Dark Christianity
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Back February 19th, 2004 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
The End of the World! (Again!)


Gotta give it to the premillenialists- they sure do have a good thing going. But their head-in-the-sand, "Christ is coming, so who cares about the world?" attitude is effecting important stuff- like policies on conservation, and who are our political allies.

An article in the Christian Science Monitor has some interesting things to say about this growing problem:

Fundamentalists represent a minority of Christians - an estimated 25 million - but the interest in end-times prophecy has spread beyond their circles, and is not only shaping people's lives, but, say supporters and critics, even influencing US foreign policy.

A 2002 survey showed that 59 percent of Americans believe that the events in the Bible book of Revelation will occur in the future.

The theology behind end-time prophecy - premillennial dispensationalism (from the idea that God has divided history into ages, or dispensations) - emerged in 19th-century England. It was brought to America by missionary John Nelson Darby and spread at evangelistic conferences.

While believers say it spurs righteous living and helps discern God's plan for the world, others see it as fostering a skewed sense of history and of what Christianity is about.

Rather than the single Second Coming of Christ expected by other Christians, it presents a two-stage return of Jesus, with the plagues and catastrophes depicted in Revelation literally to take place on Earth in between. The current "church age" will end with the rapture, when Jesus will take true Christians to heaven, and the rest of humanity will face the outpouring of God's wrath, designed to turn them to Him. Many insist it will occur within a generation.

"I know people who have sold their houses and lived with relatives because they thought the world would soon come to an end," Currie says. "I know others who've cut their education short because they thought it more important to witness to people than to get their degree."

I've never read any of the "Left Behind" books. Don't know if I will, either. The segment of "60 Minutes" last week also took a close look at these folks, and their influence on government and policies. It was really chilling.

In fact, the involvement of premillennialists in politics is stirring concern among some observers. As the religious right has become more prominent in political circles, critics say, they are influencing and even undermining US policy on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Dispensationalists are also called Christian Zionists, and since the 19th century have supported the "regathering of the Jews" in the Holy Land, which they say is an essential step toward the end times. It also says the temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount, where the Muslim Dome of the Rock now stands.

Hitchcock says the return of Jews to Israel is "a stage-setting event for the tribulation period, when God's going to deal again with the Jewish people," giving them a last chance to recognize Jesus as Messiah.

In the meantime, dispensationalists believe that, according to Genesis, God will bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them. They are therefore among Israel's staunchest supporters, backing its "ownership" of the entire West Bank. They have raised money in churches to support illegal settlements.

Were I a Jew of any sort, I'd keep these people at arms' length. I mean- right now, they're being friendly and helpful and pouring money into Israel- but for what purpose? Are they helping or intending to harm? Is someone who believes that you must convert to their faith really a friend?

And I wonder...what does Christ think of all of this?


[Edited to add links to "60 Minutes" and Slactivist's "Left Behind" critiques.]

dogemperor [userpic]
Doing some tweaking


I've decided to play with the colors and appearance of the Dark Christianity LJ to make it a little more readable- the OCR style was becoming increasingly difficult for me to see.


Back February 19th, 2004 Forward