The Undercover Atheist, John Hagee, and Speaking in Tongues

Obama had his religious nutter (Rev. Wright) and now McCain seems to have his own in the form of John Hagee, the televangelist and pastor for a Megachurch in San Antonio, TX (Cornerstone) was heard to state “biblical verses made clear that Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust was part of God’s plan to chase the Jews from Europe and drive them to Palestine” [this quote is from this NY Times article, not Hagee directly]. The articled linked in the previous sentence goes in to far more detail and you’ve probaby already heard it all anyway.

But what I wanted to make note of was a new book that you might not know about. Written by Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement [Amazon.com] is a first-hand account of an atheist who goes “undercover” with a church-group to a boot camp for new converts, encountering all sorts of madness, nutty behavior, and characters both scary and delightful along the way (mostly scary, it would seem). In an excerpt, which you can read here [Alternet.org], Taibbi shares his observations getting on the bus to go to the boot camp and with members learning to speak in tongues while pretending to get the holy ghost.

The excerpt is short and there are a host of comments defending either Taibbi & atheists or Hagee & religious nuts.

6 Responses

  1. That was certainly brave of Matt Taibbi to go to that “Christian indoctrination camp”. No wonder these folks have that blank stare in their eyes. It’s like you want to say “hello, in there?” There’s an old song that goes something like this….”They used to do acid and now they found Jesus but they still have that look in their eyes.”

  2. I read the online excerpt from Taibi’s book. A lot of religious fervor is based on emotion and shared experiences with others. That’s why religion appeals so strongly to the emotionally and socially needy. I’m not saying that all believers are emotionally or socially warped – in fact, most are not, they are simply raised in traditions that they carry on – but some believers find connections in churches that they don’t get anywhere else.

  3. Taibbi is brilliant! Ive read his Spanking the Donkey and I couldnt stop laughing! Hes also an anarchist

  4. No one can teach you to speak in tongues. Either you are filled with the Holy Spirit or you are not. The experience is not based on emotionalism or indoctrination. Either you are filled with the Spirit or you are not. One who is truly filled with the Holy Spirit can experience the actions of the Spirit and ill speak tongues whenever, where ever. Whether in a car, at home by oneself as I have experienced, at work, restaurant where ever. Unless you have experienced the Holy Spirit you cannot speak on the Holy Spirit. Live YOUR life however you choose but do not try to tell me the Holy Spirit is false when I have experienced it and you clearly have not.

  5. “Holy spirit?” There’s no apparent such thing. What people are filled with, quite frankly, is bullshit.

    No instance of glossolalia has ever been shown to be an actual language. The religious nut (the one that thinks he/she is “filled with a ghost” and speaking in “tongues”) will attempt to retort that it can’t be shown to be a language because no one on earth speaks the language; or it’s the language of angels; etc.

    This, however, is an argument from ignorance and here’s why: these same religious nuts who think they’re “talking in tongues” aren’t talking at all. Anyone with even a modicum of linguistic training can recognize the lack of structure and the distinct trend of nonsense. You can google YouTube videos of evangelical nuts pretending to “speak in tongues” and all they’re doing is babbling what sounds like baby talk. One lady even claims she’s experiencing a “holy ghost enema up the butt.”

    That’s completely wacked.

    No one can teach you to “speak in tongues.” This is because there’s no “speaking involved.” Anyone, however, can babble. Some do it better than others -some even believe their babbling is a real language (they don’t know what it means, of course).

    D.T. Gamble is betting that he/she has “experienced” a holy spirit when I have not, therefore I can’t tell her anything. She’s right. I can’t tell her (or him) a thing that she’ll accept. She’s already bought-in. She has a conclusion to which she will accept as true only that information which confirms that conclusion. There’s not a single shred of evidence for her conclusion; there’s no confirmation that her conclusion has the remotest possibility of being true; and there’s absolutely no good reason to believe in her conclusion.

    This gives rise to the question: why does D.T. Gamble believe in hokey nonsense like holy spirits and speaking in tongues?

    The answer is probably a combination of mental disposition, genetic influence, cultural memetics, and plain old gullibility.

    No one has ever experienced a “holy spirit.” Plenty of people have experienced delusions, though.

  6. I am a Christian and a Spirit filled one at that. I do speak in tongues in my prayer closet. I believe that speaking in tongues is reserved for your prayer closet unless you are prompted by the spirit to give a message at church with an interperter. I always spend time reading my bible, praying and asking the Lord to reveal to my spirit what he wants too. I don’t always speak in tongues, unless the lord inspires me too. Yes you cant teach someone to speak in tongues, but if your open to it you will. SOmetimes I sing scripture in my prayer closet, especially the Psalms. I am not a nut job either. I hold 2 Masters degrees in Music and in education. My wife is a reg nurse as well. We always pray as a family too, before we go to bed. If people would give God a chance and not shut him out and just ask him to help you and reveal what he has for you, he will in his own time. God’s time and our time are different. God can always say three things to you. Yes, NO or wait a little while because he knows what is best for you more than you know. I am a teacher and everyday before the kids come into class – I always say a quick short prayer for the class and students. It really helps.

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