Making fun of religion somewhat bores me these days. The beliefs are silly on their faces, yes, but so too are some of the histrionics of over-caffeinated atheists, in which I see plenty of past reflections of myself.

Every now and then, though, I hear something that fills me with terror. Of course I realize people are saying crazy shit constantly, but when you hear it, sometimes, the delusion required to spout this nonsense without a hint of irony comes into stark relief.

Take the other day, for example. While driving, I accidentally flipped to the second tier of FM stations on my radio, which I have neglected to program. By some fortuitous fluke, Moody Bible Radio makes its home there, and I left it on because someone was reading from the Book of Revelation, which, whether you're religious or not, is a fantastic piece of mythology.

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (1805–1810), William Blake

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (1805–1810), William Blake
Licensing information: Wikipedia

When the reading finished, the host came on, the rapture in her voice unmistakable, feigned or not. (You never can tell with radio or TV Christians.) Proceeding, she spoke these words: "That's going to be amazing. And it's all really going to happen. Every promise He made, He's going to keep."

Thankfully, I was stopped at a light, so I did what I try never to do anymore: I got out my phone and recorded a voice note so that I'd remember. In fact, I'd forgotten, and just came across it again in Google Keep, so despite that quote being slightly paraphrased, I am sure it's very close to her exact words.

All the jabberwocky that followed — an interview with a pastor, whom the host was very careful to refer to as "Doctor," constantly, about whether the end times will truly result in mass slaughter at the hands of God — was just as batshit, sure, but my heart had already sunk. Religious people shouldn't be defined by the extreme contingents of their cultural groups, yet both Christianity and Islam seem to produce a non-negligible number of agitators (and worse) who sincerely attempt to promote and proliferate radical agendas fueled by religious conviction. Saying so should be uncontroversial by now. We see it here. We see it around the world.

If anything, this is just a little sidenote to the recent dust-up involving Bill Maher, Ben Affleck, and Sam Harris, all of whom are rather boorish in their own right when it comes to hawking politics. While I didn't watch their argument — because who needs that? — I waded into the churning waters that developed and, luckily, found a modicum of sanity somewhere within the bitter and predictable divide.

Treat an anecdote as an anecdote. Every once in awhile, though, I think it's okay to let your jaw go slack with astonishment, even if you didn't learn anything you didn't know already.