Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Tonight is the start of Revelations, NBC's big Left Behind-esque miniseries about the Biblical end of the world. I'll probably watch it; there's lots about the end of the world and in Christian theology that can make for entertaining fiction. See Neil Gaiman's Good Omens for an amusing example, and 1991's The Rapture for a thought-provoking and creepy example.

But this sort of thing worries me. It seems that we're seeing more and more fanatical Christians claiming that this is the End of Days, and that God will soon destroy the world. Fortunately, not before he sucks up the faithful into heaven with the Celestial Dust Buster. These are not people that take the Bible lightly, nor do they understand that much of it is metaphor and allegory. These are the people that actually believe that there will be a seven-headed, ten-horned Beast that will come from the sea to make war on the peoples of the Earth. That's not an analogy. That's exactly what they think is going to happen.

This kind of thinking just isn't healthy. The recent church shooting in Milwaukee took place at a church that teaches we are living in the End Days. Jerry Falwell claims that the Antichrist lives today as a male Jew. These people seem to be the "moral values" voters that are trying to exert tremendus pressure on the government. They're not a small force, and their efforts aren't harmless. One of the reasons they are so pro-Israel, as I understand it, is that the Second Coming can't happen until the Temple on the Mount is rebuilt by the Jews. That's a major political football because there's an important Muslim temple built on that site now. So this sort of thinking does influence our foreign policy.

This kind of thing scares me because when you really, truly believe that then end of the world is nigh, then there's no reason to prepare for tomorrow. It's OK to destroy the environment and raid Social Security.

But hopefully tonight will just be about entertaining (or, more likely, mediocre) television.

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