by Bil Aulenbach

Silly Season: Part 1

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, silly season is “a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior.” This could mean a laidback summer with no school and lots of vacations, but to me, silly season is about fundamentalist Christians’ incessant talk about the “End Times.”

This is the first part of a six-part series about the Christian apocalypse, in which a resuscitated Jesus and his angel army will end civilization and maybe even the universe, usher in the messianic age, and take 144,000 of the elect (who the elect are is debatable) someplace where they’ll live eternally. Welcome to silly season.

All this apocalyptic silliness started when the Old Testament book of Daniel (especially chapters 7 and 9) was written in the second century BCE. This craziness then reared its ugly head again with the book of Revelation, which was written at the end of the first century CE.

These biblical books were written in a very different world, which ancient peoples believed was three-tiered, with God living in a mansion above the third tier.

Today, we know that the universe contains two to four trillion (that’s twelve zeros) galaxies and that a message sent from earth to star cluster M13 in 1974 will arrive around 25,000 CE.

We also know humans need special equipment to survive more than five miles above sea level.

The Hubble Space Telescope has never found heaven, God’s mansion, purgatory, or hell. Maybe they only exist in people’s heads!

The way I see it, my end times started when I was born. We are all terminal all the time. When I do die, I will begin decomposing in four minutes. Then I will become part of the ongoing creation process. That’s it!

Scientists say the universe is about 13.8 billion years old and probably has at least 2.8 billion more to go. Despite the scientific evidence staring them in the face, fundamentalists say the universe is only about six thousand years old. Yikes!

Armageddon is supposedly a worldwide (universe-wide?) battle that will end everything. One recent prediction scheduled Armageddon for June 19, 2019, Guess what? For the thousandth time, it didn’t happen. The next predicted date for the end of the world is December 2019. If anyone is interested, I’m taking bets.

Armageddon is supposed to be a battle between God and human governments. Theoretically, God’s side is good and the other side is evil. But who gets to decide who is evil? (Not me, I suspect.)

Some say that at Armageddon, General Jesus will return and lead his army to victory. I don’t view Jesus as a General. He was a Palestinian Jewish peasant.

I must ask: Where have Jesus and this mighty army been hiding for the past two thousand years? Are they still armed with bows and arrows and a few catapults? If so, they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell against nukes.

How will this army arrive? In rocket ships, on trains, on Greyhound buses, or on skis? (I’d choose skis.) Remember, they’ll be picking up 144,00 people. They need big vehicles.

I have another question: Since General Jesus and his army will destroy earth and maybe the whole universe during the apocalypse, where will they go afterward?

Do you see why I call this nonsense the silly season? The Christian apocalypse is total foolishness that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and his message of agape—just the opposite, in fact.

As silly as all this is, I also find it extremely dangerous.

The next five blog posts will discuss this apocalyptic silliness in more detail.

 

Image courtesy of solidariat (CC BY 2.0)

2 Responses to Silly Season: Part 1

  • Bill, Everything you write is so thoughtful, and thought provoking. The idea is indeed silly- perfect adjective. And, yet, I know people who are comforted by the fact that they presume they will be part of that 144,000- go figure. Not a terribly modern or intellectual view in my mind.

  • I would love to hear that as a sermon at Slippery Slope Community Church.

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