Pharyngula

So Long Mom, I’m off to Drop the Bomb

Some people seem to be outraged at the idea of people stopping the killing in the Middle East. Those people are, curiously enough, some very prominent Christians.

A small minority of evangelical Christians have entered the Middle
East political arena with some of the most un-Christian statements I
have ever heard. The latest gems come from people like Pat
Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting
Network, and Rev. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Hagee,
a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone
Church in San Antonio, ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the
publication of his book, “Jerusalem Countdown,” in which he argues
that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for
Armageddon (which will mean the death of most Jews, in his eyes) and
the Second Coming of Christ.

In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must
join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill
God’s plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book’s
publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which,
as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, he said would cause “a political earthquake.”
With the outbreak of the war on Lebanon, he and others have called
to their followers to pray for Israel, and for the continuation of
the war on Lebanon. They have demanded that Israel not relent in
what they call the need to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas. They seem to
have completely forgotten the very core of the Christian faith.

Forgotten the core? What’s that—proselytize, evangelize, convert the heathen, or kill them all and let God sort ’em out? I think Rev. Hagee is perfectly representative of the historical mainstream of the Abrahamic religions.

To our current infestation of cheerleaders for Jesus: if you want to comment on this thread, please make it clear whether you a) believe in the Rapture, Armageddon, etc., b) believe that a war in the Middle East is a necessary precondition for biblical prophecy to be fulfilled, and c) think this is a good thing.

(via Liz Ditz and Boing Boing)

Comments

  1. #1 steve s
    August 15, 2006

    and d) think that it’s not morally wrong for disbelievers such as PZ to be tortured for eternity after they die

  2. #2 Lya Kahlo
    August 15, 2006

    The only question I have (as I am completely unsurprised by this “yeah death!” attitude from religious types) is: does Israel (or it’s lobbyists here) accept/welcome support from these groups? Can you call someone an ally if they want to start a war so they get to go to heaven and you to hell?

  3. #3 George
    August 15, 2006

    … d) religion has long been the cover for political ends that is the root of all evil in history.

  4. #4 T_U_T
    August 15, 2006

    I wonder how long it will take till they have enough power/influence over US government to actually *DO* the thing.

  5. #5 Christian
    August 15, 2006

    Where’s Jason when you need some amusement? This should be the perfect thread for him.

  6. #6 Robert
    August 15, 2006

    I’ve never understood this unwavering support that Israel seems to garner from christians. The Government of Israel is just another collection of men, who don’t seem to be operating in any overtly christian way. Now I’m not christian but it seems to me that there is a big difference between the government of Israel today, and the supposed holy land of Israel in the bible.

    Also, there isn’t a time frame given in the bible as to when the rapture will occur right? So whats to say that it’s not coming in 1000 years (if you believe it’s coming at all)? If thats the case (and even if its not) its pretty messed up to pray for war…

    bah!

  7. #7 Buddhist with an attitude
    August 15, 2006

    As you can see from my nickname, I’m not a Christian, but a Buddhist, and not a very good one at that, since I can’t help but point at these assholes and shake my head and laugh.

  8. #8 nate
    August 15, 2006

    As I understand it, the cheering of Israel is related to an understanding of revelations that says that all of the Jews (Gods chosen people, natch) must return to the land God gave them–which includes areas in which Palestinians currently reside (and possibly areas in surrounding nations)–before the second coming may occur.

  9. #9 Hugh
    August 15, 2006

    One question to ask the Hagees of the world is: What’s the purpose of prophecy, anyway? If it’s to predict events having some sort of omnipotent being behind them, then there’s no need for believers to do anything to fulfill them. If true believers have to consciously fulfill (or goad others into fulfilling) prophecy, their God must not be very powerful, right?

  10. #10 Todd H
    August 15, 2006

    Why would the people of Israel or Israel’s government act or have to act in a so-called Christian way? And what would be the difference between the biblical account of Israel’s behavior with today’s? I prefer today’s version.

  11. #11 P J Evans
    August 15, 2006

    And if you have to work to bring it about, are you sure you’re on the side you think you’re on? (Revelation doesn’t say anything about it being a Good Thing to work for Armageddon’s coming. And it has zero about ‘rapture’.)

  12. #12 Andy Groves
    August 15, 2006

    Forgotten the core? What’s that–proselytize, evangelize, convert the heathen, or kill them all and let God sort ’em out? I think Rev. Hagee is perfectly representative of the historical mainstream of the Abrahamic religions.

    I think the writer was referring to the sort of sentiments expressed in Matthew 22:36-40:

    And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

    I think you’d be hard pushed to find much Hagee-like dispensationalism in comments attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. Early Christians would have saved us all a lot of bother by just leaving the acid trip of Revelations in the Apocrypha where it belonged.

  13. #13 Diogenes
    August 15, 2006

    For those of you that didn’t do the whole 3 times a week for the majority of your life thing, I’ll give you the short short version of the Rapture. The rapture is part of a branch of christian theology called premilleniumism, which believes in a literal interpretation of the book of revelations (the other main branch. amillennialism, tends to read revelations more allegorically, and specifically that it was referring to events that occured at the time), especially that there will be a second earthly kingdom in isreal. While bits and pieces of the philosophy have always existed, the modern version of the rapture didn’t appear until the 19th century. Of late premilleniumism has been weded with the modern world in some rather odd ways, such that they interpret the rise in power of the UN will lead to a single world government that is in actuality the rise of the Beast (there is a reason that the Left Behind series is sold in christian bookstores). So given that they have wed modern events to events described in revalations they have their own little timeline that they feel they are progressing on. “Wars and rumors of wars” is one of the indicators that the end times is upon us, and hey look there are wars and rumors of wars, so god is coming back, most likely some time next tuesday (by my intense study and calculations). Just ignore that parts of the bible that explicitly say that not even the angels know when the second coming will occur, and that jesus will come like a thief, in the night. So where is this random mumbling going, basically to a little three point synopsis:

    1) Not all Christians believe in the Rapture as it is normally depicted
    2) Since the time of christ every generation seems to think they are the one that will be there when the end times occur
    3) The bible is pretty clear you can’t predict the end of times

  14. #14 cfeagans
    August 15, 2006

    These are the same people that claim to be “pro-life” and to “err on the side of life?”

    I wonder if when Big J doesn’t show up and the current escalation of violence between Israel & the rest of the Middle East passes (even if it takes years), will the Holy Rollers finally STFU about Armageddon? Probably not.

  15. #15 quork
    August 15, 2006

    Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism

    Max Blumenthal
    The Nation
    .
    Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a newly formed political organization that tells its members that supporting Israel’s expansionist policies is “a biblical imperative.” CUFI’s Washington lobbyist, David Brog, told me that during the meetings, CUFI representatives pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah.

  16. #16 thwaite
    August 15, 2006

    Armageddon’s been scheduled!

    A google on ‘ “August 22” iran israel ‘ turns up the Wall Street Journal article by Bernard Lewis last week (8/8) which speculates on Iran nuking Israel then. That date is a somewhat special day in Islamic history (there are many such of course, but this one’s apparently associated with armageddon).
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008768

  17. #17 King Aardvark
    August 15, 2006

    If you really want Jason to show up for some amusement, it seems that you have to not call him out before he arrives. He doesn’t seem to like it too much.

  18. #18 CK Loo
    August 15, 2006

    It strikes me that within my lifetime, which really hasn’t been that long, that religion in the United States has gotten far more, for lack of a better word, insane. I really don’t understand how some people can actually take things that people such as Pat Robertson and John Hagee say seriously. I mean, when I read or hear their views being expressed I have to take a moment and consider whether it’s satire or not.

    The way I see it, it’s one thing to be religious but it’s a whole other thing to believe some the batshit crazy things that come out of the mouths of some of the more zealous out there.

  19. #19 Steve_C
    August 15, 2006

    It’s a win win. Or it’s adapt and win. Or it’s stay the course vs. cut and run.

    I’m not sure.

    http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/08/propaganda_wars.html

  20. #20 jdt
    August 15, 2006

    PZ wrote:

    >>Forgotten the core? What’s that–proselytize, evangelize, convert the heathen, or kill them all and let God sort ’em out? I think Rev. Hagee is perfectly representative of the historical mainstream of the Abrahamic religions.< < ---Hagee might be a 'representative' of fundamentalists who claim to represent Christ, but anyone who is familiar with the words of Jesus and has apostles should know better. ---The fundamentalists claim that the 'rapture' is literal as outlined in 1 Thess. 4 vs. 13-17. A careful consideration of these verses shows that this has to do with the resurrection of the dead after Christ has returned and has nothing to do with Armageddon. Armageddon, found in Revelation 16, is a symbol describing a world situation and is NOT a literal location in the Middle East, as some would have us believe. Armageddon refers to God's war and has nothing to do with 'a war in the Middle East as a necessary precondition for biblical prophecy.' (see b) This is also proceeds from the mistaken 'evangelical' or 'fundamentalist' position that OT prophecies are fulfilled literally on the land occupied by modern day Israel. The fundamentalists should know better since their own Bible clearly shows that the Jews are no longer in a covenant relation with God. Today's Israel is nothing more than a man made political entity as are the rest of the governments on earth. PZ >>c) think this is a good thing.<< Christendom has long promoted war and bloodshed. Anyone who has read her history since the 3rd century beginning with Constantine knows this to be a historical fact. The first century Christians not only did not participate in war, they did not involve themselves in the politics of the day. In the past century, the bloodiest in man's history, we see that WWI & II were fought in the heart of Christendom with the churches contributing and in many cases promoting the war efforts. Hitler could not have risen to power without the support of the Lutheran and Catholic churches. So what you find in fundamentalists is nothing new, but with the claim that the Bible is behind them.

  21. #21 DP
    August 15, 2006

    I have commented before that I am a Christian. So, yes to (a).

    God doesn’t need me doing anything as a “precondition”, so no to (b).

    I don’t think war and killing is a good thing at all. So no to (c).

    See, we’re not all as whacky as you think.

  22. #22 Steve_C
    August 15, 2006

    Believing (a) is pretty wacky.

  23. #23 DP
    August 15, 2006

    I said it wasn’t “as whacky as you think.”

  24. #24 DragonScholar
    August 15, 2006

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, this is like something out of an HP Lovecraft novel. Make sure the stars are right, sacrifice the right people, and bam, your god shows up and kills the non-believers. Cthulu just looked better on a Heavy Metal Album Cover.

    It’s odd, in my daily visit to Uncommon Descent, I saw a post decrying social darwinism and making various claims:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1455#more-1455

    So, Darwinism bad. People misusing Darwinism bad. Darwin bad. World War III in the middle east over people interpreting obscure scriptures – no problem!

  25. #25 Joshua
    August 15, 2006

    Considering my dad was a crazy premillenialist, you’d think I would have something to add to this discussion. I don’t, really, but I did want to give props for referencing one of my favourite Tom Lehrer songs.

    Well. I guess if there’s anything I can add, it’s to say that I didn’t entirely buy all the Rapture/Armageddon stuff even when I was still quite seriously Christian way back in the day. Or at least the whole thing made me uncomfortable, even though I knew for sure that I was in God’s cool book as far as not being tortured for eternity in a lake of fire was concerned. None of this weird fundie stuff jived with my conception of God based on reading the Bible, listening to my pastors’ sermons, etc. I think that’s a big part of why I eventually ended up turning my back on religion in general.

  26. #26 sglover
    August 15, 2006

    I’m confused. Since when does God “need” the U.S. to implement his schemes? S/he’s still supposed to be omnipotent, right? Does this mean that the direction of the cosmos is somehow dependant on the party alignment of the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives?!?!

    Weird. I think I’ll stick with a more rational deity, like Odin or Zeus. At least those guys acted directly, instead of relying on political hacks to accomplish their Divine Will.

  27. #27 T_U_T
    August 15, 2006

    I have commented before that I am a Christian. So, yes to (a).

    so, DP, you really do believe in rapture ?

    I have a few questions of you, then.
    -Do you think too, that we all unbelievers are doomed to hell ?
    -And what happens with the majority of christians who do not believe in this teleport-to-heaven ?
    -In case of rapture, what do you think will happen to siamese twins, one of them christian, one unbeliever ?
    -Do you agree, that christians should not be allowed to become pilots, because they could disappear in mid flight ?
    -Should a really good person prefer to be raptured, o should she want to stay and help others during the armageddon ?
    -If satan is to be physically present here on earth, how many tons of TNT equivalent would be be sufficient to obliterate him ?

  28. #28 JSmalley
    August 15, 2006

    What makes these guys think that God(s) needs humans to be some sort of catalyst for Armageddon; Don’t you think he/she/it can manage setting the stage for the players to stumble into their desired roles?

  29. #29 Greg Peterson
    August 15, 2006

    I find it surprising when people claim that no timeline was given for Jesus’s second coming. Jesus ran a apocalyptic cult and most certainly did provide a timeline for his triumphant return: In that generation. Before those hearing him had all died.

    Reading the letters of Paul, who had nice dreams about Jesus and was thus qualified to know such things, it is obvious that the people in the first and second centuries CE believed something like what Jesus is supposed to have said: “I’ll be right back.”

    Me, if my friend is meeting me in the lobby to go to a movie and he’s so much as 10 minutes late, I go in by myself. Newsflash: Jesus said he’s be back before everyone hearing him was dead. That was 2000 years ago. He’s not coming. He in Godot are off on Brokeback Mountain together.

    You can go to the movie now. No more timid pacing in the lobby. Go in and live.

  30. #30 Greg Peterson
    August 15, 2006

    So many mortifying typos in my previous post that I feel the need to do this–sorry:

    I find it surprising when people claim that no timeline was given for Jesus’ second coming. Jesus ran an apocalyptic cult and most certainly did provide a timeline for his “triumphant return”: In that generation. Before those hearing him had all died.
    Reading the letters of Paul, who had nice dreams about Jesus and was thus qualified to know such things, it is obvious that the people in the first and second centuries CE believed something like what Jesus is supposed to have said: “I’ll be right back.”
    For my part, if my friend is meeting me in the lobby to go to a movie and he’s so much as 10 minutes late, I go in by myself. Newsflash: Jesus said he’d be back before everyone hearing him was dead. That was 2000 years ago. He’s not coming. He and Godot are off on Brokeback Mountain together.
    You can go to the movie now. No more timid pacing in the lobby. Go in and live.

  31. #31 Steve_C
    August 15, 2006

    Wacky is wacky.

    Just because you don’t endorse wacky (b) and (c) doesn’t mean it’s not part of the wacky “you can not be serious!” realm.

  32. #32 GH
    August 15, 2006

    One thing that I see alot on these threads that I disagree with pretty strongly are the folks who think the fundies don’t have the correct angle on this verse or that verse. These folks know their bibles. There version of scripture can be defended as well as any other version.

    What one comes to understand/question is that the problem is not with their take on it but rather the fact that anyone applies any value to ANY take at all.

  33. #33 steve s
    August 15, 2006

    Maybe we should make up pamphlets for people promoting atheism. They could be titled “So you’ve decided not to be an idiot.”

  34. #34 Greg Peterson
    August 15, 2006

    I was a fundie for 20 years, have a degree in biblical studies earned while working to become a Baptist pastor, worked for Billy Graham. Don’t assume that because fundies “know their Bibles” that means they get the plain sense of a verse. Being able to perform amazing feats of obfuscation doesn’t equal “knowing,” and deep down, a lot of these fundies who claim to know they Bible so well are fully aware that they’re talking nonsense. Frankly, it’s ONLY by twisting and fabricating and committing acts of outrageous silliness that one can harmonize the Gospels. All one has to do is read the resurrection story in each of the four accounts to see that the Bible cannot be inspired and infalible in the way fundamentalists claim for it.

  35. #35 Steve_C
    August 15, 2006

    I need pamphlets to hand out to the Jews for Jesus that have infested the subways this summer. Or for the man on the train praising Jesus and handing out free bibles and scolding us for going to therapy or reading our horoscopes.

    I love how my 2 year old looked at him like he was crazy.

  36. #36 quork
    August 15, 2006

    I need pamphlets to hand out to the Jews for Jesus that have infested the subways this summer. Or for the man on the train praising Jesus and handing out free bibles and scolding us for going to therapy or reading our horoscopes.

    You need to get a supply of these cards.

  37. #37 quork
    August 15, 2006

    And you gotta love their postal address.

  38. #38 Other George
    August 15, 2006

    Speaking of cheerleaders, check out:

    The fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders

    http://www.cheerfcc.org/

    Christian Cheerleaders of America

    http://www.cheercca.com/mission.html

    Mission: to teach “state of the art” cheerleading techniques, material and methods while maintaining Christian standards. [snicker]

    Cheerleaders for Jesus

    http://www.cheerleadersforjesus.com/

    Are there no atheist cheerleaders? We are never going to win without cheerleaders!

  39. #39 Crosius
    August 15, 2006

    The clouds part and Jesus returns in glory:

    “At last, my children, the prophecies of Revelations have been fulfilled. Would all those who organized the bombings and battles that made this glorious day possible please line up to my left.”

    “Ok. Great. Ok. Quiet please. Now if you’ll just follow that angel, he’ll cast you into the pit…”

    “Hmm? No, it _is_ fair. What do you mean, ‘Why?’ Commandment Number Five, people. It’s only four words. We made it short for a reason.”

  40. #40 Crosius
    August 15, 2006

    nuts. That should have been “Six”

  41. #41 GH
    August 15, 2006

    Don’t assume that because fundies “know their Bibles” that means they get the plain sense of a verse.

    Honestly I don’t even see how such a thing is possible. One cannot ask anyone what they meant so it renders nearly all stances equal and defensible. You just can’t know.

    Being able to perform amazing feats of obfuscation doesn’t equal “knowing,” and deep down, a lot of these fundies who claim to know they Bible so well are fully aware that they’re talking nonsense.

    It’s not just fundies. It’s virtually any religion. But I agree with this.

    Frankly, it’s ONLY by twisting and fabricating and committing acts of outrageous silliness that one can harmonize the Gospels.

    This is also obvious. The real question is why people think they must do these things at all.

  42. #42 Christian
    August 15, 2006

    King Aardvark,

    Too bad. He shows up on threads where he contributes nothing but vitriol and poorly backed assertions, and then becomes a nothing but a bad memory when he could provide an interesting viewpoint.

  43. #43 Steve_C
    August 15, 2006

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068921/

    That’s more like it.

  44. #44 tim gueguen
    August 15, 2006

    If you take Rapture theology seriously it means Satan is either the Universe’s biggest idiot or a zombie. After all he’s had nearly 2000 years to realise the scheme he’s been working on won’t work because its all supposedly laid out in the New Testament how its not going to work. So either he’s too stupid to figure out he’s been beaten or he’s a zombie fulfilling a set of preprogrammed actions so stuff will happen the way its supposed to.

  45. #45 Scott Hatfield
    August 15, 2006

    PZ:

    Hi! I hope that I’m one of your less unpleasant infestations. Remember, eusociality emerged in the lineage that produced cockroaches, so maybe’s there’s hope for us yet! At any rate, you asked whether bugs like me:

    “a) believe in the Rapture, Armageddon, etc.,

    b) believe that a war in the Middle East is a necessary precondition for biblical prophecy to be fulfilled, and

    c) think this is a good thing.”

    Um…no, no and no. Point by point:

    a) The notion of ‘parousia’ which is the basis of the Rapture doctrine appears to be one of those Pauline interpolations that have a lot more to do with the times he lived than with anything essential to Christianity. The main point that Paul was trying to make was to comfort believers about the loss of loved ones. He certainly shouldn’t be blamed for all of Tim LaHaye’s hooey.

    b) The idea that Christians should support anything other than peace among all peoples at any time and place in history is perverse. The institutions that promote it do so because they have found that an occult eschatology makes it easier for them to tap the wallets of believers.

    c) The only thing in eschatology that inspires hope is the promise of ultimate restoration and redemption of the created order. Everything else seems pretty grim and terrifying, looking from the outside in. I prefer to live in hope and work to make the world given a better place, and I am repulsed by ‘EndTimers’ who joyously look forward to persecution, tribulation, apocalypse and judgement.

    I believe that many of these folk have a great sense of personal failure and that they have dealt with this by blaming their problems on ‘the world’ and so their hatred of the world really is a projection of their own self-hatred. In their twisted perception, their sense of failure in the world is justified by appealing to the ‘otherworldliness’ of their beliefs, and the destruction of this present world the great hope, since it destroys the evidence of their own shortcomings.

    Ugh…reading that over makes me ill. But that’s pretty much the way this infestation sees it.

    Scott

  46. #46 Nes
    August 15, 2006

    Diogenes says:

    2) Since the time of christ every generation seems to think they are the one that will be there when the end times occur

    Unless you want to expand on the meaning of end times (as in not specifically Christian). Then you can get some that date back to nearly 3000 BC! A Brief History of the Apocalypse has a fun filled list of past (and future!) “end times” predictions, starting with this one from 2800 BC:

    According to Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.

  47. #47 ekzept
    August 15, 2006

    … an understanding of revelations that says that all of the Jews (Gods chosen people, natch) must return to the land God gave them …

    in other words, by having a fundamentalist outlook and acting on things they believe are indelibly written, these Christians believe they can thereby manipulate their God into doing something if they just get it right.

    uh, huh.

    God the Puppet.

    goes right along with the God of the Gaps.

  48. #48 ekzept
    August 15, 2006

    I believe that many of these folk have a great sense of personal failure and that they have dealt with this by blaming their problems on ‘the world’ and so their hatred of the world really is a projection of their own self-hatred.

    it’s much worse than that, Scott. i know of a case of an intelligent and talented girl, a friend of my son, who was doing well in the first couple of years of high school. but, then, as she got older, she more and more got into the things with the Christian fundies. i mean, it was always there. her parents were evangelical Christians. but, then, as she spent more and more time, and heard more and more about how the End of Times were near, she basically Just Gave Up. she’s passing her grades, but does not seem to want to do better.

    i mean, it’s her life after a point. but bright minds aren’t plentiful and it’s a shame to lose someone no matter what the reason.

    then, maybe given her background it was inevitable.

  49. #49 Steve Watson
    August 16, 2006

    This “Christian Zionism” thing among fundies is all due to the part Israel plays in their bizarre eschatology (OK, I’ll admit to having drunk a bit of that Kool-aid, back when I was young and gullible. Barfed it all back when I grew up a bit more). Jews who might welcome the support should beware: they don’t really give a flying fuck about you, your people, your traditions, whatever. To them, your whole value is as puppets acting out your parts in their obscene End-Times mini-series. According to the script, you’ll either convert or get wiped out along with the rest of humanity.

    These people are basically hate-mongers.

  50. #50 Mike Crichton
    August 16, 2006

    Greg Peterson wrote:

    I find it surprising when people claim that no timeline was given for Jesus’ second coming. Jesus ran an apocalyptic cult and most certainly did provide a timeline for his “triumphant return”: In that generation. Before those hearing him had all died.

    Shoot, that’s _easy_ to explain. Obviously, “Hearing” really means “Hearing or reading”. In that context, the
    second Coming could happen 10 million years from now, and his prediction would still be true. Remember, these people have had centuries to come up with rationalizations, they have convenient answers to all the obvious objections.

  51. #51 MikeN
    August 16, 2006

    I believe that the Israelis basically regard these types as “useful idiots”; they know that the Fundies think they’re all going to burn in Hell for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, but don’t really care as long as the End-Timers keep pushing US politicians to support Israel.

    Every now and then the underlying anti-Semitism breaks through and the Israelis have to slap them down, as in Pat Robertson getting his Holy Land theme park cancelled.

  52. #52 lo
    August 16, 2006

    I`d say it is the christian thing to do. Better some christan frankness than some feign words of seeming kindness and crushing backstabbing afterwards.

  53. #53 lo
    August 16, 2006

    this is not to be taken seriously, i hope anyone understands the bitter sarcasm.

  54. #54 lightning
    August 16, 2006

    If you take Rapture theology seriously it means Satan is either the Universe’s biggest idiot or a zombie.

    James Blish’s novel Black Easter is based on the idea that Revalations is accurate. Except for the ending ….

    “After all, at the beginning of a war, both sides always predict victory.”

    Sort of the anti-Left Behind (except that Blish is a far better writer). It’s interesting to watch a Fundie’s reaction to this book. “Oh, it’s got ‘Easter’ in the title. Must be a good Christian book.”

  55. #55 ali
    August 16, 2006

    Wouldn’t the term “Extremists” be more appropriate than “Fundamentalists?”

    Seems to me a true fundamentalist would be getting back to basics, and not twisting whatever religous text for personal/political gain.

    An extremist, on the other hand, is all about twist or outright ignoring the basic tenents of most religious texts.

    The basics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are essentially the same. They disagree in specifics, but the fundamentals are essentially the same (with a few exceptions).

    Heck, if you want to get really down to basics, there is not a lot of difference between the monothestic religions and Bhuddism, etc. They’re all preaching to be good people. Of course, now we’re starting to get into the world of Hummanism.

    People need to spend less time worrying about WHO God/god is and more time thinking about WHAT God/god is. You might even come up with a definition that even atheists would agree on (e.g. universe and everything created by “God” / an event in “physics” with the rest following the laws of “physics”… though I’m not in any way advocating to worship physicists…it’s the universe that is awe inspiring in size and scope. If you interpret that awe inspring as God, then great, if not, great too.)

    But I digress… Hagee, Roberston, et al are all loons. And no, no, no to A), B), C)

  56. #56 Keith Douglas
    August 16, 2006

    DragonScholar: You see, Lovecraft was (of course) a human, and so couldn’t make the motivations of his cultists to be totally alien as he claimed, and so …

    I might add that Earl Doherty and others have pointed out that Paul has no notion of the second coming, but rather a first coming …

    Greg Peterson: “In that generation. Before those hearing him had all died.” Yeah, that’s sort of the message of the gospels. Some fundies think, therefore, that there’s some 2000 year old living somewhere in hiding in Israel.

  57. #57 David Harmon
    August 16, 2006

    Lightning: Not quite: Black Easter and Day After Judgement (I forget their composite name) were based on the ideas that (1) magic, including demon-summoning, is real, and (2) by use of same, humans trigger the Last Battle early, before God is “ready”, so Satan wins and takes over the world. (The second book basically covers the “and then what?” πŸ˜‰ )

    Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality also plays with various forms of Apocalypse….

  58. #58 Pierce R. Butler
    August 16, 2006

    Steve_C: I need pamphlets to hand out to the Jews for Jesus that have infested the subways this summer. Or for the man on the train praising Jesus and handing out free bibles and scolding us for going to therapy or reading our horoscopes.

    Hie thee to the Freedom From Religion Foundation and procure a selection of their intense yet small & inexpensive nontracts: http://ffrf.org/nontracts/ !

  59. #59 MikeM
    August 16, 2006

    Hagee sounds like a demented f-wit.

    I’m not a “chearleader for Jesus,” but I want to answer your questions anyway.

    a) Of course not, but the environmental disasters we’re creating do make me nervous anyway. I think we could push the ocean’s cold-water conveyor system to the point of no return. Causing mass starvation won’t be a fun thing.

    b) Prophecy is always useless. No one can see the future. We don’t need to destroy Israel in order for global warming to go into effect.

    c) Chearleading for millions of people to die, regardless of their ethnic background (being in a mixed-ethnicity marriage has caused me to drop the term “race.” We’re both the same race, but she has a different ethnic background than I do; she’s originally from a different continent, for Pete’s sake) is NEVER a good thing.

    I guess these answers make me a pretty crappy Christian, in Hagee’s eyes. I consider that to be a very, very good thing. Probably makes me a crappy Muslim, too. I’m happy with that.

    Now… I am going on vacation. I feel like between two posts in the last 4 weeks, I ended up dropping two bombs on this site (damned unnecessary appendectomies…), so I hope I haven’t done so again. If I get back from Maui only to find this thread has 357 comments, I apologize.

    I’ll think about you every day. Sniff.

  60. #60 Steve_C
    August 16, 2006

    I was hoping for something a little more lighthearted. And free. πŸ™‚

  61. #61 Jason
    August 17, 2006

    Hagee’s a nut. To say that we HAVE to do something to fulfill biblical prophecy is just, well, unbiblical. What if we don’t do it? Does that mean biblical prophecy is thwarted? Such thinking is grossly arrogant, foolish and shows a profound lack of understanding of the Bible. The same goes for praying for the fighting (it’s not a war – a skirmish at best) to continue.

    And for the record:

    a) believe in the Rapture, Armageddon, etc.,

    I’m open to the possibilities. I don’t know and would never imagine to guess exactly when or how these things will happen.

    b) believe that a war in the Middle East is a necessary precondition for biblical prophecy to be fulfilled,

    “Necessary” in what way? “Necessary” in that God – who is sovereign – is somehow beholden to our actions? “Necessary” in that if we deliberately try to fulfill biblical prophecy it will speed up the coming of the “End Times?” If it’s either or both of those, it’s ridiculous tripe.

    and c) think this is a good thing.

    No, I don’t think it’s a good thing anymore than I think that Jesus’ arrest, torture and crucifixion were good. Yes, his death brought about something good, but in and of itself, it was not a good thing. Or if you prefer a secular example, I don’t think that the thousands of deaths of U.S. military personnel in Europe and the Pacific during WWII were a good thing, but they brought about something good. I and most other Christians who believe that there will be some sort of “End Times” (which, btw, is really a misnomer) don’t look forward to it. We certainly look forward to when Christ returns and brings a neverending time of peace, but not the “End Times” itself. Now, you can certainly point out extreme examples of people like Hagee or the Rapture Ready crowd, but they are a minority. Unfortunately, they get the attention because their ideas are so extreme. Those of us just waiting and watching are too boring for the world to grab notice. Maybe that’s for the best. I don’t know.

  62. #62 R.H.
    August 17, 2006

    Ho-hum. Monkey chatter. Nought to do. Pointless lives.

    There are Christian nuts, and Christian-hating nuts.

    The first lot entertain. Everyone knows that. But you’re a bore. A total bore.

  63. #63 Steve_C
    August 17, 2006

    So are you a young earth creationist or an old earth creationist?

    I can’t figure it out.

  64. #64 Jason
    August 18, 2006

    So are you a young earth creationist or an old earth creationist?

    I can’t figure it out.

    Me? I’m a Creationist. That’s it. Neither “young earth” or “old earth.” I have no opinion either way on the age of the earth because it simply doesn’t matter to me. My faith is not built on it.

  65. #65 Ichthyic
    August 18, 2006

    well, technically that would make you an “old earth” creobot, as you have to explicitly define yourself as a YEC in order to maintain yourself in that exclusive circle of nutjobs.

    sounds like you’re making slow but steady progress then.

    keep it up.

    soon you will become a theistic evolutionist.

    and then… well you know what comes after that.

    it’s inevitable. get used to it.

  66. #66 Kseniya
    February 28, 2008

    I said it wasn’t “as whacky as you think.”

    Right. DP said “whacky”, not “wacky”, and opposes the whole Armageddon thing. That means less whacking, therefore less whacky.

  67. #67 weing
    February 28, 2008

    I always liked The Rapture by Blondie.

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