Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yes, Virginia, they are imbeciles.

1. Psychology . a person of
the second order in a former classification of mental retardation, above the level of idiocy, having a mental age of seven or eight years and an intelligence quotient of 25 to 50.
2. a dunce; blockhead; dolt.
3. mentally feeble.
4. showing mental feebleness or incapacity.
5. stupid; silly; absurd.

I was recently taken to task by a good friend, confidant and fellow atheist for referring to those who invested their life savings in Mr. Camping’s end times prediction as tantamount to being mental defectives, imbeciles.

This friend was herself once terminally infected with the God Virus, belonging to one of the charismatic Christian sects. She had the strength, and intellect, to see through it and break the chains of religious enslavement. But she reminded me that those who are still encumbered with the fundamentalist mindset are victims of indoctrination “brain washing.” I don’t necessarily disagree. As I have said many times, had not these people’s minds been infected early and steeped in superstitious gibberish by family, friends and clergy from childhood, it is likely they would have never been willing recruits.

But there is a big difference between being inducted into the prevailing culture’s religion, even brain washed into accepting the most outrageous concepts and tenets of the fringe sects; and imbuing some old fool radio personality with a prophetic gift to whom you willingly bequeath the bulk of your savings in anticipation of his predicted end of the world scenario. A BIG difference.

Some are now angry at Camping. They should be angry at themselves, but I fear they aren’t smart enough to see that. Some others still believe in Camping, accept his calculation error, and eagerly await the new and improved October 21 prophecy of rapture followed by complete destruction of all life on earth. Whether the former or the latter the fact is these people ARE stupid. They ARE silly. They ARE dolts. They show a degree of mental feebleness in their credulity that is reserved for a miniscule percent of believers. These people are then, by definition, imbeciles. Oh, perhaps not clinically, but certainly in the colloquial sense of the word.

Do I feel sorry for them? No. I won’t shed a tear, nor would I contribute to them a single cent. I’ll save my sympathy and my donations for those people who have fallen on hard times because of the economy, or because of physical disability, or even mental disability caused by disease, injury, or genetic predisposition. I have no sympathy for those who have invested their lives and fortunes in soothsayers, shaman, man-gods, the supernatural, and the patently absurd. They’ve had the same choices, the same opportunity to build up the anti-virus we call Reality, Reason, and Logic as did my friend who has been in remission and is now God Virus free.

Yes, Virginia... I called these people imbeciles, and I am unrepentant.


Joyce said...

So yes, I'm still a believer but never for a heartbeat bought into that May rapture crap. Shame on them for calling themselves Christians and not reading the Bible for themselves where it tells us no man knows the day or the hour. If the only words they can read are Campings, who got the rapture wrong not once but twice then runs and hides (or maybe they have to hear them because they don't or can't read the Bible they claim to believe in), then shame on them. I'm embarrassed.

Anonymous said...


I'm going to quote PZ Myers here in responce to your comment and reference to Matthew 24:36:

"Sure, everyone is laughing at Harold Camping now, except his followers, who are undeterred. But you're missing the real joke. Look at every Abrahamic religion, with their myths of prophets and favored peoples and fate. Look at the crazy conservative church in your town, that preaches homophobia and anti-science and supports Israel because of the Armageddon prophecy. Look at the liberal Christian church down the street from you that has the nice Vacation Bible School and puts on happy plays for the older kids, and also teaches that one day you will stand before a great god and be judged. Look at your family members who blithely believe in death as a mini-apocalypse, in which they will be magically translated into another realm, again to be judged.

It's the very same rot, the poison of religion that twists minds away from reality and fastens them on hellish bogeymen. They're demented fuckwits, every one, and the big lie rests right on the fundamental beliefs of supernaturalism and deities, not on the ephemera of one crank's bizarre interpretations.

And to the next person who quotes Matthew 24:36 at me: you're part of the problem, too.

- Fastthumbs

Infidel753 said...

Surely their imbecility is affirmed by the fact that they are relatively rare cases. Only a minority of religious people -- a minority of fundamentalists, even -- followed Camping. Those who did must surely be the most gullible of the gullible.

What's more, larger numbers of people who were raised religious eventually abandon it, as is demonstrated by the steady growth in the non-religious percentage of the population. This shows that, if one is not an imbecile, even brainwashing can be overcome.

NewEnglandBob said...

Hump and Fastthumbs got it right.

Vic said...

I don't understand any Christian laughing at Camping or his followers. You all believe you'll be raptured! Camping just picked a day. Does it go against Mathew 24:36? Sure. All Christians push a verse aside to make way for some crazy belief. Like Jesus saying that the end would happen during his current audience's lifetime! There would be no Christianity today if 'the faithful' didn't ignore that one.

longhorn believer said...

Amen, Vic. Different Christian sects ridicule other Christian sects for ignoring this scripture or that. It is amazing how far they can take their denial and hypocrisy.

As for the imbeciles, there is a difference between those indoctrinated from birth and those who suddenly convert as adults. Intelligence certainly plays a role, but I think there is more to it- an emotional component. I think these people need an escape from their lives much as an alcoholic or drug addict is trying to escape from their life. Anyone who truly wants to be raptured away from life is probably not very happy. A couple of the stories I read about Camping's followers were people who were isolated from their families. I dare say that isolation was the cause of their conversion, not something that resulted from it. Of course, I'm speculating. My point is that people do things for a reason. Even if that reason is stupid and illogical, there is still a reason that makes sense to them on an emotional level. I despise everything about fundamentalist xianity, and I'm not fond of the rest of it. But I see nothing productive about demonizing xians of any stripe or calling them derogatory names. What is that going to accomplish?

Dan Gilbert said...

The only people I feel bad for are those that got blasted by the fallout... kids who got neglected by their whack-a-loon parents and whatnot. For those who fell for the craziness (who, as Vic said, aren't really much more crazy than those Christians who DIDN'T fall for it)... I've got no sympathy.

John_poson26 said...

And when I have pointed this little fact out to them Vic, they always come back with some kind of deluded rationalization – like the first coming was not the “birth” of “jesus,” but “he” did in fact “return” for his followers as promised after his death (the first coming). And they believe that someday, “he” will “return” for them as well (the second coming).

As far as I am concerned, any adult who believes that 2000 years ago, that a man’s virgin-born, dead for 3 days, stinking and rotting corpse arose, and then walked among the living – and that now,, 2000 years later, they await its return, is in fact, a fucking imbecile.

Great post, Hump!

Anonymous said...


Love the god as virus metaphor. It works in so many ways. Inspired me to paraphrase your last sentence:

Belief in god is a sickness caused by a virus that emerged a couple thousand years ago from the slimy gutter of ignorance, superstition and fear. Symptoms: Closure of the mind, causes irrational behavior. Victim expresses hatred toward anyone whose not infected (especially if they start putting up billboards). In an almost zombie-like fashion, the inflicted will go to extremes to spread the disease, even to their own children. Victim may be cured by a healthy dose of Reality, Reason, and Logic - although most do not seek treatment.

crazydad said...

I wonder how long it will take for those outdated tee shirts to show up at Goodwill.

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn... labeling someone does not accomplish anything. It's not meant to.

If I label Pat Robertson a phoney, or Billy Graham an anti-Semite, or Ray Comfort a buffoon, or Mother Teresa as a sadist, or Carl Sagan as a heroic man of science, or Chris Hitchens as the paragon of atheist activism... it does nothing to change them, their behavior, their memory, or their influence.

What it does is register the degree of disgust (or admiration)that one holds for another. Simple as that.

Dan..I concur. The children of those May 21 nuts would best be served by their removal from their homes and placed in foster care among thinking people. No good could possibly come from their parent/s infusing them with their craziness.

gristle...for the record I didn't invent "god virus" analogy. "the God Virus" is the title of a book by Darrel Ray, a darn good one too. I recommend it.

Fast..I agree. This constnat quoting of Matthew24:36 is absurd. It's like trying to dispell one delusional fiction by quoting another. But that is evident only to us the uninfected.

rsalmond2006 said...

Hump wrote:

"vFast..I agree. This constant quoting of Matthew24:36 is absurd. It's like trying to dispell one delusional fiction by quoting another. But that is evident only to us the uninfected."

Hump the more relevant passages that Christians rarely quote that show the falsity and absurdity of their religion and it's purported founder Jesus are Matthew 24:32-34) "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near; at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, THIS GENERATION WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY TILL ALL THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE." Matt 24:32-34(NKJV)See also Mark 13:30. Christians also rarely quote Matt 10:23 "for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes."

The end of the world was supposed to have occurred within the lifetime of the first generation of Christians. It was supposed to have occurred before Jesus' apostles had even spread his message throughout all the towns of Israel. In the earliest writing in the New Testament 1st Thessalonians written about 53 CE Paul is already having to console members of the Christian community at Thessalonika who are concerned about the fate of those who have already died and the kingdom that they were awaiting had not yet come. In the early 2nd century the author who penned the pious fraud 2nd Peter in the name of Peter wrote: "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep,all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter:3-4) Those scoffers were right then just as we scoffers are right currently.

Joan said...

The power of brainwashing an adult is only supplanted by the power of getting to the brain before it has had a chance to develop. I’d be willing to take a poll among atheists to see how many started out being indoctrinated with Christianity as children, and how long it took them to crawl out of the Christian primordial ooze into the not so comfortable land of rationality. I was so young; that I thought “I pray the Lord my soul to take” had something to do with my shoes. Bible study at a more rational age started the thinking ball rolling. I think anyone who has read both conflicting books of Genesis, and doesn’t have some serious doubts about the inerrancy of the bible, has some big problems, but somehow there is always a cleric or priest or preacher to ‘interpret’ it for them.

When and if, I choose to reveal my current religious non belief to believers, whom I tentatively count among childhood friends, there will be shock and horror and pity for me, because I cannot ‘see’ the truth. I suppose there will be a bit of compassion because I’m obviously going to hell, but they are cuccooned by a tight knit group of believers , so this news will be an uncomfortable temporary ripple on their lake placid. Doubt I’ll be invited to any baptisms of grandkids…but what the hey. They will pity me cause they think I’m deluded, and I’ll continue to pity them because I know they are. My friends are not stupid. They are uneducated in theology and rationality and they depend upon those whom they deem more educated to tell them what to think. Is it our inherited herd mentality or our fear of death that keeps the belief thing going? Who cares? They are happy, and they do good works and they won’t change because their primary beliefs are irrational.

Of course, there is always hope for a thinking person to learn and change, but what do you do if the person is really stupid? It does little good to hate stupidity. You can’t fix stupid. You can pity the stupid if they aren’t running for office or already in office causing the country to implode. The stupid have little power until they are controlled by the cynical flim flam men. In a large block, and with money, the stupid become very very dangerous . I hate the preachers/politicians/priests who know better and manipulate the stupid. I try hard to pity the stupid. It’s not always easy.

rsalmond2006 said...

Joan said: "I hate the preachers/politicians/priests who know better and manipulate the stupid. I try hard to pity the stupid. It’s not always easy."

Your comments brings to mind quotations from two famous individuals.

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
Denis Diderot

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
Albert Einstein

In another thread I quoted Bertrand Russell who said: "Many people would rather die than think; in fact most do." Russell also said: Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good ground for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones." I believe that it is people's fear of death that leads to enslavement of their minds by religion. I again quote Bertrand Russell: "Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." I believe that unless humankind can conquer it's fear of death, we will always have religion.

Joan said...

I love that quote by Diderot. Raised a Protestant, I wouldn’t early on have understood the priest reference, but I married an Irish American, and he not only got it but it was one of his favorite quotes. Now, sadly, nearly everyone gets it.

Fear of death? You are probably right, but there is, in addition, the million-dollar question. Why are we here and how did we get here? If one buys into the how, as being evolution, then there is the next uncomfortable fact to deal with. Where are we on the evolutionary scale? We so love being top dog, or top ape, that it’s really hard to get rid if the idea of human ‘specialty’.

I got a big kick yesterday from of reading one of the myriad lists of the top 10 meanest animals. We made it right near the top along with a small listing of our deadly sins. Naturally, being one of the top 10 most forgetful animals, I can’t locate the source to post the link. Still, Twain had a good quote along those lines. “Man is the only animal who blushes..or needs to.”

longhorn believer said...

Control is the root of why religion exists. It is used by individuals to control the fear of the unknown, both the unknown of death and the unknown of what happens next life. It's the "Jesus take the wheel" mentality. I feel helpless and unsure so I'm going to let God take over for a while. Prayer is an emotional release and crutch used to control the feeling of helplessness.

And then there is the control wielded by the clergy. They use religion to control what people think, say and do so that they can maintain the power and wealth they want. Yes, they use the strongest two human emotions (fear and love) to get what they want, but control is what it's really all about. The first example of control (prayer etc) is an illusion. The second example, is all too real.

longhorn believer said...

If you think of religion as a way of controlling the fear of the unknown, it's really not that irrational. Atheists do it too. We think we can control our lives by being educated, thinking rationally, and making good decisions. We all need a way to rationalize away the fear of the unknown. Believing in something with out evidence is irrational. But wanting to control your fear and your life, that's not irrational at all. That's probably why there are very intelligent people who still cling to their religion. I think it's a mistake to lump all theists into a big group and call them dumb. I think it's important to make distinctions.

Hump, I completely disagree on the labeling thing. Labeling people is definitely meant to accomplish something. May I remind you of post some time ago on whether it was okay to call someone retarded? In our current political climate, the labels conservative and liberal are very powerful. Calling someone an Islamic extremist is a very powerful label right now. Here are a few others: sexy, right winger, gay, and of course the N word. Furthermore, labeling usually works. As humans, we understand things better when they are labeled, so labeling people is an easy way to define them in some way and treat them according to that definition or label. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sexy is a good label. Imbecile and stupid, not so much

Dromedary Hump said..., your Gov. Perry is NOT a religious fanatic douchebag?

Atemis Ward said...

Joyce, You said, ". . .(or maybe they have to hear them because they don't or can't read the Bible they claim to believe in)."

The passage you quote not only said that no man would know the hour, it said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, NOR THE SON, but only the Father." [ ]

I'm sorry, but if THE SON doesn't know the hour, he is not god, for god is all-knowing.

So Camping isn't the only one who doesn't read the Bible, no one who claims to be a Christian does either, for the Bible clearly says that Christ is not a god.

Anonymous said...

I think the word you meant to use in that first sentence was confidant, not confident.

Dromedary Hump said...

Anon...right you are. Again!!
fixed, thks.

rsalmond2006 said...

Longhorn believer I hate to disagree with a fellow Texan, but I disagree with your assertion "We all need a way to rationalize away the fear of the unknown." I believe that fearing what is unknown to you is irrational. Epicurus' argument on the irrationality of fearing death is instructive.

"Death, the most dreaded of evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we no longer exist."

If you replace "fear of the unknown" for the word death in Epicurus' argument, you can see the validity of my argument that fearing what is unknown to you is irrational. What is unknown to you cannot exist within your consciousness since it is unknown. It does not exist. It is therefore irrational to fear that which does not exist.

Joyce said...

CD: "I wonder how long it will take for those outdated tee shirts to show up at Goodwill." LOL! I hope they show up here. I'll get one! T-shirts are $1.49 at our local Goodwill. Well worth the laugh!

Thumbs, you've known me about as long as Drom has. I am who I am. You know that -- and so you know that I won't preach or try to use the Bible to change your mind or convince you of anything. I'm just sharing my own personal thoughts. Love ya, man.

Joyce said...

Atemis, I never get into a discussion to defend my beliefs just as I don't expect any of you guys to have to explain yours. I respect your right to live as you believe and only ask for the same respect in return. I am not one of those who will shove my beliefs down your throat. I simply want the same freedom to believe as I do as you want to believe as you do.

To touch simply on your comment, there are different roles (in my belief of the Trinity) with the Father being the Head. I don't believe it makes either the Son or the Spirit any less God. I kind of see it as the sun -- one sun, three roles; the sun as the object it is, the heat it provides, and the light it provides. One thing, 3 different roles. Again, I'm not preaching or trying to convince you of anything that differs from your own beliefs. Just sharing my own thoughts about it.

Peace. :)

Rant In A-Minor said...

What's always bugged me is the sense of gleeful anticipation that surrounds the idea of the rapture. That there are plenty of christians who actually look forward to being taken up to heaven while the rest of us suffer eternally (I wonder whether it's the latter of the two they take most joy in).

It's a symptom, I think, of a fact George Carlin once expounded that the ambition of every christian, ultimately, is to die so they can go and meet Jesus. I can't argue with that, as the religion teaches that our true lives begin once we die. What a dreadfully grim and dehumanising existence it must be to believe that we live simply to die; that this physical existence is merely an entrance exam. An afterlife cheapens this one into worthlessness, and that so many people are looking forward to it fills me with so much pity ... life is living, not grovelling!

Anonymous said...


You are a tolerant, liberal, generous, kind-hearted Christian who rejects fundamentalism - however, that does not grant your religious beliefs protection from criticism (especially when commenting on an atheist blog).

Take care

longhorn believer said...

Hump, Gubner Goodhair is different ;) He put himself out there inviting public opinion. It's okay to.....oh hell! Touché!

rsalmond, feel free to disagree. I certainly agree with Epicuris' description of death. But there's no proof he's right. Therefore, death is still an unknown, and I think it's perfectly rational to fear the unknown. Also, the unknown includes more than just death. Is this plane going to crash? Am I going to get laid off? Will my baby be healthy? Will Perry run for president? Will Perry BE president? LOL

I don't think it's healthy to constantly fear what you cannot control. I've seen the path that kind of vice leads to. But we do have to consider bad out comes and try to prepare. I was raised on fear, so I'm learning all the time how to let go of irrational fear. The fear of God certainly fits in that category. That's why I have empathy for the imbecils. I know first hand how powerfully mind numbing that fear can be. So yes, I pity them. They may say they're excited about the rapture, but I guarantee they are deeply afraid