Rapture Ready: The Science of Self Delusion

Perhaps the American Psychiatric Assn could remove GID from the DSM and make up the difference by creating a category for religious fundamentalists, Dominionists, and all the rest of the delusional religious true believers.

It won’t happen of course since religion is (pardon the play on words) a sacred cow and faith no matter how non-reality based is sacrosanct.

From Mother Jones Magazine: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Why Harold Camping’s flock won’t give up the faith.

— By Chris Mooney
May/June 2011

“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger (PDF), in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, “Sananda,” who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. The group was led by Dorothy Martin, a Dianetics devotee who transcribed the interstellar messages through automatic writing.

Through her, the aliens had given the precise date of an Earth-rending cataclysm: December 21, 1954. Some of Martin’s followers quit their jobs and sold their property, expecting to be rescued by a flying saucer when the continent split asunder and a new sea swallowed much of the United States. The disciples even went so far as to remove brassieres and rip zippers out of their trousers—the metal, they believed, would pose a danger on the spacecraft.

Festinger and his team were with the cult when the prophecy failed. First, the “boys upstairs” (as the aliens were sometimes called) did not show up and rescue the Seekers. Then December 21 arrived without incident. It was the moment Festinger had been waiting for: How would people so emotionally invested in a belief system react, now that it had been soundly refuted?

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

From The Atlantic Wire: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/05/sad-stories-believers-disappointed-non-apocalypse/38013/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAtlanticWire+%28The+Atlantic+Wire%29

The Sad Stories of Believers Disappointed by Non-Apocalypse

By Ujala Sehgal
May 22, 2011

If you hadn’t noticed, the world didn’t end yesterday, despite predictions by radio host Harold Camping, who spread the world via a multimillion dollar campaign, funded by donations from other believers. But while many were “celebrating” the Earth’s continued existence at “Rapture Parties,” for Camping’s believers, the noticeable lack of earthquakes, brimstone, famine, and death was deeply disappointing.

In New York, retired transportation agency worker Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent “over $140,000 of his savings on subway posters and outdoor advertisements,” stood in Times Square at 6 p.m., Reuters reports.

When the hour came and went, he said: “I do not understand why …,” as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch.

“I do not understand why nothing has happened.”

New York Magazine reports the story of Jeff, a Long Island firefighter, who ordered a pizza shortly before 5 p.m. on rush delivery, thinking he might not have time to eat it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/05/sad-stories-believers-disappointed-non-apocalypse/38013/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAtlanticWire+%28The+Atlantic+Wire%29

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