Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The escalation of violence in Lebanon is troubling enough. The fact that Syria and Iran and the United States all are involved to one degree or another is even more disturbing. But there is something even more disturbing out there. Yes friends there are forces even darker than the ones at work in the Middle East. There are people out there, Christian in name only, who think that if the conflict in the Middle East escalates enough that Jesus will return and these will be the End Times.

So as the horrible violence escalates in Lebanon, there are fundamentalist Christians running around in the USA with their pants unzipped because they think Jesus is going to take them to Heaven. The End Timers are on the verge of yelling, “I told you so” at the world. Now granted many a faith has foretold the end of civilization before. They were wrong of course. But, fundamentalist Christians who thrive on fear instead of love, which is what Jesus wanted us all to do, are still prophesizing the end of the world. This website even has a handy clock so you can plan your damnation to the eternal fires of Hell accordingly. It’s in six days as I write this. So I wouldn’t make any long-term plans or maybe you should. They haven’t been right before.

Now fundamentalist Christians have been waiting for Jesus to come back since he left the first time. I had a history professor in college who talked at length about how antsy early Christians got the further they got from Jesus’ departure from the Earth. Imagine if you were one of those early Christians being told Jesus was coming and then you waited and waited some more and no Jesus. I can see how they might get a wee bit antsy. But it has never stopped.

At one point fundamentalist Christians got so antsy they even invented a new term, rapture. The term actually appears nowhere in The Bible and neither does the concept. Which has always caused me to chuckle. Consider that the vast majority of the proponents of the rapture are very much Bible literalists. They take every word of the Bible as literal truth with no room for interpretation at all. So that they would use something that never actually appears in the Bible is rather odd. I mean they found the one phrase in the Bible that allows them to hate gay people as much as they want. But they deeply believe in this rapture even though it’s never in the Bible at all. So if it’s not in the Bible how is it true? This is a question that would make a fundamentalist Christians very angry, which I recommend you never do, unless you really enjoy arguing with hysterical people.

There are also some out there who believe that Israelis are God’s chosen people. I think God loves all his people equally. He’s like a really good parent. He may occasionally become very disappointed in one of His children, but He never stops loving them. So I really doubt that God holds Israel in higher regard than he does Omaha or Guam or China. We are all God’s children and therefore He loves us. The idea that God has a specific chosen people is ignorant and arrogant.

I’ve said it before I shall say it again and again until someone listens, religions based on fear and fear alone are bad and can lead nowhere worth going. All they do is make people afraid and people who are afraid become hateful very easily. Any group of people that is hopped up on fear and convinced that they and they alone are right is potentially very dangerous. This fear mongering defeats the whole purpose of religion, which is to become a better person and make the world a better place. Not that fundamentalist Christians have any use for this brand of religion. Nope, they have the end of the world to get ready for so they can ascend to Heaven and spit on the heathens as they go off to the eternal reward.

I try not to look down on other faiths. Fundamentalist Christians seem to be an exception because they thrive on fear. Fear is precisely what we have far too much of in this country. Fear is what makes people buy guns and point the finger of blame at everyone else. Fear is what drove George Bush’s approval rating to over 90% at one point and got him reelected. People who live in the fog of fear never take time to really appreciate this life. They’re so busy preparing themselves to avoid whatever it is that they fear, that they never let their guard down and see the world for what it really is. That we are one people separated only by what we want to believe are differences. I think it is best said by this quote from prayer written by Mary Stewart, “Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create differences, that in the big things of life we are as one.”

The situation between Israel and Hezbollah is horrific. Why aren’t these allegedly devout Christians out doing something to promote peace among all people? Why are they only worrying about their own salvation? Maybe that last question was it’s own answer.


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