Today I find myself out in Gresham, spending the morning at one coffee shop, and the afternoon at the other.
Imagine you didn’t know anything about any of this, a complete alien, dropped into this room. This one group is literally talking about hearing voices, and doing what they say. Another is advocating for his friend to visit someone who will touch their head and heal their injury. This morning I heard a guy who said how great it was that his doctor had been “given the gift of healing” (and had given him medicine). Further listening reveals the phrase “no earthly body can judge us”, and “the purpose of life is to seek redemption from the evil and curses given to you at birth, which were put there to drive you to god”. “Medical science wouldn’t even be necessary if people realized they could take great joy in sickness from the promise of heaven and perfection.” followed by “3 years ago I had a quadruple bypass” was just the icing on the cake.
If you were an alien with no cultural basis to understand that certain delusions are considered “normal” and heard these things, this entire place would be terrifying. These people are suffering from command delusions and are only 1 step away from thinking that killing you is doing you a favor. Flee, flee! Burn it with fire from orbit before it spreads!
And they vote!