over the years. They have often been fodder for my blog, and occasionally provide me the inspiration to research various scriptural interpretations, and causes for aberrant extremist behaviors among believers.
Recently I came across another Christian who exhibits similar traits. The only Young Earth Hard Core Fundamentalist in a discussion group almost exclusively comprised of freethinkers, he seems obsessed with atheists and provoking outrage with inane and inflammatory declarations. Many of the things he says are so extreme, so completely outrageous, and so blatantly stupid that in all likelihood he doesn’t recognize that his dialogue does more to discredit Christianity than promote it… but that wouldn’t make a difference to him even if he was cognizant of it.
You see, what I have come to realize is that these troll-Christian-proselytizing-fanatics all have one thing in common: the desire to be hated. They want to be abused. They thrive on having insults thrown at them, their statements discredited, even being banned from a group or chat room. But why? What possible benefit comes from such a mindset? What is the impetus for this behavior? Well, here’s the answer:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” Luke 6: 22- 23 (NIV)
Understand how these internet fanatical trolls interpret this verse: by being the one gadfly of illogic & gross ignorance; by offering offensive and irrational statements, they incur the wrath of the thinking unsaved by provoking our insults, or by being “excluded,” banned / or dismissed. In this way they will be rewarded in heaven like a martyr. By inducing hatred and animosity they are seeking assurance of eternal salvation. They perceive Luke 6 to be encouraging this behavior.
One can imagine that Fred Phelps’ extremist actions and position on homosexuality isn’t simply based on what gays do behind closed doors being offensive to his God. After all, if God existed and wanted to end homosexuality, he could do so in a second. No, Fred is feathering his nest in heaven by being despised by every thinking person on the planet.
Intentionally provoking anger and discord isn’t what Luke had in mind. But to the unstable whack jobs whose only goal in life is to attain Heaven, whose greatest fear is to be “left behind,” this is all perfectly sensible. Annoying and pretty creepy, but then being an annoying creep IS in the best tradition of religious extremist delusion.