“…and lo, I looked, and the Pale Horseman did pick up a few bucks on the side…”

February 10, 2011 at 12:11 am 20 comments

Okay, I’m going to go a bit off-script here, and throw out a rant.  A rant that, despite truly heroic efforts on the part of my inhibitory circuits, I simply cannot withhold.  I normally like my posts to be more polished than this, but what the hey.  Consider this a brief follow up to my earlier post about how to handle Facebook.  A personal aside, if you will.

One of my relatives just posted this link on their FB page, that showed up in my newsfeed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j321v_3dwUM.

It shows a scene from the recent unrest in Egypt in which, due to either a lens-flare or Photoshop prankster — and really, who the hell cares which, the ghostly image (well, kinda sorta, if you squint real hard) of a horse and rider appears to move through the crowd.

Needless to say, the people posting this and commenting on it are getting “goose bumps” and “chills” declaring for all to know that “God is REAL!!”  It is, they are quite sure, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  These are very nice people, and they are not kidding.

Oh, dear me.

All I can say is that its striking, unsettling, and not a little scary just how credulous people can be.  I’ve been a skeptic so long I tend to forget that. I tend to hang around atheists and agnostics, or at least fairly nonreligious people.  I read nonreligious books and blogs.  It’s easy to loose touch with how almost indescribably, painfully eager some people are to believe.  I mean criminy — even from within the framework of an evangelical Christian worldview, there is nothing whatsoever that requires one to believe that this video is real.  It’s a Horseman of the Apocalypse?  Seriously?  Is that really the best explanation here — even if you are a Christian, does that even make sense?  Wouldn’t one expect a Horseman of the Apocalypse to be more, well, apocalyptic than that?  What, is he the Horseman of Crowd Control? Conquest, War, Famine, and uh, Teargas? Are they moonlighting, maybe?

(For the record, I did not myself comment on this FB thread.  That would be an unpleasant experience for all, shall we say.)

It is times like these that I am very grateful for online communities such as this one.  It can be very lonely out there.  Skeptics are still, despite everything, a rare breed.  More than that, critical thinking itself is a rare skill.  Their interpretation of this video is nonsensical even from within their worldview.  It just packs an emotional punch, so it must be true. It’s kind of amazing our species has made it this long.

Okay, <whew>  I feel better. Thanks for indulging! I can wipe the spittle off my computer now!

– Richard

Entry filed under: Richard.

Signposts on My De-Conversion Trail Invisible Beings + Imagination = Drama

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Thin-ice  |  February 10, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Oh, wow! I completely missed how this Egypt unrest would get the “Left Behind” crowd all in a lather about it being another piece of the puzzle to Jesus’ return.

    But it all makes sense. Any time any event slightly out of the ordinary happens in the Middle East, the Tim LaHays are firing up their laptops to write more books and articles. Even as I write this my fundamentalist mother is probably having trouble getting to sleep at nights at the prospect of being “raptured” soon! Horrible Hagee might even be booking his flight over there to hurry things along . . .

  • 2. mikespeir  |  February 10, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Why is the horse covered nose to tail in a billowing sheet? Why is the rider–a woman it appears–riding backward?

  • 3. Ubi Dubium  |  February 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Oh great. Now we have five “Horsemen of the Apocalypse”: War, Death, Famine, Pestilence, and Lens Flare.

    You’d think if the “Horsemen” were on the ride in Egypt, that they’d find camels more practical anyway.

  • 4. LoveandLosingFaith  |  February 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Also, if you look to the left side of the screen, as the “horse” rides off, there is a speck of light that moves exactly at the same pace. Seems pretty obvious this is just a reflection on the lens.

  • 5. LifeTrekker  |  February 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I remember back in 1999 when everyone was worried about Y2K, and all the computers going haywire when they rolled over to the year 2000, the religious television broadcasters (700 Club, TBN, etc) were going nuts proclaiming, “The end is near! Be prepared” My parents were totally buying into it and gathering stuff like a generator and food rations and other supplies “To be prepared.” They even got a little upset with me when I wouldn’t buy into the whole frenzy with them, and that was back when I was still a fundamentalist Christian. It’s somewhat comforting to know that I was skeptical (about some things at least) even back then. But it is a little scary (or maybe a lot scary) how easy it is for people to be fooled into believing something like this. Let’s hope the world comes to its senses before we all blow ourselves up. As was said, skepticism seems to be a pretty rare trait, while credulity is the rule of the day.

    For a really good book on the subject I would recommend “Don’t Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Mistakes We Make in Thinking” by Thomas Kida. You will be amazed at how often even intelligent, skeptical people can fall into these thinking mistakes.

  • 6. grasshopper  |  February 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’m shocked that no one in my family has posted that. Sadly, that’s more likely an indication that they haven’t seen it yet than it is an indication of their own critical thinking skills.

    @LifeTrekker – I’ll look into that book. I was not raised to be a critical thinker, and the habit is still new to me.

  • 7. glabalNomad  |  February 14, 2011 at 2:36 am

    I’m hesitant to intrude into this community, which I do understand as valuable for all who seek refuge here (since I am, in fact, a Christian). I just read this and wanted to let you know that I agree with you… there are some people who claim the same faith as me – but I sometimes look at them and think, “seriously?”

    … in other news, I think I may have eaten an image of Jesus on my grilled cheese sandwich last week, but I don’t think he minds – maybe I just have a holier GI tract now 🙂

    @LifeTrekker – ironic that the very people freaking out about Y2K would have been those who would have been taken up… so they really wouldn’t need to worry about generators anyway (in my mind)

  • 8. Eve's Apple  |  February 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Richard–haven’t you ever looked at the magazines at the supermarket checkout? You know the ones. It’s not hard to figure out who they are targeting as an audience and what they think of that audience’s mentality. This is just more of the same nonsense.

    glabal Nomad–since you say that you are a Christian who agrees with us, please tell us why it is that Christians like you are not more outspoken against this sort of thing. I am serious. I have yet to hear one word spoken against those Christians who openly promote superstition, irrational thinking and downright lies in the name of their religion. I had to tell Christian friends to stop sending me “Christian” e-mails; not only is there nothing Christ-like about them but many conceal viruses. When they insisted on sending them anyway I ended up removing them from my allowed sender list. The people who make up these e-mails know their intended audience quite well. They are proof that many who share your faith are gullible and ignorant; otherwise they would not succeed as well as they do. So–start cleaning up your own temple before you come to ours.

  • 9. glabalNomad  |  February 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Dear Eve’s Apple,

    I had no intention to disrupt anything – and I share your frustration with those ridiculous emails. The truth is, I was a youth pastor for three years and actively did “clean up my own temple” as best I could while I was there. I promoted questioning and deep thinking – and since I do believe that rational thinking and faith are compatible, I have no interest in mindless drones coming out of the church… and it frustrates me how many were there.

    I did not change everyone’s minds or perspective in those three short years… but I did what I could – and I certainly tried. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of that…

    As for why more Christians aren’t more outspoken about it… my guess is that it differs from person to person, involving elements of fear of rejection (which I know many on this site have been brave enough to face), uncertainty and, most importantly, an understanding that insulting someone almost never changes their mind about anything (once we get defensive, our mouths open, our emotions go wild and our ears close)

  • 10. LifeTrekker  |  February 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Snip – glabalNomad wrote:
    @LifeTrekker – ironic that the very people freaking out about Y2K would have been those who would have been taken up… so they really wouldn’t need to worry about generators anyway (in my mind) – Snip

    As I recall, most of them were not predicting the rapture for a specific date, but they were selling it along the lines of “this is a sign that we are entering the end times as predicted in the Bible”.

    A lot of the evangelical community hold to a pre-tribulation view of the rapture (like in the Left Behind series of books) where the rapture happens before the 7 year tribulation. Because this view seems to be the most popular, I can understand your confusion. But whoever said that Christian prophecy makes sense? (Well I guess some Christian apologists make that claim, but I personally don’t see it.)

    There are two other less popular positions concerning the timing of the rapture; the mid-trib view and the post-trib view. The explanations are just like they sound. These views have their supporters as well, but they seem to be in the minority in the evangelical Christian world.

    One other one I have heard about from time to time is the pan-trib position. It went something along the lines of since we can’t know the day or the time, whatever God decides to do is fine with me. It will all “pan” out in the end.

  • 11. Eve's Apple  |  February 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    glabalNomad–I appreciate your honesty. It doesn’t surprise me, however, to find that you didn’t get very far in trying to promote rational thinking in your church. Unfortunately, I see this sort of thing as merely a symptom of a greater problem and that is the nature of religion itself.

    I once believed, like you, that religion and reason were compatible and that a healthy faith could stand up to questioning and deep thinking. I no longer believe that is the case. In fact, I would not be surprised if down the road you yourself become a deconvert.

    The problem with promoting deep thinking and questioning is that unless you know that you will not find anything unsettling (and if you knew that already there would be no need for questioning), there is a very real danger that you will find that the things you believe in won’t stand up to the test. I believe that lawyers have a saying, “don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to.” The church has a vested interest in keeping mindless drones coming out of it. Too much questioning and it might well cease to exist!

    Good luck in your journey. It will be very interesting to hear from you in another 10 years or so, to see what if anything has changed.

  • 12. Richard  |  February 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm


    Yeah, I know, I know….. This sort of stuff is all over and I shouldnt be surprised to see more of. Its just kinda weird when you see people whom you know to be, well, maybe not quantum physicists but at least reasonably bright, functional people in the world who manage to disbelieve in Nessie and reptilian alien invaders just fine, but then not showing the slightest shred of hesitation in swallowing whole cloth an almost embarrassingly lame video of a glare-artifact. I mean, Ive seen more realistic looking effects on Robot Chicken. And again, even from within their own theology, it makes no sense. Thats what really gets me. If someone came up with a video showing what appeared to be a seven headed beast going through the drive-through at Micky D’s, there would be no eyebrows raised. It would just be more confirmation of the End Times Prophecy, hallelujah!

    Like I said, just an OMG moment.

  • 13. Joshua  |  February 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I find it almost magical how the horse moves at the exact rate of the camera rotation. What a miracle!

  • 14. Infidel  |  April 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t forget to couple this with the problems in Japan and, brother, you’ve got the angel Gabriel warming up that trumpet!

    If he’s coming, I wish he’d come on. I’m one of those people who are upside down in my mortgage and I could use a bailout!

  • 15. Bawdybill  |  April 16, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Don’t worry about the end times. It’s been cancelled due to the lack of trained trumpeters.

  • 16. Eve's Apple  |  April 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    “If he’s coming, I wish he’d come on. I’m one of those people who are upside down in my mortgage and I could use a bailout.”

    Maybe that’s what attracts people to this whole end times business, they have little or nothing to hope for in this life and they see this as a way out. Unfortunately, so far they’ve been disappointed. We’ll see what happens May 22 this year. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of unhappy folks who find out that the reason they’ve been left behind is that everyone got left behind and the Rapture failed to happen after all.

  • 17. cag  |  April 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Eve # 16. I think we need to have a “contest” to find out who comes the closest to Harold Camping’s excuse on May 22. My take is that he will claim that his clemency prayers for the infidels was so successful that jesus changed his travel plans. But he needs money. My second choice is that there were not enough “true christians” to fulfill the prophecy so he has to continue his quest to overcome sin – and he needs money.

    My own “excuse” is that jesus was having a bad hair day and refused to leave home, so send me money.

  • 18. Ubi Dubium  |  April 18, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I like those. Here’s mine: “Jesus DID come back, but he saw his shadow, went back in his hole, and so now we will have 6,000 more years of superstition.”

  • 19. westwood  |  May 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Rare depending where you live.

  • 20. accodiase  |  November 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Hi! i’m Re-twit you post: to my @miearyhz twitter

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