Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


It's a phenomenon I've comment upon before; the mystifying fact that self-styled prophets, who claim to have a direct pipeline to god, continue to have a following even when they're repeatedly wrong.

I mean, it'd make sense if once somebody proclaims "God told me such-and-so," and the opposite of "such-and-so" ends up happening, that people would say, "Oh.  I guess he was lying about speaking with the divine word."  But no.  Charismatic preachers like Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, and Jimmy Swaggart have repeatedly made claims that are supposed to come directly from the heavenly throne -- most of which have to do with us unbelievers being smote (smitten?  smot? smoot?  I've never been entirely sure how to conjugate that verb) -- and none of them ever come true.  Their followers are, as far as I've seen, not discouraged by this.

The latest contender for the False Prophets Lifetime Achievement Award is Lance Wallnau, author, speaker, and "spiritual guide," who started out his losing streak by claiming that god told him that the Cleveland Indians were going to win the World Series because Cleveland was the host for the Republican National Convention while Chicago is President Obama's home town, and (of course) god approves of Republicans while the Democrats are naughty in his sight.

Of course, the problem is that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.  Wallnau was undaunted, however, and posted a new spin on the situation, saying that he "was initially concerned that a Chicago vs. Cleveland contest may be symbolic of the Republican convention (Cleveland) vs Democratic Obama machine (Chicago)... but flip this situation around and see that the underdog won on a progressive field. (The Cleveland field is owned by Progressive Insurance.)"

Which leaves only one question, which is: what?

I mean, I'm not really expecting Wallnau to make sense, but as an explanation for why he fucked up, it's pretty bizarre.  And because there's no ridiculous statement that you can't make more ridiculous if you just keep talking, Wallnau went ahead and made things worse by making a series of further claims:
  • The Cubs winning the World Series is actually a positive message from god, because the last time the Cubs won was 1908, which was the same year as the Azusa Street Revival that founded the Pentecostal Movement.  (Which is made somewhat less impressive by the fact that Azusa Street happened in 1906, not 1908.)
  • The Cubs' victory represents the breaking of the "Curse of the Bambino," which was the work of Satan himself.  (Whether it's Satanic in origin or not, the Curse of the Bambino has to do with the Red Sox, not the Cubs.)
  • If Trump wins, he'll be 70 years old when he's inaugurated, which is significant because "70 is exactly the number of years since Israel became a nation."  Which is problematic from the standpoint that 2017 minus 1948 is 69, not 70.
But other than that, his prophecies are absolutely spot-on.

Despite all of this, Wallnau is enthusiastic.  His sources say that the "curse over America is breaking and a fresh wind is blowing," and that that the church’s “long-standing losing streak is coming to an end."  He says that 2016 is "going to be the year of God reversing the curse … God pouring out his spirit."

But based on his previous predictions, I wouldn't hold my breath about any of that.

So anyhow.  I guess we'll find out whether his prediction of Trump winning the presidency is correct within a few hours, assuming that there isn't some repeat of the 2000 election nightmare wherein we had to keep our sanity somehow while enduring interminable counts, recounts, suits, and countersuits.  It's bad enough that the elections here in this country start a full two years early; the idea that it could go on for months after the polls close today makes me want to move to Costa Rica.  In either case, though, I'll make a prediction of my own; whether or not Trump wins, Wallnau will continue claiming that he has direct access to the knowledge of god -- and his followers will continue to believe him.

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