This way lies madness…

November 19th, 2020
by Chris

I’ve just watched a commentator who has pulled together some of the more bizarre reactions of American evangelicalism regarding the recent election. I’ve seen most of them previously, but never had them presented side by side before.

Needless to say, were I American, I wouldn’t have given any of them creedence, in part because I both reject the concept that God is all-controlling and consider that the examples of Cyrus (given in the video) and David are horribly misleading when applied to Trump. But that isn’t remotely the only reason.

Now, I may be extremely liberal in my theology, but I don’t rule out the possibility of prophecy, nor even prophecy which predicts near-future events. On balance, I think that some people on some occasions have been able to predict the future in a prophetic way, though I remark that in the Bible prophecy is virtually always against the ruling classes, against the powerful, against the status quo – and I note that in all the clips in the video, the prediction is in favour of the status quo. I also don’t rule out the possibility, even likelihood, that a truly prophetic word will sound deranged to many listeners (as they will tend to think there is no alternative to the status quo) – or even that the words of people who are genuinely mentally ill may have prophetic content. There is, after all, Biblical evidence that a number of the Prophets displayed behaviour which we would now consider evidence of mental illness, and Ezekiel is perhaps the primary example.

However, I would also not give these evangelists creedence because what they are saying is clearly hysterical; they are obviously in an overwrought state, and even if they were saying things which would be music to my ears (such as that the world would shortly experience a collective metanoia, turn to ecological sanity and end the threat of climate change) I would, if faced with them in real life, retreat to a safe distance and well out of earshot of them and their followers. Why? After all, they are clearly making fools of themselves (as one of them has the good grace to admit).

The answer is, because their delivery is clearly not just hysterical, it’s hysteria-inducing. And the last place I want to be is in a crowd subject to mass hysteria.

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