Here’s the question I had to ask myself when reading this news article: when people say they think President Obama is the Antichrist, are they fucking around with the pollsters? For instance, if Gallup called me and said, “Do you think Newt Gingrich is the Antichrist?”, I would not be able to resist saying yes. I’d probably toss in that I think he rapes kittens, as well. Do I literally think Newt Gingrich is the Antichrist? Of course not. I don’t believe in any gods, and that skepticism extends to their supernatural enemies. But oh, that question is too funny not to be an asshole and goof off when it’s asked of you.
However, the 14% of Americans who think that Obama is the Antichrist seem to mostly be conservative Republicans—25% of Republicans in fact. Not a group known for having a sense of humor or enough sense of irreverence to fuck around with pollsters. So when they say they think Obama is the Antichrist, they probably aren’t kidding around.
Nonetheless, I’m filing this story in my memory bank under the file “evidence that religious people don’t believe their own bullshit”. It goes in right before the item marked “or the people who quote Leviticus to condemn gay people wouldn’t eat shrimp or cut their hair” and right after the item marked “people who rewrite their religious beliefs in order to match their political leanings are kind of admitting it’s all made up anyway”. I don’t think people who believe Obama is the Antichrist really believe that. They just say it because they hate him, and it sounds dramatic and makes them feel important. I believe this, because they respond basically the way you do when you’re making shit up to feel important but don’t actually believe it.
For instance, I bet the people who claim that Obama is the Antichrist are a group that neatly overlaps with the people who believe in the Rapture. And most of the people who believe in the Rapture believe they and the people they know will totally be raptured. And yet they know that hasn’t happened yet, and it’s supposed to happen before the Antichrist ascends to power, right?
Also, I’ll bet those 14% have thought a lot of different people were the Antichrist. Glenn Beck, for instance, has called James Cameron the Antichrist. Whoever it’s supposed to be changes with the political wind, and yet the “believers” don’t seem to be ruffled at all by the fact that Antichrists are all over the place. You’d think since there is only supposed to be one Antichrist, this constant switching would make them rethink their position on this question, but that never seems to happen. Probably because they know they’re full of shit.
And that’s the other thing. You can’t tell me that all these people who believe in the End Times are so stupid that it never occurs to them that the chance that the Armageddon will happen in their lifetime is incredibly small. When you consider that Christ died 2,000 years ago, and that believers have thought End Times were likely to happen at any minute for the entire length of that 2,000 years, you have to conclude that the only reason to think you’re a member of the lucky generation is narcissism. A generation is basically 20 years, so that means that 100 generations have come and gone without seeing Christ return. You have a better shot at putting a quarter in a slot machine once and hitting a jackpot.
Also, if you thought he was the Antichrist for real, you’d probably be making different life choices. I’m thinking of how everyone in Sunnydale on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” left town before the big final battle. If you literally think someone is a powerful demon straight from hell, you don’t hang around to see what happens next. You get the hell out of Dodge. We’re talking about people who probably don’t walk around alone at night because of the fear of ordinary human muggers and rapists. Hell demons with immense powers to control armies are probably the sort of thing that makes you really think about how lovely New Zealand is this time of year. And since you aren’t raptured, I’d imagine if you really believed your own bullshit, you’d be having a major personal crisis right now due to the realization that your god has cast you out.
In general, I’m impressed by the uptick in conservatives saying things they know are bullshit. That link has a whole bunch of examples, from calling Obama a socialist to calling him a racist. They know and we know it’s all bullshit. They don’t even know what half those words mean.
Personally, I think conservatives are cracking under the strain of not being able to call people “motherfuckers”, because that’s a naughty word. I get this a lot from conservatives—anger about naughty language, suggestions that as long as we scrub the words “fuck” and “shit” from our vocabulary, that’s a proper substitute for being the kind of people who can think critically and reason. But being unable to just say “motherfucker” and “asshole” when that’s what you mean puts conservatives in this bind, and they try to resolve the tension by inventing whole new meaningless curse words to call people, like “baby killer”, “Antichrist”, and “socialist”.