Sketches on Atheism

Us, mentally ill?

tin-foil-hat-3Ordinarily I don’t dip my toe into the delirious, brain-bleeding world of Right Wing Christian conspiracies. There is no victory to be had in pointing out the fact that they’re insane. Stating the obvious is like salad dressing: it tastes good in the moment but only makes you fat, lazy, and ultimately dependent on a motorised scooter. That said, this particular conspiracy does deserve a tickle if not for any other reason than Christians have gone and labelled themselves mentally ill… and I find that simply hilarious.

Last week the black Glenn Beck wannabe, Erik Rush, declared that President Obama is working (secretly, as dastardly things are so often done) with the American Psychiatric Association to classify Christianity as a mental illness. Why? To take away their rights and detain them indefinitely, of course. Now stay with me here because it’s about to get complicated. Rush’s brain fart is the fruit of, wait for it, one incredible, damning, unignorable fact: in May the APA will release its fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which will supersede DSM-4, published in 2000. That’s it. There is no more to this story. Everything else is pure fantasy. According to Rush these manuals are the yardstick for what is and what’s not mental illness in America, “[and] in the case of those who pose the most dire threat to Obama’s designs – Christians – these will certainly be targeted. After all, who more demonstrably epitomizes mental instability in the eyes of the Marxist atheist than those who commune with and rely upon that which is unseen? To the Marxist, God is no more real than Elwood’s “Harvey,” and even more antiquated than the Constitution.”

Freudian slip

n. A verbal mistake (also called parapraxis) that reveals a dynamically repressed belief, thought, or emotion.

Ring the bells! Rally the town crier! Right Wing Christians suspect they’re mentally ill, and even worse, fear mental health professionals can no-longer ignore it. The worry of some impending mass diagnosis and soaring demand for straight-jackets was not however just Rush’s to voice. The same crazy ball was picked up and carried forward by the America Family Radio’s Buster Wilson who added: “there are going to be attacks against Christians based on some form of mental illness diagnosis. I think it is not without reason that the left refers to people like us as those loony, right-wing fanatics or right-wing radicals, far-right-wing nut jobs. I think it is by design that they use those kinds of terminologies against us because one day I think there is going to be something in the hand of doctors, something in the hands of the CDC, something in the hands of the government that will be able to classify us a certain way and get us out of the picture.”

If I could shake their hands I would. Erik Rush and Buster Wilson, heads-up: screaming like banshees about hideous hobgoblins lurking in the shadows is precisely why the rational world accurately calls you “loony, far-right-wing nut jobs.”

(postscript: is it at all possible Rush read my article, The Centuries most overlooked story and how it explains New Atheism”? Probably not, but I’m allowed to dream)

91 thoughts on “Us, mentally ill?

  1. What a surprise! Conspiracies these days are just all the rage – and the right aren’t the only ones. I’ve my fair share of problems with the left, and their anti-nuke, anti-gmo, anti-corporate philosophies, but the right do indeed take the cake. It’s like these guys – I don’t wish to label all right-leaning folk as crazy – never went to school. If you’ve ever seen firefly, this will ring a bell.

    “And I’m thinking you [they] weren’t burdened with an overabundance of schooling. So why don’t we just ignore each other till we go away?”. If only the second half of that statement were possible, but people actually listen to them!


  2. You always risk at least an eye roll from most when you take yourself so seriously that you feel you have to invade foreign territory, burn people and ritualize ceremonies to unseen deities. Such extremes will raise doubts about your sanity.


  3. In the early days of the Internet I used to omplain that “here we have the most sophisticated comunication tool devised by man and we use it to circulate jokes.” Now I wish that were the case because we have the most sophisticated comunication tool devised by man and we use it to circulate religious wingnut and uber-concservative memes.

    Thank you John, I am not fully awake this morning. And now that I think about it: if you took a teenaged child to a psychiatrist and told him/her that they insist that “their invisible friend” is real, that you thought they would grow out of it as a child but it has just gotten worse, I think the psychiatrist would consider it a treatable case, don’t you.

    I think they’ve got something here! There is a cure for Christianity!


    • Yeah, I generally steer well clear of this lunacy but i couldn’t resist this one. Low hanging fruit on a Thursday morning.

      As to your observation about the interwebs I saw a great meme the other day: poster detailing the amounts of money spent on 1. The F-35 (uncompleted and approaching a trillion), and, 2. the Human Gnome Project (completed under 3billion). The facts ran adjacent to a terribly cute photo of a wide-eyed kitten. Last line in the meme simply said, “This was important, the kitten was to get your attention.”


  4. Well, I find Americans to be a very interesting lot. During the elections, Obama was a muslim Atheist while he attends christian services to the best of my knowledge and must be a practicing christian as he keeps invoking the sky daddy to bless the US of A, how then would he be part of the plan to declare him and many others insane[which is not far from truth if you think about it]?


  5. Holy crap, you’re killing me, but in the best of ways – I’m still laughing
    My mother knows a woman from the Church of God. This woman believes that Obama is the Antichrist. Her church forbids her to watch TV on Saturday, but she can’t help herself so has settled on watching the Weather network all day (believing that weather is a creation of God).She’s turned it into a soap opera and calls my mother with rants about which weather person is sleeping with their associates. Is that crazy? 🙂


      • Thought you’d like that. It gets better if you can stand it. She’s in her 50s, absolutely, certifiably a virgin, but has a “boyfriend” from her church who comes over only on Saturdays so they can watch weather together. They actually debate which weather person is the most promiscuous.This is how they get off!!!! Oh yeah – and she donates a third of her salary to the church.


      • Ok, here’s what you can do: Go around to her house. You’re concerned. You say you have something urgent to speak to her about. “I’m worried for you. You’re a virgin. You MUST NOT die a virgin! If you die a virgin there’s all these terrorists up there waiting for you!”


      • I assure you; even if she were the last virgin standing – you would opt to go and make a sandwich. She sews little crocheted ear flaps on wool hats because she’s always cold. She actually said that this is because God so warms her heart there isn’t a lot of blood left to warm her ears.Holy shit – a physics teacher!


  6. It is all about fear with these people. Fear is the only thing holding their constituents together. Fear of Hell. Fear of Liberals. Now, Fear of Doctors. If there is a fear, they will find it, they will utilize it, and it will work.


      • Weeesh, I’d say it’s working EXTREMELY well on certain elements of the US population. Saw a video just last night of two whackjobs explaining how Obama was about to release his “ethnic” army whose purpose is to “take our guns.” This nutter then went on to outline how a “White Resistance” will rise up. A little while later he said “I have no proof of this, but it will happen.”

        Believe me, such clowns would be laughed off the stage in all other advanced nations. They find a voice in the States because there is a vein of retards who believe this shit. Just look at how successful Glenn Beck was/still is.


      • In Norway’s defense, that was an aberration. You can’t say Bachmann, Santorum, West, Broun, Palin and the like have been laughed off the stage. They’re wildly popular among conservatives.


      • Maybe his actions were an aberration (they would have to be by definition actually) but his thinking I’m sure is not. Xenophobia and angry fantasy don’t call a country home. I’m sure you are not suggesting they do, but I wonder about some others on this thread. There are always folks who have an axe to grind.


  7. Few days ago here in Finland we had a documentary, wich told about the growing influence of conservative fundamentalist believers within the state Lutheran church. It seems noboly else goes to church anymore. About 70% of Finns are members of the Lutheran church, but only some 27% seems to believe in stuff like virgin birth, Satan, resurrection of Jesus, or even the concept of Christian god. This according to a recent study by the church research center.

    In the documentary they interviewed a leading member of psychiatrist association, who was appalled by the layman sermon in a church where a fundamentalist lady sermon keeper (what part about women being silent in the congregation she did not understand) supposedly healed the sick and told people, that sicknesses and mental illnesses are caused by demons.

    The state church has been rather silent about the matter, it seems they want to hush it out. They are in dire straits, because if they do not allow such layman “healers” the last people who still attend to church will be offended and leave to form their own sects, but if they allow it to continue, they will not only be the laughing stock of the entire nation, but also risk to loose the tax revenue.

    The fundies have defended themselves by saying, that the stuff about demons is in the Bible, but I think the official state church would rather not people know this is so, because all of it is kind of insane.

    One could very well ask the question, if an adult who thinks he/she conveys with the supernatural is in their right mind? But cultural indoctrination may make any of us idiots.

    As for the “leftist” conspiracy theorists, there certainly are those too. Alltough our political right might be considered left from the left in the US. However, I do not agree with Fourat. Our newest nuclear station was supposed to be finished in 2009. It would have been the third one here. It has been delayed, because the construction companies have made, like they are supposed to, in a free market economy, the best winnings by both cheap labour and crappy materials. At present the estimated finishing date will be in 2016, though it will most likely strecth far beyond that. Yet, this has not led to dramatical increase of oil, or coal consumption. If we had handeled the situation better, we could have even better electricity production from environmentally lasting solutions like the wind. Denmark is smaller country than we are, but there are more of them. They have about the same living standards as we do, but they produce more electicity by wind alone, than either of our old nuclear stations. And then there is the very interresting propblem of how to store the radioactive waste from the power plants for a million years to come while it will last as lethally poisonous. Hardly an environmentally lasting solution?


    • Raut, sounds like Finland is very much like Australia. Many “registered” Catholics/Anglicans (myself included… I do wish there were a form I could cancel my “membership” on) but hardly anyone attends church. Two generations and dogmatic religion will be almost wiped out in Australia and New Zealand.

      It is clinically insane to believe in demons and faith healing. Once a “belief” bleeds through into real life it must be classified a mental illness. If people are acting on these whacked-out notions then they should be confronted. As the saying goes: “When one person suffers from delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from delusion it is called religion.”

      About nuclear I think the experience varies from one country to another. Fourat’s Australian, like me, and we have a terrible time generating electricity and getting it to customers because the country is just so damned big. I think his point was more that opposition to nuclear (because of safety concerns) backfired because we didn’t instead get huge Green electricity projects, rather more dependence on oil and coal.


    • A big spread-out country will naturally be behind a small compact country in wind production (assuming the wind blows as often in one as the other), simply because of economics. Electricity storage, the grid, all these are factors. With a big spread out country nuclear might make more sense because you can site a plant near where the grid exists and supply it with constant power. With renewables, you generally need to site plants near the source, then bring the grid to them. Then after that huge expense, you still need to figure out how to supply constant power. If battery technology makes a quantum leap this second obstacle could be overcome, but the first will always add a large expense. Why would you compare Finland to Denmak? Two quite different countries, geographically speaking.


      • Geography is Australia’s problem, as well. Funnily enough, Itaipu in Brazil (worlds second largest dam) supplies pretty much all the electricity from the southern border up to Rio. I haven’t seen the figures, but it must loose a colossal amount of power along the lines over such a great distance. If we can nail down a new way of moving electricity around we’d solve a lot of our energy problems.


      • Well, this is quite off topic, Sorry John, but Finland and Denmark are not so different. The living standards and forms of energy consumption are rather similar, and most Finns live by the sea in a rather confined areas, quite like the Danes, even thought the country is bigger than Denmark. Finland has had high need for electricity because of our paper producing plants, that are located away from the major population centers, but many of those mills have been closed down, because it is cheaper to produce paper in the third world countries regardless of the price of energy.

        It makes more sense to build windmills beside human population, than to build highly risky nuclear plants there. Does it not?

        There are a lot of ideological attitudes about energy production. Some people are zealously against anything remotely nuclear, and others as eagerly against anything remotely “green” alternatives. To me, nuclear production does not make any sense, not untill some way to handle the nuclear waste has been thought out. Burying them in a cave as planned here in Finland is just simply transferring the problem to the future generations and it is a cumulative problem. Correct?


      • I have a birder friend who really hates windmills. I think they should be built near population centers, but you need wind. Is it consistently windy near the coastal population centers in Finland?


  8. It seems like Eric Rush in his Freudian slip, thought he could negate the aspect of mental instability of religious people by the (undoubtedly true) fact, that any Marxist would think so. This is typical in the right wing and in fact all sort of religious argumentation. A notion is not right, or wrong on itself, but because who said it. It only goes to show, how they have no grasp of how a truth is figured out, other than who they find as reliable source. A counter appeal to authority, wich is chosen by the prejudice of confirmation bias. A vicious circle.

    To add the fact that they literally lied, by inventing additional stuff is more alarming, since there are a lot of “believers”, who take such liers as reliable sources.


    • Raut, I am constantly surprised and always thoroughly impressed by your ability to break an issue down into its constituent parts and deal with each. Even your writing style is calm! If you’re not already you’d make a truly exception university professor.


  9. When I read threads like this one, I am glad I live in the U.S. I’m not talking about the excellent posts John puts up, but the tone of some of the comments. I’ve traveled all over the world, but this is the only country where the diversity of viewpoints (some crazy as you can plainly see) is not only large, not only tolerated, but celebrated. Maybe it’s just me, but in so many countries I’ve spent time in, there is this claustrophobia, this sameness, sometimes downright repressive. Almost like people are actually afraid of points of view they regard as wacko or out there. That’s not the case here, and you can’t explain in a simple way to people from other countries the confidence we have that the wackos will never be in charge (George Bush notwithstanding).

    That doesn’t mean we don’t constantly scratch our heads and wonder about all the nut cases. But most people have confidence that our constitution (which almost nobody in this country thinks is outdated) is the best in the world, that our country provides the most opportunity and incentive for individuals to succeed, and that common sense usually prevails. Once you travel, you know our country does not currently have the best standard of living, nor is it the safest in all areas. But I have never wanted to stay out of country for too long. I have always had a special little feeling coming home. There are so many people I’ve met from other countries that long to come here. They are usually young, and wanting to spread their wings. Although I haven’t been everywhere, I’ve spent significant time on every continent except Antarctica. And while I love so many aspects of the cultures, even that of Japan (which is the opposite of America in terms of diversity but just as stable). My experience is that countries like some of those in Europe, other first-world countries are at the very least BORING! The third-world countries are much more exciting, but less stable and in many cases much too repressive for an American like me spoiled on freedom. I could have just summed this whole comment up as follows: There is a reason the Statue of Liberty stands in New York harbor.


    • You should be proud, but don’t let familiarity blind you to the reality. The US doesn’t just trail the developed world in almost every benchmark measure from lifestyle to education and health, its struggling to stay ahead of 2nd world countries like Bulgaria… and its going backwards, fast. Just this year (first three months) SIX creationist bills have been rammed through state (Republican lead) legislators. Creation: 6-day Christian creation myth, earth 6,000 years old, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark. That’s insanity. You have politicians spouting biblical verses to justify bigotry. This is the on-the-ground daily reality of Pakistan and Afghanistan, not Australia or France.

      The Australian Deputy PM and Treasurer, Wayne Swann, summed it up best last year: “Let’s be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over the Republican Party.”

      Cranks and crazies… that’s the view the civilised world get’s looking in.


      • I’m convinced that the great majority of people in the world (civilized or not) do not have any better idea of what America is than Americans have of the rest of the world. My experience has been that despite the explosion of travel people remain woefully ignorant of what the rest of the world is really like, and that stereotypes and gross generalizations abound.


  10. Pingback: principal culprit | violetwisp

    • There is a vein of atomic stupidity that runs through that country, yes. Fortunately for them, there’s and equally brilliant vein which seems to offset the religious nutters. 🙂


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