Ben Stein is Losing It

Here’s his most recent column in the American Spectator:

… I awakened to a text from a close friend who is a devout Christian and who was so angry at the elite media that she could not sleep. “I am so frikkin’ sick of the media telling us that Islam is a ‘religion of peace,’” she said. “Look, people make fun of Jesus all of the time and I mean ALL of the time and we don’t kill them or harm them. But do anything at all that offends any Muslim and they start killing Christians and Jews — and then Obama apologizes for it. How long can this go on? The times of Tribulation are at hand.”

I got up, walked out on the deck and looked out at the perfect fall day over Lake Pendoreille. An absolutely perfect Fall day, blue skies, light breeze, just a slight chill in the air.

At breakfast, my wife suddenly said, “And then I beheld a red horse ridden by a man with a great sword….”

“What is that?” I asked her.

“It’s Revelation,” she said.

“I know, but where does that come from?”

“I just feel as if something big is about to happen,” she said. “Something feels like we’re about to live in a totally changed world. It feels like end times. Why are we apologizing to the Muslims? They’re killing and expelling their Christians and we don’t say a word. End times.”

I nodded. There is that feeling in the air….

At Ivano’s, I talked to a man who seethed with rage against Mr. Obama. He simply could not believe that Mr. Obama would make time to be among his Hollywood big shots but not make time to see Benjamin Netanyahu. “These are getting to be Biblical days,” he said. “The final days.”

We could dissect this religiously or politically, but why? My general impression is the man is about to slip and run off to the bunker, and I don’t see any reason to stop him.

  • http://stevenalleyne.com Steve

    We are a ridiculous nation of exceedingly anxious people.

  • stupid humans

    why isn’t ben doing porn in his little schoolboy outfit..priests would eat that up!!!!

  • http://www.edselby.com Ed Selby

    I though the End Times was last year? Or was it the year before that? Wait – I remember – it was midnight of Dec. 31, 1999. No, that wasn’t it either. Aw hell, I give up!

    • UrsaMinor

      Don’t lose hope. There are several Armageddons (Armagedda? Armageddonim?) on the calendar before the end of the year. Surely one of them will be the real thing.

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        They asked the same question on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (What’s the plural of Armageddon?) Don’t feel bad. They didn’t have an answer, either.

        • Bart Mitchell

          Someone should force Joss Whedon to step up to the plate and officially coin the plural form.

          • UrsaMinor

            I looked up the etymology and it’s from the Hebrew Har Megiddon, the Mount of Megiddo. So the plural is probably something like Harim Megiddon or Harot Megiddon, depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine. But maybe somebody who actually knows Hebrew should weigh in on this.

  • vasaroti

    We could look back just a few decades and find White Christians in the US willing to take to the streets, riot, brawl and burn, just for slightly better working conditions. The less you have to lose, the easier violence comes.
    A couple of the better news programs have already gone into how various governments are inciting these riots to keep the public attention diverted from internal problems. You’d think Ben Stein would be content with his 15 minutes of profitable fame, but he suffers with the same malaise that ignorant people in backwaters have; every event, no matter how puny, must have cosmic significance, because accepting one’s own insignificance is hard.
    We are about to live in a totally changed world, but sadly, it will still include a lot of Christians and Muslims. The great power that intervenes might be a pandemic, massive crop failure, or even limited nuclear war – I guess they will call that god’s will and praise it.

  • trj

    Wait, why are these fundie idiots so angry? They should be overjoyed that the final days are finally coming. Normally they can’t wait for Judgement Day to arrive. If anything, they should be thanking Obama for instigating it.

    • Bart Mitchell

      Same reason they are terrified when they are dying. Somewhere in the bottom of their brains, they know this whole religion thing is just BS, and that it’s ‘lights out’ when they die. There are zealots and true believers, and they are those wide eyed loonies that are excited about judgment day, or the ones willing to fly planes into buildings. In my personal experience, most people who profess a faith are just folks who’ve failed to see the logical fallacies of Pascals Wager.

      • trj

        Maybe it’s just that people who believe in an angry God like to be angry themselves – righteous angry, of course, since they obviously know best.

        “Just you wait, Obama! God is gonna smite you. He’s gonna smite you so hard!” *righteous fist shake*

    • Yoav

      Since people have already gone the Buffy road I’ll do so as well. It’s like Spike explains to Buffy as for his reasons to help her stop Angelos from destroying the world, it’s one thing to talk about ending the world over a cup of blood but when it comes down to it no one really mean it since this world is way too much fun.

  • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

    Obama didn’t apologise. That’s just a fact. The statement that was willfully construed as an apology was not one, was not made in response to the attacks but before them, and was not made by President Obama in the first place but by embassy staff on TWITTER. When somebody as educated as Ben Stein can’t sieve that reality out of the fiction factory that is corporate media and the platform they provide for chronic liars like Romney, then what’s the point in having that level of education? I’m tempted to just assume he’s lying for the sake of gratifying his own political biases, but it’s such a profound and demonstrable falsehood that surely somebody remotely smart would understand it’s counterproductive to tell such blatant lies? My guess is that he’s not looking for any information on this issue outside of Fox News, but it is quite frightening how complete a false reality can be constructed that even highly successful lawyers aren’t able to escape the bubble. This allergy to facts the right has is dangerous. We cannot maintain political stability in a country where presidential candidates and media outlets just endlessly say the opposite of what is true.

    • Yoav

      There you go again with your librul “facts” and “reality” while real americans like Ben Stein just know that Obama is really a secret commiebalackislamonazi that hate jesus who keep apologizing to muslims by writing his apology notes on missiles and have them delivered all over the muslim world by drones.

      • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

        I know you’re kidding, and it’s funny, but I think it bears repeating that their attitude of “I just know things, I don’t care what the facts say” is enormously dangerous. Like when the facts said Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and two men who heard voices in their head wound up killing thousands of their own soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians. You can’t legislate against stupidity but I do wish we could come up with some kind of system that penalises, rather than rewards, political figures who tell endless lies.

        • Yoav

          the Iraq war is my go to argument whenever somone bring up the claim, most recently made by S.E Cupp, that an atheist president won’t have a higher power to hold him in check as an example to what lengths would a president who think he’s doing god’s bidding will go to.

  • A3Kr0n

    You can’t lose what you never had.

  • BC

    A while back, I remember hearing that apocalyptic fantasies are part of a deeper unhappiness with the current state of the world and one’s place in it. In apocalyptic fantasies, the world is radically changed (by a zombie attack or the second coming or who knows what in 2012) and you cease to be an average joe living a regular life among billions of other people – and you become a survivor (perhaps one of the last, and therefore, important to the survival of the species), life is no longer dull, people depend on you for their very survival, the old problems cease to be problems anymore. In Armageddon, Jesus rescues you from the world, delivers you to heaven, and punishes all those bad people (Obama, Muslims, etc) that are making you so angry.

    It’s an escapist fantasy. The second coming is essentially “Jesus as Superman coming to save the day”.

  • Thin-ice

    What’s a good Jew like Ben Stein getting into bed with fundie evangelicals who believe in the Rapture and Tribulation? Doesn’t he know that the Jews get screwed and left behind in the Rapture? He’s being used like a dumb tool, to be cast aside when our beloved Lord and Savior of Jesus Christ returns for his Church, the Bridegroom returning for his Bride.

    • Thin-ice

      (Sorry, leave out the “of” between Savior and Jesus!)

  • Bob Jase

    If you think Stein is crazy read the comments – he almost comes off as reasonable compared to the fundie facists who lick his crap up.

  • http://patheos.com RickRay1

    Stein did get one thing right. In the title of his (rotten tomato) movie it does say “No Intelligence Allowed.” Isn’t that the way religion works since it’s all based on faith, no evidence or intelligence?

  • Kodie

    Stupid people and their stupid feelings; signs and whatnot; perceptions. I took a look this morning at what the Catholics of Patheos were saying and it’s just so thick with stupidity about persecuted Christians. Stein quotes that his friend is angry at the liberal media, not just angry but “so angry” that they can’t sleep. Anyway, from what I understand about Christian perception is that it’s only a matter of time before they are actually going to be killed for believing what they believe, that the push-back is so hurtful on them they’re sure it’s about to get really violent, and of course, once the endtimes come, they have to rally and believe. When Jesus asks them, or anyone, really, even as they are quaking in their boots about their personal survival, they have to stand up and speak out for Jesus.

    So you know what’s weird is this whole shit of heaven and hell, when it’s really the powerful argument of the Armageddon thingie. They have it in mind that they are soldiers for the good fight. So at the slightest indication, they are preparing for the melodrama of it all. Once I decide there’s going to be a red horse, well I’m going to be certain and expectant about that, right? I wasn’t raised religious, haven’t read the bible, and just somewhat familiar with the persuasion tactics used in the bible. It apparently builds to something. It accuses people who deny god of being fools; it apparently “prophesies” that there will be people who think this all sounds really crazy, and they’re the fools, not us! Is that no listed as an actual prophesy, so confirming the truth of the bible for a devout Christian whenever they encounter an atheist. And then if that’s not what it takes to control you, someday SOON, and you have to be ready for it at any time, the shit’s really going to fall down, and if you deny god to save yourself, you’re fucked, totally 100% fucked. You will be tested all the time and when you fail, you’re fucked. So get ready today, and stay ready all the time, and believe crazy shit because you don’t want to end up all fucked. You know how those Christians always like to leave that last threatening word, that we’ll be sorry we didn’t come to Jesus before all this shit happened, and we’ll be on our knees the day we die, the day it’s proven to us, it’s too late to change your mind. Or heart. Whatever.

    Another thing I guess is, you know, I thought the whole idea of having a religion was to sort of to develop some sort of emotional shelving system. I don’t know if it’s healthier, but sometimes it seems like a handy device to put things in a perspective that actually renders the meaning out of everything rather than into anything. As soon as you can say, in so many words, “God’s plan,” what it really means is none of your life on earth does mean anything in the larger picture – in 100 years, it won’t matter that your life was dull and painful or difficult, even if extremely so. And for some reason, without heaven, this becomes too depressing a realization for Christians. But when life is tough, it can make a person anxious, and that tension is both unbearable and counter-productive at times. So I don’t understand why they panic, except that this is what animals do. They say they can rely on god, but they always live in some context where god might not actually love them, they are dirty foul sinners and even have to admit they can’t be sure they’re pleasing him enough. If god has a will, maybe it’s to put them in hell, this sensation Ben Stein describes of his friend and his wife is apparently a contagious form of pre-test jitters.

    • Norm

      Oh dear Kodie you have been reading all your own material and believing your own advertising.Try going to a church and find out what they believe and why .

      • Sunny Day

        Is this you pretending to contribute something to the discussion? Come back when you have something more than, “Because I say so.”

        • Norm

          Why do I make your day cloudy sunshine?

          • Mogg

            Because your comments are simultaneously banal and supercilious, and you display no signs of actually wishing to contribute anything meaningful?

            • Norm

              Read the comments Mogg and show me an example of meaningful.All I see is cynicism and derogatory chat,nothing constructive at all.My comment to Kodie was encouragement to find out exactly what it is your disparaging,and if you still disagree then fine,but as it is the best shes got is “I read it in a magazine”,type of factoid.

            • Mogg

              I wasn’t referring only to this topic, but to every topic you have commented on, both blogside and on the forum. Kodie raised a very good discussion point in her third paragraph, already commented on by Len, about the common idea that religious people have an extra tool to handle emotional stress being completely contradicted by this article. You could have jumped in right there and engaged in an interesting conversation about her perception, but you seem to be intent on insulting Kodie and shutting her down, rather than engaging and discussing. You have done this ad nauseam, without even a hint of wishing to add anything constructive. You have a ridiculously high view of your own opinion and yet cannot subject it to the most basic of analysis. You can’t even understand why that might be useful, and have rejected the genuine offer to help you improve your capacity for self-reflection and analysis with well-proven tools of logic, repeatedly and comprehensively.

              If you want to see meaningful, first look to yourself.

            • Kodie

              @Norm – if you found something wrong with what I’ve said, suggesting I go to church isn’t helpful. Why don’t you engage in a conversation? If you want to discuss what I said and what you didn’t think I got right, insulting me without substance or content isn’t productive. Take for example, most of the responses to your posts contain some form of engagement to you. What have you said wrong? MANY PEOPLE have gone over exactly where your thinking has diverged. By contrast, you offer nothing in the way of using substance in your participation.

              Just look at what Mogg writes, and Ursa. I really don’t think you have anything in your head because it seems to blow by you, but other people do give you some credit. They have given you their time and attention in an effort to raise you up to a level of discourse. It doesn’t mean what you believe is right or wrong – it’s that you can’t even communicate effectively but believe that you are; that you don’t try and you’re really stubborn about it, and becoming just spiteful and relieving yourself of the insults (or criticisms) by just being a plain old fucking ahole douche. When someone said to you two weeks or so ago that you keep dodging and not answering the question, what did that mean to you? To keep doing it or to continue not realizing that’s exactly what you’re doing?

              Let’s try again – what do you think is wrong with my goddamned article, specifically, what do you disagree with, and why and what is your basis for your opinion, and stuff like that. That’s how you hold up your end of a conversation without people getting impatient with you and calling you names. Is that clear enough for you? No Latin.

            • Norm

              Well Kodie i guess when you start a response with”stupid people with stupid feelings” pretty much sums up your ability for a conversation,then you spend the next two paragraphs confirming your ignorance to which I replied with,”you havent got a clue what your talking about,why dont you educate yourself”.If you call all your ranting and raving effective communicating your deluding yourself.Re-read your own advice to me and apply it to your own life.By the third paragraph you did have a worthwhile comment that was insightful,if you had started with that i may had something else to say.Yes we are quite different people, you have ability’s i lack and vice versa,so what.You say you want to engage in conversation,so do I but cut out the vitriol.Its true I dont have the same education as you and others here and I appriciate that would frustrate you,but you will have to live with that and move on,if we were living in the same house Im sure there would be things I could do that you would struggle with.I picture everyone on this blog as if we were in the same room talking about stuff,we are all here of our own freewill,not locked up to fight it out or in a classroom to be lectured so can we just relax.Im sorry if i have offended you in any way,I do tend to react poorly at times.Norm

            • Kodie

              Yeah, people often use their feelings as a basis to guide them through reality. When your feelings tell you something like an apocalypse is about to happen, you sound like a crazy person. Except for the fact that the bible is so widely spread and believed, I mean. It’s not believed by everyone, but people make a basic assumption that their feeble attempts to understand and describe the impulses created in their own imagination connect them to other people without filtering their crazy thoughts, yeah, I would call that stupid people and their stupid feelings. Sometimes there is a reason to panic, and sometimes there isn’t, but maybe it’s just tension and why would someone attribute that tension they feel to a cataclysmic supernatural event? Why would they even suspect that’s about to happen? Because people talk about it as if it were a real event that could even happen. An imaginary supernatural catastrophe that hasn’t happened yet – a knee-jerk reaction to tension and flaky things like signs. Didn’t we already go over this about the monster under the bed a few months ago?

              For what it’s worth, your effort shows. Are you here to learn something or teach something? Because it’s hard to have you around if you’re not here to learn anything and you’re terrible at teaching us anything. I didn’t read any of this in a magazine – I’ve encountered actual Christians using inexplicably outlandish arguments and using some words to react to my thoughts on this particular post based on my observation of real Christians and the loony things they think and say out loud, with no embarrassment at all about how crazy they sound.

            • Kodie

              Yeah, people often use their feelings as a basis to guide them through reality. When your feelings tell you something like an apocalypse is about to happen, you sound like a crazy person. Except for the fact that the bible is so widely spread and believed, I mean. It’s not believed by everyone, but people make a basic assumption that their feeble attempts to understand and describe the impulses created in their own imagination connect them to other people without filtering their crazy thoughts, yeah, I would call that stupid people and their stupid feelings. Sometimes there is a reason to panic, and sometimes there isn’t, but maybe it’s just tension and why would someone attribute that tension they feel to a cataclysmic supernatural event? Why would they even suspect that’s about to happen? Because people talk about it as if it were a real event that could even happen. An imaginary supernatural catastrophe that hasn’t happened yet – a knee-jerk reaction to tension and flaky things like signs. Didn’t we already go over this about the monster under the bed a few months ago?

              For what it’s worth, your effort shows. Are you here to learn something or teach something? Because it’s hard to have you around if you’re not here to learn anything and you’re terrible at teaching us anything. I didn’t read any of this in a magazine – I’ve encountered actual Christians using inexplicably outlandish arguments and using some words to react to my thoughts on this particular post based on my observation of real Christians and the loony things they think and say out loud, with no embarrassment at all about how crazy they sound. If you don’t understand how your own brain works (admittedly an advanced subject for most of us) and how your own thoughts can mislead you (something you can get an idea of from wikipedia), and why you’re so impressionable and credulous, if you’re unfamiliar with terms like “cognitive bias,” and would rather attribute all your funny feelings to a deity or even your gut or what you and your gullible brain accept as “common sense,” then you’re going to just get testy any time someone spoils your image of yourself by pointing out where you’ve erred.

              Yes, I find the doom of Armageddon a silly thing to believe, and when people describe that it’s about to happen based on their feelings, I have to say what I said. Bad things are going to happen, but that’s only because we live on earth. It’s not evil, it’s part of living on a planet with geological shifts and weather, a lot of water, and a lot of greedy people, etc. Why panic like it’s the end of the world? Because the world is changing and people don’t want it to? They have watched too much television to get “informed” and now they’re freaking out? How does any of that add up to Armageddon when you get sane? And how do these same people deny global warming – if that’s not dire enough, split to something totally imaginary and supernatural? Who has the scientific evidence and who is racked up on feelings and nightmares because of a fairy tale?

            • Kodie

              Oy vey – the post didn’t post, it just hung and I got an error page and then I thought of a few more things, so yeah. :| Help me please, srvr monkeh

      • Len

        I think that Kodie’s 3rd para pretty much nails it.

      • Kodie

        I’ve seen enough Christians trot out their simplistic fears and misunderstandings on how the world works to have a better idea than you do why they believe what they believe, and I’ve seen none of them bring evidence.

  • Dutchgirl

    Oops, Mr Stein, your white male Christian privilege is showing. Better turn around and take care of that.

  • Donalbain

    Why would a Jewish person think there is the feel of End Times in the air? Surely that can’t happen until AFTER the Messiah has arrived?

    • trj

      I wondered about that too; a Jew associating to the Christian Apocalypse seems rather strange. My guess is he’s just catering to his Christian audience.

  • http://lonewolfsden.net/ Lone Wolf

    Yes! All the signs are there. There would is going to end… now! Okay it didn’t end there but it will end now! Okay, okay the world didn’t end those two times but it could end now! Just because I was wrong 3 times doesn’t mean the world will not end now! Okay but we know the world will end soon like right now! Goddammit!

  • Don Gwinn

    Awwww, the End of Days?

    Not AGAIN!

    Every time the world comes to an end as foretold in holy scripture, it always seems like we just got done with the last time, doesn’t it?

  • Charlie Sitzes

    When all the commotion broke out in the academic world over a little shard of pottery which contains a hint that Jesus may have had a wife, this passage from Macbeth came to mind:
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more.
    It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Here are the sobering facts.

    When our Sun expands into a red giant, (as all suns eventually do) it will expand to consume the Earth’s orbit, boiling away its oceans and turning it back into its original form; a molten ball of rock. Future space travelers will have no reason to land here and even if they do, everything will have disappeared without a trace. There will be not one sentient being to mourn our passing. And to tell you the truth, considering how we humans have behaved during our brief sojourn here on this tiny planet, we don’t deserve to be mourned.

    Our egos have a terrible time accepting this fact. That is the reason we have to invent gods that give us a promise of eternal life. We just cannot, in our egotistical, self-centered, misconception of reality bring ourselves to accept truth. We are too cowardly to accept truth. We are too cowardly to accept truth and we our too intellectually lazy to accept it when it slaps us in the face. Cowardice and laziness, the two things that describe why religion has ruled and why it will mean the end of civilization.

    Our only hope is to have the courage to forego childish fairy tales and to teach our children truth. But first we must admit truth is arrived at by evidence and hard work, not by revelation from some ignorant bronze age goat herder.

    • Kodie

      I have gotten upset reactions from people when I told them I actually find this comforting.


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