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Pat Robertson's Latest Round of Woo
2007.01.03 (Wed) 22:45
Sorry, we must have missed something — what's the difference between religiosos and psychics again? This AP article has us all confused:
In what has become an annual tradition of prognostications, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in "mass killing" late in 2007.
"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.
Let's see: vague predictions, waffling and escape-clause caveats on the few vague details provided, and a little educated guesswork — gee, sounds like a psychic to us. Let's see how some of Robertson's results stack up:
The broadcaster predicted in January 2004 that President Bush would easily win re-election. Bush won 51 percent of the vote that fall, beating Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term. He said Social Security reform proposals would be approved and Bush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.
Lawmakers confirmed Bush's 2005 nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. But the president's Social Security initiative was stalled.
"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."
Yeah, our amazing prophetic superpowers also predicted that Bush would win in 2004, but we wouldn't classify his 51% as winning "easily." And guessing that Bush would nominate conservative judges wasn't a prediction, it was a fait accompli. Moreover, while in 2004 it may have seemed that Bush was on an unstoppable roll, the Social Security prediction was just plain wrong. So by trying to predict obvious results, Robertson sometimes manages to be correct, and sometimes still gets it wrong. No more or less than chance and a rudimentary understanding of the current political climate would give you. Gee, sounds like a psychic to us.
Here's another similarity — subjective validation:
In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006. Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.
Heavy rains and flooding are the same as a tsunami? Yeah, and our friend's basement flooded in 2006 — shouldn't that fulfill the divine prophecy as well? He lives in a coastal state, after all. And what's with this "partly fulfilling" spiel? God was only partly right? What, the omnipotent, omniscient boy wonder got an A-? Sheesh, what a lazy bastard that God guy is. Or maybe, like the spirits, he mumbles. So it's just Pat misinterpreting the totally correct messages coming through. Once again old Pat seems just like a psychic.
Okay, one last similarity:
Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.
And there you have it, folks, that's the game! Predictions after the fact: a classic hallmark of the psychic industry. Nicely done, Pat. Of course, psychics even get this kind of shit wrong all the time (à la Sylvia Browne and Allison DuBois, to name two of our, er, favorites). But wait! Bonus points: Pat has also opted for one of those "impossible to verify" predictions by telling us what God intended. Well done, Pat!
In all seriousness, none of these similarities are surprising in the least. After all, there really is no discernible difference between a belief in psychics and a belief in a magical sky daddy (excepting, of course, the political pull). They're just different toppings on the same gooey sundae of credulity. We do have to admit, though, that Pat's psychic skills and love of the camera place him near the top of his profession as a sideshow prognosticator. Of course, that's not saying much at all.
It almost makes one wonder if there's any sort of conflict between religious and psychical sects. Oh, tell us, Pat, please do!
Q: I'm confused about the difference between someone who is a psychic and someone who is a prophet. Is a prophet the spiritual equivalent of a psychic?
A: Absolutely not. The word psychic comes from the Greek word psuke, which means soul. These are people who have soulish impulses that come primarily from demon spirits. That's where all this comes from. There are some people who have a natural psychic feeling, but a prophet is hearing from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God touches the spirit of man, whereas demonic forces do not touch your spirit. What they do is touch your soul. The apostle Paul said the psuke man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.
Thanks for clearing that up, Patty. Allow us to translate from Robertsonian to Realitese: a religious prophet pretends to get his information from God, and a psychic pretends to get his information from elsewhere. Either way, of course: they are pretending (or genuinely deluded). For the record, though: shitting all over other phonies who are pulling the same bullshit act you're pulling...yeah, that sure sounds like a psychic to us, too!
Of course, it's telling that Pat can't simply dismiss psychics as frauds — no, they're being corrupted and lied to by "evil spirits." Because in Pat's mind, something supernatural must be going on...it just has to be his version, not the psychics'. How sad to be so trapped in a fictitious worldview that you have to filter other people's fictions through the veil of your own if you are to acknowledge them at all.
Then again, these are the same folks who think that Harry Potter is promoting "real-life" witchcraft and sorcery.
Frauds and lunatics, folks. They're all frauds and lunatics. And sometimes both.
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[ Filed under: % Bullshit % Religion ]
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