A poor women suffering a mental disorder was able to hide in her suffering in her religious beliefs.
Whilst I'd like to say it's Harold's fault, I can't. What I can say is that Harold's rubbish has pushed a vulnerable person over the edge. Her daughters are paying the price, and will do for their entire lives.
Jared, I would beg to differ, although only to a certain degree. As my own mother's mental state deteriorated she was able to evade the mandates of the mental health authority because her Christianity gave her plausible deniability. Her beliefs were delusional and unfalsifiable but could not be legally declared a mental disorder because they fell within the bounds of her religion. I was fortunate enough to be able to recognize her efforts to 'send me to god' by means of poison attempts and even more fortunate that I didn't have to finish growing up in her home. I wanted her to get help, but I also faced the hurdle of going against the church, who believed her demonic visions to be prophetic.
I realize this doesn't represent Christianity in general at all, but you need to realize that as long as we are leaving people who believe in imaginary friends and foes out of the looney bin, the door to the asylum is left open.
I am saying that anyone who believes they are being instructed by an invisible man (a god) or demons should most definitely be in the looney bin. Anyone claiming to be receiving instructions from such an entity is either a liar or a lunatic. You've got guys like Harold Camping raking in millions by selling his lies (if he isn't lying then he has lost his sanity) and millions of people deluded by his ravings that prevent mental health authorities from acting, just in case a particular delusion is considered a valid unfalsifiable construct by a large segment of the population. Even the fact that millions of fundamentalist Christians vote against their economic interests because they are told it is an abomination before their god if a gay couple should be allowed to get married and live in peace is a strong piece of evidence that the delusion is destructive.
I am quite indifferent to those with deistic beliefs that realize there are no supernatural powers communicating with us - but those who do believe this seriously need therapy.
I'm glad to consider hypotheticals - that's the power of philosophy. If there were a super-being who created everything, down to the last details of the human form, I would think that super-being could do everything I could imagine as well as things I couldn't begin to imagine. If that being had a message for human kind, it could easily make it readily clear - like imbuing the minds of the earliest people with whom it communicated with the knowledge of writing, maybe even handing them a pen.
If that sort of being intended any message to be conveyed but failed so miserably then one would have to assume that it was incompetent. Furthermore, all subsequently perceived communications would have to be questioned, given the cosmic scale of that beings incompetence. As it is, however, the evidence shows us that no such communication has occurred at all - unless the messages are intended as trickery to mislead us, in which case we are talking about a supernatural being that is the antithesis of a god; the word devil comes to mind.
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