June.29. 2014

I’m fascinated with this guy I found on satellite TV.

I’m talking about real satellite TV, beamed directly from a satellite out there onto a dish parked in my mother’s backyard.

(Yes, I’m on sabbatical once again in the heart of Borneo.)

It takes a lot of nerve to call yourself the Appointed Son of God and expect people to believe you and this man does exactly that.

His congregation seems the very epitome of what all people should look like – handsome young men and pretty young women.

(You can see the occasional old folk in the crowd but for the most part, they’re invisible. Leading one to conjecture perhaps that if this Son of God succeeds in building his paradise on earth, all the old folks [as well as ugly people] in that paradise would all be prematurely sent to heaven à la Logan’s Run.)

The theology he spouts is mostly derived from the Christian canon with generous quotations from John, but I’m a little perplexed by his name choice which is that of a pagan Greek God.

I’m fascinated with this man because I’m having enough trouble convincing my students that they should practice, and this man is out there, apparently able to convince his followers that he’s the Appointed Son of God.

At least one thing you can say for him is that he doesn’t wear glasses.

There was another charismatic (and quite myopic) leader years ago who actually went one step further and claimed not only to be the Son of God, but God himself. To which one late-night talk-show host made the observation that he, the self-proclaimed God, also happened to wear glasses.

In trying to understand the phenomenon of wacky (or unscrupulous) preachers and the gullible people who follow them, I’ve come to the conclusion that it all lies in tapping into the comfort zones of people.

This is the Achilles heel of all people.

The key to enslaving people and making them believe in whatever nonsense you want them to believe is to penetrate their comfort zones.

What is this comfort zone?

It’s that part of your reality which gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

As in when you participate in a communal orgy of hero worshipping your great leader and giving praise to some imaginary paradise, the feeling being bolstered and reinforced with great rousing music, music with strong rhythms and angelic harmonies that will make anyone’s spirits soar.

Under these conditions, how can anyone not feel good and joyous and saved?

The sight of all the pretty young women in the choir wearing the same angelic wigs and outfit helps too. (For women, the sight of all the young handsome young men dressed in their dashing white suits.)

Interestingly enough, the use of pretty young women as props in religious evangelism seems to be quite a prevalent practice.

I’ve noticed that almost without exception, every preaching evangelist who has knocked on my door trying to sell me salvation, is almost always accompanied by one or two pretty young women.

What is the subliminal message they’re trying to send with these pretty young things? I’ll leave it to your vivid imagination to figure out what that message might be.

Back to the comfort zones.

I’m of the opinion that once you penetrate someone’s comfort zone and build this fantasy world in that very private space within them, where they feel secure and peaceful and surrounded by love (whether real or imaginary) then you have created for yourself a true fanatic, someone who would do anything for you, including believe any nonsense you feed them.

Unfortunately, I do not have the megalomaniac ambitions to put this theory to the test – my students will just have to be resigned to their fate of mediocrity, (which is what awaits them if they do not practice).

The ironic thing is that the core message of this Self-Appointed Son of God is real and powerful and valid.

It’s about love and reaching your true potential and about endless possibilities.

But of course, this is standard modus operandi for scammers. To make their wild ideas seem more real, they would mix them up with some  ‘mainstream’ ideas and the wacky will become legitimate simply by association.

In this case, mix some quotations from something mainstream like the Bible with your self-anointment as Son of God, and the latter will seem more convincing.

But what endless possibilities is he talking about?

Hard to imagine, looking at the spectacle of the rapturous crowd in his congregation, all dressed alike in their white sterile uniforms, all singing their praises to him, their great leader, all apparently under the spell of this powerful Divine Being dressed in his designer suit. (Do the words ‘mindless robots’ come to mind?)

As I finish this piece, I’m in rapture myself as I watch an angelic girl in a music video at the conclusion of his powerful show. Heavily made up with fake eyelashes and mascara, this divine vision of a girl is making my heart race, just thinking of the lyrics she’s singing:

I’m gonna let it go, I’m gonna let it go.

The air that I breathe belongs to you.

I place my trust in you.

I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go.

Well, I think I’m gonna post this.


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