Study Shows that College Produces a Better Class of Religious Fanatics
People in Chrislip have a long history of going overboard on religion. While many smalltown residents profess a simple faith in the Almighty, we tend to turn it into a full, yarking obsession. So when the Univeristy of Michigan commissioned a study on religious fanaticism, guess which town they chose to park their research van.
What their findings showed is that not all fanatics are created equal. College-educated crackpots tend to present their ideas in a far more lucid and coherent manner than those with a high school education, or less.
Study leader Barbara Martin cites the cases of two local God cookies, Lloyd Duffy and Steve Borden. They’re familiar faces on our streets, both known for brandishing signs that warn of a coming apocalypse. On the surface they appear to be two peas in a pod, but the similarities are only skin-deep. Borden is a successful realtor with a business degree from Ohio State. Duffy is an eighth grade dropout who was raised by his grandparents and went nuthouse after they died.
“Lloyd is what we call in the trade ‘River Phoenix-crazy’,” says Barbara Martin. “His Big Mac lost its divider bun years ago. He’s in the same category as John Flesco, the Crislip vagrant who’s planning to marry Miley Cyrus. Steve is different. He’s a paranoid-schizophrenic, but he’s the kind you wouldn’t mind taking home to meet your mother.”
Ms. Martin’s findings will be published in the fall. She is the author of Take That Tinfoil Off Thine Head: Overcoming Religious Obsession.