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Eschatological News
March 30, 2003 9:34 AM   Subscribe

War in Babylon has evangelicals seeing Earth's final days, reports the SF Chron. End-Time Interpreters See Apocalyptic Meaning in Iraq War, reports Belief Net. End-times radio from End-Times.com. Israel's End-Time Gamble, from World Net Daily. Jimmy Carter notes that a stance against war is
an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology.
Factoid:
The Southern Baptist Convention has more churches (over 37,000) in the United States than any other religious body — even more than the Catholic Church.
posted by hairyeyeball (23 comments total)

 
what pains me the most about our current war on religious extremists (excepting the religious extremists who are our allies, in which case a secular dictatorship will scapegoat nicely) is that ... we're being led into it by our own religious extremists. history won't remember this chapter kindly.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:46 AM on March 30, 2003


Feh...ridiculous things such as "end times" and "rapture" and the like are so...wrong. I suppose to those who really, truly believe in "god" or some other deity, the possibility of a religious end to the world might seem scary...

...but to atheists, it's literally much ado about nothing. Or, as I like to say, "Atheists: Defenders of Reality."
posted by davidmsc at 9:49 AM on March 30, 2003


amen to that, davidmsc. heh.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:00 AM on March 30, 2003


those wacky evangelicals... good thing they'll never occupy positions of power. [/sarcasm]

Isn't there some clause in Revelations about noone being able to predict the day? Doesn't that garauntee that the final judgement will never come, thanks to our hordes of crackpot doom-sayers?
posted by kaibutsu at 10:05 AM on March 30, 2003


Fundamentalists!

They wacky!
posted by jpburns at 10:14 AM on March 30, 2003


Atheists: Defenders of Reality

Worst.RPG.Name.Ever!
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:18 AM on March 30, 2003


So when the end-time doesn't come, and Jesus doesn't arrive this time, are they going to shut up?
posted by CrazyJub at 10:20 AM on March 30, 2003


And everyone in Pompeii witnessed the great Fire God erupting forth, to sweep his merciless hand out upon the World.
posted by four panels at 10:22 AM on March 30, 2003


i just wish they'd hurry up and rapture the fuck outta here. it'd make me happy, but talk about your presidential succession nightmares... the same day air force one falls out of the sky and cheney's undisclosed location turns up empty but for a few discarded wesson bottles in the corner, how many of these guys will be left either?
posted by quonsar at 10:32 AM on March 30, 2003


The problem with the SF Gate article is that it renders no evidence that evangelicals are more inclined to see biblical prophecy fulfilled in the war with Iraq than they have been in the past. All of the books mentioned have been around for at least ten years, and the real source of this generation of Bible prophecy nonsense can be traced back to Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth, much more so than the LaHaye & Jenkins books.

And as far as Jimmy Carter's assertion that, "that a stance against war is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention," is totally absurd. Sure, you have the SBC's Richard Land, but you also have evangelicals like Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, and Jim Dobson that represent a much wider contingent than just Southern Baptists.

At best, the response of Christians (evangelicals and Catholics), should best be described as mixed.
posted by marcusb at 10:45 AM on March 30, 2003


Ah joyous Chuck Colson . . . Nixon's own hatchetman. Apparently he hasn't unleashed enough horror upon the world yet . . . much like his still-going energizer-bunny-of-genocide pal Henry Kissinger.

God bless them, every one.
posted by Ryvar at 10:50 AM on March 30, 2003


The Southern Baptist Convention has more churches (over 37,000) in the United States than any other religious body — even more than the Catholic Church.

If you're interested in further info like the above, this website has a whole bunch of statistics on religious population sizes and growth rates (including statistics for individual denominations) both on a national and state level for the U.S.
posted by jsonic at 10:54 AM on March 30, 2003


On religious opposition to the war, there's the WACC (whose acronym I can't seem to expand at the moment) and its blog, "taking sides."
posted by hairyeyeball at 11:08 AM on March 30, 2003


Not fair posting this on Sunday when all the good church-goin' folks aren't here to defend themselves. But I'll try...

I suppose to those who really, truly believe in "god" or some other deity, the possibility of a religious end to the world might seem scary...

In some religious circles -- mostly those with a practical bent, who believe in the end but still plant fruit trees -- Armageddon scenarios are largely a description of where human political/scientific history will take the world anyway. God's intervention is meant to channel events for the best possible outcome, and eventually, usher in a millenial era of relative peace.

Isn't there some clause in Revelations about noone being able to predict the day? Doesn't that garauntee that the final judgement will never come, thanks to our hordes of crackpot doom-sayers?

The day and the hour. Maybe the month and the year are OK. :)But you bring up an interesting point. Could non-believers, unrepentant procrastinators, and others who're thinking they might lose big by a second coming indefinitely postpone it by predicting an uninterupted succession of days? Would this qualify as "knowing" the day or the hour?

The underyling problem isn't with religion, by the way. It's with the fact that people tend to forget that religious commitment is a personal covenant, not a worldwide political/idelogical plot. The church I belong to is evangelical, and a millenial theology plays a big role, but largely, it chooses to try and bring about millenial conditions encouraging its members to be prepared, to improve their character and closeness to God, and by proselyting, rather than manipulating world poltical events, and as marcusb points out, Christians taken at large have a mixed response at best to the current war stance.
posted by namespan at 11:12 AM on March 30, 2003


I'd believe the literally doom and gloom prophecies more if they didn't have the Antichrist wrong and Revelations wrong. Of course if they are right, I can only hope it goes as well as this.
posted by chris24 at 11:24 AM on March 30, 2003


i just wish they'd hurry up and rapture the fuck outta here

Best line of the day.
posted by CrazyJub at 11:39 AM on March 30, 2003


They've got it all wrong. The end of the world will occur after three consecutive winters with no summers in between. Since that hasn't happened, we're obviously okay.
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2003


My father taught Revelation in Assembly of God churches all my life. Never wrote a book, but he was the local guy everyone would ask about the latest books on endtimes (an industry even before the Left Behind series). It is absolutely scary how much a large section of the population truly believe that they will "meet Jesus in the air." Soon.

So when the end-time doesn't come, and Jesus doesn't arrive this time, are they going to shut up?
posted by CrazyJub at 12:20 PM CST on March 30


A local church was absolutely sold that Christ would return during Rosh Hashanah (sp?) 1988. The church members were running up credit cards among other spiritual preparations. They unfortunately are even bigger today.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 12:20 PM on March 30, 2003


Christianity Today skewered the SF Chronicle piece it its blog last week:

Evangelicals believe this is the end, say papers. Oh really?...one problem: Lattin couldn't actually find any evangelicals who actually believe it.

...everyone seems to be missing the real story: there's actually much less apocalyptic talk about the war with Iraq than there was in 1991's Gulf War. And, in fact, failed end times hype over Saddam back then may be the cause of muted speculation today.
[emphasis added]

See also: The Iraq War Has Little Effect on the Rapture Index (founder of an online end times "speedometer" says that other current events are more connected to biblical prophecy) and 'The End is Not Yet' (president of Dallas Theological Seminary says "So is war between the United States and Iraq predicted in the Bible? No.").

I think this kind of thing is always in the back of Bush's mind, but doubt it comes close to influencing policy as much as the U.S. arms and energy industries.
posted by mediareport at 12:20 PM on March 30, 2003


Ah, the "Late Great Planet Earth". I stumbled across an early edition back in about 7th grade; it scared the living crap out of me.

Twenty years after that, not only had the Soviet Union not attacked Israel as Lindsay had predicted--there wasn't even a Soviet Union anymore.
posted by gimonca at 2:32 PM on March 30, 2003


kaibutsu: Isn't there some clause in Revelations about noone being able to predict the day? Doesn't that garauntee that the final judgement will never come, thanks to our hordes of crackpot doom-sayers?

My guess would be that it defaults into a prisoner's dilemma sort of thing... Since each day and hour seems to be predicted by some wacko or another, they all remain equally likely for the return of our Lord and Savior.

quonsar: i just wish they'd hurry up and rapture the fuck outta here.

A-fucking-men.
posted by UKnowForKids at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2003


So when the end-time doesn't come, and Jesus doesn't arrive this time, are they going to shut up?

It's a great disappointment, but the answer is no.
posted by SPrintF at 4:17 PM on March 30, 2003


The Southern Baptist Convention has more churches (over 37,000) in the United States than any other religious body — even more than the Catholic Church.

And that's only one branch of the wingnut Republican party.

Sure, you have the SBC's Richard Land, but you also have evangelicals like Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, and Jim Dobson that represent a much wider contingent than just Southern Baptists.

Woah! That's much wider than the proverbial eye-of-the-needle! What does it take for membership in a club of such elites? Never mind.
posted by nofundy at 5:58 AM on March 31, 2003


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