I would like to preface this essay by noting that I should neither be impelled to clarify my current position nor disavow my prior in order to be taken with some degree of serious thought. At the same time, I own stock in salt mines. Please act accordingly.
UPDATE: I must conclude, tentatively, that being turned into a whale (by a wizard, but not by a reverse-Darwin) is awesome. I will tell Bill O'Reilly that Kos believes whales are more awesome than people. Thx!
My preface was admittedly confrontational. I say this because, in previous references to my religous affilations, I have been rather heartlessly assailed ("your family represents everything that is wrong with this country, etc etc etc). Let me assure you: I cried the first time I read Noam Chomsky (2000 - I'm not emo) -- because I knew I was wrong and he was right. So, to those who would cast stones at me for my evangelical relations, I hope in my deep soul, that when you fuck yourself, you fuck yourself to satisfaction.
Any time there is unrest in Iran, the Western christian community gets a bit of an erection. Those with a distaste for nuance will glibly assume such boners can be explained by the Christian anti-semite undercurrent. That's a laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame assumption. Evangelicals LOVE Israel. Srsly. They want to marry it. Correction: They believe the Lord is married to Israel. Yes, indeedy. Ask any Christian theologist, and they will tell you: Israel is the bride of Christ, and the Church is her modern incarnation. The nation of Israel is a rebellious bride who has strayed from her betrothed, but will soon return to His side.
It sounds creepy because it is.
I run the risk of becoming boring... right... about... now. So, if you want to leave a dismissive comment, this is the time to do it. I will hate you. But that's what I do best. I have a great personality.
My point, when I arrive at it, is not going to be very awesome. But no one will read this, so I feel okay about it. If you were waiting for me to start sticking to my outline and stop being so mouthy, this is where I do EXACTLY THAT.
As many of you know, there are a lot of prophecies in the Bible. Since it would be totally boring to analyze those prophecies, I'll summarize them for you: Israel is the fucking center of the world. When the Bible refers to the "North", it is invariably referring to Russia (although leading eschatologists in the eighteenth century were quite certain the "North" meant Mongolia or Prussia). I think it's pretty well understood that Evangelicals feel as if Russia is an unredeemable waste of politics. When the Bible says "Persia", it means "Iran." When the Bible says "Israel", it means "the specfic chartered nation we helped invent in 1948."
Oh, and Babylon means "Iraq."
Of course, if one were to read the prophetic books of the Bible with no eschatoligical bias, they would simply assume that most of the passages referred to clashes (or future clashes) with regional bands of raiders or loosely organized millitant bedouins. Such conclusions would be accurate.
Christians are not willing to approach these passages from a logical standpoint. They are unwilling to address the following questions (and they've built mountains of theology to avoid definitive declarations):
- What good did it do to anyone to have Daniel ranting about some clash between Israel and the north -- if it were supposed to happen 2000 years later?
I think there is a damn good answer to this question. The prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, and St. John are fucking USEFUL. They are WARNINGS. They are not warnings of a definitive Apocalypse (there is no evidence to conclude that ancient Israelites even had a concept of a "final confrontation"). Biblical prophecies are detailed and laborious -- often poetic. They are not the screeds of laughably bigoted hayseeds, but the nuanced perspectives of the leading thinkers of the era. These words were written by men who were often caught in the midst of enormous cultural upheaval, violence, and imprisonment -- even genocide. They would not waste their time waxing poetic about some future impossible danger. They were seeking a lesson. They were seeking a way to avoid repeating their current pain.
There are resounding themes in Biblical prophecy to support such an assertion: Compromise leads to disorganization. Disloyaltaly leads to tyranny. Unquestioning obedience leads to annihilation. It's ridiculous to disembody these men (and women) from their era.
- Did the Lord pre-judge future nations?
If you ask this question too vigorously, you'll understand why there are Presbyterians and Baptists -- and ne'er the twain shall fucking meet. Some will insist that the eventual doom of man has been written in the heart of the universe since the day of Creation. Such men should probably be sent to gulags.
- Why do Christians of every generation since the Roman persecution insist that their generation is nighest to Armogeddon?
Because they try to make their Bibles do summersaults.
The interpretation of the Bible's prophetic books is more than just a cottage industry: It's a publisher's wet dream. Anyone from Frederick the Great to John Lennon stands an equal chance of being labelled as the AntiChrist (check me on this).
What disturbs me is the gusto with which the Evangelical commuity seeks a definitive end to humanity.
They seek out ways, not to preserve our species, but to warn of its impending doom -- with an odd glee. They pretend a sort of reluctance, but a reluctant view of death is frowned upon in the Christian community (which is odd, since they accuse Islam of fostering a non-reluctant view of death). Disinterest in death is shorthand for disinterest in Heaven -- disinterest in God and his Kingdom.
So, to assume that conservatives applaud the disarray in Iran, secretly, because they don't want to lose an enemy --- is wrong. Conservatives are silently hoping (and silently fearing) that the End of All Days is near. The very concept makes me laugh aloud -- especially when I browse the Freeper comments lately (accusing Khameini and Ahmanejad of belonging to an "islamic death cult). What do you call a Western religion that fetishes an inevitable Armageddon between Israel, Russia, Persia, and the US??? A death cult almost seems too mild.