Sunday, December 09, 2007

Argle-Bargle means, "Praise God!"

Handmaiden and I got into a brief discussion about the Pentecostals after my last post. Unable to locate my copy of Who’s Who on the Lunatic Fringe, I had trouble placing them at first. Like most successful scams, this one has fragmented into various franchises, Assemblies of God being the largest. Their mission is not too different from that of most religious organizations: establish collection points wherever grinding poverty, wishful thinking, superstition, and ignorance can be found. Like most franchises, they have found something to differentiate their mostly undifferentiated product. In this case, their “Ronald McDonald” is “Speaking in Tongues”. They also have a quart or so of other beliefs that they have cherry-picked from biblical dogma, which they hold as important to further distinguish themselves from other Christian sects. Snake handling is mostly passé.

Handmaiden’s comment:

“To Pentecostals the gist is in Acts, chapter 2. When the Holy Ghost 'possessed' people & they started speaking in tongues. The thing about it is, I've seen the gift of tongues & things more bizarre. Although I don't believe it's God induced, it isn't faked. (I've never spoken in tongues or participated in any of the other indulgences, myself ) I don't quite understand the dynamics, but it's intensely emotional, with some letting go involved & some self hypnotism. My best description is "spiritual masturbation". If you've never experienced a real Pentecostal service, I recommend it. :)”

My reply to this comment contains untested theories, so I’m posting it here in hopes of wider commentary.

No, it isn't faked. Speaking in tongues is a form or variant of post-hypnotic suggestion. Robert Heinlein used an analogy in Time for the Stars to explain telepathy that I use to describe moments of waking hypnotism. Imagine a boy throwing a ball at a picket fence. The pickets are just far enough apart to let the ball through. Most of the time, the ball will bounce off, but every once in a while, a "perfect" throw will allow the ball to pass through without touching a picket. Such, I believe, is the filter of the human brain. Every once in a while, the subject is in a hypnagogic state, and information makes it directly through to a subconscious level. This could explain both the success of organized religion in general, and its invariably repetitive nature. I have seen such behavior first-hand, when communicating with a schizophrenic person, and once also when communicating with a person in severe emotional distress. These people were suddenly in a receptive state. They believed without question that what I was telling them was true. (I’m not one to take advantage of such situations. My opinions were accepted as valid without personal verification. When I saw this happening, I was quick to point out that other opinions existed. I’d make a terrible Preacher!) If there is a performer near you like The Erotic Hypnotic, I highly recommend that you attend a performance. Pay close attention to how the subjects are prepared before their performance. Afterward, ponder the success of advertising, and ask yourself how much slips through the cracks in the fence when you aren’t paying full attention. You will learn a lot about human nature.

I think that there is one other major ingredient in the proliferation of the speaking in tongues meme. The participants have seen others do this before them, and therefore “know” that it is possible. The fact that the Pentecostal churches hold this practice in such high regard doesn’t hurt either. The subject is driven by a strong need to perform in this way. There is also the possibility that those that do perform this feat have received “special” or “personal” communion sessions from the Master of Ceremonies, the Preacher-in-Charge, and this is an actual post-hypnotic performance. I don’t put anything past hucksters and professional bullshit artists.


At 8:20 AM, Blogger Rita said...

ha ha! this just too damn funny :)& it's a good thing because if you grow up with it, there are things about it that aren't funny.

Your take on it is very good.

Apparently I'm not easily hypnotized.
But why does this stuff make some of us feel creepy & sweaty?* I have actually seen other people run away in terror from pentecostal revival meetings.
How do you explain that?

*not you, Pentecostalism.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Rita said...

BTW, I was looking at some of your old blogs & comments & I came across this comment from you "Anon: I am voting for Dennis Kucinich for much the same reason. I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils, and I no longer care if I am backing a "winner".
I did that in the 04 election, look what & my ilk has been blamed for starting the fucking war, because we voted on principle.
My advice is to vote Democrat. get those Republican ----!@#$ out of there. That is the lesser of two evils. it doesn't matter which Democrat
The idea is to get a foothold. Principle gets you nowhere in politics.
This is one of the hard facts of life

At 11:17 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Ah, too true about principles and politics. I will vote for whomever has a chance of beating the evil, heartless, assholes that are in control right now. As usual, these rats have pillaged all they can, and are jumping off in time for everything to go "splat". They will then blame this on the Dems who are incumbent when it crashes, and come back and do it again.

I am no longer voting for Kucinich in the primary by the way, his belief that we can print our way out of recession makes him non-viable. The kind of inflation that would cause would act as a one-two punch to the economy, along with the deficit mess this band of thugs has created.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

I think that some people are creeped out by Pentecostals having what looks like epileptic fits for the same reason that some people are creeped out by clowns and some by porcelain-head dolls. Can’t really explain it, just gets them on a visceral level.

Sid Caesar holds the all-time record for speaking in tongues by the way. He can speak gibberish that sounds like any one of at least 8 European languages. To my knowledge, no religious organization has ever remarked on this one way or another. I find that significant, but that’s just me.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Romeo Morningwood said...

Having faked my way through a ten year term in a Pentachostile environment perhaps I can shed some light on the subject.
The incredible peer pressure to imitate the sounds of others speaking in tongues is the main ingrdient. If you cannot mimic the eastern european-yiddish-egyptian-archeolatinesque sounding nonsensical chanting then you are obviously not one of THEM or retarded in your faith.

The reasoning behind it all is that Satan cannot comprehend what you are saying to God..although equally baffling is that your brain doesn't know either, but apparently your spirit does.

You must remember that in the Pentecostal world you are essentially a spirit being so the fact that you have no idea what you are talking about is of little consequence...and proven in spades by Televangelists on a regular basis.

It is beautiful in it's simplicity. The appeal of having a direct secret language with the Almighty is uber is an instant self congratulatory acknowledgement that you are closer to the Creator than all of those Apostle's Creed rote reciting stiffs and corporally mortificating albino Opus Dei assassins. Suh-weet!

Now I know plenty of functioning successful people who believe in their heart of hearts that they are really on to something despite all empirical evidence to the contrary and I do not wish to poke my finger in their eye just because I was a faulty Pentchostile dropout. I have no doubt that they believe in what they are doing...unfortunately just because you believe in something it doesn't make it true.

Thank God we never got into snake handling because I wouldn't be here today.

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Rita said...

I love the internet, it's so enlightening. it's also a great forum for honesty.

I'm going to show these comments to my little brothers who are also suffering from post traumatic Pentecostalism.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Thank you all for your comments. They have been most enlightening.

I have been procrastinating regarding my next post. I will probably postpone and move on to another instead. The subject is a form of exploitation that I find particularly digusting as the prey are teenaged children. In my strange life, I have cleaned out a latrine, and shoveled out ancient muck from a rusted-out septic tank that I was replacing. I find that more attractive than thinking about a certain slime and his ministry. Your comments have made me see a parallel between one of his methods and speaking in tongues. Thanks for the insight.

At 1:42 AM, Blogger Romeo Morningwood said...

Hairy Crizzmoose!

At 7:37 AM, Blogger BEAST FCD said...

The funny thing about speaking in tongues is that I am very good at faking it, and I do it intentionally just to piss off my christian friends.

Yes, in any case, speaking in tongues is pure bullshit, and anyone can imitate it.Throw in a bit of writhing and rolling on the ground, and you get the real authentic evangelical roadshow.


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