Friday, February 22, 2008

The Dragon's Mailbag


Reading freaky e-mail so you don't have to.

When you post your e-mail address on the Internet for everyone to see, you never know what you'll get. Or rather, you know exactly what you'll get: you'll get messages promising free pharmeceuticals, secret techniques to improve your manhood, or millions and millions of dollars if you just release private account info. Sometimes, every rare once in a while, I even get legitimate e-mail from readers.

But then come those rare, delectible moments when somebody sends me something weird enough I get to make fun of it. This too is spam, but it's a special kind of spam.

So here it is, once again with my own snide comments inserted in brackets:

Learn to communicate with the Creator Father GOD, as [name removed] learned from his Jnana Yogi Guru over 10 years ago and has used the technique every since.

[Man, everything takes a technique these days. Remember the good old days when you could just kind of look upward and, you know, talk?]

How many times have you wondered what GOD would say about any given situation or happening? [I've frequently wondered what he would say about Crummy Church Signs.] How many times have you thought, “Why does GOD allow that to happen?” [Twice.] Or is GOD aware of me and what does HE think of me? [Once.] Or “Will HE let me go to heaven even though I have sinned?” [Three and a half.] There are so many things to ask and get answers for. Have these things crossed your mind?

[Now I wonder what God thinks of seeing his moniker in all caps. Is GOD in this e-mail standing in for the tetragrammaton or what?]

[Name removed] says, “I personally wanted many things answered in my life. I started my spiritual journey over 40 years ago and I never felt sure of the answers I was getting from Organized Religion. [That's why I practice disorganized, chaotic religion: you know, love your neighbor this week, shank him twixt the ribs the next--it's all up in the air!] I went along with it [which?] because I didn’t know any better and didn’t know where to go for the correct answers. Since I opened my mind to answers and asked GOD to show me the way, knowledge has flowed to me ever since and that was 40 years ago.”

[I don't trust organized religion. I much prefer whatever pops into my head!]

“In my desire to be an instrument of GOD and server mankind [somebody clearly needs to read "To Serve Man"], HE has blessed me with the ability to communicate directly HIM whenever I need to make an important decision. The more faith and confidence I have in the answers HE gives me the better I prosper as his instrument.”

[Gee, this sounds a lot like something I heard from an organized religion recently...except maybe for the "prosper" part, depending on what he means by that. I too have the ability to "communicate directly HIM" and I don't need any weird gimmicks; he doesn't even criticize my grammar.]

“The ability to communicate with GOD to me is priceless. [You're going to ask for money, aren't you?] The experience of helping beings to understand what life is really about makes my spirit complete. [The experience of creating a horcrux tears my spirit in half (sorry, had to).] Love, Truth, Peace, Non-Violence and Right Action is what brings mankind closer to GOD. [Yeah, you certainly won't here that from an organized religion...oh, wait.] I’m not asking you to join a religion or to change your way of worship [then what the heck do you want?], as long as they teach the above five basic teaching of the Creator Father GOD. [I see you listed truth in there; do you expect every organized religion, no matter its doctrine, to be capable of teaching that?] These are also the same teaching of the spiritual being that GOD sent to us in the past and that we find ourselves worshiping today.”

[I woke up this morning and, much to my surprise, found myself worshiping a spiritual being! Is he talking about Jesus? If so, why doesn't he come out and say it?]

“I try to live life without burning desires, but if I had one, it would be that all politicians and clergy would learn to communicate with GOD as I have. [This one is making my head spin. If he has no burning desires, how can he have a burning desire for...no, I give up.] I the meantime while you are learning to use the communication technique that I will teach you, you can ask GOD a question through me and I will pass along the answer to you that HE gives me or that I know from experience He will answer.”

[Mark that last sentence as the place where the e-mail took a turn for the creepy. The more I read, the more this sounds like an organized religion. Indeed, it sounds like the supremely organized religion, the sort popularly known as a "cult"*--the sort of do-everything-this-one-guy-says-or-else kind of religion.]

“There is so much more that I can teach you if you have the desire to know. I will give you the information on how to learn more and I will send you my CD or email the information you need to communicate with GOD. All I ask [here's the zinger] is that you send to my non-denominational non-profit organization, a love-faith offering to help cover the expense of mailing my cd to you.” The name of the organization is: Universal Service Dedicated to GOD. Send your name, address, and email address to: [information deleted]

Well, he's certainly not alone in claiming a unique ability to communicate with God. I saw an ad sometime back from someone who claimed he uncovered the original Urim and Thummin while kicking around Israel, and that you could pay him money for answers from God. Personally, I'd send money to him first--Urim and Thummin are way cooler than some yogic technique: according to the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were magic stones that lit on fire. Until you can beat that, Yogi, you won't be getting any love-faith offering out of me. Besides, I suspect you'll just use the money for the overhead costs of sending spam e-mails.

According to organized religion, or at least according to mine, absolutely anyone can talk to God with no secret technique and no fee. You can't beat that with a stick.

*I have to apologize to the Deej for my use of cult. He has before insisted that the word should only be used as a value-neutral term referring to a formal religious ritual or system, whereas those religions popularly called cults are better termed "new religious movements," but my use is justified by the dictionary, so there.
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