This is the third 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.
Why do so many people believe that Armageddon is going to happen and that General Jesus is coming back to collect the elect?
I see a correlation between the End Times and Noah’s ark. Neither story is true. They both contain a grain of truth—and bedlam. In the case of Noah’s ark, I imagine hungry lions eating the water buffalo or a snake gobbling the rodents. What a mess!
The bedlam of the Second Coming is worse. I envision people killing each other for cutting in line or badmouthing others so they won’t be chosen by General Jesus.
Why do people buy into this silliness?
I call it the lemming effect. Lemmings are little animals who follow the leader, even to their death. Fundamentalists are lemmings. They’ve parked their brains at the door and become robots to a cult mentality.
I know too many ex-fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, and Mormons who questioned their rigid belief systems and were expelled from their congregations.
I belong to a clergy organization with a membership of over nine hundred ex-clergypeople who dared to think.
And we all know what happened to Jesus when he questioned the religious authorities!
When one belongs to a religious group that seemingly has all the answers, reads their bible literally, and has a hierarchy that dictates the congregation’s thoughts, soon no room is left for discussion.
One way fundamentalist groups keep their members from thinking independently is by continually ranting about controversial issues. The current favorite is LGBTQUI rights. As lemmings, everyone needs to be straight. The crux of the matter is that many men are insecure about their own sexuality. They fear they might be “converted.” Consequently, they strike out at gays (they’re rather quiet about lesbians, who aren’t viewed as a threat). Because fundamentalist men refuse to believe that “normal” choices include different sexual preferences, they need gays to convert to their definition of normal. Fortunately, there is no such thing. Normal is different for everyone.
Fundamentalists have a long list of issues, including women’s rights, abortion, politics, religion, war, executions, and so on. All their talk about the End Times is simply another diversionary tactic.
Fundies can’t bring themselves to do what Jesus wants Followers to do: love unconditionally. Their entire cult is built with lots of conditions, so it has to be their way or the highway.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that summarized fundamentalism: “Religion is for people who don’t like to think.”
According to that definition, I don’t have a religion because my greatest asset is my brain, which I educated to think critically. Fortunately, I have found a religion where Followers are encouraged to think critically, so I belong to a church family full of thinkers.
I feel so sorry for fundamentalists who avoid using their greatest asset in life—their brains. If they did think critically, silly season wouldn’t be.
Next time, let’s take a closer look at the folks who believe in silly season.