What’s the point of conspiracy theories? Even if the most ridiculous ones were true, and jew lizard aliens from the Pleiades really did kill JFK with a laser and flew hologram cruise missiles into the World Trade Center, they’ve already gotten away with it, and there’s nothing a bunch of alcoholic, paint-sniffing paranoid maniacs are going to be able to do about it. Wouldn’t the person who’s truly interested in the welfare of humanity instead try and busy themselves with the duties of figuring out how to survive under the jew lizard shapeshifter alien government?
What’s the point of spreading histrionic paranoia to other easily excited paranoids?
Why does it seem like half of the people who proclaim themselves to be pro-Palestinian do so not because they actually care about Palestinians, but because they want an excuse to hate Jews? If I stumble upon another site that consists entirely of “ALL JEWS ARE EVIL DEMON BANKERS AND HERE IS THE PROTOCOLS OF ELDERS OF ZION TO PROVE IT” with a little “I support Palestine!” button at the bottom, I’ll scream. I also find it ironic that Nazis use that Israeli flag with the swastika in it as some sort of insult– don’t you assholes like that symbol and what it represents? I mean, if Israel really is a fascist state that practices ethnic cleansing, shouldn’t you be supporting it?
So, Partner and I were driving around, and we saw this completely cheesy sign for a church calling itself Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry. I looked it up, and it comes across like the same type of scam church that Sarah Palin’s involved with: demonic possession, witchcraft, gays are satanic, et cetera. They’re one of a plethora of Christian movements out of Africa (Nigeria, in this case)– a subject that requires its own piece– but what’s most interesting is that they have a ministry group calling itself “God’s Violent Army” that drapes itself in, well, violent rhetoric:
“Praise God, Its time for the equipping of the saints and trainings warriors for the end times. Teaching you to take it by force. The bible says “from the days of John the Baptist the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force’ …… We’re equiping people that will be a terror to the kingdom of darkness.”
Sure, we can take this two ways, that all of this is metaphorical and they’re talking about waging “spiritual warfare” against Satan, and their violent acts constitute fervent praying– but this sort of rhetoric is only a few minute changes from being applied to less esoteric and far more prosaic matters. Suddenly, Satan manifests itself in a physical form, and there’s a ready crop of True Believers ready to wage a very literal violent struggle against this embodiment of evil. This pattern appears time and again in religious movements when some external presence applies stress to the workings of the group, such as was the case of the Vatican waging war against “satanic” states that did not bend to its will, or when certain cults attracted federal investigations.
Of course, Satan is very real to the True Believers in these cults because of constant reinforcement of popularly accepted suggestion. It’s easy to see how this works: you go to a prayer meeting receptive to the idea that you’ll see an actual miracle happen in front of your eyes– and because you turn off your skepticism and are ready to believe, a Verifiable Miracle *does* happen right before you. This allows you to grant power and authority to the minister, preacher or whoever is in charge of the prayer meeting, because, after all, they performed a Verifiable Miracle, and who are you to oppose them? As these authority figures now speak for the authority of God Himself, you’re led down the path of believing everything they say, because as these authority figures are only repeating the Word Of God verbatim, it must be Truth. It’s then that people are most susceptible to being convinced that some bloated, bureaucratic government agency is the right arm of Satan himself and must be violently resisted in order to avoid having one’s soul devoured and their family cursed for seven generations. Hence, Jonestown residents had to drink the Flavor-Aid to save their souls from the US Government and $cientology had to declare open season on its critics.
The reason for this sticking in my craw might just be a cultural discrepancy– mainstream churches here simply don’t advertise the fact that they have prayer groups calling themselves “God’s Violent Army” and this sort of rhetoric may be commonly accepted in Nigeria. What’s causing concern in my mind is the obvious similarity in titles and subject matter between this group and the infamous “Lord’s Resistance Army” of Uganda, whose rhetoric is also heavy on the apocalyptic end-times Christianity stuff. The major difference–so far, anyway– is that “God’s Violent Army” isn’t a heavily armed paramilitary army that’s guilty of an endless list of war crimes.
I should really start reading more about the history of post-colonial Africa. That continent has been used as a puppet and proxy for other world powers for so long I shouldn’t be surprised that the socio-political climate is far more complex than anyone can comprehend.