ABOVE: Scene from my dad's funeral last July. Most fundies would insist he went to "Hell" because he remained a staunch Catholic to the end - never once copping to the evangelical's demand to "believe on the lord JC as personal Savior". Such vile claims bring disrepute on the whole constellation of fundagelical beliefs.
As I noted in a previous blog (‘The Reality of Bullshit’):
fundies are not beneath the disgusting ploy of using actual death statistics to try to create an associated basis for their fictional “Hell”. Their disgraceful tactic is to trot out known facts about death worldwide, e.g.:
- 56 million dead per year
- 53,000 per day
- 6390 every hour
- 107 die every minute
Then extrapolate them to making the spurious case that Hell "really exists".
The fundies are hoping that a person viewing this crap will be so utterly shocked by the parade of (true) death statistics that he’ll let his forebrain go on autopilot while his reptilian brain stem reactively insinuates a “reality of Hell” (from the fear centers of his amygdala) thereby committing the error of transference of association: putting the fact of death (which is as certain as taxes) into a mental nexus with the fable of “Hell”.
More recent blogs from these disreputable evangelical sites show that a variation on the above entails citing a whole slew of horrible deaths that have been verified –often to well-known celebrities- in order to scare unsuspecting people into the subliminal fear of death, and insinuate "Hell" into ganglia at the base of their paleocortex.
Yesterday, former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska met his unexpected end in a plane crash en route to a vacation cabin in Southwest Alaska.
In 1980, John Lennon met his sudden and unexpected end when he was shot by a crazed maniac outside his New York City Hotel.
Jayne Mansfield, on June 28, 1967 met a horrible and sudden end on Highway 90 into New Orleans when her auto rear ended a tractor trailer that suddenly halted because of insect fogging.
Meanwhile, a major story in Colorado Springs last year concerned a young college student home for the spring break holidays – who was driving some friends to see the Front Range mountains. She stopped to get gas and while filling up another driver lost control of her van, and plowed into the filling station median setting it afire along with the girl – the gasoline pouring from her hose ignited – while others watched in horror.
In the 1970s, a series of video releases made the rounds which gained some notoriety and popularity, called “The Faces of Death”- in which people were shown to meet the Grim Reaper in a horrific variety of ways. And then there are the ‘Final Destination’ movies of the past ten years or so, which depict almost every fluke permutation of sudden and horrific death - from a girl electrocuted when a hair dryer falls into her bathtub, to a whole assembly of movie goers incinerated when a gas line below the cinema is ruptured and an electrical spark sets off an explosion.
Yes, death CAN be horrific and frequently unexpected, BUT that doesn’t mean one necessarily fears it. However death comes, whether sudden and violent – as in the case of John Lennon or JFK or Jayne Mansfield – or slow and agonizing (as in the case of Farrah Fawcett) we all have to face it. It's an inescapable part of the human condition.
What is unacceptable and disgusting to the point of perversity, is clouding the facts and personal histories of sordid deaths with fear stoked by supernatural bullshit- such as “Hell”. But this is the evangelicals’ chief and primary shtick and they can’t help themselves. Regarded now by most rational people as looneytunes or frenzied fanatics that need meds, the fundagelicals are desperate to grab attention and also assert control over any hapless, gullible mind they might encounter.
So they will preach their endless fear mongering using the reality of death to try to make a peripheral and specious case for the bullshit pseudo-reality of Hell. If they can get enough people terrified of death, they know they can paralyze them into inaction of doing almost anything that makes life interesting, from taking a small plane trip to Mt. McKinley, to climbing a mountain, to swimming in the deep ocean. Thus, the fundie mind fear trick wreaks havoc with the fragile psyche:
“If I go in the plane it might crash and I’ll die”
“If I climb that mountain I might fall and die”
“If I swim in the deep ocean a shark might attack me and I’ll die as shark meat’
In this way, the fundie paralyzes the will to live life, while the person cowers in fear UNLESS he brings himself into the fundie’s orbit and submits to his will to “get saved”. Thus, only by fulfilling that will can the fragile psyche allow itself to live life and not be terrified of death tracking its every step.
But this is a coward’s and slave’s submission. It is kowtowing to the will of those who don’t have anyone’s interest at heart but their own. They claim to dearly want to “save souls” but they are intolerant of the alternative means of 5 billion other humans to do just that. It must be THEIR way, or the highway, and they invoke literal interpretations of a bible based on corrupted 12th century manuscripts to do it.
They are, in a word, psychological terrorists, nothing more – and no different from physical terrorists, except their methods are covert instead of overt. Rather than blowing up cars or buildings, these terrorists blow up minds by instilling so much fear into hapless, psychologically vulnerable people they don’t know what to do with themselves – except submit to the fundies’ tyranny of terror.
Sadly, it never occurs to many folks of fragile temperament that the very need of fundie fools to invoke fear of death should instantly render them anathema. It never occurs to them that if the fundies had genuine truth and a message of love they wouldn’t have to resort to such debased and obscene intimidation tactics that parade all the possible horrors of death as the gateway to possible eternal hellfire. In the words of Philosopher Bertrand Russell, the whole methodology and belief system would be seen as disreputable, and worshipping terror.
A true message and genuine one, would get people to anticipate their deaths as something natural and not to be feared. To atheists that means accepting that at death we step into the void, into nothingness. One moment you're alive here and now, experiencing this Earth – irrespective of whatever pain, horrors or travails- the next instant you wink out like a light. NO memory, no recall of what went before, or that you even “died”. It is literally as if you never existed in the first place.
It may, ironically, be the fear of this imminent nothingness that drives fundies into their frenzied paroxysms of belief that something like “Heaven” and “Hell” must exist – never mind these comprise fables inserted into the scriptures as subsequent addenda. To quote the Rev. Thomas Bokenkotter (in his ‘Concise History of the Catholic Church’, p. 17): “to try to convert unbelievers into faith in Jesus Christ”
The trouble is, we are on to that shtick as well as that of the fundies' death = Hell terror program. What we do know is if people are aware that this is the ONLY life there is, they'll more likely live it to the hilt and full potential, as opposed to cowering in their closets fearing they will go to “Hell” if they just cross the street and get it by a wayward car - but haven't yet "converted" to the fundies' will.