I regularly go to sleep with the television on, and one of the neatest things about owning a DVR is that you never know what will be on the screen when you wake up. When I went to sleep Saturday night, the TV was on Cartoon Network, I wake up later on, and it's “Doctor Who” on BBCA. I go back to sleep, and when I wake up, it's switched over to some televangelist, so I sit and listen to what he has to say for a minute.
The TV preacher is talking about the second coming (I believe he was referring to Thessalonians, if you're interested), and about how the Anti-Christ (or “The Lawless One”, which is mostly what the speaker called him) might try to trick us into believing that he was the second coming of Christ with false wonders and counterfeit miracles.
What I took from this was that we should look at anyone claiming to be the son of God with a skeptical eye, which is certainly good advice to take with anyone who claims to speak for God, but it raises certain problems for me. The main problem is that how am I supposed to know the real messiah from the the fake one? If the fake messiah can perform the same fantastic miracles as the real one, and they both claim to be the son of God, how do I know one from the other? I don't recall the preacher having an answer for that, not before I got up to go to the bathroom anyway.
Of course my mind can't stop there, I went into conspiracy theory mode, and looked at the idea harder. If the devil can trick us into believing in a fake messiah, could he not also trick us into doubting the real one? If you're playing a long con that literally lasts for two or three millennium wouldn't it be easier to just create the idea of a fake messiah than to actually bother creating a fake one? I mean, how hard would it be for Satan to get the idea of a fake Christ inserted into the bible as it is edits, interpreted, translated, re-edited, re-translated, etc of the ages?
I've always been a believer that it is both easier and more effective to make your opponent think you've done/will do something horrible to them than it is to actually do that thing; for instance, it is much easier to make someone think that you poured sugar in their gas tank by leaving an empty bag of sugar on the ground next to their car along with some spilled sugar than it is to actually try and funnel sugar into the tank. Your victim's reaction will be the same, and if you get caught you at least won't have to worry about having to actually fix anything.
By the above argument, wouldn't it just be easier to make the mortals doubt the real messiah than it would be to make your own? If you can just discredit your opponent before they ever make an appearance, wouldn't that work just as well? Especially now when a loud (if not necessarily large) portion of Christians have a fairly skewed idea of what Jesus would want people to do? I don't know what you believe, but I think some people expect him to show up supporting tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for the poor, and using his right to bear arms (because he would have to be American, doncha know) to mow down homosexuals and women's healthy clinic employees. I somehow don't see Jesus doing that myself.
Is it bad that my mind works this way?