It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
And I feel fine. – R.E.M.
The end of the world as we know it. I can tell you from experience that most Evangelical Christians live like it’s going to happen tomorrow. They don’t follow Christianity as a live for today, just be a good person sort of thing. They are intensely interested in the future and modern politics. They are convinced the rapture is right around the corner, followed quickly by the Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ. What is written in the Left Behind books they believe is really going to happen.
According to modern apocalyptic thought, one of the main hallmarks of the final conflict and the tribulation will be a one-world government headed by the Antichrist. They believe that one of the Antichrist’s main tools will be control of the world financial system via a single currency, and that this currency will be purely electronic. Nobody will have cash or credit cards. Instead they will have a mark on their arm or forehead, a number on their skin that will be their personal number, their access to the economy, tied to their accounts. No mark, no money, food, no living. They see that as a step toward the number of the beast..
Some ways back there was an article in the online news about Sweden becoming a cash-free society. I thought it was interesting when I read it. Later in the day a Christian friend of mine posted the same article, quipping, “Hmmm… interesting!” Another friend commented something to the effect of: “The time is near!”
To them, it’s not about a better money system, a fairer money system. It’s about the coming one-world government, led by the Antichrist.
They believe in the days before the rapture that Christians will be increasingly persecuted. They believe they will be rounded up, given one chance to renounce their faith, and executed if they refuse. They believe the world is getting worse and more violent, and they will be the scapegoats in the end. They believe that they will be raptured away, and that there will be a group of Christians who come around after the rapture and endure the Tribulation. At the end of the Tribulation comes the Ultimate Religious Revenge Fantasy – when all the goats, all of us unbelievers, will see Jesus returning in the clouds, and it will be too late. They will watch as all of us heathen are in an instant plunged into everlasting torment to suffer for eternity for a brief lifetime of supposed sin.
They believe this stuff like they believe the mailman will come by and deliver the mail this afternoon. This is real world training. This is the problem with so much religious indoctrination. They’re not just working on being better people and finding peace and happiness. They apply this worldview to every real world action they take. They interpret every news item through that filter. It’s a mindset that is completely opposed to real world progress, because their primary hope requires the world to, literally, go to hell in a handbasket.
There was another Facebook post by a Christian friend that repeated an old saw I’ve heard several times. They said:
Yeah, I am not much into politics and I try to discourage (my spouse) on too much focus on it. I think it’s akin to rearranging the deck chairs 0n a sinking ship.
The darker things get, the Brighter our Light!
Isn’t that rosy?
Making a better world for ourselves and our children and our childrens’ children is difficult. But one would think it would be a bit easier if there weren’t a large segment of our population who not only don’t think it’s worthwhile, but whose primary hope requires everything to get worse.
Let’s leave off for a minute that the deck chair comment is bullshit, because we all know they’re more than willing to mess with certain deck chairs, like the ones on the Homosexual deck, right?
How do you convince the Evangelical to be a part of the solution? How do you convince them that it’s worth their while to promote peace and understanding? How do you get them to care about the environment for the sake of future generations? How do you get them to care about any of it when they don’t even think there are enough future generations to come? How do you get them to stand up for peace and understanding in a multi-cultural world when, 1.) they think their belief system is the only right one, to the exclusion of all others, that all others are errors that must be exposed and those adherents evangelized in order to hasten the end, and 2.) they look forward to the war and conflict that must come to bring about the Millennial Kingdom and their final hope?
It’s asking them to go against the very heart of their beliefs. It’s asking them to literally waste their time and effort for goals they not only don’t believe in, but that are, in some respects, opposed to their final hopes and religious dreams.
This is one of the great modern harms of religion. It’s not just bombings and beheadings, as horrible and frightful as those are. It’s the fact that religion takes whole populations of talented, capable people, and completely incapacitates their ability to contribute to the progress of society and our world. It sets them up in opposition to humanity’s best interests.
It’s not that they don’t contribute to society at all, of course. But in view of the big picture, they’re not looking for a better tomorrow for everyone. They’re only looking to their ultimate revenge fantasy of seeing all the other non-believers or believers in the wrong religions go to eternal punishment so they can spend eternity being right.
And suddenly I don’t feel so fine anymore.