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The Inaugural Punch: Apocalyptic Thinking Is Immoral 27 February 2006

Posted by Todd in Christianity, Cultural Critique, Ethics, Islam, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion.
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Testing the waters, a little, I'm just repeating a post I made over at Folks on the Fringe to see how Blogger works.

The belief in an "end of times," "second coming," or as Evangelicals call it "rapture" is among the most problematic and, in my opinion, deeply immoral beliefs to come out of Christianity. It leads believers to see history and their world as a declension narrative, that is, a story of decline and fall. Because of that perception (which is historically not even close to being verifiable), it enables them to disengage and watch human suffering, salving their consciences with "Oh, but Jesus is coming soon."

People in various messianic religions have been predicting the returns of their messiahs for thousands of years. He/she never comes back, and we still live in this world, right now, with real problems and real suffering, which we have the power to ease and maybe even eliminate.

There is a way that people who expect the return of their messiah take joy, or at least a sick kind of excitement, in the suffering of other human beings–for to them, it appears to be a "sign" of the immanent return. Many of us have sat in church meetings or at family reunions where believers speculate about Gog and Magog or whether we'll have sex during the Millenium, almost giddy with pleasure.

Given that it allows human beings to cut off compassion, justify their inaction and apathy, and even take pleasure in the suffering of others, I can think of few other aspects of Christianity or Mormonism that are more immoral than eschatology (belief in the apocalypse).

Considering that the people who run our country have all drunk the Evangelical Kool-aid (not to mention munching on the Neo-Conservative Chex Mix), I fear that they will use that power to force an Armageddon, because they believe it is supposed to happen, ignoring all the possible other ways to solve, reconcile, change the world we live in here and now. I am afraid not of Jesus's immanent failure-to-show, but that because the people who hold the guns think that their messiah (e.g., Jesus or the Mahdi) is coming back soon, so they will gladly start a bloodbath to make it happen and fulfill their own fantasies…er, prophecies.

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Comments

1. Ken - 27 February 2006

I’ll go one step further. It isn’t just immoral. They disconnect so much from being on the planet, it’s amoral.

2. Equality - 27 February 2006

Dammit, ken, I wanted to be the first to comment on this virginal blog.

3. Corey - 27 February 2006

Good luck on the blog todd. are you gonna add espn.com to your links?

4. Todd - 27 February 2006

No, but I will add some rugby links forthwith!

5. mattblack - 27 February 2006

Dude, when the elect start dissing declension narratives it’s a sure sign we’re living in the last days.

6. Anonymous - 27 February 2006

yo todd. i have heard of everything but the girl, and i have heard of nothing but the girl. everything is music and nothing is a book. what am i missing?

7. Belaja - 27 February 2006

Hey, Todd. Great first post! I just wanted to let you know that I am watching you…….

8. dianagib - 28 February 2006

Hi JT…I am loving your blog nearly as much as I love you. However, I’m getting on in years (seriously) and I have a hell of a time reading the wee white print on the black background. Are you emotionally attached to the ‘darkness’ behind your words?

XO,
Di

9. Miss Molly - 28 February 2006

I’m glad to see you blogging again!! I think your analysis here is dead on. Do you read twistedchick.livejournal.com? She posts often about the “dominionist” influence in national politics, you might fid it interesting.

10. Diana Savage - 28 February 2006

Hi Todd! Like everyone else, I’m really glad you’ve started blogging again. You’re so great at expressing ideas in an accessible way. I hope a lot of people end up reading this blog.

I’ve been worried about apocalyptic thinking since the Administration started talking about going to war in Iraq. I realized so many people would see trouble in the Middle East as a sign of the Apocalypse and would be blinded enough to think war would be a righteous response. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. It’s depressing, though, how those heads are ignored and criticized. Jimmy Carter comes to mind as one of them. He is constantly trying to remind Christians that they serve the “Prince of Peace”. However, there is a lot of war and violence in the Bible, and I think it’s easy to think in terms of destroying the “unrighteous” (or those who aren’t Christian). That’s how I was taught, anyway…

11. Ann - 1 March 2006

Hey, Todd,

Thanks for asking me over. Your ideas are so way elevated that I may not write much, but I’ll be readin’.

aka Nanna P

12. Todd - 1 March 2006

Elevated? LOL. Just wait. There’s bound to be a post or two about oral sex or some other such nonsense at some point. hehe. Welcome and thanks for popping by.

13. Anonymous - 25 March 2006

Heyya Todd,

Do you listen to Todd Rundgren?

Katherine,

who has religious background in commnon…

14. Todd - 25 March 2006

Hey Katherine,

I don’t know Todd Rundgren. Do you have a URL or a podcast I could look at/listen to to see what I think?
thanks for the suggestion, and welcome to my heady, if self-indulgent, blog.

Todd–>

15. not-son-of-perdition - 30 March 2007

yes how true, interesting article and discussion


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