Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Through a Dark Looking Glass

TheRaven has long avoided a look into the wacky world of online Christian hucksterism. The interests, claims and positions of purported experts in "bible prophesy" and related nonsense are ridiculous by design. Christian hucksters premise their game on a simple foundation: acceptance of the bible as literal truth. Biblical literalists are easy prey because the bible, cobbled together from texts in three languages and subjected to further linguistic interpretation over 1,600 subsequent years, is utterly contradictory. The next time you find someone thumping the King James Bible in denunciation of homosexuals, ask them a simple question: who was King James? Biblical contradiction isn't limited to the printed word but it is fertile ground for profiting from the credulous.

Online biblical literalism is a Lewis Carroll nightmare. Richard Dawkins' characterization of religious fervor as mental illness is not off the mark, although Dawkins is an obnoxious elitist who missed the primacy of the Constitution (he's British) and defeats his own cause by advocating atheism. One of the many deists who founded America, Thomas Paine, had a better view: my own mind is my own church.

Unfortunately for TheRaven, who keenly appreciates mental health, the Be-A-Loon investigation discovered Don Koenig. You might remember him as one of many so-called Bible Prophets. TheRaven chased a few of Don's links and read some of his online discussions. Sheer lunacy was right around the corner in the form of a major whiskey tango foxtrot named

With a nod to Christopher Hitchens, this post begins inquiry on how Christian opportunists fleece the flock. The foundation is, of course, biblical literalism. Once the bible is used to block rational thought, the door to exploitation hangs wide open. It's like a virus that enables parasites. We may return to this inquiry in future as new material is discovered. Annotated screen shots with corresponding explanations begin our dark journey......

A) Where would a "Christian ministry" hold its UFO and Bible Prophecy conference? Where else but that unofficial capital of delusional thought, Roswell, New Mexico. One could argue that "Roswell" says it all, but please continue, there's more!

B) "Why do many Christians Think aliens are Demons?" - because ministers and conference organizers make more money if, after titillating the credulous with "aliens", they can scare open their wallets with "demons".

C) Leaving aside the phrase "unusual mission field" (which proves that Christianists have no sense of irony or humor), the Charisma Magazine story "Aliens Among Us" is highly revealing. Charisma magazine, purveyor of "spirit-filled news" is one of seven magazines published by Strang Communications. Two of the others are titled The Church Bookstore and Christian Retailing. Strang is well-positioned to profit from the charismatic fervor it instigates. And what might that be? According to the Charisma website, once you've been "filled with the holy spirit", the faithful may "operate in at least one charismatic gift, such as (speaking in) tongues, prophecy or healing". In other words, the Charisma demographic is Pentecostal, America's least educated religious affiliation. Hindus, who are the most educated American religious group, are characterized by numerous advanced degrees while Pentecostalism is known for a disproportionate concentration of high school dropouts. "Aliens Among Us" is a pointless fable written in 6th grade English.

D) Our jump through the looking glass found really poor web site design but Alien Resistance managed to nail down a .org and a .com. Funny how the .org is commercial while the .com site is used by Alien Resistance Ministries. There's no attempt to conceal naked commercialism here.

E) "Resisting the Alien Deception in the Power of Christ". Isn't it funny that a group whose stock and trade is literalism misses the literal interpretation of their creed, which is that the "Power of Christ" is influenced by alien deception.

F) There is a profession called copy editors whose job entails fixing English so that it makes sense to its intended audience. Copy editors work in advertising and publishing. A presentation titled "The Strong Delusion: UFOs, Aliens and the Coming Deception" is either evidence that their are no copy editors within 1,000 miles of a Christian huckster or that this presenter truly holds his audience in contempt.

G) The church sign looks like a parody of a real Church sign. (You can make your own fake church signs, ridicule Scientology and excoriate the Westboro "Baptist Church" at

H) Leaving aside the inherent nonsense of "Spiritual View of the UFO Phenomenon", "Evidences" should be singular. Perhaps copy editors, a near universally educated profession, have boycotted such nonsense?

I) "...former abductees who stopped their abduction experiences in the name and authority of Jesus Christ". A "former abductee" is one who has been abducted. The abduction occured in the past. How can they stop an experience that has already happened? Is the name and authority of Jesus Christ some kind of time machine? Welcome to Wonderland! Next stop, God's own symposium on Aliens.

J) "Ancient of Days" is a name for God in languages of antiquity. Nice way to dress up a bogus imprimatur, much more elegant than simply "God". I wonder how many of the credulous even question "Ancient of Days"?

K) Check out this dude in the Druid suit (or is that a Klan Kostume?). Click the link and he blows his horn (picture below). Exactly what does faux Druidic horn blowing have to do with a "Christian Symposium on Aliens"? The comic book mysticism is perfectly at odds with organizer claims that acceptance of UFOs as anything but "evil spirits known as demons" will lead the unwary to embrace "new age beliefs".

L) There are 10 purchase buttons on this page, each corresponds to products offered by symposium presenters. Nine of the buttons says "donate" and one says "buy now". Using "donate" is clever and cynical use of Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to shield against possible application of consumer fraud statutes. Qualifying language appears at the bottom of page:

Some of us have a calling to research and teach the above material, which we already have done without earning income from the work (call us compelled). We do not however, further exceed our scriptural obligations (in this case) by giving these DVDs away, but invite you to fulfill your scriptural obligation by naming your own price according to your own conscience and ability to pay. Those who cannot afford much may simply offer whatever they can; those who can afford it are asked to offer a more reasonable amount to enable us to continue this work, and to help provide for sending DVDs to those who cannot offer much at this time. If your suggested donation does not at least cover our reproduction & shipping costs, you will be notified and your donation will be refunded immediately if desired.

Translation: buy our superstitious nonsense at the price we'll ultimately specify, meanwhile, we'll hide behind characterization of commercial transactions as fulfillment of your religious duty.

"Ancient of Days" inspires more than just con artists. There's a band in Leeds that goes by that moniker and they need a vocalist. Perhaps they could snag the horn-blowing dude. His YouTube clip is only a one-note instrumental but even if he can't sing, he's got the right look for the band's revelations-ready genre. They play death metal.

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