...Different. You should have said Different to finish the title. I'm just saying, people. You need to know these important references!
And now, let's get down to business. I have three totally different things to share with you.
First, I know you've probably heard about this, but apparently the End Times are Nigh. I didn't realize these whackos have gotten billboards. Anyway, Jesus is coming May 21, 2011. So of course, as godless heathens, we all should have wicked parties May 22. Either way, we win!
If the rapture happens, we'll be rid of all of the mindless, overbearing, illiterate christians that text while driving and fight dirty (I have personal experience of this, many christians fight dirty, certainly they've forgotten about that whole "turn the other cheek thing their savior mentioned).
If the rapture doesn't happen, we win because we are right (again) and they look like complete idiots for thinking the rapture was ever going to happen in the first place.
This is the brilliant (cough cough, I mean asinine) method of figuring out the rapture date by Harold Camping, better known as Mr. Delusional:
From The Tennessean: the Rapture will happen exactly 7,000 years from the date that God first warned people about the flood. Camping said the flood happened in 4990 B.C., on what would have been May 21 in the modern calendar. God gave Noah one week of warning.
Since one day equals 1,000 years for God, that means there was a 7,000-year interval between the flood and rapture.
That's some fine logical calculating (er, bullshit), there! Will anyone be surprised when May 21st comes and goes and nothing happens? Anybody? No?
So, I'm going to see if I can schedule a party on May 22 for my local atheist group. If you do something for the day, let me know!
Next, here is a video a friend of mine sent me. It's from BBC3 from a show called Bullsh!t. The show gives false information to three "mediums" and then sees if they bite and give him a reading. You will probably enjoy it.
And last but not least, I am reading The Moral Landscape, as you may know, and Sam Harris talks about the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and how it defines Delusion:
A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture. (emphasis added)
This is to allow for people who have religious beliefs to not get classified as delusional, and therefore mentally unhealthy. I recently was shown a new blog, The Reasoned Resistance, who talked about this issue and what to do about it.
Basically, he says that it's not healthy to feed the delusions of someone. So without malice, basically call them on their bullshit.
Of course, as he says, sometimes we have to act and speak appropriately to keep our personal relationships and our jobs. But whenever possible, opt out and call people, gently or with humor, on their delusions of religion. I'd also add that it might be a good idea for them if you also called them on their superstitious and pseudoscientific nonsense too. It doesn't often help people.
The other side of this issue is "what's the harm?" If they aren't hurting anyone, is it really worth it to get into it with a True Believer, whether it be religion, superstition, or pseudoscience? That's a tough call, one that skeptics and atheists have to make almost every day.
Your thoughts are welcome with how you handle it now and how you feel would be the best way to handle this problem in general.
And remember, Tis the Season For Reason! :)