Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rantings of a Crazy Woman

No, not me, someone even crazier.

Today I take on a chunk of the truly insane. This is the Big One, what all my Chats with Mormons, Sarah Palin speech interpretation, and Worldwide Church of God deunkings were building up to. Today, I take on: My Grandmother. (That's supposed to be read aloud with the voice of doom sound effect and thunder crashing in the background.) So, let's see what "Giggy" wrote in a book on faith healing.
There exist currently on this planet earth two separate realms. "Alongside worlds", to use a science fiction term, which occupy the same space at the same time, without really touching. These realms are the Kingdom of God and the World System. They are totally different - different rulers, different laws, different goals and different destinations - yet without the Spirit of God we can't tell them apart.

First, there's the sheer making-assertions-without-backup. This will continue throughout the passage. It went on my whole childhood, after all. Also, how does something occupy the same space and time without touching? And seriously, who uses science fiction to make their bullshit supernatural claims seems more credible? Isn't it convenient that the voice in her head, er "Spirit of God", is the one that helps you see this invisible magic world? (Growing up with a magic world hurt my brain.)
They are in constant warfare for dominion over the earth and its inhabitants, even though the outcome of this warfare is already determined and the leaders of both sides know it. The most important decision any human can make concerns which realm he will inhabit.
The most important, eh? Well, yeah maybe I see your point. After all, whether you choose to live in reality or la-la land can make a big difference in the quality of your life. (I choose reality!) Also, Gig loved to throw in Armageddon threats whenever possible. Nothing like creating a sense of fear and urgency to get people to shut down their critical thinking skills (which may be why End Times memes are so popular).

Let's review: There are two worlds, but one is invisible and unless you have the exact God she has (more on the exclusivity of her particular branch later) you can't even tell the second world exists. Also, the two worlds are at war (oooh, sense of drama!) but don't worry, the guy on her side is gonna win. Oh, but you'd better choose quickly, because whether you'll live in this world (the real one) or the invisible, indistinguishable-to-anyone-else other world, is the most important choice you'll ever make. Right.
Which ruler will he yield to? Whose laws will he obey?
Is she talking about physical laws or civil/criminal ones? Both! Anyone who believes in miracles believes to some degree that the laws of physics just stop working sometimes, and she is no exception. (Heck, she she might even be the rule.) And when you fill your followers with fear (fucking alliteration) you encourage distrust and violence toward secular entities. Kind of like what we're seeing in the health care debate with people thinking the government is out to kill them. Those people are scared enough to do something really regrettable.
And when the two realms separate, as they will someday, which destiny will he share?
So the two worlds (which are sharing the same time and space but not touching) will separate, and they have destinies? Assertions hidden in the form of a question - smooth moves Grandma!
The Bible was full of it: two realms, a veil between. Within an hour or so (of coming up with this crackpot worldview), we had this outline:
  • Sight
  • Temporal
  • Things seen
  • Flesh
  • Matter
  • The curse (Pretty sure the curse/ fall of man was *supernaturally* caused)
  • Sinful nature (Again, if God gave Adam's descendants a sinful nature, it wasn't in their physical bodies)
  • Heaviness
  • Earthly
  • Mt. Sinai - law
  • Kingdom of darkness
  • Terrestrial
  • Sickness, diseases
  • Condemnation
  • Law of sin and death
  • Satan is god (Notice atheism didn't make the list! She loves dualism, so if there are more than two options, she ignores them.)
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Born from below - Huh?
  • Burdens (help, charity)
  • Labor, striving
  • Deception
  • Dead works
  • Slavery
  • Tree of knowledge Carnal mind Sons of the bondmaid Guilt Death Foolishness Walking by sight The old nature Sorrow Defeat Sacrifice Field Destination: hell
  • (Freedom, beauty, poetry, compassion, advocacy, activism, love, hope, secular humanism, doing good for goodness' sake)
  • Faith (A vice, not a virtue)
  • Eternal (Nothing has ever been shown to be eternal.)
  • Things not seen (or real)
  • Spirit (see above)
  • Energy (Now hang on a minute, I'm pretty sure the physical world is made up of matter and energy. You can't go hijacking energy!)
  • The blessing
  • The righteousness of Christ (imaginary, unsupported assertion)
  • Freedom (in that "die to be born again" "take up my yoke" definition of freedom, which doesn't resemble true freedom in the slightest)
  • Robes of righteousness (yawn)
  • Garments of praise
  • Heavenly (never-ending and boring with a crappy guest list?)
  • Mt. Calvary - grace (hahahahahaha! Grace was the farthest thing from her doctrine. Oh boy *wipes tear*)
  • Kingdom of God's dear Son (so "dear" that daddy watched the mobs torture him to death. Ya know, so that *then* daddy could forgive them for being born with the sinful nature he gave them.)
  • Celestial Healing, health (the true crux of the matter, hidden in the middle)
  • Acceptance, adoption into family (read: isolation from the rest of the world)
  • Law of life in Christ Jesus
  • Jesus Christ is Lord
  • Fullness, satisfaction (She was so satisfied she ate half a gallon of ice cream for lunch every day of my childhood.)
  • Living water (imaginary, yadda yadda)
  • Born from above
  • Benefits, blessings (I like how "benefits" are spiritual. Can you tell my employer that I'd rather have the physical "realm" benefits package with my 401K?)
  • Rest
  • Truth, reality (*SNORT*)
  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Dominion
  • Tree of Life
  • The mind of Christ (Can I keep it in a jar?)
  • Forgiveness
  • Abundant life (If you consider hiding out in a bomb shelter terrified of the world around you an "abundant" life, sure.)
  • Wisdom
  • Walking by faith (The bullet above this one is antithetical.)
  • Destination: heaven
Now see, I'd split the list in two very simple ways. Real World (everything that exists, including non-physical things like ideas and emotions) vs. Fantasy Land (crap someone made up using their imagination and/or mind altering substances). See? That wasn't hard. Also, Gig seems to be under the impression that making long lists is the same as making a reasoned argument. Also, I know using Bible verses never persuades atheists, but her audience for this ramble is entirely Christian. And none of her followers seemed to think this was a problem.
It was actually bigger than the World System vs. Kingdom of God. It was also flesh or spirit, sight or faith, temporal or eternal. The idea of two separate realms seemed to us an essential concept for understanding not only our walk with God, but the universe we inhabit.
An essential concept for your walk with god and understanding the universe we inhabit - wow. I guess Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawkings, and Carl Sagan have been doing it all wrong. They've been trying to understand the universe without this essential concept she came up with an hour ago.
Everybody on earth lives in one realm or the other. Christians have the choice of which realm they will inhabit.
No, grandma. Everyboy on earth lives in one realm (the real one), and not the other. You don't get to choose to inhabit another world - sorry.
Once we start looking at Scriptures with this concept in mind - that there are two along-side realms, separated by an uncrossable barrier - we see all kinds of illustrations.
Confirmation bias! And the uncrossable barrier is new. How can two things take up the same time, the same space, not touch, and have an uncrossable barrier between them?
In fact, the whole of the Old Testament is written in a language designed to handle such a concept. The Hebrew language with its inherent "parallelism" is perfect to deal with this. Parallelism is a fundamental element in Hebrew, especially in poetry written in that language. Most poetry in English is based in rhyme and meter; Hebrew poems are based in repetition. This style consists of saying what is essentially the same thing two different times, with slight alterations.
This may be the longest string of words that are not on their face factually inaccurate in the whole book. Also, I may be missing something. It's gotten to the point that if I realize I can't find one error in a sentence, I probably didn't look closely enough. (Again, Sarah Palin made *more sense* and had fewer outlandish claims in her gov. resignation speech.)
Very often this repetition of the same thought, with small differences, occurs not just because of the nature of the Hebrew language, but also because one iteration applies to the natural realm, the other to the spiritual
Okay, I know I said earlier that she was going to make unsupported assertions throughout, but this is a biggie. She's laying out here the supposed Scriptural basis for her entire worldview, as well as all the requirements of her followers that come out of this worldview. So, it's a really big deal that she doesn't actually have anything backing up her claim that the Old Testament writers were telling us about an invisible world (that shares time and space with this one, but doesn't touch it, and apparently is separated by an uncrossable barrier). She goes on to interpret several verses in light of this delusion.
God says something, for example: "For nation shall rise against nation..." and that can be interpreted to mean natural, geographic, political nations. Then He follows this with, "... and kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:7). Is He just repeating Himself, or is there a difference? Can it be that there is a spiritual interpretation here? Maybe He is saying that there will be natural wars and spiritual wars.
And maybe there's really a teapot circling Pluto. Notice that she suggestively uses questions (like the Demon Busters and Every Student) without actually encouraging the kinds of actions that would lead to finding out an answer (like research, asking questions, talking to someone, etc.) She just casts doubt on the normal method of reading that verse "nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom" and infers that there's more to it than the obvious.
The whole world will stand united against Israel; God's natural land and His natural children. We will see all of the world's systems, armies, governments, states and people fighting against the nation of Israel. And in the spirit realm there will be increasing war against the church. All the forces which are not flesh and blood, the principalities, powers, thrones and dominions, demons and fallen angels, will war against the saints. Israel represents God's natural children, "as the sand of the seashore"; and the church is His spiritual progeny, "as the stars of the sky." (Hebrews 11:12).
Now for this one I actually looked up the verse (because really, how many have there been in all this rambling?) According to KJV (see theists, I can so refrain from linking to Evil Bible, Skeptics Annotated Bible, and Brick Testament. I just don't like to) Hebrews 11:12 says,
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
This is in reference to Sara (Abe's wife) having a son, and leading to Abe's many descendants. As in "There will be lots of them - like sand grains and stars!". Nothing about the sand being natural children and the stars being spiritual ones - they're all just descendants of Abraham, and the point is just "Gee, what a big number". So that giant "everyone vs. Israel" battle? Is all in her mind.
Two different realms, in parallel. Nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. That is just one example of what I said about the Bible being full of passages which speak to the two different realms. Here a few more illustrations: "I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations." (Psalm 57:9). The people are the children of God, while the nations are the Gentiles. Two different realms.
Whatever you say, grandma. There really is no good "stopping point" because the whole book is one long, unedited ramble. I swear, she just sat down one day and typed everything straight through, from the table of contents to the last words (the mailing address of the cult's offices, so people could send money and order more books). Section titles listed in the table of contents don't actually appear anywhere else in the book. She just breezed through it, and it reads like the rantings of a crazy person.

How did I not know she was batshit for so long? I worked for this cult. I mailed this book to people, and I didn't feel any guilt at all because I didn't realize what toxic garbage it was. This is the woman who taught me how to read, and fold laundry, and tie my shoes. Honestly, I think I'm more confused than ever. I'm glad my mind is free now, but I don't know how I didn't see how completely insane she was years ago. She wrote this while I lived with her, while I was in second grade. She cooked me breakfast, and when I went to school, she wrote this garbage.

In recent days she's caused a bit of a ruckus at her assisted living facility/nursing home. She's started telling the other residents that they're being controlled by their medications and that they shouldn't take them. At least one poor old woman was convinced, and went off her meds for a minute there. Ah, crazy granny. If you weren't stirring shit up and convincing people not to take their pills, you wouldn't be the Giggy I know and love.