This is the fifth 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.
Most folks tend to ignore the craziness of End Times theology. They find it unrealistic and unworthy of serious concern.
I don’t. I think apocalyptic theology is scary. Here’s why.
First, I always find it problematic when human beings decide to park their brains at the door—especially at churches, which are notorious for brainwashing in the name of their god. Fundamentalism demands that people stop thinking. The church will think for you. Tight control is the fundamentalists’ foundation stone.
If any constituents deviate, they’re thrown out—and shunned.
This is how dictators gain ultimate authority. Now we have a wannabe dictator whose strongest supporters are fundamentalists. I also see too many people in the military and police forces blindly obey him. Donald Trump gives them what they want, so they pledge allegiance.
I’m convinced that ICE is honing its Gestapo skills on immigrants. Their treatment of their fellow human beings is not only cruel but a total disgrace to the Statue of Liberty and our Pledge of Allegiance.
These days, I have a difficult time saying “liberty and justice for all.”
Second, I find it threatening to our democracy when a group of people who hide behind religion turn their backs on science, facts, truth, and progress. It’s the kiss of death to creative thinking and any advanced society.
In my sixty years of ministry, I have never had a discussion with a fundamentalist, for two reasons: (1) they think they know everything, and (2) they don’t discuss, they lecture.
Third, those who believe in the Second Coming usually end up thinking, “Why care?” The world is going to end soon (the next predicted date is December 2019). Who cares about climate change, immigrants, the poor, all the injustice in the so-called justice system, or the rights of women? The world is going to end, and Armageddon will wipe out all the infidels. Why care?
Fourth, fundamentalists arrogantly look down on anyone who isn’t like them. If your religion is different from theirs, then you are a heretic and will go straight to hell. This arrogance negates one of the great strengths of our country—our diversity in every arena of life. Fundies seem to be threatened by a multiplicity of religions, races, skin colors, sexual preferences—any difference. They belive everyone needs to be like them.
Finally, silly-season theology currently drives our foreign policy. It supports Israel and its genocide of the Palestinians. It puts immigrants from the Middle East, Mexico, and Central America on the Not Welcome list. It strains centuries-long relationships with our foreign allies and encourages cozying up to enemy nations.
Isn’t this scary?
I have some solutions. Stay tuned.
Image courtesy of Fernando Mafra (CC BY-SA 2.0)