Saturday, July 29, 2006

End Times Days Are Here Again

(Appropriately, I was listening to Jet's Look What You've Done while reading the interview; it includes the lyric "you've made a fool of everyone.")

Tim LaHaye gloats at the self-fulfillment of a 2500 year old "prophecy" in a Newsweek interview, and I mock his idiocy.

NEWSWEEK: How do you interpret what’s happening in the Middle East? Are you seeing signs that these are the end of days?
Tim LaHaye: Biblically speaking, the very nations that are mentioned in prophecy—and have been mentioned for 2,500 years as occupying the focus of the tension of the last days—are the very nations that are involved in the conflict right now.

The brand of monotheism that foretells this particular end time prophecy began in the Middle East 2500 years ago. So earlier religious nuts wrote "prophecies" about the region of their experience and birth of their religion (imagine how impressive it would have been if they had written prophecies about places they couldn't possibly have known anything about), and 1000 years later began actively pursuing the fulfillment of those prophecies with the Crusades. So really, it only took about 1500 years of poking and prodding this region to get it to explode in nearly uncontrollable violence in the proper, "foretold" manner.

That may be one of the reasons there’s a sudden interest in bible prophecy because all of a sudden they realize end-time events could possibly take place and break forth right now.

And that's why he wrote his crappy novels ... the same reason Tom Clancy's Cold War novels were so popular during the Cold War. Fear = $. The greater the fear, the greater the cash flow.

But first-century Christians believed that the end of the world could come during their lifetime.
We call it the belief in the imminent return of Christ. It’s a motivational factor to serve the Lord and not let the world be so much with us that we don’t serve the Lord in the spiritual environment.

We also call it "Daddy's Gravy Train." The constant fear helps us maintain control and power.

Couldn't almost anything then be taken as a clue that any point in history might be the end times?
Down through the years that’s true. But never the accumulation of events as we have today. I have often said that no one knows the day nor the hour that Christ will come, but no generation has had so many signs of the times as our generation. We have more reason to believe that Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.

The interviewer, self-admittedly neither biblical student nor scholar, later manages to pick out the shortcoming of this fear tactic.

But my understanding is that current biblical scholarship reads some of the apocalyptic scenes in the Bible as metaphorically addressing events that were taking place as the Bible was being written.
These are usually liberal theologians that don’t believe the Bible literally.
The problem isn't that the Bible was written, translated and edited by scientifically ignorant men; the problem is that you, the liberal unbeliever, reject what some modern scientifically ignorant men interpret the Bible to mean.

So the Revelation should not be interpreted, for example, as a polemic against Rome?
That’s what they say. We believe that the Bible should be understood literally whenever possible. The next big event is the second coming of Christ. That’s preceded by a number of signs. And some of those signs could be could be stage-setting right now. They’re not going to come out of nowhere. For example, the Bible predicts when the antichrist comes and sits at his kingdom after the Rapture, he’s going to have one world economy and one world government and one world religion. We’re already moving rapidly in the direction of those very things.
Discern the barely contained incredulity at this patently ridiculous assertion in the next question.

Really? It seems we’re a ways off from one world religion.
That’s the least developed, but there are many particularly liberal theologians that just think that "Oh, if we could just get everybody together of all beliefs ..." If you don’t have a strong belief system, you’re willing to compromise your beliefs with other religions.
How deliciously ironic that people striving very hard to create a One World Religion of Fundamental Christianity (failing miserably, just like the other sect of the same monotheistic religion is striving hard to create a One World Religion of Fundamental Islam) are worried that liberal theologians, who inherently acknowledge and respect the diversity of beliefs and religions that exist on the planet, will somehow magically create One World Religion.

And isn't that Satan deliciously tricky? The people working the hardest to get all people to believe in One World Religion (fundies) and bring about the Second Coming of Christ are the people causing the most strife in the world which is pushing more people to be more tolerant of people with different beliefs, thus postponing the creation of One World Religion and the return of Christ, thus extending Satan's rule on Earth! I mean, how Satanically tricky is it that peace, love and tolerance means Satan is ruling, while strife, war and hatred are the signs that Christ's will is working. Damn tricky! Counterintuitive, even!

There's a few more Q&As in the interview, but I can't top that last bit. We'll leave it with a Newsweek link to HuffingtonPost about LeHaye's Christian Orwellianism "faith" cop out.
Michael Standaert is a critic of yours who has written recently in a blog that this belief in the end of the world in a big explosion of violence, reflects a “spiritual malaise” a “hopelessness in humanity” and that you’re “making money off of fear and hopelessness” in your “Left Behind” series. How do you respond to that?
I would say that he’s just betraying his poverty of faith. If he had faith in the Bible, faith in the future and Jesus Christ, he’d recognize that our passion is just like the theme song in our books: we don’t want anybody to be left behind.
Obviously that kid in the wheelchair can't walk after the faith healing because he just didn't have enough faith. It's that stupid kid's fault, not Jesus' fault.

Update: Michael Standaert says he doesn't understand the desire to see the world end. I do. Right after college I slipped into depression. I wanted nothing more than for the world to end since that would mean my misery would end. I couldn't anticipate a future, anyway. Think of what miserable bastards many fundies are, and the miserable things they do to others, as well as the planet. They can't anticipate a future for themselves, let alone their children, so it doesn't matter if they create a hell on earth. Of course they want it to end.

Update 2: We all knew it, but we can now count Bush officially of that depressed number who "just want it all to end, please dear Lord, just let it end."
Via Mahablog.

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