World Ending! Again! This Time for Real! So Get Right With Jesus, Slacker!

I’ve got this thing I think about sometimes, an observation about religion and how it really is out in the real world.  How it works in people’s heads. Not the way Christians think it is, but the way it really is.

I think I’ve mentioned it before — I call it “the 180-degrees thing.” (As in ’180-degrees-opposite.’ Someday I’m going to come up with a cool name for it instead of this kludge.)

The basic idea is that, whatever Christians say, astonishingly often, there’s something REAL just about exactly opposite. Probably the reason I don’t have a good name for it is that I always find it hard to describe, or point out. You kind of have to look for it, keep it in mind as you watch the workings of Christianity and churches.

For me the 180-degrees thing starts in the fact that the Truth of Truths, the Bible and the religions based on it, are capital-L lies. Not just factually false, but false in a deliberately misleading and manipulative way. Rather than a good thing to have in your head, they are — to the exact degree you or your society take them in — dangerous to mental health.

As a lead-in to the following video, I’ll mention Billy Graham.

I observed Billy somewhat distantly over the years and  eventually concluded he was crazy enough to genuinely believe the stuff he was selling. Maybe that makes him more honorable than the likes of Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker, Ken Ham or Kent Hovind, who are/were, variously, in it for the money or the power, and knew they were lying to people, wrapping them in the sticky silk of religious craziness in order to suck the juice out of them.

Come to think of it, there’s the “180-degree thing” right there: By the standards of their followers these were Men of God, not just good men but fantastically good men, men who — because they were so infused with God’s glorious Truth — would be hard pressed to do anything wrong. Looking at them without the Christian filter, though, they looked like sociopaths, men whom I might suspect of anything: lying, cheating, stealing, conceivably even murder … with sexual indiscretions or financial shenanigans a virtual certainty.

Billy’s 180-degree thing may have been that, because he genuinely believed this stuff, he might have been more dangerous than the mere con men with whom he shared the pulpit. I have to wonder just what effect he had on American government, as he enjoyed an open door at the White House through 11 presidential administrations, starting with Harry Truman and ending with that malignant fool George W. Bush.

But I’m really writing now to introduce you to Billy Graham’s daughter.

Watching the following short clip, I can’t guess whether the daughter got the full dose of her father’s sincerity. But looking at her as a non-Christian, she looks sort of psycho-creepy.

When I lived in Flagstaff and made frequent trips to nearby Arts-and-Money mecca Sedona, I would occasionally see these middle-aged people who had dived into the pool of New Age woo-woo from the high board. Bubbling over with certainty about recent courses in wise spirits and vortex energy, copper bracelets and immortality diets, they had an eerie intensity that made you not want to argue with them … not because they were right, but because they seemed sadly confused and brittle.

Anne Graham Lotz gives me that same feeling.

But she’s also a good example of the 180-degree thing: From a cultural domain that practically beats you over the head with hourly doses of God’s mercy and love, and posing as a biblical expert and woman of God, she’s selling pure fear and anger. Fear of the end of the world, anger at those people ostensibly causing it — those slackers and sinners who are rousing God’s righteous wrath.

And here’s the BIG 180-degree thing in her performance: She talks about the end of the world, and how close it is, and how the cure for that is to hew to God’s word. Whereas …

I really do believe in an end of the world scenario. But in my view it’s an end that involves a lot of simple, easily noticeable — and probably even fixable! — problems, the main one being human population, which is straining and breaking the capacity of Planet Earth to serve our needs. But that problem and so many others have never been and are not now being dealt with.

These simple problems appear on a social landscape of human craziness and human stupidity, the seedlings of which are planted in every one of us. But the chief fertilizer of these little plants, historically and still today, is religion.

So we’re facing this real threat of an end to civilization. But 180 degrees opposite of what Anne Graham Lotz is selling, the threat is HER, and people like her. The thing they sell. Here she is in all her brittle, creepy glory:

Anne Graham Lotz: The End Times Are Coming And God’s Judgment Has Already Begun

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  • Fred

    Watchmen on the wall… Isn’t that an conversion therapy hate group?

  • Aliasalpha

    I call it “the 180-degrees thing.” (As in ’180-degrees-opposite.’ Someday I’m going to come up with a cool name for it instead of this kludge.)

    How about ‘The Rationality Mirror’? Things are backwards when you look in a mirror, the nutters turn rational to irrational and as an added bonus it sounds like a Doctor Who episode

  • Kevin Alexander

    Hank, the 180˚ thing is the dictionary definition of irony.

  • Steinar

    I use to joke that I like end of the world proclamations. They give me something constant and unchanging in a complex, dynamic world. There is always someone yelling the world ends tomorrow…

  • johnhodges

    From a “Frank and Ernest” cartoon:
    “The world ends at midnight. Have a nice day.”

  • busterggi

    Who watches these Watchmen?

    Seriously, you’d have to be culturally illiterate to have that name.

    Still, Ozy would be proud of her.

    • Corvus illustris

      Illiterate in what culture? For their public, “Watchmen” connotes some paasage in the bible (in Nehemiah per their website), or “Zion hears the watchmen singing” to the Bach chorale prelude whose tune everyone knows, or, probably, any number of other religious tropes. That their public doesn’t know any alternate reality other than their own would not be surprising. (BTW, the Latin “custos” of “who will watch the watchmen” might better be rendered as “guard” [of the potentially-straying wife].)

  • ohioobserver

    What she really means — what they ALL really mean — is not “indifference to god”; it’s “indifference to ME.” Me. the preacher, the rabbi, the self-styled leader of the faithful. She’s threatening people with destruction if they don’t pay attention to HER.

    If she didn’t mention god in this screed she’d be called a terrorist.

    • Kevin

      Yes, but only because god agrees with every word she says.

  • Kevin

    This “the end times are at hand” meme is quite old and robust.

    Before I got satellite, I used to watch the religious shows on TV (I think there might be an ad about why it’s a bad idea).

    “End Times” prophecies are dime-a-dozen. A few years ago, early in the year, some preacher or another was going about about how prophetic the year was because if you add up the numbers it comes to another number which is an important number and therefore it could be a very important year — so you better send me cash.

    Unlike Harold Camping, though, these preachers all will decline to name a specific date. They leave it very vague because the bible says that no one will know the date.

    Of course, this is doubling down on the “fear of hell” thing. Because you go to hell one of two ways.
    1. Die without believing in Jesus.
    2. Be alive without believing in Jesus on the day of his return.

    No matter that if Jesus returned (in the manner prophecized), it would go a pretty long way to making me into a believer. Sword out of his mouth and all that.

    They’re trying to scare you into believing. Because if Santa comes and you’re not in bed, then no presents.

    They have the emotional maturity of 6-year-olds.

    • Paddy

      This. +1 Spot on.

      They really are 6 year olds. Because if they were any older intellectually, they couldn’t possibly believe the bat shit crazy they constantly go on about.

    • Zinc Avenger

      “if Santa comes and you’re not in bed, then no presents”


  • Kell

    Well written article, bravo.

  • Tim

    Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video because:

    1. Life is just too short and I think that video about teasing the talking dog is probably more enlightening.

    2. The photo of Anne creeped me out enough. Is that a publicity photo, did she actually approved that?

  • sl

    well that was just creepy! the video. the post was actually quite thoughtful.

  • Crudely Wrott

    The photo of Anne creeped me out enough. Is that a publicity photo, did she actually approved that?

    Tim, that’s a promo shot for her dentist.

    I, too, get creeped out by that cheesy, insincere, self conscious rictus of a smile that is ever present on the mugs of preachers, peddlers, politicians and movie stars. Seeing a lens pointed in their direction seems to evoke such a smarmy grin. Every. Single. Time.

  • had3

    I thought their god promised to not act as petulantly again after the flood? You’d figure that he’d get it right with a second chance at mankind, but noooo. New prayer, “Dear god, please stop fucking up.”

  • kennypo65

    If the Judeo-christian god does exist, then the day of my death will be judgement day. I promise that I’ll give Him a chance to defend himself.

    • Crudely Wrott

      Hey, Kenny!


      Wouldja put in a good word for me? I am so bad!


  • rickschauer

    I’d love to introduce Anne Graham Lotz to my father, whom I, as an atheist, call my living god. He is literally my creator, he is 89 and very alive and he is a loving christian who brought me up in the church – which I left because of the bat-shittery it induces in society through fear and hubris.

    Yet, my living god has never judged me or hit me or created fear in me so Anne is in for a suprise at what a real living christian god looks like…they are portly, not judgemental and very loving and kind…even funny!

    Thank goodness her angry, judgemental god is in the clouds somewhere because “what she can claim with no evidence, I can dismiss with the same evidence.” (“” C. Hitchens)

    And yes, sometimes I feel like both the son of god and the son of man…and a prince of peace. Lolz.

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