Saturday, May 28, 2011

Post Apocalyptic Earth

While I thought it was great that everyone was mocking the fundies for their rapture (and if a lighthearted jab is what you're looking for, you won't find it here), gently eroding the credibility of religion one joke and party at a time, something struck me as distinctly disturbing about the group that put out the message. Clearly it's a cult of some sort, but all people thought about was the message of that cult, not the poor, broken souls within.
Let me explain something briefly. The people in cults are not the mindless zombies that are so popular in Hollywood and most other media. Cultists are very normal individuals who were vulnerable, or lost and looking for a home. That's when the cult leader swoops in, and, like a used car salesman, takes them for everything they've got. Only the cult leader doesn't just get a paycheck, at least in this instance, but dozens if not hundreds of them until the people leave, and that's made difficult by human psychology. Once you've given in to cause, it's very difficult to pull yourself out. Cognitive dissonance, as I mentioned here, comes into play, as well as the sunk cost fallacy.
The sunk cost fallacy keeps you committed to a sinking ship. A usual case goes like this: You're paying into an investment such as a mutual fund that isn't making any money, and now has a dim chance of ever paying off (similar to playing the lottery every week, but not quite). Rather than pulling out, as is the financially sound decision, you continue to pay in, in hopes that it will eventually pay off. As your hopes grow slimmer and slimmer, you continue paying in because you don't want to have paid into it for no reason, for all that money to be wasted. Or to avoid looking like an idiot for investing in the first place. In any case, the normal human reaction is to continue investing. It only seems idiotic when viewed from outside.
That's exactly what cultists do. They commit, more and more every time they donate money, time, effort, or blood to the cult. I know a woman whose daughter died because they insisted on praying for her. The reaction? Stay in the cult. She's already committed a daughter. Let her sacrifice be in vain? Never! That's the problem with cults.
So, my heart goes out to the cultists who weren't taking in the money, who weren't putting up the billboards, who weren't profiting in the endeavor because their very lives are owned by this buffoon who has been taken in by his own schtick so much that he was willing to look like an international idiot. And he's doing it again, later this year- says there was a miscalculation.
Just remember this for next time- the pastor's a joke, but the cult is no laughing matter. Then again, the Seventh Day Adventists got started the same way...

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